About "Autumnals"

I started with Autumn for a number of reasons: it's my personal favourite season and the time in which I'm at my most creative, it's the beginning of the academic year which has a lot of personal relevance to me, and also starting with autumn means the series can end on summer for a big joyous climax.

My aim for the series was to create a more accessible version of my earlier material, and so I aimed for single standalone pieces, but there are times when connecting certain songs together with a common note/chord/sound effect made too much sense.

Green To Gold To Red

The first three chords are the main feature from which i built the rest of the piece. They're meant to represent green summer leaves turning red and yellow, so the first chord is more major with the top notes of an F major scale. In the next two chords, I'm flattening one note at a time to make that "green" summer chord more minor and more autumnal.

The Leaves Are Worries

This melody was originally going to be a simple piano piece by itself and it was only when I came across the file again a year or so after I'd drafted it that I felt it was just right for Autumnals.

From The Library Window

On this one, I was going for comforting, old-timey sounds that evoke paper, wood, varnish, and rain, which you would find in a rustic old library on a rainy day. To me, that meant guitar/harp harmonics, celestes, old toy pianos, and little echoes of classical string sections.

Red Highway

This was inspired by 80s-style electronic tracks, particularly vaporwave and retrowave. I do like to try to combine electronic instruments with real-world ones, so this was one attempt at that.

Drizzle Woods

I improvised Drizzle Woods at the piano in one go, and built it out into a full band setup from the demo.

As I was working, the idea came up to have a single idea that returned in four different settings, to create a proper sense of unity across the series and a familiar theme that the listener can see transforming with the seasons. As a result, there is now one track labelled "Something Woods" on all four albums, and the four should end up forming a mini-suite.

Three Guitars and a Piano in an Old Castle

All the tracks from "Library" up to this track were improvised at the piano in one great big go. I then took each one apart and improved them all from there. This one felt like a good moment for a more broken down, simple piece with a little less going on, as a contrast to the busy hectic other tracks. The title was inspired by exploring old castles and English history, mostly from school trips and history lessons.

More Colourful Inside

This was the first piece I composed for the album, and it was also the most difficult to pin down structurally. I struggled with adding a complementary idea to the first one, so instead I settled on recolouring the first idea. It was written in a practice room on a cold rainy day in between teaching primary school piano lessons.

Ice in the Rain

Another piece that wasn't initially meant for the series but I picked up anyway. This would have been a straight-up piano solo piece had it not been for the Seasons idea.

The Silver Dancers

This was a rare instance on which I composed the main melody on paper first, and then transferred it over to the piano. I began with just two notes (D and E flat), and imagined where those two notes would lead, and the result was the rather horror-B-movie-like "Silver Dancers" theme.

Given its spooky feel, and the autumn theme, it of course became the album's Hallowe'en piece! The title came from a comment my mother made upon hearing it, that it evoked ghosts waltzing in the dark in my childhood house.

Romance In Bronze

"Romance" came simply from the regular walks I take around my hometown and local park alone on chilly autumn evenings. It went through a few working titles including "Stars Through The Treetops" and "Bronze Light on the Promenade".

Sunset Before a Cold Day

The two swapping chords of this one came out of an improvisation session using an electronic string patch.

It didn't feel strong enough to form the main body of the album, but it had a lot of solemn, wistful, emotional resonance that meant I had to include it one way or another. To get the most out of its feeling, I left it right until the end a good few seconds after the end of Romance in Bronze, as a slightly disturbing hidden track.

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