An Ancient Observer

Submitted by nonesuch on Thu, 12/08/2016 - 18:15
genre
Release Date
DescriptionExcerpt

Tigran Hamasyan's album An Ancient Observer includes ten new compositions, two of which are based on Armenian melodies. Some are through-composed and completely written out, while others are composed with ample space for Hamasyan to improvise. He cites a wide range of influences—from Baroque dance to hip-hop grooves adapted to piano—and the sounds of his native country of Armenia are present, as always. DownBeat exclaims: "It's simply breathtaking."

Description

Nonesuch Records releases its second album from pianist Tigran Hamasyan, An Ancient Observer, on March 31, 2017. An Ancient Observer is the follow-up to Hamasyan's label debut, Mockroot, of which the Guardian said, "A phenomenal piano player, an irrepressible entertainer, a promising experimenter with hi-tech gizmology and a creative world-music composer. Mockroot plays vivaciously to all those strengths." The musician says of his new solo recording, which features ten new compositions: "These songs are musical observations about the world we live in now, and the weight of history we carry with us." Hamasyan will tour the US in February and March, then Europe in the spring. 

An Ancient Observer's songs—two of which are based on Armenian melodies—were written over the last four years. Some of the pieces are through-composed and completely written out, while others are composed with ample space for Hamasyan to improvise. Many include vocals layered into the mix. As with most of his compositions, Hamasyan cites a wide range of influences, from Baroque dance to hip-hop, with pedals connected to a synthesizer on a few tracks—while the sounds of his native country also are present, as always.

Hamasyan has returned to Armenia, where his daily life inspired these new pieces: "I gaze out of my window and see the biblical mountain Ararat with perpetual snow on its peak, with electrical towers with wires in the foreground cutting the picture, and satellite dishes melted onto old and modern houses—ancestral smoke coming out of their chimneys—and birds hovering above the trees along with occasional airplane trails in the vast sky. It is a dialogue, this interaction of God-given ancient nature with our modern human achievements," he says. "For me it is an awakening, and a beautiful feeling, to be able to observe the magnificence of this sleeping volcanic giant, which has existed for millions of years and was observed by the Ararat Valley Koura-Arax culture through to the present day citizens of the Armenian republic. I can see and observe the same birds, animals, rivers, and mountains that the craftsman of 4,000 years ago painted on a clay vessel. He was observing the same thing I observe now, and what remains is his or her beautiful work of art."

Born in Armenia in 1987 before relocating with his family to Los Angeles in 2003, Tigran Hamasyan currently resides in Erevan, Armenia. He began playing piano at the age of three and started performing in festivals and competitions when he was eleven years old, winning the Montreux Jazz Festival's piano competition in 2003. Hamasyan released his debut album, World Passion, in 2005 at the age of seventeen. The following year, he won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. Subsequent albums include New Era (2007); Red Hail (2009); A Fable (2011), for which he was awarded a Victoires de la Musique (the equivalent of a Grammy Award in France); Shadow Theater (2013); Luys i Luso (2015); and Mockroot (2015), for which he won the Echo Jazz Award for International Piano Instrumentalist of the Year. In addition to awards and critical praise, Hamasyan has built a dedicated international following, as well as praise from Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Brad Mehldau.

ProductionCredits

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Produced by Tigran Hamasyan
Recorded and Mixed by Antoine Gaillet for FLAM Music
Assistant Engineers: Clément Gariel, Olivier Leducq
All tracks recorded at Studio de Meudon, Meudon, France
except:
“New Baroque 2” recorded by Sergey Gasparyan at Alphasound Recording Studio, Yerevan, Armenia
Additional vocals on “The Cave of Rebirth” and “Leninagone” recorded at Alphasound Recording Studio
Mastered by Nate Wood at Kerseboom

All compositions written by Tigran Hamasyan
except “Nairian Odyssey” and “Etude No. 1,” which are based on Armenian folk melodies
All works published by Yergatun, administered by Universal Publishing (ex. USA and Canada)

All photos by Elena Petrosyan except page 12 photo by Zaven Khachikyan
Photo editing assisted by Sonia Baghdasarian

Nonesuch Selection Number

559114

ns_album_releasedate
Album Status
Artist Name
Tigran Hamasyan
MusicianDetails

MUSICIANS
Tigran Hamasyan, piano, voices, synths, Fender Rhodes, effects

Cover Art
UPC/Price
Label
LP+MP3
UPC
075597938784
Label
CD+MP3
UPC
075597938777
Label
FLAC
Price
11.00
UPC
075597938807
Label
MP3
Price
10.00
UPC
075597938845
  • 559114

News & Reviews

  • Tigran Hamasyan kicks off a North American tour with music from his new album of American standards, StandArt, at The Opera House in Brooklyn on Wednesday, followed by shows in Bentonville, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Ottawa, and Toronto. "Out of all the so-called jazz standard repertoire, there are a number of compositions that really have a special place in my heart,” he says in a new video about the making of the album. "It was a true blessing to record this project with Matt Brewer with Justin Brown as the trio and have guest appearances of Ambrose Akinmusire, Mark Turner, and Joshua Redman."

  • Tigran Hamasyan has announced a seven-city North American tour for this fall, featuring music from StandArt, his new album of American standards. The tour, with Hamasyan's StandArt band mates, bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Justin Brown, kicks off at The Opera House in Brooklyn on November 9, with stops in Bentonville, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, and Ottawa, culminating at Koerner Hall in Toronto on November 19. The shows follow Hamasyan’s summer tour of Europe.

  • About This Album

    Nonesuch Records releases its second album from pianist Tigran Hamasyan, An Ancient Observer, on March 31, 2017. An Ancient Observer is the follow-up to Hamasyan's label debut, Mockroot, of which the Guardian said, "A phenomenal piano player, an irrepressible entertainer, a promising experimenter with hi-tech gizmology and a creative world-music composer. Mockroot plays vivaciously to all those strengths." The musician says of his new solo recording, which features ten new compositions: "These songs are musical observations about the world we live in now, and the weight of history we carry with us." Hamasyan will tour the US in February and March, then Europe in the spring. 

    An Ancient Observer's songs—two of which are based on Armenian melodies—were written over the last four years. Some of the pieces are through-composed and completely written out, while others are composed with ample space for Hamasyan to improvise. Many include vocals layered into the mix. As with most of his compositions, Hamasyan cites a wide range of influences, from Baroque dance to hip-hop, with pedals connected to a synthesizer on a few tracks—while the sounds of his native country also are present, as always.

    Hamasyan has returned to Armenia, where his daily life inspired these new pieces: "I gaze out of my window and see the biblical mountain Ararat with perpetual snow on its peak, with electrical towers with wires in the foreground cutting the picture, and satellite dishes melted onto old and modern houses—ancestral smoke coming out of their chimneys—and birds hovering above the trees along with occasional airplane trails in the vast sky. It is a dialogue, this interaction of God-given ancient nature with our modern human achievements," he says. "For me it is an awakening, and a beautiful feeling, to be able to observe the magnificence of this sleeping volcanic giant, which has existed for millions of years and was observed by the Ararat Valley Koura-Arax culture through to the present day citizens of the Armenian republic. I can see and observe the same birds, animals, rivers, and mountains that the craftsman of 4,000 years ago painted on a clay vessel. He was observing the same thing I observe now, and what remains is his or her beautiful work of art."

    Born in Armenia in 1987 before relocating with his family to Los Angeles in 2003, Tigran Hamasyan currently resides in Erevan, Armenia. He began playing piano at the age of three and started performing in festivals and competitions when he was eleven years old, winning the Montreux Jazz Festival's piano competition in 2003. Hamasyan released his debut album, World Passion, in 2005 at the age of seventeen. The following year, he won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. Subsequent albums include New Era (2007); Red Hail (2009); A Fable (2011), for which he was awarded a Victoires de la Musique (the equivalent of a Grammy Award in France); Shadow Theater (2013); Luys i Luso (2015); and Mockroot (2015), for which he won the Echo Jazz Award for International Piano Instrumentalist of the Year. In addition to awards and critical praise, Hamasyan has built a dedicated international following, as well as praise from Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Brad Mehldau.

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    Tigran Hamasyan, piano, voices, synths, Fender Rhodes, effects

    PRODUCTION CREDITS
    Produced by Tigran Hamasyan
    Recorded and Mixed by Antoine Gaillet for FLAM Music
    Assistant Engineers: Clément Gariel, Olivier Leducq
    All tracks recorded at Studio de Meudon, Meudon, France
    except:
    “New Baroque 2” recorded by Sergey Gasparyan at Alphasound Recording Studio, Yerevan, Armenia
    Additional vocals on “The Cave of Rebirth” and “Leninagone” recorded at Alphasound Recording Studio
    Mastered by Nate Wood at Kerseboom

    All compositions written by Tigran Hamasyan
    except “Nairian Odyssey” and “Etude No. 1,” which are based on Armenian folk melodies
    All works published by Yergatun, administered by Universal Publishing (ex. USA and Canada)

    All photos by Elena Petrosyan except page 12 photo by Zaven Khachikyan
    Photo editing assisted by Sonia Baghdasarian