Video Premiere: ‘Esquisse IV’ by Dominique Charpentier

Earlier this summer, French pianist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Dominique Charpentier released an EP consisted of five songs each of which was developed in less than two hours. He chose this format as an experiment in form and a personal challenge. While compressing the creative process into a fixed time always risks an uncertain outcome, in this case it produced an enchanting quintet of piano-based pieces with a touch of melancholy and a touch of musette so as to weave a spell of melancholic and nostalgic romance in the space of twelve minutes.

Inspired by the music, the folks at Piano & Coffee have created a video to accompany songs using a montage of grainy, sepia-toned footage shot around a bustling 1970’s Paris turning “Esquisse IV” into a plaintive scrapbook of shared memory. Continue reading

Maiya Hershey – Tides [Shimmering Moods]

If you visit the Soundcloud page of Lebanese sound producer and visual artist Maiya Hershey, you’ll find a veritable menagerie of beautiful experiments in ambient & electronic music and other sonic ephemera constructed from piano, loops, and voice. There is arguably enough material there to have allowed her to cobble together a complete album, but her full-length debut demonstrates she was willing to be patient enough to develop something truly substantial and cohesive. Tides is presented as a fictional story whose protagonist is an unseen creature born from deep waters that “inherited all of human consciousness and memory” and it possesses all the strange, otherworldly beauty such a concept portends.

Continue reading

Duologue: A Conversation with Poppy Ackroyd

With her 2012 debut ‘Escapement’, Brighton-based composer Poppy Ackroyd entered the same rare air as such esteemed innovators of modern classical and electronic music as Nils Frahm and Hauschka. Classically trained on violin and piano, she creates utterly mesmerizing music by manipulating and multi-tracking sounds primarily from these two instruments in sometimes unconventional ways, an approach she expanded upon with her second album ‘Feathers’ in 2015. This year she brings us a flurry of new projects to enjoy starting with her new mini-album ‘Sketches’ in which Poppy reinterprets pieces from her first two records as pure solo piano pieces along with several new compositions. She also has a brand new full-length album in the works for release in November and all this in the midst of performing as part of Hidden Orchestra, who themselves have a wonderful new record out called ‘Dawn Chorus’. I am ecstatic that Poppy was willing take time from her busy schedule to answer a few questions for Stationary Travels readers and thus kick-off the very first in our new series of artist interviews called Duologues.

Continue reading

PREMIERE: Chess Players byLena Natalia

 

Chicago-based pianist & composer Lena Natalia is a storyteller who speaks through a piano rather than a pen, able to create scenes, moments, and characters only through the moods and melodies of her compositions. Her experiences living in Paris served as the backdrop for her first two albums while last year’s Second Youth explored personal and nostalgic territory closer to home. Her fourth collection of songs entitled Almost Home finds her broadening her sonic palette to include more varied piano textures, tasteful use of string & choral like synths, and even a bit of percussion. Listen here to an exclusive premiere of “Chess Players”, an especially elegant and cerebral piece with an evocative hint of Slavic flavor.

Continue reading

VIDEO PREMIERE: The Last by Garreth Broke and Anna Salzmann

In a recent interview with the folks at Piano & Coffee, pianist and composer Garreth Broke spoke about growing up on a diary farm in West Wales where he forged a strong connection to the landscape and developed an acute awareness of how much changes are wrought over it with each season. That experience served as a large part of the inspiration for a quartet of EPs he would create with his artist partner Anna Salzmann, each of which would mark the beginning of a new season. The series comes to a conclusion next week with the release of June which features three compositions by Broke and vivid new imagery by Salzmann that is aflame with bright, warm colors.  Continue reading

Travelogue 2017.06.17: A Spring Quartet

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke

A brief survey of an exquisite quartet of modern classical albums for the Spring season by Christoph Berg & Henning Schmiedt on Flau, Tambour on Moderna Records, Julian Marchal on the newly launched Whales Records, and Moinho on 1631 Recordings. 

Continue reading

PREMIERE: Sleepwalking Deers by Luis Berra (Video by Piano & Coffee)

The three young people in golden deer masks roaming a deserted urban landscape bathed in the incandescent yellow glow of street lamps furnishes a moody, surreal backdrop for the mellifluous piano lines woven by Florence native Luis Berra on “Sleepwalking Deers”, the opening track to his new album Piano Creatures now out on 1631 Recordings. It is a sweetly melodic piece tempered with a bluish tint that lends a touch of melancholy, a quality which the video, developed by the creative community of Piano & Coffeetaps into.

Continue reading

VIDEO PREMIERE: The Crossing by Danny Mulhern

In the brand new video for his solo piece “The Crossing”, Danny Mulhern puts us inside his piano and in the mind’s eye of the solitary passenger lost in a monochrome reverie, a rider on a train gliding past the city lights and into the station haunted by the wistful melody so delicately rendered, a melancholy lullaby for the weary traveler and a oneiric reflection. The track opens his forthcoming EP Metanoia and segues into the ensemble piece “Flying the Nest” which was premiered here last month. Stationary Travels is very pleased to offer this additional glimpse into one of the most beautiful modern classical releases you are likely to hear this year.

Continue reading

Angus MacRae – Cry Wolf [1631 Recordings]

Even if you don’t know the name, there is a very good chance you’ve heard the music of composer Angus MacRae before. His compositions have graced films & commercials ranging from the BBC to companies like Sony, Toyota & Vodaphone while he has also written for a wide variety of live arts performances across Europe including theater and dance. Having released a pair of studio EPs in 2015 which saw a combined digital release last year on 1631 Recordings, he returns to the format and the label with a beautiful collection of modern classical vignettes entitled Cry Wolf.

Continue reading

Sound Impression: Yonder by Sophie Hutchings [1631 Recordings/Hobbledehoy]

The release of a new album by Sophie Hutchings to coincide with Piano Day 2017 has been one of the year’s most pleasant surprises. Having beguiled us with the dreamy abstractions of Wide Asleep (Preservation) which only came out last summer, Yonder finds Sophie in a more ebullient mood as radiant melodies ripple and flow from her piano with pure élan.

Continue reading

Daigo Hanada – Ichiru [Moderna Records]

Based in Montreal, Québec, Moderna Records is a recently founded label that has quickly established itself as a home for wonderful new voices in experimental and modern classical composition. Having introduced many listeners to artists such as Veronique Vaka, Ed Carlsen, and Tim Linghaus, they do it yet again with the debut solo album by Japanese composer & pianist Daigo Hanada. Written in Berlin and Tokyo over the course of a year, Ichiru is a collection of intimate vignettes recorded with only an upright piano, a pair of microphones and two hands.

Continue reading

Video Premiere: Composer Michael Price talks about the process of ‘Diary’


Diary is a new collection of thirty solo piano improvisations by Bafta-nominated and Emmy award-winning composer Michael Price, a bounteous and enchanting offering that any lover of contemporary classical music would be more than happy to take at face value. But, Diary is more than a simple collection of songs; it is a window into very creative process of the composer. Compiled over a six-week period, Price began each working day with a new improvisational piece recorded in a single take, allowing the project to unfold as an unguarded and unedited musical journal of his thoughts, mood, and level of inspiration.

In this video, the disarmingly self-effacing Price pulls back the curtain even further as he talks about the project and the sometimes surprising patterns and insights it had to reveal.

 

Continue reading