'Piano Works' was the first album I really shared with anyone after years of making music and only randomly sharing it with one or two friends prior to this. The story is in more detail below, but the long and short of it was being a little drunk in a bar in London with my friends Cisco and Manu. Cisco had secretly heard my music when I was out one day when my flatmate (his cousin) Matt played him some of my pieces that he'd heard me record (our flat was literally a room we shared). Cisco and I started collaborating on various fun audio-visual projects afterwards as a result.
But in the bar that night, Cisco kept prodding me to make something to share with friends. By midnight he'd convinced me to go to my parents' home in Catford with whatever I could carry, and record an album over the weekend before work on Monday. The album was recorded in a 24 hour period with the most basic set-up, and with no retakes as it was on tape and I just didn't have time to edit anything. Throughout the recording you'll hear my mum pop in and out, the dogs run around while I play the piano, and the conversations we had to the fore as I didn't want to stop recording but also didn't want to edit the loops I was making in anyway.
If it hadn't been for Matt sharing my music with Cisco I would never have started making music for other people to listen to as I was way too timid about my own music. I'll always be thankful for that.
It is an album that means a lot to me, and one I know means so much to dear old friends of mine as it was the first time anyone had heard my 'voice' (both figuratively and literally).
It is also such a personal album for me as those dogs have now passed on, as has my father who was in the background reading for much of the recordings. It is open and fragile; it is me, my being, my family and who I have always been. It is hard to listen to without getting tearful as I am reminded of my time spent there in south London and how blissful something that has now passed was.
This album goes out to my mum, dad, sister, Sam, Jet, and Matt and Cisco for getting me to just make something to share without worry or concern.
Here's the longer spiel from when I did a small reissue in Japan a number of years ago:
'At some point many moons ago, two friends and I were in a bar in London, feeling socially rather awkward. I suddenly decided that I would go home early the next morning and by Sunday I would have my first album finished using whatever I could find. I also decided that no matter what, I wouldn't stop from recording once I'd started. No editing at all, just recording whatever came out.
Piano Works was made from that Saturday to the Sunday, as my parents wandered in and out from their various errands, and my dogs came up to see what I was doing, sometimes plonking themselves on my lap in the process. At the time I had my faithful Fostex X-18 four-track (only three work though), a DD6 (or 5...not sure) delay pedal, and a Sony ECM field mic. That was all.
I made the album and then cut it into an album quickly, asking one of my friends that night (Francisco Centofanti) to make the artwork. We then made stickers out of these and then I sent out about 150 or so copies to friends around the world just because I missed them and wanted to make something heartfelt for them. The reaction was wonderful, and very touching.
In the years that have passed, both of those wonderful dogs - Sam and Jet, have left us, my father has passed on through this life and onto the next, I've gotten married and travelled the world, and have discovered more about who I am as well. Yet I am once again drawn to these pieces as life keeps moving on, seemingly losing its innocence at will. The hardness of life is the burden we must all bear as things happen, but the love I hear in these pieces is still there and gives me lightness of spirit every time I listen to it. I miss my friends, and I even miss friends who I have this weird musical connection with but have never met in person. This album is for you all.'
released April 2, 2021
Recorded at my parent's house in Catford, London many moons ago.
All original music by Ian Hawgood.
Photography by Hitoshi Ishihara (attic photograph - http:/attic.cc)
vár spoils you with blurry melodies, intricate synth work, and washed-out drone aesthetics before fading amidst field recordings of ocean waves. it practically demands a replay immediately after the disc has run its time. childish, fickle, but at the same time ephemeral as spring itself miso