+ Holiday music is here. Ambient Piano Christmas: Volume 1 is available (digital download only) at CdBaby, iTunes, Amazon, and more! Ambient Piano Christmas: Volume 1 is here! The first Christmas album, of hopefully many to come, was released November 20th, 2012.
This release features only the classic Christmas carols of the West including Away In A Manger, What Child Is This, Hark The Herald Angels Sing, and O Come All Ye Faithful. Nathan has capitalized in a solo piano sound that is clear, ethereal, often times pleasantly 'dark' in tone. The result is a smooth ambient piano that sets a distinct sound for this genre of music.
Ambient Piano Christmas: Volume 1 is far from an attempt to reinvent the wheel of classic Christmas carol; instead, Nathan Speir has captured renown melodies and colored them with his timeless style. This is a Christmas album that you and your loved ones will enjoy for years to come.
Ambient Piano Christmas: Volume 1 is exclusively available this year in download format. It is possible that the future years will see a physical cd availble for purchase as well.
Ambient Piano Christmas Volume 2 is a sequel album to Ambient Piano Christmas Volume 1 with several personal religious reflections of the season.
This new solo piano album is full of original compositions this time with the exception of two tracks: Adaptation for Kontakion of the Nativity(originating from an ancient Byzantine hymn of the Christian Orthodox Church) and Huron Carol Adaptation (from the traditional Canadian carol).
When The Snow Began To Glisten begins the album with an optimistic seasonal picture of winter beauty. Then the solo piano version of Warmth In Winter paints a quintessential feeling of warmth and joy that is possible for us to have because of "Christ" in Christmas. Next is a cinematic piece, A Fervent Winter Guide, about the three magi following the Star of Bethlehem and the parallel that we can choose to follow the Light of Christ in our life instead of the wisdom of the world in its winter of darkness without God. Following is If The Star Was An Angel based on one tradition of the Orthodox Church that suggests the Star of Bethlehem was actually the Archangel Gabriel; it is in this context I created this piece with a fascination for the possibility of entertaining angels unknown to us, in our lives. The two cover tracks follow, and then the solo piano version of Humble Holy Healer, who is the infant Jesus Christ born in a humble manger, God incarnate, and healer of mankind. Second to last on the album is Embers Still Remain with the image of remaining warmth, light, and hope that is apparent at the end of a vigilant house fire in the late hours of the night; also, the remembrance of many lonely souls who have the hardest time with depression during the "holiday season".
Pastoral Winter Joy is the finale ending on a positive tone with the joy that we all may have through winter, the year, our life.
I hope you enjoy the album sampler and have a trouble free download at your choice of purchase.
Thank you for supporting my music, and I wish you a peaceful and joyous winter season!
~ Nathan Speir
A first EP (actually a "single") release from pianist, multi-instrumentalist and composer Nathan Speir, BMI. Three tracks are featured from the 2015 release Ambient Piano Christmas Volume 2, which is a solo piano ambient album; however, these three songs have been re-recorded with additional instrumentation performed by Nathan Speir at his home studio in Winston Salem, NC. Warmth In Winter is a light hearted seasonal piece accompanied by strings, bell sticks, and a low Irish whistle. A Fervent Winter Guide EP is a mystical soundscape including more strings, chimes and bells...it eludes to a theme of three magi following a bright star to Bethlehem. Finally, Humble Holy Healer is a three instrument piece for piano, classical guitar, and native american flute; it is really a bonus track that could easily exceed the boundary and theme "Holiday Music". Nathan Speir comments on Humble Holy Healer saying "I actually conceived this piece more in mind for the EP than the full release Ambient Piano Christmas Volume 2. My context or conceptual imagery for the music of Humble Holy Healer was the Nativity of baby Jesus Christ born in a humble manger who would soon become the legendary holy healer of mankind."
"The Emotive Leaf" is a rich experience that connects broad emotive themes with a universally 'personal' journey. From 2013 to the present date Nathan Speir has written, performed, recorded, and produced a double disc album that has become "The Emotive Leaf." It is his sixth album self-produced as an independent artist.
As a pianist and composer putting on the 'producer cap', Nathan Speir used the best resources for piano he could afford, and then he painted several other textures around it. Having no desire to hide the beauty of solo piano, as most of his music has been piano based, Nathan Speir was compelled to relay a host of impressions from recent inner journeys that needed to be expressed this way. The result on disc one was an emotionally moving, piano based, ambient chamber soundtrack.
Describing in his own words Nathan Speir says "Producing this album was like getting in my only and best car (my home studio) and driving it to a new and unknown destination, setting up camp and bringing back photos and memories of those recent experiences. Kind of an emotive novel summed up on a leaflet ....'The Emotive Leaf'. All these new instrumental textures were included to relay those impressions from the recent journey...internal. I found a place there that was on the edge of timelessness....impressions of the maze of time casting a shadow on eternity, it was where no words can reach.
I know that I was able to capture the essence of this music because I had to wipe the tears off after performing each piece during the recording. I believe that deep inside our heart is a well of experiences and emotions, and they are precious. In my inner journeys these past seasons, I put some of those archetypes on a musical leaflet. I imagined that part of us is like a leaf on a tree that processes food and, at the same time, plays the role of a catharsis for the oraginsm. What I am describing is 'The Emotive Leaf'...our noetic heart."
In disc one, Nathan Speir painted synths, classical guitar, native american flute, and several fine digitally sampled instruments around the piano. Its a noticeably evolutionary step in Nathan Speir's sonic palette. In other respects, this first half of the album is a comparative milestone of overall production from his first release in 2006, "Between Earth & Sky".
However, Nathan Speir didn't stop there. He felt obligated to included a second disc that was entirely solo piano for his fans of solo piano and for the sheer enjoyment and simplicity that these compositions had to offer in this medium. Disc two offers a wonderfully toned grand piano sound. Comparative to a George Winston solo piano album, you could say that Nathan's solo piano tone is a little 'darker' in timber and overtones, but it is effectively pure solo piano nonetheless. "The Bicycle" is the only unique composition that the second disc features apart from disc one. More importantly, the re-interpretation of the tracks from disc-one's ambient chamber into solo piano is a very complementary experience to this album in its entirety.
+ A Day of Poetry
It's an exposition of solo piano and a new found interest in compositions for four hands, chamber string accompaniment, and tasteful reverb. A Day of Poetry is an expression and fruit of poetic moments lived and dreamed. Like the artwork on the front cover, this album has a somewhat ethereal nature to it. It has a fluent and gentle pace that every melody and phrase played embraces with ease and enchantment. With the nice dark piano and elegant strings, this album falls right into the the category of ambient chamber music.
"A Day of Poetry is an exceptional listening experience - either with full attention or in the background. Fans of ambient piano and chamber music would do well to check this one out!" -Kathy Parsons, Mainly Piano.com
"The music moves in different directions weaving a tapestry of aural sounds into enticing packages of musical candy for listeners of new age, instrumental, classical, experimental, and ambient music. There are no worries here, as the music is intelligently-composed and deliciously-delivered with heartfelt intentions." - Mathew Forss
+ A Day of Poetry is now available at CdBaby, itunes, Amazon, and more!
Nathan's Piano is the debut solo piano album for Nathan Speir. Nice dark piano in tracks like "It's Not When". Titles like "Where Did That" give you challenging and stimulating thoughts to sift with as you listen to the melodramtic yet playful performance. Softer and deeper songs like "Drifting" and "Precious Moment" take you where ever you let them...perhaps, closer to the heart.
The last two tracks of the album are instrumental bonus tracks.
Brighter Days is Nathan Speir's third release. This instrumental album features piano, synths, percussion, and phonetic vocals. It's a metaphorical sound track that weaves in and out of ambient soundscapes and colorful piano based compositions.
"New Horizons" begins with quick and loose ascending arpeggios simulating the dawn of a new day. "The Fresh Air" is a feel-good track that may be considered a genre crossing song with its lite jazz improvisational bridges. The title track "Brighter Days" and later track "Refraction" are compositions for two pianos, of which both parts were simultaneously recorded by Nathan. Rich in electronic textures and featuring field recorded samples, "Early Spring" and "Surreal Afternoon" are the most ambient in nature and contribute another dimension to the album. In "Your Smile", Nathan has bravely embraced the option of his own vocals in three part harmony and counterpart. After a brief and slightly uptempo denouement, "Keeping Time" leads the listener to the close of a beautiful day with plenty to appreciate.........in the spacious "Cusp of Twilight".
California-born and based in North Carolina, Nathan Speir adds another dimension to contemporary instrumental piano music with colorful ambient sound-scapes and genre-bending, new age, classical, and jazz idioms. Brighter Days is a fourteen-track release that incorporates solo piano with synth, percussion, and fluid musical melodies that are serene and contemplative throughout.
“New Horizons” opens with a delicate, sweeping piano melody that echoes with cheery luminosity that is broken up by a few metallic bell sounds. Atmospheric washes of noise fill the background with vibrant soul and a multi-layered sound with thick textures. The ambient washes decrease, as the piano sounds flutter wildly. The soft piano tones are relatively reserved with a minimal musical range, as many of the notes are repeated for a dreamy effect. The lack of much variation is not particularly off-putting. At any rate, the song is a fitting introduction to the rest of the album.
“The Fresh Air” opens with a fluid, metallic bell sound that persists with some background percussion and flute-like, synth noises. The airy flute cuts out, as the light, jazz-focused percussion fills in the remaining sounds. The piano also appears to add some texture to the song. This is a fairly textured song with piano, percussion, synth flutes, metallic bells, and atmospheric washes. The crystalline and metallic bells permeate the song with fluid music that is never too ho-hum. In fact, the flute stylings and harmonious array of sounds near the end of the song provides an energetic listening experience.
“Quiet Hours” begins with a clang of a bell and a faint hint of muted percussion sounds. There is little in the way of additional instrumentation. The muted crystalline tones resemble East Asian gongs to a point and the whole set-up is rather rudimentary and avant-garde. The instrumental tune is only two-minutes long without additional piano sounds. The end of the song features cymbal-like sounds.
“Remission” opens with a soft, piano melody without much additional instrumentation, until symphonic ambient washes of cinematic sound fill in the background. There are instances of metallic clinks, sparkles, and whirrs, too. However, the plaintive piano melody is most evident, as it is very serene and calming.
“Cusp of Twilight” opens with a few light piano-like tones and twinkling of metal. A deep, atmospheric wash is steady, foreboding, and all-encompassing. The metallic chimes and piano offset each other with a fine interplay that is very delicate and precise. The piano-like tones change from fairly clear and bright to slightly muted, as the atmospheric elements bridge everything together. Overall, the song is relatively slow, but highly-contemplative.
“Give Thanks” opens with an airy synth sound, light percussion, and tabla-like drum sounds. The atmospheric waves of sound brighten the instrumentation. There are hints of tinny cymbals, whooshes of electronic sound, wood blocks, piano keys, and swishy percussion. The music is best described as light electronic dance music. The instrumental tune is a spacey version of Enigma’s dance elements, but it is still inherently unique, experimental, and most of all—enthralling. By the end of the song, the percussion is a little more active and rock-like elements appear—only for a moment. There are touches of jazz, new age, world, and avant-garde, which create the most diverse track on the album.
Nathan Speir’s latest, Brighter Days, is an album of extreme virtuosity on the piano, synth, and percussion. The album is relatively reserved; except for a few upbeat tracks. The ambient sound-scapes on many of the tracks suggest a strong new age and electronic presence, which still retains some world beat and jazz foundations. Overall, Brighter Days does not suffer from any deficiency.
Artist: Nathan Speir
Album: Brighter Days Review by Matthew Forss
Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)
Nathan's first ever release encompasses the breadth and spaces of thought and emotion in that realm between the terrestrial and etherial. Piano, synths, wind chimes, gameland bells, and native american flute build a unique and complementary texture. From start to finish, every track flows into the next preparing the listener for instant replay. Sit back, close your eyes, and drift into the spaces between earth and sky.