AMBIENCE is Big Round Records’ latest release from composer Joe Hume. After a decade of working exclusively as a professional pianist, Hume has returned to composing in a big way with this compelling 11-track album of airy original solo piano pieces.
The bright, spacious textures of café de Paris—the album’s first track—sets the tone for what is to follow. Though brief, at less-than three minutes long, the piece breathes peacefully, with its unhurried motion punctuated by brief modulations. Next one hears Del Mar, a songful, poignant meditation. As the album continues, each piece sets a scene for the listener—The Swan floats with agility between major and minor, while Northern Shore sings with a lilting cadence like waves lapping at a rocky shoreline. Adagio for Strings, previously released as a single in July 2019, is rich and expansive, harnessing the piano’s warm lower-middle voice. Nocturne, as its name suggests, is tender and thoughtful, with long arpeggiated chords rolling seamlessly with the tune in the right hand. Winter’s Tale concludes the album, with melodic lines so cleanly crafted that one’s mind can almost imagine words hidden in the piano music.
Hume writes that he set out to create music that was “melodic, calming, yet powerful in its delivery.” The composer/pianist has no doubt succeeded in this endeavor. As its title suggests, AMBIENCE could simply be treated as lovely background noise —but that doesn’t mean it should be. After all, listeners who take a moment to close their eyes and listen deeply may find Hume’s piano is singing for them.
Choose your platform
Track Listing & Credits
|Cafe de paris||Joe Hume||Joe Hume, piano||2:35|
|Del Mar||Joe Hume||Joe Hume, piano||3:19|
|The Swan||Camille Saint Seans, arr. Hume||Joe Hume, piano||5:00|
|Danny’s Prelude||Joe Hume||Joe Hume, piano||3:40|
|Northern Shore||Joe Hume||Joe Hume, piano||3:30|
|Jesu Joy Of Man's Desiring||Johann Sebastian Bach, arr. Hume||Joe Hume, piano||3:14|
|Reverie||Joe Hume||Joe Hume, piano||2:40|
|Nocturne||Joe Hume||Joe Hume, piano||3:12|
|Gymnopedie||Eric Satie, arr. Hume||Joe Hume, piano||4:30|
|Winter's Tale||Joe Hume||Joe Hume, piano||3:14|
Recording Session Engineer Brian McNeill
Recorded on November 25 – 30, 2019 in Studio2 at Gorbals Sound Recording Studio, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Cover art by Luis Filcer
from Le Carnaval des Animaux
by Camille Saint Seans, arr. Hume
JESU JOY OF MAN’S DESIRING
by Johann Sebastian Bach, arr. Hume
from Gymnopedie no .1 by Eric Satie, arr. Hume
Executive Producer Bob Lord
Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Morgan Santos
VP, Audio Production Jeff LeRoy
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner
Joe Hume (b 1985) is a pianist and composer from Glasgow, Scotland. He attended the Royal Scottish Academy of Music at the age of 17 where he studied the piano under professor Fali Pavri. He was hugely inspired by Romantic and 20th-century composers such as Chopin, Rachmaninov, Debussy, Faure, and Satie.
In March 2019 I was given an opportunity to go to Paris for nine months to work as a solo classical pianist. I couldn’t wait to visit the city which most of my favourite composers frequented during the 1800s. When I arrived in Paris, I had no idea I would leave with a piano album inspired by all my experiences of the city.
I started writing my first track Café de Paris while socialising in the suburb of St. Germain En laye where I was based. The area has a thriving café and bar culture centred around the main square. This track definitely has an Eric Satie vibe to it. I recorded Café de Paris and posted it on all music media outlets. Within a few hours I received numerous positive responses describing my music as relaxing and atmospheric. Subsequently I decided to write more piano pieces in this style.
My second composition was a piano arrangement of Barber’s Adagio for Strings. This piece is a real favourite of mine and to my knowledge had never been arranged for the piano. As with Café de Paris, I recorded it. I received a very similar response from listeners, but this time the world-famous chillout record label Café Del Mar revealed they were interested in releasing the track on their annual compilation album. They did so and released Adagio for Piano in July 2019. After this, I decided with confidence that I would compose a full album of ambient piano music. I wanted to write music that was melodic, calming, yet powerful in its delivery. After many months of experimentation I finished my album AMBIENCE in November 2019.
I really hope you enjoy listening to my new compositions.
— Joe Hume