Four Songs in E blends the acoustic and electronic, two opposing parts, spun into an organic whole.

Four Songs in E is a fabric made from threads of piano and electronics. Together they form a powerful statement about technology. Every individual’s impression is unique. By default, listening to music, whether in a crowd or in a quiet room, is always an experience disconnected from your neighbor. No matter how technologically driven and hyperconnected our daily experiences become, music will always remain a powerful tool to embrace the individuality of experience.

I’ve read that you’re a critic of technology. Can you elaborate on that and explain how your views on technology have impacted the way you compose music?

I wouldn't describe myself that way at all - I'm guessing you got that from my 'meditative piano music in a hyper-connected world' line I use sometimes? All that is meant by that is my music is, I hope, a way that a person can create some space in their life, as everything is so hyper-connected now. That hyper-connectedness has had many benefits in my life - I wouldn't have implemented things like mindfulness and my vegan diet if I hadn't discovered these things on social media. Social media certainly has its negatives, but I think they are mostly outweighed by the positives! Technology plays a big part in my composing; it's how I render instruments like the clarinet unrecognizable, through uses of things like reverb, delay, and distortion.

I have no doubt that Four Songs in E will quickly be absorbed by the utilitarian and ubiquitous sleep, relaxation, and focus playlists. However, if you listen actively, you’ll quickly discover a level of depth and intellect waiting. Dwelling comfortably within the Zeitgeist of contemporary piano music, Adam Protz gifts his listeners with electronic and melodic dissonance that subverts and elevates the typical experience of solo piano.

How and why do you utilize electronic sounds in your work?

The music I am currently finding the most fascinating is that of Jon Hopkins, who I'm actually seeing live for the first time next week. It's the most excited I've been about a gig for some time. The way his albums will one minute be a huge, hard-hitting dance track, the next a sparsely minimal piano piece - it's just got my attention at the moment, in a big way.

We are part of a universe that has such an inconceivable amount of variation and contrast in it, and I feel that combining traditional and classical instruments with contemporary electronic music is certainly one way of expressing that contrast.

The album is composed of four lengthy tracks. “Elsewhere” is over 12 minutes long. It’s a refreshing format but atypical in the streaming age. The length has great benefits, enabling Adam Protz to slowly build upon delicate piano arrangements and expertly choreographed negative space. The emotive crescendos are precisely crafted. They enter the foreground with an intense emotional force, capturing your meandering thoughts and blanketing them with a deep cinematic importance. These moments are a glorious reward for patient listening and they linger in the mind long after the composition moves on.

Your music enables the listener to bring their own personal and emotional thoughts into the experience of listening to your work. As a composer, are you able to have a similar experience? I’d like to know what your relationship is with the completed work and what you take from it.

Yes, I have noticed that I sometimes experience my music in new ways on different listens, even though I was the one to compose it. That is a crazy thing, no? My current relationship with the completed Four Songs In E is that I've got slightly lost in the world of marketing it online, and not getting myself at a piano and playing as much. I've got a little stuck in the mindset that because my music is niche, performance opportunities are limited. Hopefully, I can overcome this belief. There is undeniably always a new way to experience one's own music by performing it, either live or privately. That is always a rich and new way to go about it, particularly when an audience is present!

Cover Art by Scott English

Photography by Shebani Walia