While Anni Hogan’s last album, Lost in Blue, featured a variety of collaborators, she has returned to minimalist solo experimental music for the recently released Honeysuckle Burials. Released as Ann Margaret Hogan, Honeysuckle Burials features eight atmospheric pieces that bring together piano and nature field recordings. In an email interview, Hogan discussed the inspirations and process behind the album.
What was the overall timeframe of making Honeysuckle Burials? Was it created as a whole, or does it incorporate material you’d been writing over an extended time period?
AMH: A relatively short time frame really, once I committed, a few weeks from inception to mastering. All the field recordings were made in early July whilst staying in North Wales and the natural sonics fuelled the creative juices on my return, inspiring my response on the piano and in the studio.
What were your inspirations behind the album?
AMH: Nature was the main inspiration, with a backdrop of Pagan aura, recording the sonic spaces whilst walking ancient Welsh hills, topped with relics of Roman hillforts, Neolithic Burial mounds and surrounding natural paradise they inhabit, birdsong, insects, Mother Nature’s palpable murmur. I immersed in this natural beauty for a week, recording each dawn chorus, evening birdsong, field recordings on every walk. I even taped some foxes playing. Once home and back in my Studio Blue I started composing on my baby grand piano in various ways, some improvisations, some worked out more written complete pieces and pieces experimenting with the piano & sound design. I did all the recording in my studio ‘acoustic’ room which has a beautiful and sensitive natural and non evasive reverb, on just 2 mics placed centre room and over the piano. I sometimes played with field recordings in my headphones and other times just me and the piano. I was enthused by a world of Honeysuckles and Burial Mounds … a combination of the natural elements and the pianist inner peace sanctity of repetitive patterns and melodious cycles, circles…the album came very naturally is what I’m trying to say. I connected emotionally with all those elements in Wales and I truly felt their presence when playing and producing Honeysuckle Burials. I still often summon them to mind very easily and specifically, particularly now in lockdown. Summoning a visual escape, a memory psychedelic perhaps.
What made you release Honeysuckle Burials as Ann Margaret Hogan rather than Anni Hogan?
AMH: I wanted to reset with a return to my more experimental minimal pianist self, it seemed very natural to use my own actual given name to express myself artistically, with this slightly altered perspective, so.. Ann Margaret Hogan.
The album has a cinematic feel to it. Have you done any videos for it, or are you planning on it? Or would you perhaps like to see music used on soundtracks?
AMH: No videos, but I am certainly open to any film directors out there : )
In terms of the overall flow, was it obvious how the album should be structured or a challenge coming up with the perfect track sequencing?
AMH: The sequencing was actually suggested by Downwards’ label owner Karl O’Connor and it was perfect.
Is there anything else you’d like the mention about Honeysuckle Burials?
AMH: I drew some inspiration from Ryuichi Sakamoto and his beautiful film Coda, which inspired the title Coda for one of my pieces in his honour. Stripping the elements down, simplifying the sonics to enable the compositions to reveal their magic was my guiding mantra.
Are you currently working on any other projects?
AMH: I am always working on something, I go into the studio pretty much every day and spend a lot of time playing the piano and recently I have been really getting into my 1961 Wurlitzer organ. Very sexy.
I have actually recently composed the follow up to Honeysuckle Burials and I am currently working on various musical adventures with Downwards and Regis.
Be sure to also check out the extensive interview I did with Anni for Pleasekillme.com
Click here to purchase Honeysuckle Burials.
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