Things about things.

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Just a note to say a few things about things - and as many of my notes unfortunately do - it begins with an apology…for being a little insular of late and less active on social media. To explain, I have gone into intense finishing-my-album-mode and I want to allow myself to give myself wholly to the album making experience and avoid too many distractions away from it, except for the essentials of planning the album release.

I know that my Solo Piano and Solo Piano Two albums are meaningful to quite a few people and some of those people are really excited for the next album I am making right now (Solo Piano Three) and will maybe (hopefully) even buy it. Therefore, I feel a real weight of responsibility to deliver an album that will not disappoint…

To this end, I have just returned from a few weeks in France where I have made a lot of progress with the writing of music and also creating supporting artwork for the album. The absence of wifi, the lack of television, the poor mobile phone signal that are all features of where I stayed, coupled with the beach, the sea and the forest…all of these things were very conducive to creativity and made it perfect place to conclude the bones of my album before I complete it in a studio. So far (unless anything unexpected happens), I am still on track for a release date for Solo Piano Three for 12.12.19…more news and thoughts from me soon…

with much love,

A xx


Onward...

And here we have…my first blog post of 2019…a lot has happened since  I last wrote anything for these pages. According to the internet, humans speak approximately 50,000 words a day - so here is my most recent attempt at finding 500 that fit together reasonably well…


As many of you know, Solo Piano Two was released on 12.12.18 (or a little bit earlier if you are a Bandcamp Subscriber) and I have been really busy overseeing the release of the album - since I am a ‘do everything myself’ kind of person, this has proved to be quite a task.


Solo Piano Two is the first album release I have ever put out on vinyl and that was a whole new learning curve. I wanted the vinyl to sound great and also to be a really beautiful piece of art as a physical product: one that would have ‘longevity’ in the sense that I hoped people would want to keep it for a long time, but also could be ‘disposable’ in the sense that when the time came, a substantial proportion of it could be recycled. I think the product turned out pretty well and I would definitely plan to release my next album on vinyl as well as CD. I am also pondering the idea of a cassette tape release (it appears that cassette tapes are making a come-back) - if anyone reading has any thoughts on this concept, please let me know!


Every vinyl record and CD sold and dispatched is packed by me personally (so right there is the explanation for the pink tissue paper that appears to have made many recipients smile - I could not bring myself to just ‘throw the record in the box’). I still do pack all vinyl and CDs and take them to the post office myself, for now at least…it may not always be this way forever, but for the moment it is something I really enjoy doing.


So what next? A few people I consider to be ‘very wise’ have suggested that it would be a mistake to stop writing new music…and I would love to write and record a new album (and release it) this year, so this is very much my plan. I have already started to create some new music which is currently residing inside my iPhone in a series of videos and voice notes - I will be sharing these early ‘sonic ideas’ with my Bandcamp Subscribers beginning next week, in much the same way I did for Solo Piano Two. 


Also, I am expecting to perform at the Shoreditch Treehouse in London during Piano Day on 29th March (I do not yet have confirmation on what time my set will be, but I will let everyone know as soon as I do!) and on 10th May at the Gosforth Civic Theatre in Newcastle (more detail to follow on that soon, also).


So finally, it remains for me to say ‘thank you’ to Everyone who has supported my music through buying CDs, vinyl and digital downloads, subscribing on Bandcamp, or listening on Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play…and also ‘thank you’ for all the lovely chats and conversations with Everyone on social media. The discussions I have about music and art with all of you are so interesting and enlightening to me…more than anything, there is one thing that I am so very grateful for and that is your endless encouragement of me to break boundaries within music and to be unafraid to be different. This reassurance is very much needed and appreciated and I hope the result can be seen and heard in the evolution of my albums. 


Love, as always, 


Alice. x

When Is Art 'Done'?

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After a busy few months finishing the album, I am getting back to old routines and really starting to think objectively about the journey I have been on with art and music since I began in earnest to make Solo Piano 2. 

Some observations: I stopped doing a lot of outdoorsy stuff last year for several reasons....firstly to make the best album I could, because I will probably only make a full-length album every 4-5 years, so I wanted to ‘get it right’ and this takes time. Secondly, I think at the end of 2017 I developed a sort of obsessive, artistic ‘tunnel vision’ whereby I could think of only pushing myself musically and I wanted to make sure I gave Everything of my physical and emotional being to the album. I have absolutely no regrets about this, because however much listeners do or do not enjoy Solo Piano 2, I can honestly say that at this moment in my lifetime, I could not have produced anything better. 

Although what ‘better’ would be is hard to define. Here is the question....When is art ‘done’? When it is so polished and shiny and uniform that a machine could have made it? Or when it is raw and full of raging, quaking, terrifying and blisteringly beautiful emotion, the kind of music that is so close to the artist’s tears or euphoria (or whatever situation inspired it in the first place), the listener and the artist are metaphorically holding hands? I don’t have an exact answer to this question, though I think I likely lean slightly toward the latter. So I think that is kinda what you will be getting. And I thank Everyone who has metaphorically held my hand through this whole process.

In any case, it’s nice to restore balance. So today I did yoga followed by a bike ride through a forest. Likely, this was not the ‘optimal order of events’, but it still felt good. I have only been in my bike (bought for me by my family) just once since I did Ride London last August, which I have done for five years now, mainly because my Father continues to sign me up for it and cycling is something my Father and I enjoy together (he is obsessed with bicycles and he is better than me at the whole thing and knows everything about cycling and mechanics....which is more than helpful). Now to rediscover what for me is 'the lost art of cooking'...!

Anyway, thank you to Everyone who has responded regarding a vinyl release of Solo Piano 2....I *think and hope* it will be do-able, which is exciting...I just need to check a couple of things next week....a vinyl release was not ‘part of the plan’ but nevertheless I think it is a wildcard that I am keen to run with if I can.

So it just remains for me to say, thank you, thank you, thank you to Everyone who has been on the journey of Solo Piano 2 with me. Unlike five years ago, when I made the first Solo Piano album virtually in secret, I have never felt alone this time around....and I am so very, very appreciative of all the comments and feedback…I hope you know that.

Big love, and always ‘Piano Forever’,

A xx

Seeking warmth.

Dear Friends,

I am sorry I have been a little quiet of late…please allow me to explain why! As many of you will know, I have this year embarked upon writing Solo Piano 2. One of my goals for the project is to create a piano album that has a real sense of enveloping ‘warmth’. Something that feels comforting, if you will. And something timeless. My personal impression of my first album Solo Piano is that it has a simplicity that is also it’s strength. I see the Butterflies EP that followed as ethereal, wistful and sentimental, while the subsequent EP Fables most definitely has a darker edge and a crystalline sound that reminds me of Winter. For Solo Piano 2 I am seeking a different feeling, as those who have watched my first two ‘Making Of’ videos (in which I talk endlessly about ‘warm’ chords) will be aware!

Consequently, a good deal of what will be Solo Piano 2 has been written in the past weeks in a fairly remote location in sunny South West France, a short distance from the coast and adjacent pine forests. The environment in which I find myself undoubtably influences the sonic outcome of music I write and record - somehow hot weather, the sound of cicadas and incredible sunsets to name just a few of the things I don’t experience often in London have had the effect I had hoped for. I am feeling encouraged that the result will be a really beautiful album to enjoy when I have finished. Sending love + good vibes to you, as always…

 

Alice xx

 

Hi.

My Dear Friends…it’s been ages since I’ve written. What to say. Firstly, thank you to Everyone who has bought Fables, Butterflies, Solo Piano and December these past few weeks…I am truly grateful to you for supporting my music…it means everything to me to know that it is appreciated and brings pleasure to people (hopefully)…

Now, on to plans. It has not escaped my attention that it is over three years since the release of my album Solo Piano. I think it is time for me to make another full-length album. Solo Piano was written on an extremely part-time basis. It wasn’t a pre-meditated thing. Back in 2011, at the inception of Solo Piano, I was focused on making electronica with synthesisers. It did not occur to me at that time that my future would be in making one of the most organic types of music there is…a type of music that came from an entirely mechanical instrument in my little studio at home, which also happened to be one hundred and three years old…my old piano. I was very surprised that my daily musings on the piano that frequently resulted in simple little solo piano melodies seemed to connect more with people that any of my odysseys of electronica. But it was to be so - and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Five years on, doubtless my writing process will be different. But what I will be glad to do is share with you my process and the evolution of my next album. It is my plan to write everything at home but go to an external studio to record. Whilst I can and do record frequently at home, I really enjoyed the studio experience of making Butterflies, which was made in a studio in Copenhagen. Having a studio engineer to take away some of the stress of creating a beautiful recording was a wonderful luxury, one that ultimately allowed me to get to a place in my mind where I could deliver the most beautiful performances I was capable of. I don’t know how long it will take me to write another album…but I do want it to be beautiful and brilliant…during the first few days of 2017, I plan to begin.

Love and hugs, as always…

A xx

Hello from The Garret.

Wowsers.. can it really be four months since I wrote a blog post? Crazy. I must admit, I hadn’t worried about it too much, as I thought hardly anyone read my blog…but I’ve finally worked out how to use website analytics and That’s Not True, Is It? Quite a few people read it, don’t you? *blushes uncontrollably*

So here we go again…some more musings from my artist’s Garret…Let’s see, what’s happened..um.. well I QUIETLY release Fables on Bandcamp, with the full intention that I will release it with MUCH NOISE, FANFARE & THE GENERAL UNFURLING OF BANNERS when I have finally finished the promo video and all the general social-media hoo-hah…So… this leads me to my next point - I have very, nearly, almost finished the video. I am sorry it has taken so long, but I want you all to realise that I simply do not have the budget to spend huge amounts of money on a huge promo video production…so I have to make all my videos myself, armed only with a decrepit second hand 2009 model Canon EOS 500d …I won’t complain about it (the camera is fine), it has been an incredibly loyal and resilient camera but nevertheless, the Director of these videos (that’s Me) and the main Protagonist of the these videos (that’s also Me), well, they are a real bunch of Divas and they take ages to get everything Just Right. So when I eventually haul myself out of the FCPX Rabbit Hole there will hopefully be a half beautiful video (no doubt with many, many glaring flaws that will torture me in to old age, because the internet is Forever)…but at least you know it’s all Me: the music, the associated cinematic weirdness and every (rare) brilliant moment and (frequent) disaster in-between.

So that’s that. And I’ve decided that I need to make another full-length album (I haven’t released one since 2013 and it would be 2017 at the earliest before I could get another out)…the working title is imaginatively Solo Piano II.

Hugs,

A xx

 

Hello My Lovelies...

Sorry I have been a bit quiet on social media - it’s been an eventful week…so I thought I would round everything up in one blog post…

Things I have done:

Shot photo for Fables EP artwork (I *think* I like it. You can't see it yet! You will have to wait until next week! Keep reading...)

Finished recording the EP

Done some substantial editing of the video 

I will put the Fables EP available for pre-order next week, so early-birds can catch the title track, well, ‘early’…it’s the first time I have done the ‘pre-order’ thing, but as it was something various people requested last time, I have decided ‘Why not?’…

I also allowed myself out of my artist’s garret for a while earlier this week…there were some interesting meetings / lunches and um, ‘strategic thoughts and decisions’. So it was all beneficial!

For my London-based followers next week there *may* be some interesting news…but I have to resist saying anything about it just yet. [I know. Hopefully Soon.]

 

Wishing Everyone a peaceful and relaxing weekend…

A xx

This week, there was some of this...

This week, there was some of this...

...and a brief moment of this...(me with critic & author A.A. Gill)...

...and a brief moment of this...(me with critic & author A.A. Gill)...

...and quite a lot of time spent here...the Garret-by-night. 

...and quite a lot of time spent here...the Garret-by-night. 

Stuff etc.

Hello Everyone! I promised I would blog more regularly and as I am currently unable to leave the kitchen (I am making risotto & I have to keep stirring it), it is a perfect opportunity to write…

So, things I have done this week…

1) Sorted out the re-release of Solo Piano on iTunes, Google Play, Tidal, Apple Music etc. (does anyone use Apple Music or Tidal…?)

2) Tutorial video making…as you know, I have never made a tutorial video until now, but I have been asked quite a few questions about how to play the tracks from Solo Piano now that the sheet music has been published…I started with ‘Oak’, as it appears to be the most popular piece of music I have written….I am just finishing editing the video in FCPX and will hopefully upload on Monday…I showed it to my family last night and whilst there was some gentle humour regarding my general delivery of the video, they have conceded that ‘it’s generally ok’…. So you will be the next people to decide. I am hoping to make a tutorial video for all the tracks on Solo Piano, to accompany the sheet music. Please don’t hold back with your thoughts + feedback once you have watched it though - it’s really helpful to know what people really think…

3) Fables - I am completely, totally, utterly, inexorably ready to make the final recording of this now. Invented a few new parts. Aiming to get the EP out at the end of January and video out early February….

 

Wishing Everyone a lovely weekend!

 

A xx

 

Plans etc.

So - rather belatedly - Happy New Year, Everyone…I hope 2016 has begun well…

 

It’s been ages since I’ve written a blog post - for a while I was really, really diligent about documenting every thing I did musically (mostly on Tumblr) and then I got out of the habit…but I’d like to get back to it - if I have told people I am planning to do something in a blog post, it motivates me to actually get it done…so, starting as I mean to go on…

 

Firstly, thank you to every one who has downloaded the sheet music for Solo Piano from Sheetmusic Direct or MusicRoom.com. When Solo Piano was released just over two years ago the idea that the score for the album would eventually be published as sheet music never for a moment crossed my mind, but it is lovely that it has happened and that people are enjoying playing it. A reoccurring theme in many emails / messages I receive is a request for coaching / tutoring with actually playing music and it has been suggested to me that I make some tutorial videos to go with the sheet music for Solo Piano. I think the concept of making tutorial videos is a great one (though not something I have done before), so over the next few weeks I shall attempt to make the first of them and, well, we will find out if they are useful or not…

 

Next, I should give an update on the progress with Fables, the EP that has been ‘in development’ for almost a year….well, the video is half-made and there are several recordings of the music in existence, but I need to do just a little more to be completely happy with it…I don’t want to mar a musical/artistic concept I am really proud of with less-than-perfect execution. So it will be done in a few weeks and I promise it will be the best I can make it.

 

Finally, you may be wondering about the ice-skates that are looking so pretty next to my piano. The pair in the picture belong to my Mother…I borrowed them in order to skate a few times over the Christmas holiday period and now I don’t want to give them back (but I have to, as my Mother needs to use them). I skated as a child from the age of about six until I was about sixteen - reluctantly, I stopped skating to focus more on just music and studying…but I have realised how much I miss it. As it’s my birthday very soon, I am wondering if I could ‘make new skates happen’…

 

One final point - I will be communicating much more through email than I have done so far - I am finding it quite time-consuming to keep updating the various different social media platforms I use without it eating in to my ‘creative-product-making-time’ and I am conscious that I still receive messages that say things like ‘ Oh, I didn’t know you released another EP’…also, I no longer want to be at the mercy of things like the Facebook algorithms which decide whether or not people who might be interested in what I do ever get to find out about it…so, if you haven’t already, please do sign up for email updates which I send out via Fanbridge - there is a link button just below this paragraph. I hereby solemnly promise not to send you millions of spam emails - it is highly unlikely that I will ever get around to sending more than one a week (realistically, it’s more likely to be every two weeks).

Please do continue to send me comments on my music / art, suggestions for things you would like (for example, the tutorial video suggestion was a great one) etc…it is all much appreciated.

 

Wishing Everyone a lovely week.

 

A xx