Context Matters

Equivalent VIII (1966) by Carl Andre
Equivalent VIII (1966) by Carl Andre, http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T01534

An ambient dilemma

Like all art, music relies on its context to be fully appreciated, whether it is the position of a track on an album or how a listener hears it. This is a challenge for musicians because it is all but impossible for them to control, on any grand scale, how an audience encounters or consumes their work. For many artists in the ambient genre, this is problematic. Ambient music is designed to blend into the acoustic environment1. It is often used in situations where the focus is not the music, but the absorbing, distracting or tedious activity it is meant to facilitate. There is a great number of ambient artists who do not intend their music to be experienced in this way, but in defining themselves as “ambient” (perhaps out of necessity or for want of a better alternative), they necessarily (though inadvertently) endorse a perception of their work in direct conflict with their artistic intentions.

When surveying playlists that include ambient music, descriptions like “Clear your head with these soothing soundscapes”2 are common—innocuous introductions to collections of typically soporific, repetitive and undemanding pieces conducive to a listener’s occupation. The definition of the genre by Brian Eno makes the inclusion of ambient music in such playlists perfectly logical. For Eno, “Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.”3 Wikipedia states duly that ambient music is intended to relax through its atmospheric, visual and unobtrusive quality1. Whilst these definitions fit the early experiments of Eno, they are woefully inadequate when applied to the work of many among his artistic progeny whose music falls into the genre technically, but not essentially.

The artist’s intent

Classification matters because it is linked to definition. We cannot think meaningfully about what we cannot or do not define (in this instance, musicians about their music). In the realm of the experimental, this is challenging because the unorthodox nature of experimentation makes the categorisation of a musical work difficult. This leaves artists at a loss as to how to describe their work—“xperimental electronic / dark-ambient / dronez / soundscapez / weird low freq humming” (sic) is one such attempt by Krzyzis, an experimental musician from Canada4. Some delve no deeper than “ambient”5, others avoid doing so altogether6. They are blameless in my view. Artists like Krzyzis, Alaskan Tapes, Astoria Sound, Last Days, 36 and a multitude of others create experimental music7. “Calm”, “relaxing”, “peaceful”, “serene”, et cetera are often appropriate terms with which to describe their predominantly slow-moving work. However, their compositions do not take these forms for the purpose of background accompaniment; they employ these qualities for different reasons entirely.

What reasons are determined by the artist, but the underlying intent is the creation of music for active and sustained listening, for immersion and contemplation; the compositions are conceived to engage the mind in a subject and theme, not to make more pleasant or bearable some other task—be it working, socialising, studying or sleeping. Yet this is how the music is frequently used, added to playlists dedicated to these scenarios8 by curators who do not for a moment consider the artist’s objectives. (The classical genre suffers a similar fate when a Bruch adagio ends up in a Classical Chill playlist9.) This is, of course, inevitable—perhaps even excusable. Much of what the music of these artists expresses is suited to such use. But this is not their primary motivation in composing such music. In the words of Dennis Huddleston (36): “People see a lot of ambient music as something to help them sleep, but I’m trying my hardest to keep them awake!”10 Brian Eno may have intended to produce “sonic wallpaper”1 but these artists have a higher goal, namely art11.

Concept, context and clarity

Where does this leave artists who welcome an appreciation of their intent—especially those who have ventured into the unknown in search of the New, only to find their phenomenal efforts relegated to office backgrounds? (There is, of course, the view that artists need not concern themselves with categorisation, but I hold that some form of classification is necessary, 1.) to explain the nature of the work, 2.) to orient the audience and 3.) to help them interpret what they hear.) In a reality where musicians do not, cannot (and perhaps should not) control how their music is experienced, must they resign themselves to the unavoidable and be consoled that at the very least, the undiscerning playlist creator will introduce their music to people who would otherwise never have heard it (however unsatisfactorily)? Is this not, after all, an opportunity to grow a following?

Not considering the quality of such a following, the trade-off is that the music will not be appreciated as intended. When presented to a listener in this way, the compositions lose their context—and every artist understands that context is a vital component of a work because it preserves its conceptual substance. Concept and context are inextricably linked—a fact brilliantly demonstrated by Carl Andre’s Equivalent VIII construction12. Unlike Andre’s neatly arranged firebricks, however, the best examples of experimental music have intrinsic value by virtue of the artistic labour they embody. This makes the music worthy of a listener’s full attention, something beyond the artist’s control. Though little can be done to guarantee a proper regard for art, especially in a form as ubiquitous as music, the least artists can do is themselves be explicit about their intent.

My intent

It is this I wish to do briefly here. I have previously described my work as “ambient idylls”, by which I meant to convey a Romantic perspective13. The word “idyll”14 was ideal because it embraced my theme (the admiration of Nature), my subject (scenes of rural beauty) and my means of expression (compositions in music and poetry). Having long wrestled with the “ambient” descriptor, I have at last decided to distance myself from the genre proper. I compose music to consciously engage the listener. If my work encourages contemplation, I intend this to be on the images and emotions I endeavour to evoke. Although some of my compositions have an “ambient” aesthetic15, I no longer consider my music Ambient; and so I adopt a new caption to summarise my vision, which is to create: Idylls in music and poetry.

Footnotes

All websites and playlists accessed 22 July 2018.

  1. “Ambient music”, Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia
  2. Pure Ambient playlist, Apple Music
  3. Brian Eno, Ambient 1: Music for Airports (1978) liner notes
  4. @krzyzis Twitter profile description
  5. “Alaskan Tapes is an Ambient music project based in Toronto, Canada.” – Brady Kendall (Alaskan Tapes), Alaskan Tapes, official website
  6. “[L]iving ghosts.” – Astoria Sound, Bandcamp profile description
  7. “Experimental music”, Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia
  8. Sleep Sounds playlist, Apple Music
  9. Classical Chill playlist, Apple Music
  10. Dennis Huddleston, Sounds of a Tired City interview, 2014
  11. Briefly, the sole purpose of art is to make an abstraction concrete. In the case of music, this involves expressing the emotions evoked by a theme (the abstraction) into a musical composition (the concrete): musical artists embody in a melodious composition (in its instrumentation and ultimately its performance and recording) a fundamental emotion or group of emotions (e.g. “anger”, “excitement”, “joy”, “awe”, “serenity”, “surprise”, “distress” or “fear”) inspired by a theme (e.g. “injustice”, “celebration”, “love”, “nature”, “introspection”, “conflict”, “loss” or “dystopia”) consistent with their worldview. I elaborate upon my definition of art in “On the Nature and Purpose of Art”.
  12. “The essential difference between any sculpture from the past and Carl Andre’s Equivalent VIII [a rectangular arrangement of 120 firebricks] . . . is that Andre’s work depends entirely on the museum. A Rodin in a parking lot is still a misplaced Rodin; Equivalent VIII in the same lot is just bricks.” – Robert Hughes, The Shock of the New: Art and the century of change, McGraw-Hill Education, 1990, p. 369. See also Equivalent VIII at the Tate
  13. “The nature of Romanticism may be approached from the primary importance of the free expression of the feelings of the artist. The importance the Romantics placed on emotion is summed up in the remark of the German painter Caspar David Friedrich, ‘the artist’s feeling is his law’. To William Wordsworth, poetry should begin as ‘the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings’, which the poet then ‘recollect[s] in tranquility​ (sic)’, evoking a new but corresponding emotion the poet can then mould into art.” – “Romanticism”, Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia
  14. “An extremely happy, peaceful, or picturesque period or situation… A short description in verse or prose of a picturesque scene or incident, especially in rustic life… [From] Greek eidullion [“little picture”]…” – Idyll, Oxford University Press: English: Oxford Living Dictionaries
  15. To express my theme, I must compose in a genre that lends itself to the expression of the ideas contained within that theme. The genres best suited for this are Classical and Electronic Music. I chose the latter for reasons of pragmatism and the genre’s near limitless capacity for expression. That some of my music will be “ambient” is unavoidable.

Mentioned in this post

36 (Bandcamp)
Alaskan Tapes (Official Website)
Astoria Sound (Bandcamp)
Krzyzis (Bandcamp)
Last Days (Official Website)

This June

Paradise Crane in a Field, 8 June 2018. Copyright 2018 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
I photographed​ this paradise crane, the graceful national bird of my country (South Africa), in a field. They are also known as blue cranes, after their elegant pale-blue feathers.​

My label released its first album.

The highlight of June was Origins, the inaugural release of the Lonely Swallow label: a collection of six contemporary classical impromptus for the piano composed, performed and recorded by Affan at his home in London. The pieces ebb and flow with delightful melodies and tempos that gently transport you along—now light and lively, now quiet and reassuring. (Of these, “Origin IV”, the fourth track on the album, is undoubtedly my favourite.) I am honoured to have worked with Affan on releasing his first album. I hope you enjoy the work of this very talented musician.

I drafted an essay.

The subject of Art fascinates me. A graphic designer by profession, my field of study was the Visual Arts; yet, notwithstanding the theory, my conception of Art has always been nebulous, nuanced and pliable. I consider it fortunate that my pursuit of music and poetry has since forced me to think more intelligibly about the nature and purpose of Art. As a result, my understanding has become more clear, and to elucidate this emerging view, I have drafted a simple essay in which I attempt to demystify the matter. When completed, I shall post it here.

I resumed work on my poetry.

In the meantime, I continue revising the poetic sketches for the collection of poems I want to self-publish. Some are completed, some await rewriting, and some have been discarded. At the present time, I am writing “The Pines”: two verses about the sound of the wind as it moves through the trees. Even as I think of this theme, I smile. Writing these poems is a deeply fulfilling occupation. They are little celebrations of Nature—short, simple and sincere outpourings of admiration and awe. I cannot wait to share them in time!

Mentioned in this post:

Origins (Bandcamp)

This February

Late Summer Hills
I took this photograph as the gentle light of late summer rolled over the hills of the Overberg region. February has come and gone, and it is now autumn in South Africa, my favourite season.

I officially decided to create a small book of poetry.

Over the past year, I began composing a series of simple rhyming verses inspired by the sights and sounds of my rural surroundings. Altogether, I have written twenty-nine sketches which I started developing into complete poems in January. I now have enough material to present as a small publication and since the compositions share a theme, they should work as a collection. In the coming months, I shall devote all my attention to completing the poems, a task I very much look forward to!

Forgotten Fields Poetry Publication Progress, March 2018
A summary of the poetic sketches and my progress. “Autumn” was the first poem I ever wrote about the natural world which I hope to revise and include in the collection.

I realised that I may not release new music in 2018.

Whilst I am pleased to be working on the book, it does mean that I am not working on new music. I prefer to focus on one project at a time and consequently, a new release depends entirely on when I finish the publication. All the same, there are many new and existing musical ideas I am eager to develop, be it this year or the next, that further explore the Romantic themes of my work.

I made progress on the Lonely Swallow label.

Though I may not release music myself, this year, I will help others release theirs. I have mentioned before that Lonely Swallow has welcomed Affan, a young contemporary classical composer from London who I am very excited about. His first EP, Origins, will be the first release of the label. It is presently in the capable hands of mastering engineer Taylor Deupree. There is no official release date, yet. The label is in its infancy and I am in the fortunate position of not having to rush the process.

Lonely Swallow Label Aesthetic Mood Board
Some of the design work inspiring the aesthetic of the Lonely Swallow label.

Mentioned in this post:

Affan (Demo of “Origin I”, Soundcloud)
Lonely Swallow (Official Website)
Taylor Deupree at 12k Mastering (Official Website)

A New Album, Part Three: The Artwork

This is part three of a three-part series about the new self-titled album. Read “Part One: The Poem” here and “Part Two: The Music” here.

Drying Letterpress Compact Disc Sleeves
The album sleeves on the drying rack in the studio of Red Plate Press.

Creating the Album Experience

For this album, I am doing my first physical release, a decision informed by the concept behind the music. Poetry is an integral part of the album and since poetic works are traditionally presented in print, a physical release was the perfect format in which to do so. Another factor was the sheer enjoyment of having something tangible connected to the music. I chose compact discs because they are easily accessible, and with the format decided, started looking at the album experience. Here, my main objective was to bring all its ideas together in a simple but meaningful way.

The use of letterpress packaging appealed to me early on. One of its advantages is that the sleeves themselves become works of art: the artist conceptualises the visuals and produces the packaging by hand on the letterpress machine. Moreover, the letterpress process is such that every print is unique: as the paper passes through the press, the ink is never applied in the same way, ensuring that no two sleeves are identical. I spoke to letterpress artist David Armes of Red Plate Press about the album at the very beginning of the project; design began whilst the music was still a work in progress.

Forgotten Fields Compact Disc Sleeve Detail
A detail from the inside of the compact disc sleeve.
Handmade Letterpress Sleeves
Designed, printed and assembled by Red Plate Press.

An Abstract Poem

David responded to my brief with breathtaking minimalism and clarity. He distilled the themes of the album into a succinct visual summary, capturing the very essence of the project in an abstract poem of his own. The process was particularly interesting because there was no digital component; everything was done manually from start to finish. During the conceptualisation phase, each new variation of the design involved setting up the press anew with different or adjusted inks and elements to make a version for us to review. David would expertly assemble the new mockup by hand, every time.

For the final artwork, he used hand-set metal type and geometric shapes to create a truly evocative work. Illustrating a scene from the poem, the cover shows a flight of swallows, conceived as a group of triangles suspended above a field of green. On the back, a swallow rushes through the sky, separated from the others by the spine. This swallow appears in the poem. Inside, the bird motif is repeated, offset by the text of the poem. David used different ink densities—opaque for the swallows, textured for the field—to add depth to the two-dimensional design.

The Release

This release is in many respects a defining one. I have found the focus of my creative work in the poetic and musical exploration of pastoral themes and consider this album (and the EP that preceded it) the touchstone of future works. I am pleased to share this release with the world and hope it will be well received. To everyone who supports my work: thank you.

Forgotten Fields will be released tomorrow, 17 November 2017.

A New Album, Part Two: The Music

This is part two of a three-part series about the new self-titled album. Read “A New Album, Part One: The Poem”, here.

“Verse One”, the first track from the self-titled album.

Six Verses, Six Tracks

I started work on the music as soon as the theme of the poem became clear. Already in December 2016, I had put together a collection of sketches, early experiments with melodies and instrumentation based on the direction the poetry was taking. When at last I had the final draft of the poem, I turned my attention to the sketches. I began by deciding which of them to develop into complete tracks, focusing on the ideas that were most in line with the poetry; and since there were six verses, I conceived of an album with six tracks: a series of movements to correspond with the verses of the poem.

The poem played a central role in the writing of the music and the naming the tracks. As with The Zephyr and the Swallow, where the poetry inspired the music and the tracks took their titles directly from the lines, I looked to the verses to inform my creative decisions. I therefore followed in the compositions where the poem led. I named each track after the number of the verse it described, which resulted in the sequential “Verse One”, “Verse Two”, “Verse Three”, and so on. This helped reinforce the track-verse connection and emphasised the importance of the poetry.

The tracklist of the Forgotten Fields album.
The tracklist of the Forgotten Fields album.

Composing the Music

Like the verses, each track went through scores of rewrites as I wrestled with track form, instrumentation and melodies. I would spend days on an idea only to discard it and then reintroduce it later. Two of the tracks changed structure in addition to receiving brand new parts as late as the final mixing phase! Often, things I thought were cast in stone, had to be altered or abandoned for the sake of a better solution. There were countless interpretations of melodies and renditions of musical phrases, each experimenting with different instrumentation and degrees of embellishment or simplification.

All the while, I had to be vigilant not to overcomplicate the music because I wanted to retain an ambient quality. For this reason, it was important to tread the fine line between “soundscape” and “soundtrack”—how much compositional drama could I use before the music stopped being “ambient”?—the goal was to stay faithful to the poetry without being overly descriptive or orchestral. I tried to achieve this by using only a handful of instruments, relying on minimal compositions to bring the melodies to life. The music, therefore, does its best to sweep one along with the simplest instrumentation.

Producing the Album

Building the music around the poem brought a natural cohesion to the album. As the tracks progressed, the scenes, thoughts and emotions conveyed in the lines slowly emerged in the music. Gradually, the compositions began to reflect the substance of the poetic verses, the sketches becoming with every revision the lyrical pieces I had envisioned, months before. The main themes I set to woodwinds, keyboards and guitars, and accompanied them with synthesisers and strings. The result is a vivid expression of the lines of the poem, the music wistful and musing with moments of joy and regret.

Once the compositions were complete, recording went smoothly. The album is a combination of digital and real instruments. For the latter, I worked with session musicians, artists with an intuitive understanding of what I was trying to achieve and consequently, how their parts needed to be played. I decided to use real instruments, especially for the flutes and English Horn because there are nuances in woodwinds that are difficult to reproduce digitally. Working with session musicians brought home to me the beauty of the real instrument and I am convinced that the recordings are better for it.

Read “A New Album, Part Three: The Artwork”, next. Forgotten Fields will be released on 17 November 2017.

A New Album, Part One: The Poem

The rural beauty of the Western Cape of South Africa, the inspiration behind my work.
The rural beauty of the Western Cape (South Africa) inspires my music and poetry.

Rural Inspiration

Over the past few months, I have been working on a new album. It began at about the same time as my collaboration with Krzyzis in late 2016. Early on, I knew that both projects would share a theme and have a similar concept. These were first explored in The Zephyr and the Swallow—the collaborative EP with Krzyzis—a combination of poetry and ambient music inspired by my love for the countryside. The EP was built around a couplet, a short poem of two lines I wrote to inspire the music; but for the album, I wanted to expand on the idea and write a larger work, a series of verses for a ballad.

The Zephyr and the Swallow EP illustrated a pastoral scene—the wind blows over a field and a swallow dashes into the sky—an idyllic moment of beauty set in a rural landscape. In my youth, at the height of summer, I would spend hours in the fields watching the wind making waves in the grass and the swallows flying overhead. Even now, I find this simple pastime a most enchanting and vivid experience. It is just such a scene I describe in the couplet I wrote for The Zephyr and the Swallow—“Over the field the zephyr blew, / Into the sky the swallow flew”—lines I set to music to create an ode.

Writing the Poem

I started writing the poem for the album in late 2016, going through numerous drafts until I eventually found a form and approach that felt appropriate. In much the same way one agonises over the notes of a musical composition, one pores over a poem—every syllable of every word carefully chosen to exquisitely articulate a meaning or express an emotion. After three months of assembling and dismantling verses, I finally produced “Forgotten Fields”, a self-titled ballad with six verses. In the poem, a daydreamer nostalgically recalls a happy moment in time, surrounded by fields and swallows.

Central to the theme of the poem is the feeling of wistfulness—a longing tinged with regret—conveyed by the imagery. It describes a world of endless fields, swallows impossible to catch, a memory forgotten and rediscovered. The lines are gentle and flowing—the musings of someone lost in thought. They are beautifully read by English narrator Chris Lateano for the compact disc release. “Forgotten Fields”, the all-encompassing title, is alluded to in the final verse:

Far away and left untrodden
Under summer skies
Lie the fields I had forgotten
Where the swallow flies!

This is part one of a three-part series about the new self-titled album. Read part two, “A New Album, Part Two: The Music”, next. Forgotten Fields will be released on 17 November 2017.

The Zephyr and the Swallow

The Zephyr and the Swallow

A collaboration

I am a Krzyzis fan—pronounced “kr-zh-iz-uh-s” (“zh” as in “azure”) or alternatively, “crisis”. When I first heard Sustainability (2016), I knew that I wanted to work with him. There is a rawness about his music, a sound I admire that does not come to me naturally. Krzyzis creates deep, dark, droning soundscapes whilst I have shifted my focus to tranquil, quiet and tuneful compositions. His melodies are subtle and spectral, whilst mine are distinct and expository. In a collaboration, I saw the perfect opportunity to borrow his genius and in The Zephyr and the Swallow, our two approaches come together.

A meditation

Living in the Overberg, a predominantly rural region in the Western Cape province of South Africa, I am surrounded by vast stretches of countryside. There are mountains, rivers, valleys and hills, but my imagination has always been captured by the fields. They are like oceans of grass that change colour with the seasons. Early in life, I learned to appreciate their beauty and in an attempt to express my admiration, I turned to poetry and music.

The idea of using these two art forms for this purpose took shape around the time I first spoke to Krzyzis about my vision for new music in 2016. I had in mind a project that would take advantage of the unique opportunity track titles presented for poetic exploration. I wanted to treat them as lines of verse and set their poetic content to music to create a vignette of rural beauty, a meditation on a pastoral theme, and so the collaboration was born.

An ode

For this reason, the project began with poetry. The lines had to be descriptive and of a contemplative nature, setting the tone for the music whilst also functioning as track titles. I drew inspiration from traditional Chinese music where the titles often have an illustrative, even lyrical, quality. Examples of these are “Fei Hua Dian Cui (Floating Petals Decorating the Green Leaves)” and “Ping Sha Luo Yan (Wild Geese Descend on the Smooth Sand)”.

Filled with a Romantic adoration for the pastoral, I turned to a poem by Richard Adams in Watership Down in which he describes the wind blowing over the grass. It brought to mind the summer when barn swallows visit the Cape from Britain. They dash across the fields, diving into the grass to catch insects disturbed by the breeze. The grass itself blows like waves in the wind, full of movement yet strangely restful.

I perceive in such imagery a visceral beauty and wanted to reproduce it in verse; and so the EP was conceived as an ode, an ambient idyll in verse and music, celebrating the loveliness of a fleeting, familiar moment in the countryside. With this in mind, I wrote The Zephyr and the Swallow—a simple verse describing a simple scene in simple language:

Over the field the zephyr blew,
Into the sky the swallow flew.

A synthesis

The music became an extension of the verse and in spirit illustrates the scene with melody, mood and lyric content, attempting to preserve in a soundscape the transience, tranquillity and ordinariness of the moment. It drew from the verse not only its theme but also its character, including the addition of vocals—for in describing the EP as an ode and having written a lyrical poem, setting the words to music followed almost naturally.

The verse also inspired the simplicity of the composition and its arrangement. We went so far as to remove the strings I had written, once Krzyzis delivered the pad sections. They rendered strings superfluous, perfectly occupying that space and providing the obbligato part of the instrumentation. His drones rise and fall like the wind, gently transporting the narrative tunes upon textured echoes, sweeping the music along.

Thank you

It has been a wonderful experience working on this project with Krzyzis. We hope you enjoy the outcome as much as we did the production and I wish to thank everyone who made this project possible, namely: Krzyzis for his mesmerising drones and generosity, Lofthill for his creativity and incredible voice, Taylor Deupree for his insight and mastering expertise, Mike Langman for his exquisite illustration of the swallow, and everyone who will hear this music for their quiet contemplation.

The Zephyr and the Swallow is available on all music platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify.

On Collaboration

Road with Wildflowers by Francesco Gallarotti

The value of a vision

Over the past few months, dark ambient musician Krzyzis (rhymes with Pisces) and I have been working on a collaboration. We first spoke about the project at the end of 2016 when I began outlining an idea for new music which I knew would benefit from his atmospheric approach. I presented my vision to him at the beginning of this year and was delighted when he announced that he was on board. Once production started, we found that having a clear vision was extremely helpful, especially in making key creative decisions. Not only did it keep the project on course but it also kept us in check: it encouraged Krzyzis (who can be surprisingly feral) to practice a little restraint and me (restrained to a fault) to be a little more adventurous.

Creative room

Collaboration added an interesting dimension to composing music, especially in the initial stages, because it meant creating an incomplete work. There had to be room for Krzyzis to occupy. Conceiving of music in this way was an intriguing experience. As a solo musician, I compose every aspect of the music but as a collaborator, I had to imagine what my collaborative partner would add to the composition and forecast what arrangement would best compliment that addition. I had to be flexible but clear, true to my ideas but mindful of his. Ultimately, the challenge was to combine the themes that define our individual styles into a cohesive whole and we learnt a lot about ourselves as musicians in pursuit of that goal.

We look forward to announcing our collaborative EP in the weeks to come and in the meantime, I invite you to listen to Krzyzis’ haunting body of work at krzyzis.bandcamp.com

Image by Francesco Gallarotti

My Pastoral Romance

A Field of Yellow Flowers - Matteo Silvestri

Home

One autumn evening, I drove from the city to the countryside to visit my parents. I stopped beside the familiar road, got out the car and stood in the darkness—listening… It was quiet all about except for the gentle bleating of sheep in the distance. I could see every star in the Milky Way and the air was cool and clear. A wave of longing swept over me. I had been weary of living in the city and I knew the time had come to move back home.

Inspiration

Nearly a decade later, I have not once regretted that decision. The countryside is my home, the rural landscape an extension of my being. It is the setting in which I write my poetry and compose my music and it profoundly influences what I want to create, namely a combination of poetic and musical works that reflect my love for the bucolic. I am a Romanticist, compelled to extol the beauty of the pastoral and (by extension of that movement) the virtues of emotion and imagination.

Muse

My recent works for Forgotten Fields express this fascination and weave into it the melancholy and nostalgia that inevitably emerge in my compositions. They describe simple moments of rural beauty I wish to preserve, translating them into a poem or a piece of music in order to extend and sustain them. I am attempting to create a container for the heart and mind in which poetic metaphors and ambient soundscapes capture emotion, memory and time.

Theme

The collaboration with Krzyzis will be the first release dedicated to this subject, conceived as an ode to a windy summer’s day. It will be followed by a track inspired by the winter rain, composed for the upcoming Astoria Sound collaborative project. I am also working on the new Forgotten Fields album, which will be the fullest expression of these ideas in poetry and music.

Image by Silvestri Matteo