on the off chance that you don't know, this guy was in a band called Slint. their album Spiderland is still considered a touchstone of 90s indie rock. this is not that. this is solo piano music so beautiful you will cry.
In February of MMXVIII, David Pajo discretely travelled to England to record three songs for solo piano. Originally intended to be included on a new Papa M album, the songs proved to be so different from the other material that the decision was made to exclude them.
Using a compositional technique he was fascinated with (which he declines to reveal), he began to write. Previous experiments with this technique led to “interesting and unemotional” results, as he states. So David set forth, with a new agenda of balancing the mind with the heart, yielding the bounty before you.
Here we have three meditative songs played quietly, sustain pedal depressed throughout. The negative space, the rich overtones, are as essential as the notes themselves. An austere, virtually unprocessed, recording that not only compels the intellect and intimates a deeper emotional well, it also celebrates the elegant beauty of the piano itself.
One senses that Pajo has a true love for the piano as an instrument; the tone of the wood, the mechanics of the keys, the percussive effect of hammers tapping lightly at strings, the thickness of lingering harmonic oscillations. Throughout each song is a sustaining drone that is so integral it may well be considered a second instrument.
The song structures themselves are quite bold, to anyone curious about the algorithm that unlocks the compositions. For example, 'Hand In Hand' seems to follow a single melodic structure until brief moments defy the same parameters the composer has just roped off. As if to say, “The only rule is that there are no rules.”
Take a moment to observe the dance of modalities. Listen to the dance of our lovers, as their hands unclasp, moving octave after octave apart. Yet still telepathically entwined. Will they meet again?
Deconstructing the songs may be of interest to some. Ultimately, the implied intent is for it to be felt by all, regardless of theoretical knowledge. In its deceptive simplicity, the very atmosphere of the room is transformed and altered in a way that provokes thoughtfulness; even tenderness.
Play it as background music. Crank it up or ease it down. Listen on headphones or on a nighttime drive. Fall asleep to it. Play it at your art opening or in the garage while you work. Let it be your soundtrack for fucking tonight. And for breakfast tomorrow.
You’ll be glad you did.
- S. Littlejohn
released May 17, 2018
Recorded by Tony Faulkner at Master Chord Studios, London UK. Digital mastering by Hans Dekline at Sound Bites Dog, Culver City CA. Vinyl mastering by Geoffe Pesche at Abbey Road Studios, London UK. Cover photo by Lance Bangs. Liner notes by Sarah ‘Sailor’ Littlejohn. MMXVIII