Release Date: Aug 19, 2016
Record label: Erased Tapes Records
The creative process that Peter Broderick undertook to record his new album, Partners, is almost as fascinating as the record itself. The figure of John Cage looms heavily over Partners, Broderick citing him as an inspiration and including a rendition of his 1948 composition In A Landscape – Cage was a proponent of ‘chance operations’ to compose music, and it was on this basis that Broderick recorded Partners. So, before a note was recorded, Broderick wrote a series of poems, assigned each poem a number, and then rolled a dice to decide which poems would make it onto the album.
Announcing the release of Partners, Peter Broderick included as part of the notice the text of an email from February that he had written to Robert Raths of Erased Tapes about the album. Its sentiment brings to mind a short passage from the writer Alexis M. Smith’s new novel, Marrow Island, which is set in the author’s native Pacific Northwest: “’What we hold on to says a lot,’ Sister J.
As a love letter to John Cage, multi-instrumentalist and composer Peter Broderick based most of his seventh solo album Partners on Cage’s concept of chance-based composition. Before writing any of the album’s original material, Broderick learned to play Cage’s solo piano piece “In a Landscape” by listening to various recorded versions and breaking them down note for note. That process inspired him to look beyond Cage’s musical ideas and deeper into the venerated composer’s philosophical leanings and overall approach to living.
Peter Broderick is a musical polymath; he can probably play more instruments than you can name. He’s also capable of working in many different roles and modes: such as singer-songwriter as seen on last year’s superb Colours of the Night, supporting player as seen on his sister Heather Woods Broderick’s Glider and on Laura Gibson’s Empire Builder (one of the finest songwriter releases of the year thus far). He’s also scored films and dances, composed work for art installations and generally written and released music in a wide variety of different genres.
Regarded as one of the leading Avant-Garde experimentalists of his day, the late composer John Cage was known for his love of innovation and unpredictability. “The world is teeming”, he once said, “anything can happen…I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas, I’m frightened of old ones.” It is perhaps unsurprising then that Peter Broderick, an artist whose career is characterised by breathless invention and spontaneity, turns to Cage for inspiration on his latest album, Partners. Since his debut with Eferklang in 2007, Broderick has produced a wealth of critically acclaimed collaborative and solo outputs unmatched by his peers.