a s y l u m p e a c e
Music of Christopher Andreas &
'Music is so naturally united with us that we cannot be free from it even if we so desired' - Boethius, 'Fundamentals of Music' (in Storr, 1992)
'Music is a memory bank for finding one's way about the world' - Australian aborigine to B. Chatwin, in 'The Songlines', 1988
London-born to German and English parents both of whom had a great love of music, I grew up with classical, the musicals, big band and jazz a constant soundtrack to home life; along with the aromas of baking bread, open fires and rural mustiness.
My parents attended concerts and theater when they could afford it and generously took us children with them when they could.
My mother’s love of classical music in particular took root in me with a predilection towards the ‘pastoral’ composers including Vaughan Williams, Finzi and Elgar. Gerald Finzi remains my favourite of the pre-mid 20th century composers. My father’s jazz records, together with my own attraction towards softer, again more pastoral rock sounds (mellotron-era Barclay James Harvest; TOTT- and W&W-era Genesis; early ELO; Sandy Denny/Fotheringay; etc.) were musical influences on my developing guitar style.
This found expression in various bands – to varying degrees of seriousness and all very naive – then to solo songwriting. Experimentation with song and compositional form became experimentation with sound. My first recorded piece in my current, settled-upon ‘voice’ (asylumpeace project) was built around an ‘accident’, delayed and caught on a loop. A story oft repeated by many artists no doubt, but true nonetheless.
For me, as for many I am sure, the relation between music, landscape, and the environment in all its aspects is inextricable. The boundaries between myriad influences are permeable and transparent. The notion of music as the aforementioned ‘soundtrack to life’ is a super-cliche, but an ever appealing and true one all the same. I think it is because, as Colum McCann describes in his genius novel ‘Transatlantic’, our memories are formed, not so much from language – of names and places and things said – as from light, colour; yes, and music, along with all the other manifold triggers of the sensorium.
My memory returns me constantly and vividly to a particular locus of light, colour, sound and smell. I am in a rear sitting room of the small 19th century lodge house I lived in from ages 9 to 19: 3 Avenue Lodge, Braxted Park Estate, Essex, England. Winter night-time. Open fire crackling and simmering; waft of a down-draught. Barclay James Harvest’s ‘Time Honoured Ghosts’ on the turntable – though could have been Denny/Fairport’s ‘Rising For The Moon’ or even Vaughan Williams' ‘...Thomas Tallis’. Lost in the music and in my gaze across a broad semi-wild garden that opened into arable fields sloping towards a horizon-wide band of woodland. All adorned in ethereal moonlit snow. Oh, and the heat in my throat from the occasional quarter bottle of whiskey I daringly and underage-edly savoured.
My search to produce sounds that are part of my personal emotional loop, and the hope that they may touch or tap into that of a listener, has led me to piece together these modest, essentially lo-fi recordings. I lay them before anyone who is so very kind-enough to listen as my rendition of landscape, environment and relationships.
With thanks, Christopher Andreas
'I am sure that one of the reasons why music affects us deeply is its power to structure our auditory experience and thus to make sense out of it...there is no doubt that music provides one path from the hurly-burly of the external world. When we take part in music, or listen to an absorbing performance, we are temporarily protected from the input of other external stimuli. We enter a special, secluded world in which order prevails and from which the incongruous is excluded. It is not a regressive manoeuvre, but RECULER POUR MIEUX SAUTER; a temporary retreat which promotes a re-ordering process within the mind, and thus aids our adaptation to the external world rather than providing an escape from it.'
Anthony Storr, 'Music and the Mind' - 1992
If the link works properly you may be hearing the piece Ikareum. Apologies if this is an unwelcome intrusion. It can be turned off on the player below.