Incredibly bare piano pieces, presented with thanks, love and admiration for those around him. Battling with depression for decades Ian Hawgood found a release, but also a trigger in composing, these unfinished and unmastered piano sketches serve up as a mirror to that fragility, and mark his departure from his own label (Home Normal) and possibly music itself.
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I'm always concerned about reviewing a record in which an artist opens up in a press release about their previous struggles in that I may take pity on the record and glowingly review it out of fear that I may somehow make the situation worse .
Generally though you have to let the music do the talking and I'm taking what I want out of this series of bare piano pieces by Ian Hawgood in that they are beautiful wintery fragments, delicate to the point of feeling like they are falling apart any moment. The ten piano pieces are only overdubbed with other pieces of piano and are hesitant but remarkably pretty with brittle cascading melodies that tend to repeat for a small amount of time before stopping then moving onto the next one. The tentative playing prevents the record suffering from the overtly sweet 'chocolate box' feel that afflicts a lot of minimal piano composition and the record retains a mood throughout. Both stark and somehow comforting the pieces seem to form together as a whole, a mood piece to be listened to in one sitting. It doesn't scream from the rooftops it's brilliance, it's just a very pleasant way to spend half an hour.
I'm very glad that Ian Hawgood got this record out of himself. He need not worry about it's quality. It's very, very good. And if ten tracks of ear soothing music isn't enough to make a purchase essential then all profits go to Mind so hopefully this lovely music will help someone else in need.
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