Simon Posford – Portrait of An Artist in Isolation.
As March 2020 arrived and we all found ourselves going into ‘Lockdown’ in the UK, life as we knew it certainly changed. Much as the initial reality was pretty harsh, it also enabled some welcome space. Simon Posford managed to carve the workings of his mind into a musical masterpiece.
Simon used this time to make something for himself. A solo album. He hasn’t actually done this before. This album represents a time of reflection, a jolt in history, a call of the wild, a “Portrait of an Artist in Isolation”. With no fixed agenda, just creativity and let’s face it, a whole lot of fun in the studio ! It doesn’t matter if you’ve followed Posford’s musical career or if you have only heard of him for the first time while reading this review, because this album is a unique piece from his vastly accomplished career to date.
The first time I listened to this album, I wanted to immerse myself into the sound and story that Simon Posford has designed. I’m glad I did, because what a journey it turned out to be. Surrounded by nature, headphones on, I closed my eyes and pressed play. I listened to the album as a whole piece. From my experience, I suggest you do the same.
I had not imagined that I was heading into a meditation. However, I quickly realised that this is not just an album, it is a meditation, and a deeply powerful one at that.
When one initially rests to meditate there is a time in the mind where you find yourself in the ‘kerfuffle”. Where the mind bounces about into lots of different compartments of thought in an erratic scape. I don’t know if any of you ever had one of those different edged bouncy balls that were popular in the 80’s – a somewhat bonkers invention. The kind of thing that any parent hates because it bounces in random directions each time it hits the ground (or ceiling) ! Chaos! Yes, well, one of those ! Once you ‘let go’ into the space, you find the beauty and calm of the present.
The music speaks directly to the body and mind. Intense journeying through time. This album is very 3 dimensional. Rain forests, birds, nature, revolving and evolving. Yet this persistent counting, numbers, words, language, repetition. To get to the point, it’s quite dark. Posford loops this trapped corporate matrix that continuously spins around and around.
Nature is moving, shifting enormously, evolving. Yet the corporate matrix is stuck on repeat and you can’t get away from it. Perfectly evocative to the current situation the world is in with this pandemic struggling to find a sense of ‘normality’ and ‘reality’. Finding direction.
Nature has flourished as a result of lockdown. The skies have cleared, the water is clean, the birds are singing. Simon works these elements with sheer brilliance into this album. The presence of the piano brings beauty into the dimensions away from this digital kind of code that is coming at you in these waves. I later learned that these are what are called “number stations”. Incredibly fascinating to put it lightly. I’ll let you learn more about this from the man himself as he speaks about the intricate architectural design of his debut solo album here:
Released from the repetitions and uneasy chaos, an echo kindly and comfortingly begins to enthuse and in turn diffuses the lineage of this madness. Ethereal echos of tribal callings from humanity to nature merging together as if calling from far away universes and within. This stunning voice is that of Jamie Grashion – Cosmic Trigger.
The music holds you in this confusion of isolation but, then… and I mean THEN… there is beauty waiting for you out of all this. In a rhythmic and euphoric wave, through the suffering the music releases you with momentum and drive. A welcome reward! Drive that surpasses the disorder. The piano orchestrates the path. The jazz, the blues the beat, wherever you are right now it doesn’t matter, those molecules are sure to be bouncing.
Simon drops in these little hints of memory like windows throughout the album using select piano chords that appear and disappear. The detail in what Simon creates is truly fascinating. How he manages to form such diverse, difficult and somewhat random noises that come together and align as the most wonderful harmony from so many different sources – I find this baffling ! He is a genius.
Posford can make something harsh become delicate, and he can also do the opposite. The funk compliments the melody. The harmonies combat the awkward notes and the whole thing just works. It’s got ninja status with electronic emphasis supported by classical craftsmanship.
Simon exaggerates the feeling of calm and positivity through bird song. He allows spaces for the mind to rest in this journey. For me personally, I absolutely love “Concerto For Piano and Birds in Eb Minor”. I just love it. Those wonderful feathered creatures.
How anyone can express this time of lockdown into sound in such a way as Simon Posford has managed to do so, this is a work of art.
“Flux & Contemplation – Portrait of an Artist in Isolation” is a revelation of a meditative masterpiece.
The natural world needs us to look after this planet while we are on it, but it does not need us…
LET MUSIC BE YOUR TRIBE
To purchase on Bandcamp link below: