LONDON pianist Theo Alexander likes to loop, to evoke the dreamstate, to explore the beauty of harmony and melody and repetition.
He’s an album coming up on Toronto’s lovely Arts & Crafts imprint in late May that looks to seal his reputation as one of the most interesting people working in the minimalist end of modern composition – and by which we don’t mean just hitting a note with faux-meaning every few seconds and letting natural reverberation and resonance do the glory work; no, he likes to set up Philip Glass-like loops as a hazing, cyclical ground from which to work around with his skills at the ivories and a smattering of electronica texture.
All of this you can embrace in the seeing and the hearing on his first single drop ahead of that album, “Bright-Eyed Hunger”: go bathe below.
First, that loop, one foot in the avant-garde of past decades, one woody, flutey other foot in electronica; let it wash over you. Percussive, prepared piano pitter-patters in interjection and grand chords give weight and depth. Before you know it, you’re flowing in Theo’s world, and delightful it is too. The flowing, mechanoid looping allows for Theo to bring a humanist looseness.
We’re told that the album, Sunbathing Through A Glass Screen, is at times contemplative and even sad.
“Writing music in the Anthropocene feels helpless and even excessive,” he says. “In an age like this art is always going to have a sense of decadence to it. I want people who hear my music to feel confronted by that fact.”
The way Theo expresses musically is intended to create a dreamlike state that sounds as if the music is being remembered in real time.
He took a picaresque course through his musical education: the piano was actually his third love, after the guitar and the cello. Even once he landed at the keys, he then abandoned formal lessons to explore the instrument himself before moving right away into noise and doom bands.
“It took time to realise that classical music could be a much less academic affair,” Theo says. “And I began to push myself a bit more towards merging my various approaches from the past.”
Theo Alexander’s Sunbathing Through A Glass Screen will be released by Arts & Crafts digitally and on vinyl on May 21st; it’s available for pre-order over at his Bandcamp page right now.