iRig Keys I/O 25 Review

Music, Reviews

I recently made a video about IK Multimedia’s new keyboard, the iRig Keys I/O 25. It’s a midi controller with built in audio interface and works with both laptops and iPads. If you like the video, please like, comment and subscribe over on YouTube.

I Wish I Took My Scales More Seriously

Blog, Music, Personal

I’m sitting at the piano, currently trying to learn the third movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. For those who don’t know it, watch the video below. For those who do know it, you’ll likely know how insanely hard it is.

Rewind 10, 11 or 12 years ago to when I was having piano lessons in my long suffering teacher’s home. I enjoyed playing the piano, I liked starting a new grade book and seeing what pieces of music I would be working on for the coming months. The sight reading and singing part of the exam I was terrible at of course, but I wasn’t bothered about that.

The other part of the exam is scales and arpeggios. I was generally okay with these, although I practiced with reluctance. I mean, they’re pretty boring aren’t they? Going up and down the piano in different positions (that’s what she said) and getting arm ache before you’ve even started practicing your pieces.

The trouble is, as I have recently learnt, they’re bloody important. You see, when it comes to playing insanely difficult pieces like the third movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, scales and arpeggios give you the workout you need in order to be able to tackle them. And the thing about the third movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, is that it consists largely of scales and arpeggios.

Maybe I’d find it easier if I had some sort of practice regime for this over the last few years. Maybe if I could borrow Peter Capaldi’s newly acquired time machine, I could travel back in time and tell my 15 year old self that if I didn’t practice my scales more, then in 13 years time, I’d be sitting at a piano, periodically swearing at it when I keep messing up the first page of a piano sonata.

Collaborating on a Music Playlist

Blog, Music, Technology

Spotify PlaylistMy use of Spotify has increased a bit more lately. Although I would describe myself as an ethical user. Artists don’t get paid very much so I usually use Spotify to preview material before purchasing it if I like it. It’s a bit like the listening posts you got at the old style record stores. I’ve had my £10 subscription for nearly three years now.

Recently I’ve started putting together a ‘Relaxing Piano Music’ playlist on Spotify. With the popularity of pianists like Einaudi, it’s something that has quite a lot of widespread appeal. However, when putting this playlist together, I sought the opinions of my followers on Twitter. I found this a fascinating way of discovering new music and let me know what my followers listen to. Some great tracks that were suggested to me were ‘The Blackest Sky’ by ‘Black Elk’ and ‘Human Eyeballs on Toast’ by Peter Broderick. I love discovering new music, so I may do a similar project in the future. In the mean time, I’m still look for more suggestions, so get in touch if you think of anything.

 

You can listen to my Relaxing Piano Music playlist on Spotify here and you can also subscribe to receive future updates to it.

My Bechstein Upright Piano

Blog, Personal

Bechstein PianoThe picture on this page is of my wonderful Bechstein piano. It’s an Arts and Crafts style piano from the early 20th century. I’ve seen another one on the internet dated 1906 so it’s from round about then. It was given to me by my old piano teacher. It was her husbands who no longer plays it due to illness. I haven’t spoken to her for a few years, but I’m sure she’d be happy to know it’s still looked after.

I was looking around on the internet for other pianos like it and came across this one that’s for sale in America. I’m not looking to sell mine, but these guys have done a really good job at restoring it. I’d love to restore mine, but I’m no furniture expert so I wouldn’t want to botch it. Perhaps one day I can pay for a professional restoration.

‘Minds Collide’ The New Album Out June 17th!

Blog, News

On June 17th, ‘Minds Collide’ the new album will be released on CD, digital download and streaming services. The album features 12 brand new tracks written for piano including the upcoming singles ‘Rise’, ‘Tectonic Rainbows’ and ‘Curiosity’. The album follows the 2011 release ‘Regression Play’ and marks a clear evolution in style and technicality, whilst maintaining the emotional substance that seems to prove very popular.

Work on the album started last September and was only completed two weeks ago. Three singles will be released before the album’s release date, one of which will be given away for free!

The amazing new artwork was created by artist Sophie Herrick who for many weeks was the only person who knew what the album was called. In a strange way, the artwork has made the album sound better. When I saw it for the first time, I was determined more-so, to make the album the best it could be. I revisited a couple of tracks and ended up writing string parts for them which is something I hadn’t done on the previous album.

If you liked tracks like ‘Skating in Circles’ and ‘Like Nothing Else’ from the previous album, then you’ll love this one.

‘Minds Collide’ the new album from Matt Keil will be available on June 17th from iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Deezer, Google Play and BlackBerry World.  

 

Minds Collide

Minds Collide Tracklisting:

  1. Minds Collide [1:20]
  2. A Curious Case of Cataclysm [2:49]
  3. Tectonic Rainbows [5:31]
  4. Eyes to the Sea [11:13]
  5. Escape the Sinking Ship [4:08]
  6. Draconian Nights [3:45]
  7. Embrace the Never [3:21]
  8. Hope You Fall [5:46]
  9. Reconnect [2:47]
  10. A-A-A-E-E-I-I [2:47]
  11. Curiosity [5:52]
  12. Rise [6:31]

Sophie Herrick Commissioned for New Album Artwork!

Blog, News

The release of the as-yet unnamed new album is only a few months away and as we get closer to the release date, more information will come to light about it.

Insanely talented artist Sophie Herrick will be providing the artwork for the new album. The theme is being kept a secret for now – in fact Sophie is the only person who knows the album title apart from me!

A full announcement about the album title, track listing and release date will be made next month.

Album Recording Update

Blog, News

The last time I released any new music was in September 2011. It’s been ages and my piano playing was largely neglected due various commitments and general apathy. My messy split from a band I was in turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I found my hunger for writing for piano once again.

When I recorded my first album ‘Regression Play’, they were largely compositions written between 2004 and 2010. Sitting at a piano in September 2012 it dawned on me that it’s been 2 years since I’ve written anything for piano and I had no idea how it was going to turn out. I’ve never written music ‘about’ anything. If it sounded good, I’d record it and give is a random title. This time around, it’s a bit different.

‘Black Gives Way to Blue’ on Piano

Blog, Rock/Metal

First of all, many apologies for not posting on here for a while. I’ve been off rebuilding the website for my band after a lineup change. Whilst I get back into the flow of posting stuff again I thought I’d put up a video of me I recorded yesterday playing Alice in Chains’ song ‘Black Gives Way to Blue’ on piano.

I learnt most of this by ear so I don’t know if it’s 100% accurate but it’s good enough for me… The original song has Elton John playing piano on the recording which was a collaboration I never saw coming. Anyway hope you enjoy it, leave a comment below and let me know what you think.