Pieter de graaf

Home, the new EP by pianist and composer Pieter de Graaf, is the sound of reconciliation. A reconciliation of body and mind, to be exact. For many artists this reconciliation is implicit, but Pieter took quite a detour to arrive at the liberation of these five intimate compositions.

Coming home has been a long and intense process for Pieter. At the start of his career, he blossomed as a keen talent who could adapt all kinds of styles – pop, jazz, classical – down to the most complex theory and techniques. That brought him on the path of artists such as Colin Benders – with his Kyteman Orchestra – and Wouter Hamel, with whom he toured all over the world.

After a period of creative and physical toil, Pieter had to reinvent his entire approach and technique of piano playing. The records he made from that point on called for a different approach. After the new beginning captured on Fermata, the daring adventure that was Equinox, Home captures the return to natural pastures: feeling at home within a space, but also within one’s own body and mind. This time around, Pieter chose to compose a handful of the songs behind the grand piano.

During the live project Extemporization, a 10-hour improvisation concert in the Great Hall of TivoliVredenburg, he rekindled his love for the instrument. “With a piano the strings are stretched upright and the sound returns directly to your face. But with a grand piano the strings are stretched horizontally, and the sound therefore dissipates a little more into space. A piano also makes the space feel smaller and more covered, being hidden behind the piano in your own space, and with a grand piano you look over it and therefore out in the open.”

Where he enthusiastically chased new sounds making predecessor Equinox, on Home, he poured that newly-earned musical freedom into more elementary song structures. The construction of his brand new home studio was just wrapping up when he started placing the microphones to record the songs. The minimalist ‘Labyrinth’ does not immediately start with a harmony, but searches for the emotional core at its own desired pace. As the title also reveals, this song embodies a certain twisting movement, a detour you take to find inner resolve and peace in mind.

With ‘Castle In The Air’ you sense that Pieter has reached a familiar place: the warm melodies are only subtly supported by electronic elements. The long detour leads to an open space in which to maneuver freely. On Home you will hear a renewed relationship between artist and instrument: crisp, free and with a clear view towards the future. “Home also refers to my home studio, feeling physically at home in my own body and also coming home musically. And give free rein to everything you’ve learned and done. My main rule is always that I have to feel it. I don’t think it’s until a musician feels something one hundred percent that other people start to feel it too. And I think that’s the beauty of music.”