R. Andrew Lee has a new album coming out on Irritable Hedgehog on March 4th. It features a performance of Adrian Knight's "Obsessions" and pre-orders for the album are currently available at the Irritable Hedgehog Bandcamp page. However, you can stream the entire album right now at I Care If You Listen. There, you'll see information regarding upcoming concerts from R. Andrew Lee. An excerpt of the album's liner notes, which were written by William Robin, is as follows:
Eclecticism often suggests a grab bag: the frenetic postmodernism of John Zorn, the symphonic collages of Gustav Mahler. But the music of Adrian Knight instead exhibits two seemingly distinct, fully formed, and intriguing artistic personalities. There is the composer of still and beautiful piano works such as “Abide With Me,” which unfolds dreamily in the manner of Harold Budd, and long-form experiments with sine tones, like the transfixing “Världens Undergång.” And then there is, inexplicably, the cryptic songwriter and lead singer of garish nightlife bands, saturated with the supersonic glitter of 1980s New Wave. Though Knight’s “Obsessions”—a placid, repetitive, and ultimately haunting work for solo piano—initially resembles the former in sound, it is also saturated with the strange and violent spirit of the latter.
“Obsessions” is both absorbing and self-absorbed, its serenity betraying a darker impulse. “All my life I’ve struggled with bad habits, routines, patterns, obsessions,” Knight writes in a program note. “Whether a form of mild self-flagellation or a mindless desire for normalcy and structure, they rule my life…If the piece is about anything, it is about me, and it is about itself. It’s stuck in its own stupid routine. The fact that it ends is its only victory.” Even as Knight calls it a “stupid routine,” the music enchants more than it frustrates. In several extended sections, the composer develops on the phrases that open the piece, a sunken cathedral of rippling chords that alternate with silence. A couple minutes in, he unveils a “lamentation” motif: a drooping of two chords, punctured by rests, which he calls “the main obsession of the piece.” The music is developmental but never quite fully develops; it is a theme and variations, or perhaps a rondo, but cast as a kind of unhealthy fixation on a set of musical materials rather than an unfolding narrative.