Composer Mark Darvill-Evans discusses the creation of his new album The Heart Flies Upward (Prima Facie PFCD137).
Creation of the Album
“After the success of Seeds of Time, I wanted to do something more experimental and personal. Something that creates a unique sound, exploring all my musical influences in a piece, rather than stripping them down into a one voice — letting them run wild. The result, in The Heart Flies Upward, is a musical journey combining differing styles and genres in a stream of consciousness that evokes a sense rather than defines.
This main piece is intended to be listened to as a whole, drifting from one idea to the next, as one long track. Around the Heart Flies Upwards, are pieces that ‘fit’ the sense of the main tracks, an opening fanfare on organ, a short gentle interlude (improvised originally by my nine-year-old son William) and the canon — introducing the instruments that will be used later. Finally, there is an old Welsh poem, ringing heartache and loss.
In seeking to do something different, something that had not been heard before and something that stands in contrast to ‘ambient’ music, I deliberately stopped ‘refining’ and also employed the Oblique Strategies approach of Eno / Schmidt – a card-based system to unlock ideas. The result is a work that deliberately defies categorisation, that provokes and possibly frustrates, but is fully formed and resonates in the mind.”
8 Things About the Album
- “Raya Kostova is a Bulgarian-born pianist, playing with Sarah McCann (flute) on Magician. The track was recorded by the Grammy winning sound engineer Matt Howe.
- Siwan Rhys is a Welsh pianist and principal collaborator on Seeds of Time.
- The sample of Eternal, from Seeds of Time, was recorded in free time to create expressions of pressure and expansions – this caused the drums that were recorded later to have to match an even timing, requiring several takes and skill.
- The poem Hiraeth (meaning ‘a longing’) is traditional Welsh.
- The track Birdsong was improvised by 9-year-old William Darvill-Evans.
- Last minute replacements meant that Jazz trumpeter Steve Waterman had to improvise many of the lines.
- The composition of the work was in part guided by the Oblique Strategies cards created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt in 1975.
- The album is a concerted effort to get out of the current classical music rut, and provoke something unique.
- In making the album no ideas were discounted, no technique or instrument excluded, to create the sound wanted.
- The main track is one continuous piece and needs to be listened to as such, in it there are changes and surprises, but it only really makes sense as a whole.”
Notes copyright 2020 Mark Darvill-Evans.