Track: James Heather drops the soft lament of ‘Passing Soul’ ahead of his late May EP

James Heather, photographed by Suki

CONTEMPORARY composer James Heather is set to release his first collection of original works in four years in the shape of Modulations: EP2, which will be out on Coldcut’s other label besides Ninja Tune, Ahead Of Our Time, in late May.

The new EP of subtle, ringing melodies is preluded by the slowly unfolding, keyed beauty of “Passing Soul” – a track which encapsulates some of the sadness James has endured since his last release, and can be read as an elegy for his father, who died during that time. Listen to this beautiful song below.

Recorded in his homebuilt studio during lockdown, each track on Modulations: EP2 was performed in a single take and each has its roots in live improvisations. The tracks were originally conceived while touring and performing; James memorised each movement then subtly adapted the basic framework of melody, adding more complexities over time.

He calls his approach to the new compositions ‘pulse music’, as they see him playing freely, with no metronome or official notation to dictate the piece; instead using muscle memory, feel and instinct to decide where each track will go. 

James says: “The EP is executed with the use of only solo piano and is a love story to the instrument that was my first passion, now that I finally have the piano I dreamed of!

“I have resisted the temptation to enter and add to the electronic music world I so adore on this release; instead, my current music acts as a lived reaction to music that is more machine than human, but not in opposition to it; to be minimalist in an age where you can do everything so easily, can also hold power, to focus on our strengths. I am still obsessed with the compositional possibilities within a raw song.” 

James Heather’s Modulations: EP2 will be released by Ahead Of Our Time on May 28th on digital format and may be pre-ordered here.

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