In 2018, pianist/composer Nat Bartsch released Forever, And No Time At All, a suite of piano lullabies written while Nat was pregnant with her first child. Produced by Luke Howard and influenced by her own research into music therapy, Nat wrote these pieces works with repetitive ostinatos, simple melodies and harmonies, and tempos similar to a mother’s heartbeat. It was designed for parents to enjoy as well as their babies.
The impact has been enormous, with the album clocking up over 2 millions streams in more than 80 countries. Nat has received messages from listeners all around the world who have shared how the album has impacted their lives: it soothes many children to sleep, but also accompanies many other moments across the lifespan from childbirth to the final hours of life, also supporting people with mental illness, grief and stress.
The past two years has seen Nat experiment with ways of presenting the album’s tracks. Her background as a jazz pianist/bandleader led her to presenting her lullabies in jazz venues in Melbourne—discovering they were interpreted effortlessly by jazz musicians. It also enabled her to capture the influence of her studies in her 20’s with ECM pianists Tord Gustaven and Nik Bärtsch, both artists creating meditative, ostinato-based sound worlds.
And so the idea was had to re-record Forever, And No Time At All with a jazz ensemble – and thus Forever More was born.
Recorded in a single day in early March, not long before COVID-19 lockdowns began in Australia, Forever More preserves the gorgeous tunes from Forever, And No Time At All and all their beautiful, mesmerising simplicity; but it enlarges the sound and develops it in unexpected and very moving ways, adding incredible depth and texture to Nat’s original minimalist postclassical masterpieces.
The success of the experiment speaks directly to the quality of the musicians that Nat assembled around her for these sessions, a Who’s Who of Melbourne’s local scene: Robbie Melville (guitar/effects),Tamara Murphy (double bass), Maddison Carter (drums), Xani Kolac (violin/effects) and Anita Quayle (cello/effects). Although the group had not played much as a unit before, their connection and unity of vision was immediate, as evidenced by the intimacy and intricacy of the performances on this album.
Recorded in the ABC’s Melbourne studios by producer Chris Lawson, with post-production completed at a distance during restrictions, Forever More became an accidental document of, and response to, our rapidly-changing situation.
But more than that, during a time of high stress and tension around the world, Forever More offers us all the space to breath, to be mindful, and to surrender some of our stress and uncertainty to the pure beauty of this music.
|Brand||Australian - ABC Jazz|
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