Polaroids of Light and Sound / The Piano Sketches E.P.

It is one of life’s ironies that, if you want freedom, you have to impose limits.  Nowhere is this truer for me than in my work.  Unlimited options often lead to paralysis, whereas the right limits, artfully imposed, allow creativity to flourish.

It was with this in mind that, at the end of November last year, I set myself the task of writing and recording as many pieces of music as I could in a 4 week span, using only a piano.

Four weeks is only 28 days, so I worked all of them.

By the time the deadline rolled around I’d created 15 pieces of the most beautiful, unique, and emotionally unexpected music that I’ve ever been a part of.  I picked the very best of these and, 2 days before Christmas, under a sky pregnant with snow, mixed them in Post Electric Studios with my favorite engineer.

The mastering process took a lot longer than the mixing to get right (hence the delay) but, like all good things, it was worth the wait.

When I was a child I was fascinated by Michelangelo’s pencil sketches.  I love their fearless rough beauty, the vitality and living possibility of them.  It is only when you are truly free of expectation that the best things can happen.

These four tracks are my sketches.  They are beautiful, flawed, honest, and real; snapshots of shining moments in time, captured, polished, and presented through the miracle of modern technology.

Polaroids of light and sound.

They are available right now in two tiers:

The first is the regular E.P.  It contains the four tracks of music.  It is £4.  And you can buy as many copies as you like.

Get It Here.

The second is the Patron tier.  [Limited to 10 copies].  With this tier you get the EP + something extra special handwritten by me, and delivered to your door, anywhere in the world (This time it’s going to be a one-of-a-kind poem).  This tier costs £25 and is limited to 10 copies.

Become A Patron

This tier exists because of the generous souls who consistently pay many times the asking price of my offerings in order to support what I do (and it works – the creation, mixing, and mastering of this EP was paid for entirely by the profits from my previous release).  In the past I haven’t had a way to thank these people directly, so I created this tier.

I believe that there exists in each of us a need for things that are real and true and meaningful.  And that the artist’s task is to dive down and find those things, then bring them back and polish them up with craft, before offering them to those people who’ll get the most from them.  I believe that art can be a touchstone to something greater than ourselves, can help us evolve, to heal, and sometimes, even to transcend.

That is what I always aim for in my work. That is what I aimed for with these pieces.  I’ll let you be the judge of whether I hit my mark.  My hope is that, wherever you are, they can be of some small use to you.

Still on the fence?  Here is the first track from the E.P.

If this is something you feel you may connect with, please buy the music.  Buy it to feed your soul and support independent art (because then I can make more for you).  Join this growing community and be part of the solution.  Because together we can make the world a better place, a little at a time.

I hope this finds you well.  Feel free to get in touch and share your thoughts and reactions with me, I am ever curious to hear what you think.

We are in this together, speak soon,

– J x


The people on my mailing list got to hear about this first.  They also got first shot at the patron tier and will shortly  be receiving a free track from the EP.

So what are you waiting for?  It’s free to join, it’s an awesome group of folk, and there are gifts.  It’s a no-brainer.  Come.  Join us

Oh, and Buy My Record (Because you’re worth it.)

28 Replies to “Polaroids of Light and Sound / The Piano Sketches E.P.”

  1. Great sample track. And you’ve done precisely what I want to do – hole up, create on piano, record TV/film worthy cue(s) and songs, then mix it. Where are you? UK? I’d be interested in collaborating. I’ll send you some links to rough new piano stuff. I’m also a vocalist (you maybe know this??).
    Nicely done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there,
      Thanks a lot – that’s really kind of you. You should do this. Hole up, do your thing, make your thing.
      I am in Edinburgh, where are you?
      If I had the time, I’d love to collaborate but, at the moment I am 24/7 on my new pieces in the studio.
      I’d love to hear your stuff tho, mail me.
      Have a good one,
      – J x

      Like

  2. Hi James! So this is it, your secret project! I listened the day you released the EP. I’ve been busy so I didn’t get a chance to really listen to them. My daughter was home from college and sick the entire time; she was in bed for 10 days and I was nurse maid. 2 trips to the doctor and then finally they gave her medicine which got her better literally the day she went back. I love her, but I couldn’t wait for her to leave; I needed some freedom. I love the sound of the piano. The couple of pieces I listened to are beautiful and peaceful. I love how you can play the piano in so many different ways and get all these different sounds; I like when it changes. I’m curious, how do you decide what you are going to name your songs? Since there aren’t any lyrics I’m wondering does that come before you compose or after you compose? Interestingly, I was so stressed that morning she was packing and I listened to Breathe; I laid down on my bed and closed my eyes, put in my buds and listened. It totally relaxed me. :)
    I will take some time to listen to the rest of your sketches.
    I’m headed to a comedy club tonight; guess who always sits right up front next to the comedian???? Could I be any more eager for attention???!!! The last comedian made me part of the show for a brief moment; it’s okay, I love to laugh and it’s kinda like a concert because you don’t know where he is going to go and who is going to be pulled in. My friend said Traci you sit right up front tonight; where else would Traci be? lol
    Oh, I just made an appointment for a new tattoo; number 5. I’m getting it on my birthday April 2nd. It’s a tiny music note on my arm. I love going to the shop; I am so in my element in a tattoo shop with guys cursing, needles going, music playing, and all the art surrounding the place. I just want to hang out there!
    Have a wonderful weekend! Congrats on your new EP!
    Traci
    XO
    PS Not too bad with my rambling today!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. They sound beautiful, well done

    Xxxxxxxx

    Ps are you aware the link on the release below plays all four tracks, rather than just the first

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi James,

    Hardly an irony, just a little known fact of existence.

    That it is little known is a sad indictment on our society.

    All systems require boundaries to give them form.

    Atoms are defined by various sets of field strengths changing with distance and time.

    Cells have cell walls, that are very complex boundaries, that move in space and time, and are selectively permeable, letting some thing come and go with ease, while blocking others, and actively transporting other selected things.

    As human beings we have many sets of necessary complex boundaries, our skins, our ethics, etc.

    To be able to exist in reality, we must acknowledge the necessary boundaries to freedom that existence demands of us.

    We must acknowledge that our existence in a complex cooperative society demands of us that we behave in ways that are socially and ecologically sustainable. Anything less than that is not freedom, it is a slow form of social suicide.

    Existence itself imposes responsibilities.
    If a modern understanding of evolution teaches us anything, it teaches us that.

    Evolution in complex systems is much more about cooperation than it is about competition.

    Every new level of complexity is predicated on new levels of cooperation, and maintaining that cooperation is fundamental for survival (long term).

    One thing that few are yet aware of, is that rule based systems are not a stable solution to governance of compelx adaptive systems.
    At our level, governance must be based on values, and those values must have individual life as #1 and individual liberty as #2.
    So life demands of us responsibility.
    It demands that we act in ways that preserve the life of others, and that demands that we act in ways that preserve the environment that sustains us all.

    So no – no irony – just a great sadness that everyone doesn’t appreciate this reality by the end of their first year of education.

    Liked by 1 person

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