Track by track: Look Up

‘Look Up’ was written in september 2014 for a concert centered around new music for piano. The track emerged from a longing for peace and quiet. Dreaming of a little wooden house, with a glass roof, that would allow to look up: through the glass, where clouds pass by and stars light up. And suddenly feeling small again. 

 

The production of the track placed the piano very much in the center of attention. Nearly all the sounds of the first part of the track are created with the piano, the percussion being produced by the sounds of the pedal and by various objects hitting the strings. Only when the melody returns after 3 minutes, it is joined by soft violin, cello and bells, bursting wide open before coming to a soft conclusion.

Track by track: Irretrievable

‘Irretrievable’ was another work that was written for the ‘Music for Comic Books’ concert in 2015. The track was written together with Jonathan Bonny and served as a counterweight to the darker music of ‘Irreversible’. It’s one of the softest tracks on the album and spins out an endless melody between piano and vibraphone backed by some atmospheric synthesizers and guitar.



The track went back and forth between Jonathan and me, until we felt that it was finished. The music around the 3 minute mark has to be one of my favorite moments I’ve ever written, and the additions that Jonathan made to the track pushed it to another level.

Track by track: Irreversible

‘Irreversible’ was written in January 2015 for a concert called ‘Music for Comic Books’. It was one of three works that accompanied a dark and absurd story about a small action that sets in motion a series of events. The track was perceived in the same way. A dark and brooding beginning in the piano turns into an unstoppable rollercoaster of synth lines and hard percussion, with the occasional fragment of innocence and momentary beauty.

Soundwise it’s the grittiest and most electronic track of the album, at certain points resembling an alternative soundtrack for series like Stranger Things or movies like ‘The Thing’.

Track by track: As The Birds Fly

'As The Birds Fly' was written in early summer 2013 for a series of concerts during the 'Gentse Feesten'. It displays a kind of longing for holiday. Unable to hit the road I found shelter in an imaginary journey through the middle of France. Inspired by the book 'La Carte et La Territoire' I made this journey not only in my mind, but also by exploring Michelin maps. 

 

The soft colors of the map, the adventurous lines and the promise of forests and mountains behind the topographical areas all came together in this track. A constant pulse pushes the journey forwards, broad strings and percussion reveal enormous landscapes, the piano making his way through it all. 

Track by track: Bursting Balloon, Pt. 1

Bursting Balloon, Pt. 1 actually originates in an eponymous string trio. It was written between September and November 2013 and started as a work that wanted to take a look at the notion of beauty: in music, in structures, in technical perfection. A pattern developing between the 3 string players evolves into a flawless mechanism, all these little cogs fitting together. Slowly the pattern starts to get destroyed from within, leaving in uncertainty.

I wanted this track to open the record and start from an acoustical, real place. The 3 string players playing together, patterns clicking. It’s music in it’s purest form, before the electronics join in and we see the world in technicolor. 

 

 

Cover art and tracklist

Today, I'm very proud to show you the amazing cover art of the album, designed by Arn Van Wijmeersch. Here's what Arn had to say about his work: 

"The music of Mirek always puts me in a contemplative mood, with a little extra melancholy. I was thinking about what sort of image could capture this very personal feeling. I ended up drawing a boy throwing pebbles across water. Every time it bounces off the surface, it creates a ripple, going from the right to the left, into the past. It's the image of the composer, revising his previous works."

I think it represents my music in the best way possible. Still somewhat active, at the same time very introvert and thoughtful, creating a unique storyline with every little stone that hits the water. 

"As The Birds Fly" out now

So proud and excited to release this video today! AS THE BIRDS FLY is the first track from the upcoming album "Revisions #1". As it has been 18 months in the making, I'm very, very happy that I can finally share this with you. There's a lot more to come, but it starts here. 

 

Listen on bandcamp: https://mirekcoutigny.bandcamp.com/track/as-the-birds-fly

Director: Joachim Dejonghe D.O.P.: Samuel Vansteenkiste Camera assistant: Michiel Lateur, Arn Van Wijmeersch Editor: Mathias Papeleu Grading: Samuel Vansteenkiste Production & Mix: Mirek Coutigny Mastering: Frederik Dejongh at Jerboa Mastering Piano & synthesizers: Mirek Coutigny Percussion: Jonathan Bonny Violin: Robin Van Heghe Viola: Esther Coorevits Cello: Jolien Deley

The sounds and musicians on this album

From the start it was clear to me that I wanted to do something different with this album. Having worked for various productions where time is money, I wanted to take my time and enjoy the benefits of not having a deadline. This meant: never settling for an emergency plan, always striving for the best sound possible with the means I had. 

I started working on this EP in October 2016. That’s a year and a half of work on 30 minutes of music. In this time I’ve spent weeks looking for the most fitting sounds I could get from my piano. I had various sessions with wonderful musicians, where we could experiment with very subtle nuances in the music. I loaned some amazing synthesizers from befriended musicians. When I thought a certain sound from a particular obscure instrument would make the end result even slightly better, I did everything I could to get hold of the real thing, even if it was only for a few days (and 4 seconds of music). What I gained with each step is neglectable, but in the end, it’s all of these small things that make the result stand out next to the work I have done before. It makes for an album that is full of personal sounds and stories. 

I want to thank Jonathan Bonny, Esther Coorevits, Jolien Deley, Birgit Eecloo and Robin Van Heghe for their wonderful contribution to this EP. It’s their performances that make the notes shine. 

 

Why I'm making this album

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As a composer and musician, you’re constantly involved in all kinds of projects, writing music along the way. The result is hours and hours of music that is performed only a few times or maybe even discarded in the process. Musicians turn in beautiful performances of your music, and you have some live recordings lying around as proof. But in the end, it’s tough to build a recognizable musical identity as a composer through all of these projects, collaborations, and one-offs. 

Revisions #1 is my attempt to tighten up that image. I went through all the music I wrote between 2012 and 2015 and selected a few pieces that still resonate with who I am today. Over the course of a year and a half, I have reinterpreted these pieces with the help of some incredible musicians and friends. Every track went through a process of adding melodies, killing darlings and expanding on the sound world of the originals. Now that the result is finally here, I cannot wait to share it with you, both in the form of an album as in a live setting.