Michael Samson

Michael Samson: Still Motion

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Artist: Michael Samson

Artist: Michael Samson
Title: Still Motion

ABOUT THE ALBUM Three years ago following the completion of my debut album "Until Tomorrow Comes," I set out on a new journey to write what would ultimately become "A Still Motion." At the time I started writing this album, I had no idea of the many events that would be witnessed in my life during it's creation. These past three years have seen times both good and bad, filled with transitions, new beginnings and periods of growth. I have always believed that my music is a reflection of my inner self and a snapshot of my life at a particular moment in time. If that is true, then this album is also one of changing times and new ideas. It is indeed "a still motion," my life as it was these past years and the story of how it has evolved. This album means a great many things to me. It is an artistic statement on many levels. As a composer and a pianist, I have always felt the need to push myself, to continuously improve my writing and playing abilities. "A Still Motion" is in many ways an album of self discovery and innovation. Each time I set out to write a new song, I wanted to create something different than I ever had before. I worked very hard to develop new playing techniques, compositional structures and melodic phrases. In essence I was literally reinventing myself with each new composition I wrote. I can remember the excitement I felt as I broke new ground in each song. Yet through all of these innovations, I also made sure to create an album that related well to itself, that would make sense as a cohesive body of work. Whenever I compose music, I am usually trying to tell a story. For me the process begins purely in musical ideas, based in the aesthetics of melody and the emotional content of it's sound; rather than in ideas of narrative. As I write, the music generates feelings within me. With those feelings more specific ideas begin to take shape, further influencing the writing process. In most instances the story itself does not fully surface until the song is near completion. I have always found it interesting to listen to what other people think of my music. I am almost always told that my songs evoke imagery, thoughts, feelings and ideas about people, places and events. It really is a wonderful thing to know that my music draws forth different ideas in different people. The music literally takes on it's own life in that way, molding and shaping itself to the mind and heart of the listener. The story of "A Still Motion" is one of paradox, contrast, transition and evolution. When I say this, I mean it both literally and figuratively. Musically I tried many new ideas to add a level of complexity and nuance to each song. For all the musicians out there, I experimented with combining different time signatures, I mixed both major and minor modes, I used interesting combinations of melody and countermelody; creating counterpoint and juxtaposition of opposing sections within the overall compositions. Using these many musical techniques I was able to create a new type of sound, opening up the door artistically to more profound thoughts and ideas. Music is a language, perhaps the only true universal language. When you listen to "A Still Motion," allow yourself to hear it's many voices, it's "words" if you will. This is a very philosophical album to me, as I hope it will be to you as well. It's ideas speak of the paradoxes in life, of the contrasting realities that define us and make the world such a beautiful place. It is also very much about how things change, about growing and evolving with time. When I look back on the creation of this album, it will always remind me of that process. I have grown as an artist, composer and as a person. This album is a tribute to that evolution, and is a body of work that I am proud to call my own. It is a great honor to now share this music with all of you, my family, friends and fans. Michael Samson November 2008 _____________________________________________________________________________________________ EDITORIAL REVIEW A STILL MOTION by MICHAEL SAMSON For fans of acoustic music or solo instrumental piano, this is a delight. This recording shows strong inventiveness and astonishing maturity for a newcomer ("A Still Motion" is only his second album). As you can tell from the album title, Michael Samson is into the yin-yang of life and his music reflects that concept by utilizing occasional opposing time-signatures within a tune, or combining major and minor modes, or writing a composition with two very different sections within it. The music is full of twists and turns, emotion and passion, climactic flourishes, tempo changes and all kinds of interesting passages. Samson plays confidently and forcefully. He knows exactly where he is going with these pieces. This is all-original material. He writes distinctive melodies, but what sets him apart even more than the melodies are his involved arrangements. You can hear a little classical influence (Chopin, Debussy and Mozart) in Samson's compositions, but he also puts in more modern sensibilities, as you would expect. Two of the most forceful and energetic pieces on the album are "A Still Motion" and "When Light Dances" (the latter picks up the pace at the two-minute mark and also has a bit of that old-school classical feeling in it). "Where Ocean Meets Sky" is based on a catchy riff with both hands really contributing to the melody. "Of Times Long Past" is quite dramatic and probably reflects Samson's longtime interest in film music. "In the Music Box" starts out as a medium tempo piece, but the chorus section is done faster, and the composition features a nice left-hand counterpoint. The longest and seemingly most-ambitious number is "Words Left Unspoken" which concludes the album. It has several different sections with a variety of tempos, and the up-tempo parts have a whirling-dervish gypsy-like feel. The music often reflects strong emotion running beneath the surface of the melodies. Samson believes that the actions of every person affects others and can have far-reaching consequences, and he made that one of the under-lying themes on this collection of tunes. You have to give Samson credit for taking various cultural philosophies and then embodying them with elements of his music. But maybe it's as simple as this. If you like piano music, you owe it to yourself to listen to Michael Samson. Randall S. Davis (The Creative Service Company) December 2008.

1.1 A Still Motion
1.2 Dream Not of Today
1.3 Beyond My Question
1.4 Echoes of the Stranger
1.5 Truth in Beauty
1.6 When Light Dances
1.7 The Edge of Forever
1.8 Where Ocean Meets Sky
1.9 Of Times Long Past
1.10 In the Music Box
1.11 After the Rain
1.12 Words Left Unspoken

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