Recording An Hour for Piano

This post is the fourth in (what I hope will become) a long series of posts telling the stories behind my albums. An archive of all posts in the series can be found here: The Stories of Irritable Hedgehog.

My wife once asked me, as I was gearing up for a recent recording session, if I was anxious about the process. After all, if you mess up, you get a chance to go back and try it again. I though for a moment and responded that a mistake in a live performance, while annoying, is fleeting and can be forgiven. In a recording session, you have to be able to execute every note perfectly within a few takes; if you can’t do that, your imperfections become enshrined.

Intellectually, I knew this as I warmed up for my first recording session, but nothing could prepare me for that new type of performance anxiety.

AHfP Recording Session
Me at my first recording session, seemingly focused but mostly scared.

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Becoming a Human Metronome

This post is the third in (what I hope will become) a long series of posts telling the stories behind my albums. An archive of all posts in the series can be found here: The Stories of Irritable Hedgehog.

Quarter note equals 59.225 beats per minute. That remains the oddest metronome marking I’ve encountered in my admittedly short career. The reason Tom Johnson used that tempo for An Hour for Piano is easy enough to deduce—he wrote a piece that was 3,553.5 beats long and wanted it to have a final duration of exactly one hour (3553.5 beats / 60 min = 59.225 bpm)—but to understand why the tempo remains unwavering and why an hour is important, we have to turn to the man himself.

Andy Lee and Tom Johnson
Me and Tom Johnson, Kansas City, Second International Conference on Minimalist Music, 2009

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Setting a Path for Irritable Hedgehog

This post is the second in (what I hope will become) a long series of posts telling the stories behind my albums. The complete series archive can be found here: The Stories of Irritable Hedgehog.

There must have been a point where David McIntire asked me if I wanted to start a record label with him, but for the life of me I can’t remember that taking place. I can recall several conversations we had concerning the logistics of our endeavor, but the initial question eludes me. I’m still debating what to make of that. 🙂

There are many aspects of starting a label that I could write about, but we continue to reevaluate many of those choices. Instead, at the risk of writing a less narrative-driven post, I’d like to focus on just a few decisions we made that have become essential to Irritable Hedgehog’s identity. My next post will get back to more stories with my quest to become a human metronome.

Irritable Hedgehog Logo
David’s daughter, Eileen, drew our awesome logo

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Discovering An Hour for Piano

This post is the first in (what I hope will become) a long series of posts telling the stories behind my albums. The complete series archive can be found here: The Stories of Irritable Hedgehog.

On March 4 of this year, Irritable Hedgehog Music released my tenth album, Adrian Knight: Obsessions. It’s been less than six years since my first album came out, but hopefully you’ll indulge me a bit of retrospection after crossing this milestone. Over the course of the next several months, I hope to tell the stories behind each of these albums—from the joy of discovering and selecting repertoire to the errors and messiness of production. My hope is that this will help you hear these albums as more than cold, fixed products, because to me they represent so much more.

So without further ado, let’s begin with my first album, Tom Johnson: An Hour for Piano.

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