Pieter de graaf


directed or moving backwards.
“a retrograde flow”

Retrograde is the new album of Pieter de Graaf. From studying jazz at the conservatory and playing as a pianist in a large number of bands in numerous different styles, Pieter at a certain point decided he wanted to be free. Musically free. 

Fermata was the first album that was born from his new insight. After Fermata, Pieter released his EP ‘Vortex’, with which he received the prestigious Dutch Edison Award in 2020. As a second album Pieter released ‘Equinox’(2021)  and the last EP he released was ‘Home’.

His new album, Retrograde, marks Pieters constant search for musical freedom. On his previously released music, the piano is the main instrument. On this album however, for the first time there are tracks with a much smaller part for the piano. In this sense Pieter approached composing and producing  in a very different way than before, and therefore the title ‘Retrograde’, (lit. directed or moving backwards),  fits very well. In his search for sounds translating Pieter’s feelings when thinking of the universe he experimented with all sorts of instruments and items. There’s flutes, melodica, voices, synthesizers, pieces of wood and lots of toys-  like a humming top. All the productions on the album are inspired by the enormous space the universe consists of and the sheer amount of undiscovered and unknown places, materials and energies.

Pieter’s longtime interest for the universe started as a young boy. His father, a philosopher, also had an immense interest for it and Pieter was fed with questions from a young age. During his life, Pieter kept on thinking and reading about subjects related to the universe. According to Pieter, the unexplored places and unexplained realities of the universe relate to music and art in a very close way. Music also is still unexplained in many ways and has lots of unknown places. For example: Why does a minor third sounds sad and a major third happy, for everyone? His interest in the universe has already left its marks in previous music and albums. The title of the second album ‘Equinox’ is universe related as well as songs Pieter released such as Supernova and Event Horizon. This is the first time however, that Pieter focusses totally on this subject and has dedicated a total album to it. 

The titles of the tracks already give a good impression of what you might expect when listening to it: Quasar, Interference, Nebula, Space Cowboy, Eclipse, Asteroid Fuga, The Dark Side of the Moon, Space Requiem and Something from Nothing. When listening, you can expect to be taken along on a journey through the galaxy, passing big voids, falling asteroids or shining stars. This is all translated to music by layers of sounds you don’t always expect. While listening to a slow wall of sound, every once in a while, you’ll be taken by surprise to a new chapter, where a heavy distorted beat comes along.  It’s an album of surprises. From small intimate piano pieces of which we know Pieter till distorted beats with unexpected melodies. A new journey Pieter made.

Like his album, his live tour is all about the universe.  The premiere of Pieter’s tour takes place at the planetarium DOT in Groningen (NL), where he already gave a preview during a sold-out show at festival Eurosonic Noorderslag. In it, Pieter de Graaf took the audience on an extraordinary musical and visual journey through the universe.

Both his new album and live set are a wonderful and intriguing journey that every music lover should make with him, by listening to this and experiencing it.