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for your consideration:

WOVEN

by Gavin Greenaway

the sun rose

It all started when I was sitting at my upright piano, composing a particularly loud piece for the intended follow up to my first album. My ears were lamenting the lack of a volume control on this most analog of keyboards when I remembered that some pianos have a practice damper pedal. This works by placing a sheet of soft material between the hammers and the strings, deadening the sound. Using some thick felt I found in the loft, it was quite simple to rig up my own d-i-y version. As expected, the resultant sound was now much quieter, but more interestingly it had taken on a magically intimate, softly sustained character. I no longer even wanted to play loudly. Pressing the keys gently, it was like being wrapped in a comforting blanket, and I instantly fell in love.

The presence of the felt caused notes adjacent to the intended one to vibrate sympathetically, suggesting the overtones of steel pans or a warm electric piano, adding further to the intriguing timbre. Captivated by the new sounds I was hearing, I put the pieces I’d been working on to one side, and started afresh – eventually writing 15 or so new works for felt piano. Owing to other work commitments, the recording sessions were restricted to evenings and nights over a period of 8 weeks. What started as a necessity, however, shifted into my preferred way of working. The absolute quiet and lack of disturbance from the outside world once the sun had set, allowed me to listen and travel deeper into the sound than I could during the day.

My ears adjusted to the muted, almost lo-fi sounds of the piano and subtle nuances became audible, encouraging me to experiment further with different fabrics and materials. As the recordings progressed the album took on a life of its own, and in the stillness of the night Woven began to reveal itself to  me – almost like finding a clearing in a forest. Though originally written as solo pieces, most of them developed into multi-tracked, layered landscapes. Different thicknesses of felt, linen and other fabrics, tape, strumming with a plectrum, plucking with an old cello string, stopping the strings with fingers or foam, adding delays, passing through a Moog filter, detuning, tapping on the piano music stand – all were employed.

Some of the pieces I had written no longer fitted the emerging aesthetic and were  rejected, but new ones came quickly, as if I’d simply discovered them; the last track on the album was composed and notated in under half an hour. (Naming it, however, took a lot longer, even though the meaning of the piece was always clear to me.) And so the idea of telling a narrative using only music and enigmatic titles grew as my explorations  continued. For me, it’s a story of life and love. But the titles, I hope, suggestive rather than explicit, invite the listener to find their own personal connection between words and music.

woven – audio

It all started when I was sitting at my upright piano, composing a particularly loud piece for the intended follow up to my first album. My ears were lamenting the lack of a volume control on this most analog of keyboards when I remembered that some pianos have a practice damper pedal.

This works by placing a sheet of soft material between the hammers and the strings, deadening the sound. Using some thick felt I found in the loft, it was quite simple to rig up my own d-i-y version. As expected, the resultant sound was now much quieter, but more interestingly it had taken on a magically intimate, softly sustained character.

I no longer even wanted to play loudly. Pressing the keys gently, it was like being wrapped in a comforting blanket, and I instantly fell in love. The presence of the felt caused notes adjacent to the intended one to vibrate sympathetically, suggesting the overtones of steel pans or a warm electric piano, adding further to the intriguing timbre. 

Captivated by the new sounds I was hearing, I put the pieces I’d been working on to one side, and started afresh – eventually writing 15 or so new works for felt piano.

 Owing to other work commitments, the recording sessions were restricted to evenings and nights over a period of 8 weeks. What started as a necessity, however, shifted into my preferred way of working. 

The absolute quiet and lack of disturbance from the outside world once the sun had set, allowed me to listen and travel deeper into the sound than I could during the day. My ears adjusted to the muted, almost lo-fi sounds of the piano and subtle nuances became audible, encouraging me to experiment further with different fabrics and materials.

As the recordings progressed the album took on a life of its own, and in the stillness of the night Woven began to reveal itself to  me – almost like finding a clearing in a forest. Though originally written as solo pieces, most of them developed into multi-tracked, layered landscapes.

Different thicknesses of felt, linen and other fabrics, tape, strumming with a plectrum, plucking with an old cello string, stopping the strings with fingers or foam, adding delays, passing through a Moog filter, detuning, tapping on the piano music stand – all were employed.

Some of the pieces I had written no longer fitted the emerging aesthetic and were  rejected, but new ones came quickly, as if I’d simply discovered them;

the last track on the album was composed and notated in under half an hour. (Naming it, however, took a lot longer, even though the meaning of the piece was always clear to me.)

And so the idea of telling a narrative using only music and enigmatic titles grew as my explorations continued. For me, it’s a story of life and love. 

But the titles, I hope, suggestive rather than explicit, invite the listener to find their own personal connection between words and music.

stream woven on spotify

“Beautifully varied, with a spaciousness that made it transporting, meditative”. – Jane Cornwell –  London Evening Standard

“An Embroidery of reflective light, that haunts and warms the aching heart.” Lisa Gerrard (Dead Can Dance)

“A highly rewarding and deeply reflective listen”  Jack Pepper – Scala Radio

Absolutley Amazing” – Georgie Rogers – Soho Radio

“Beautiful music, beautifully perfomed ” – Hans Zimmer

gavingreenaway.com