Covid has been responsible for much fascinating music evolving over the long, often lonely days of isolation and frustration. Swim to America Volumes 1-3, is one such project that was created by pianist Doug Hammer and his love of the music created by Swizz pop-rocker Stephan Eicher.
In 2019 Eicher put out one sheet of his music, encouraged pianists to play it and post the end results. This simple request eventually led to Hammer and Eicher coming together in a collaboration that has created some wonderful, vibrant and absolutely enjoyable music that now fills three volumes.
Along the three-year journey to the release of Swim to America in late April of this year, the beauty of the music of Eicher has reached a new audience, as has the rich beauty of Hammers piano creations through the videos of selected songs.
Each of the pieces on Volume 1 range far and wide, beginning with the delightfully bright and breezy Ce pue d’amour offering a just a little bit of love. Stripped bare the melody of this song is simply beautiful.
Tucked away amongst the more robust songs is the delicate, utterly romantic, Fur Immer, a piece that perfectly acknowledges forever; to love forever in perfect harmony.
Swim to America is a far more sombre song than previous tracks which allows many connotations to be drawn with the slow and yet tantalising deeper melody, that maybe one day America will be a place that can be reached: is it a dream, a reality or an almost forlorn hope.
The quirky Si tu veux (Que je chante) or roughly translated ‘I’ll sing if you want me to sing’, is interesting when you consider the song was written for pop rock; full of sound and husky vocalisation, but when played on the piano is absolutely captivating.
Djain’s Waltz is a slightly up tempo, dainty piece where the mind is immediately enticed to the vision of swirling, twirling dancers as they swoop and dip across a darkened dance floor, involved with each other, lost in their own special time and place, entwined in the delicate moves of the eternally romantic waltz.
Concluding Volume 1 is the reflective Nocturne also performed by Eicher on piano with vocals, which make the two versions vastly interesting as both Hammer and Eicher have retained the same emotion, one with several elements to the score, the other with only the purity of piano. Absolute perfection and the perfect piece to draw a wonderful collection of songs to a soft and gentle farewell, until next time.
The music of Stephen Eicher, a man who is known to sing in several languages, often using several in one song, makes wonderful, easy listening when transferred to piano, which allows an entire genre of music to be enjoyed by a fresh audience.
Hammer and Eicher – two men from vastly different music backgrounds coming together in the desire to share the music in a time when music was for many, the lifeline that bought joy and relaxation into their lives.
|Artists||Doug Hammer in collaboration with Stephen Eicher.|