Gary Bamford is probably the first to admit that music is an outlet for the mental challenges that he faces in life. But then, isn’t that, though to a lesser degree for most, thankfully, the same for all of us? And hasn’t art and creativity always served such a purpose, as much about the act of creation as a catharsis as it is about the audience’s experience upon receiving it?
And so, Sinking, a suite of four tracks, has such struggles, thoughts, ideas and experiences woven around its sonic core. But unlike lyrical music, which uses words to take us by the hand and lead us to the creator’s desired conclusion, instrumental pieces such as this are less direct and more open to emotive interpretation. However the piece of music makes you feel, then that is the desired effect, even if the experience is different for each individual listener – especially if the experience is different for every individual listener. Any response is the proper response.
“Sinking – I” does the required groundwork, introducing us to the styles and sonic themes of the ep where space is as vital an element as the purposeful and poignant notes that break it, where restraint and understatement build atmosphere and anticipation, where less is, for want of a cliche, more. So much more.
And it is through these gentle elements and meditative ideas that Gary steers his piano compositions, occasionally embellished by additional tones and textures but, if done so, always sparingly. The second piece is built of slightly bolder playing, cocooned in a hazy hum of harmony but again as happy to allow additional sounds to pool and percolate in the spaces between fading notes and dying chords.
“Sinking – III” is so fragile in parts that it feels as if you are listening to sounds being carried to you on the wind, notes perhaps scattered in all directions on the breeze, where you are only experiencing a chance and random take on the music. A delicate piece indeed.
The fourth and final piece is also built more of air than artifice, a series of gossamer light notes and delicate chords, each a statement in their own right as much as they are stepping stones through a collective piece of music.
Meditative music indeed, music to muse on. And like a Buddhist Koan, asking questions that have no logical or direct answer, music as rhetoric, music aimed at bypassing the head and even the heart but which talks to the very soul of the listener.