Thanks to Gill, Dan, Tony, Geoff, Simon and Jon for their sharp ears and encouragement.
Copywrite 2019 Andrew Greaves
For the past five years my solo work has focused on keyboard improvisations sitting within broadly minimalist forms. Using Indian raga scales, Ethiopian and Balinese pentatonics, as well as Arabic and Gypsy scales.
I try to focus within a creative space where its possible to release genuine and expressive improvisation. So in the recent Octabeast and Entartete projects, keyboard improvisation has been the centre of my attention during performance.
In the eye of the storm, this is creating from the inside, with all other supporting elements circling around the edges. But during the playback and mixing stages, I’ve found these less central elements particularly interesting. The little improvised arpeggios, sequences samples and riffs created with minimum conscious thought, could be developed further and become the main feature; my improvisations could compliment rather
So for this project (Halftone), I’m stepping away from the centre of the action to create more objectively, from a changed viewpoint. If music is an object, this is an object viewed from the outside towards a centre. But, I’m allowed to dip inwards and improvise when the moment feels right.
Minimalism by definition works with limited means and a narrow focus. I felt it was time to move on, widen the focus and introduce more elements.
So I decided to introduce electronic percussion elements and a greater sense of groove.
Vocal elements have also been introduced. One vocal source is the archive recordings of my father singing in rehearsal; incorporated, often rhythmically.
I also recorded singer Simon Peacock, improvising vocal melodies based on a series of my favorite scales. These recordings were then built into dense vocal collages, which I could feed in to my improvisations; sometimes as shifting drones, but often as syncopated tonal/rhythmic figures.
The final element of change has been in performance length. This project is limited to shorter pieces, where an idea is stated, briefly varied upon and ended.
Sometimes a simple melody when repeated can develop into an instant-
composition; little song forms that can appear pre-composed.