Words by S.R.N. Harrington.
“It’s all about the air in the room and how you connect to the instrument and how you play it and how it comes across” said Jimmy Galvin in an interview with Macprovideo. Air, stillness, authenticity. That’s what I’ve taken from Galvin’s most recent album A Million Seconds Make Eleven Days.
Galvin is a visual artist, a self-taught pianist and musical composer living in Bristol. He has composed for the BBC and Channel 4 and displayed his works alongside the likes of Sir Peter Blake, Damien Hirst and Antony Gormley.
This album proves to be no less impressive; recorded in one take in the space of two hours with no breaks – save for one song re-recorded. Jimmy Galvin hears the mistakes on the album, and you are invited to try to listen out for them too. This is, after all, what real and honest music sounds like.
Honesty is the key to this album, and speaking to Jimmy revealed the open-eyed and open-armed man that I was anticipating.
The clear contrast between Galvin’s bold, in his own words, “in your face big hard visual statements” and the careful, intricate music he creates is clear and at times a little astounding. He switches between visual art and music depending on where he feels his creativity lies that day. But Galvin sees both music and art as a device to allow us to reflect, he sees both as a way to “change the perspective about how people see and engage with the world”. Where his visual art screams at its observer, his music whispers; Galvin’s music challenges you with its raw simplicity. In this album Galvin offers neither himself nor the listener a hiding place; remastered at Abbey Road Studios by Andy Walters, the album’s live sound makes a participant rather than an observer out of its listener. You are not sat at home listening, you are in the room with Jimmy while he plays, and time moves by.
A Million Seconds Make Eleven Days is reminiscent of the poignant clarity of Erik Satie, but the underlying current remains – time is moving on. A man ever fascinated by the impact of time, Galvin cast the scene back to 1980s New York when discussing the role art plays in today’s society. Back then, art and music “happened in spite of no money. These days it’s all about tokenism, it’s about buying a lifestyle and not creating one.” And so Galvin holds fast to the art and music that he believes in; the art and music that is not there to monopolise but to centralize.
Time. Time is the key here, the silences he leaves us suspended in and the notes that are trickled into the listener’s ears. Where the album urges the listener to consider time in the immediate sense it also models clean, matter of fact creating for a younger generation. The artists marooned in a consumerist culture denounced so heartily by that Galvin; he prescribes, quite simply, the honesty he himself lives by. “I would humbly say to anyone if you really believe you have something worthwhile to say then don’t ever compromise, that’s all you ever really have it’s about being honest when so much is fake these days. If you are driven and have that creative drive then listen to your heart.”
A Million Seconds Makes Eleven Days is available via ITUNES or AMAZON as downloads or signed hard copy CD signed with limited edition set of 4 art cards via his web site http://www.
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