“[…] a deep and piercing emotive sound…”
As some of my favourite modern classical and solo piano composers have evolved and moved on to developing themselves and discovering new challenges in work for film and orchestral production, I’ve felt an earnest void in the space they left behind. I’ve even noticed the pattern in my very own music, always trying to embellish, enrich, strip down, or advance. But what about a simple piano tune – one that veils and slightly bears the heart and soul of the composer, with all its rawness, nudity, and truth? Mayhaps we’ll find this brave reveal in new contenders, that step to fill that earnest void.
Cameron Brooks is only 21 years old, hailing from the south of England, and this four-track EP is his début on Subtempo imprint. Clearly inspired by artists such as Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, and Max Richter, Brooks sets out to compose gentle pieces centred on the piano with some treatment from the strings. The track I selected to première for you today was recorded on his grandparents’ home piano, on his Grandfather’s 90th birthday, “so it brings back fond memories of visiting both his grandparents and of celebration, as well as being his favourite piano to play.” There’s a tone of melancholy, sweetness, and a bit of hope in the underlying melodies, the flow of tempo, and Cameron’s gentle playing on the keys.
Vicissitude, the title of the EP, is the main idea behind this record: change and unforeseen circumstances, it speaks to the passage from darkness into the light and the ongoing journey to get there. The music was born from a dark place and the compositions and the instruments brought light to a much-needed time of personal struggle.
This digital release is out next week, on September 21st, available from Cameron’s Bandcamp and Subtempo‘s page. I’m sure we’ll hear from Brooks in the many years to come, so it’s a bit exciting to begin observing this composer’s journey…