I recorded these ambient piano improvisations on the Winter Solstice of 2006. I didn’t do this purposefully for the auspicious date. That year one of my sisters said she would like a recording of my piano music for Christmas, and in the holiday rush this just happened to be the date on which I was able to record it.
I’ve given a few home-burned copies of this to other relatives and friends over the years and have received great feedback on it, with a few reporting that they played it until they wore out the disc. Still, 10 years later I get the occasional inquiry about it, so I thought now may be a good time to bring it back.
While many artists dislike making comparisons, I sometimes find them to be useful communication tools. Then (and probably still now) my piano aesthetic would best be described as a combination of Harold Budd’s “The Plateaux Of Mirror” and Keith Jarrett’s “The Köln Concert”. While I surely miss that target, I’ll just (to loosely paraphrase Brian Eno) paint a circle around where my arrow lands and yell “Bull’s Eye!”, hitting my own style.
This is far from a perfect album. My recording equipment then was much more rudimentary than now. I actually don’t remember for sure what I recorded it on, but I suspect it was straight to a minidisc recorder I had at the time. And, by “piano” I don’t mean a real piano, but rather a Yamaha MO8 (with a little help from a Korg MicroX), with and without subtle textural synthesizer ambiances. The MO8 has a great keyboard feel though, and with its sound engine I was able to sculpt the soft ambient piano tones I like best.
The recording quality on the original files left a bit to be desired. For this release I imported them into Logic and cleaned them up a bit. Nothing too drastic though. I think they still keep their original character, for better or worse. From the feedback I’ve received over the years, they are very listenable, even though they are far from pristine. I’m sure there are many audiophiles who would disagree though.
The last piece, “The New Year” was not on the original disc. It’s the audio from a recent piano video celebrating New Year’s Day, and was recorded not in my current usual manner, but is actually the audio from my video camera. It seemed a good fit and end-cap to these pieces.
I think the value of this release may be in that “character”. For whatever reason… astronomical alignments, good holiday food… it was for me a good recording session and I’m happy to hear these pieces again and put them out there.
From all reports I’ve received, this is a very “ambient” album. Good for morning coffee time, meditation/yoga, candlelit dinners, study/work etc. I hope it finds a place in your day.
Because of the nature of the recordings, I’ve priced it very low on BandCamp. At 55:55 in length though I hope you’ll consider this a good value.
[A note on titles] Originally there were no titles to these pieces. Since this album is very much a product of the large portion of my life spent in South Carolina, I’ve named the pieces after places, memories and things around where I lived. A couple of the titles will make no sense to anyone but me or a very small group of my friends.
Cover art designed from photography by Hong Waltzer
Additional photography assistance by Luca Ravosa