Pitch-perfect piano loops ahoy
North Londoner Theo Alexander is a classically trained Chinese-British composer whose hypnotic piano compositions have appeared on labels like Hackney’s Blank Editions as well as on self-released CD and cassette.
WHY THEO ALEXANDER?
Not to be confused with the Theo Alexander who played an ancient Greek vampire on ‘True Blood’, this Theo Alexander pairs his piano with tape loops for a truly mesmerising take on neoclassical composition.
His new album ‘Sunbathing Through A Glass Screen’ combines complex keyboard melodies, akin to a restless ‘Koyaanisqatsi’, with deeper drones for extra melodic heft. With organ and double bass thrown into the mix, his varied textures have led to comparisons with Nils Frahm and My Bloody Valentine.
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As a child, Alexander learned guitar, cello and piano. However, he ditched the classical life in favour of something much less formal: the noisy world of doom metal. He was in space rockers Lasers From Atlantis, whose brilliantly psychedelic ‘Oscillation Bomb’ can be enjoyed on YouTube, and sound-shredding duo Brightness.
The title of his new record ‘Sunbathing Through A Glass Screen’ is no doubt inspired by one of his heroes, Philip Glass. An experimental approach to composition, mixed with his disposition towards drone music, gives us the Theo Alexander we know now. Starting with 2015’s ‘Fixations’, written for piano quartet, Alexander went on to release five modern classical albums in three years.
“I didn’t realise that classical music could be a much less academic affair,” he explains. “I began to push myself more towards performing my ideas.”
He may not be an ancient vampire, but he’s got bite.
‘Sunbathing Through A Glass Screen’ is released by Arts & Crafts