Garden of Dreams, Kathmandu

Released May 23, 2016

100% of all profits generated from this album will go to Oxfarm Earthquake Devastates Nepal Appeal www.oxfam.org.au/my/donate/earthquake-devastates-nepal/

I’ve long had a fascination with Nepal.

Snuggled between India and China, it’s a land of serene beauty, and an amazing multicultural, multi religious, and multilingual country.

But it’s the incredible landscape that gets me. Even though they have been through a very hard time of late, with the massive earthquake a little while back, it stands as a country of unique land forms and a hardy and enduring people.

I’ve decide to create an imaginary movie of Nepal, and of course I am writing the music for that movie. Who knows, maybe one day someone will make a real movie of Nepal and use my music as the soundtrack.

Here is one track from that coming album, titled In the Garden of Dreams, Kathmandu. You can hear it on my Soundcloud site.

Songs of the Madman

Before I began writing my Songs of the Madman album, I’d always known how much I was pulled towards creating music as a concept. To begin with an abstract idea, then to shape it into something solid and unique, which has form and substance, fits my idea and love of storytelling through music.

Some of the greatest music we know has come from a concept formed into something concrete. And not just in popular music like Dark side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, or Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Webber.  But also in classical music, such as Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky, then later transcribed electronically by Emerson Lake & Palmer, or The Planets by Gustav Holst.

The key to all these and other concept creations is a strong love of storytelling. Having a unique story to tell also helps, but building on an existing idea or story can also work. Think of the incredible musical creation of the H. G. Wells science fiction novel War of the Worlds, by musician and advertising jingle writer Jeff Wayne.

I came up with the idea for Songs of the Madman from a story I knew as a child. The story of the man with the lamp, out searching for one honest man. Diogenes of Sinope was that man. A Greek philosopher who was one of the founders of cynic philosophy. Plato once described Diogenes as “a Socrates gone mad”. That’s how I came about the name of my album.

I found this album reasonably simple to write, because musically, I think in terms of storytelling and creating songs with an overall concept in mind. I imagine other people like J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series of books also thinks this way. The benefits of inventing art like this are very rewarding, especially when you look at the top selling albums and books.

I’d encourage more people to think this way when building their arts ideas, because it can produce some extraordinary results. One of my upcoming albums is about the life of that amazing poet, Emily Dickinson, another concept album.

Emily Dickinson

 

Emily Dickinson. I doubt there would be many people who loved poetry, who didn’t know the name of Emily Dickinson.

In the art world, she was like no other. Her life, her poetry, her words fit in my ear with a form of unique perfection.

As amazing as her beautiful short poems are, what is equally amazing is she lived through the American Civil War and wrote these amazing creations.

Obviously, I am in love with Emily, so how could I not turn her life into music.

This will be another concept album, but about an enduring and lovely human being, not a madman, so expect the music to match her qualities. I’ll have a sample track up soon.

From the Beginning to the End

Released 2nd May 2016

On quite a few of my songs, I have collaborated with an amazing percussionist from Germany, Yatziv Caspi.

Yatziv Caspi

He has a fresh and unique style, and from the picture above, you will see he is quite diverse in his voice and type of percussion instruments he chooses.

We are collaborating on an album of piano and percussion music. It will be released in May 2016. You can listen to one of the tracks, Before the Middle.

The piano is actually a percussion instrument. Hammers hits the strings like a drumstick or brush hits the skins. That’s why the two go together so well. Many famous jazz combos have piano and percussion as the basis for their arrangements and settings.

The album contains seven tracks. There’s a theme and variation style going on between each track. They all start out with a very similar intro, and move into a reflective and sad style of music.

The tracks are,

  1. The Beginning
  2. After the Beginning
  3. Before the Middle
  4. The Middle
  5. After the Middle
  6. Before the End
  7. The End

You can see I love playing with word ideas as well as music.