Morgan Szymansi / Tommy Perman – Music for the Moon and the Trees

Music for the Moon and the Trees by classical guitarist Morgan Szymanski and experimental musician Tommy Perman is the result of a long-held wish that the two childhood friends would get the chance to create an album together. It’s a meditative album; a gentle thing of serene beauty and quiet innovation.

Taking advantage of a break in the Mexico-based guitarist’s busy touring schedule, the duo took to a woodland cottage in rural Scotland to record the album over five days in midsummer 2019, using solar and wind power generated entirely on-site.

Arriving from Venice, Morgan joined Tommy in Perthshire for a night of listening to music and chatting by the light of a fire and the full moon about the album they might create together. Tommy shared Japanese electronic musician Isao Tomita’s 1970s electronic reworking of Clair De Lune. Both Morgan and Tommy’s father share a birthday with Claude Debussy, and these coincidences persuaded them to quote from Clair De Lune in the recordings they made throughout the week.

All of the sounds heard on the album were recorded in the woodland surrounding the cottage. There was a childlike sense of wonder as the duo recorded the sounds of the trees, birds, bats and an assortment of found percussion. Convolution reverbs were created by snapping twigs and pinging spruce branches. Much of the music was improvised with live single-take performances by Morgan combined with Tommy’s computer generative improvisations.

Morgan had just collected a new guitar made for him by Italian master luthier Luciano Lovadina. Luciano chooses the wood for his guitars by walking into the forest when the moon is full and listening to the sound of the trees. He selects the most resonant Italian red spruce, which is felled and seasoned for a year. The guitar made for Morgan is particularly resonant, which can be heard in the rich harmonics on the album.

They returned to their busy lives at the end of the week, and Tommy worked on producing the recordings over the next nine months – finishing it during the UK’s first coronavirus lockdown.

Music for the Moon and the Trees is an album shaped as much by their changing environment as their fusion of talents, it’s an understated record with immense depth and delicacy. It’s a rich tribute to the many powerful forces at play and conjures up both the calm and the uncanny, inviting whoever listens to it to press pause on the outside world for a brief spell.

Released on 05.08.22 on 12” eco-mix vinyl, limited to 300 uniquely pressed copies. Cover artwork by printmaker Angie Lewin.

blackfordhill.bandcamp.com/album/music-for-the-moon-and-the-trees