PREMIERE: Toumani by Tom Rogerson

As founder off the electronic rock band Three Trapped Tigers and curator of Proof Positive improv nights in East London, pianist, keyboardist and composer Tom Rogerson is no stranger to the studio and concert & festival stages around the world, but it was in a church next to his parents’ home in his Suffolk where he found himself composing the songs that would form his full-length solo debut Retreat to Bliss. Rogerson’s first new music since 2017’s Finding Shore, a collaboration with fellow Suffolk native Brian Eno, the time of its making spanned a transformational period during which he had a child, lost a parent, and received his own diagnosis of a rare form of blood cancer and the eleven tracks it comprises were recorded over the course of just a few days by Leo Abrahams.

All my life, the piano has been my constant companion, my confessor, my best friend, and my worst enemy. I’ve always written music on and for the piano, but it felt too personal, too private to release. The last few years have brought some struggle, some joy, and a lot of change. My response has been to retreat to what I trust the most: the piano, my voice, and the landscape I grew up in. That’s how the album got its title, and how I came to be ready finally to release a solo record.

The label’s liner notes for the album suggest that listening to the album feels almost like crouching in the belfry of that Suffolk church eavesdropping as witnesses to a sort of “musical bloodletting” and indeed there is both a cathartic intimacy and dizzying stream of consciousness feeling that permeates the songs, an outpouring of the soul if you will. Have a listen for yourself in this exclusive premiere of “Toumani”, a song inspired by the music of Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté which encapsulates many of the facets of the album itself from the contemplative introductory passage to virtuosic deluge of notes and plaintive wordless vocals that cascade forth as if a dam has burst. It is an absolutely captivating piece as is the whole record.

Links: Bandcamp (DL/CD/LP) | Western Vinyl Shop | Tom Rogerson

Retreat to Bliss will be released March 25, 2022 by Western Vinyl on CD and LP along with digital & streaming and features artwork by Luke Drozd.