The musical moments which happen during free improv have always been the most exciting to me. This series of six pieces is my effort to capture that in the compositional process. Created with support from Arts Council Ireland’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Award.
I am thrilled to be a part of Improvised Music Company’s series ‘Piece by Piece’! Thoroughly looking forward to sharing the piece I have created, which brings together my work as a jazz guitarist and also my electronic production work as Penji. It will premiere next Friday 27th Nov at 8pm.
Here is what IMC have to say about Piece by Piece:
The first series of Piece by Piece demonstrated the rich possibilities of the online medium, as some of Ireland’s finest improvising artists created new musical works. Creative use of film and manipulated visuals showed the artists’ inspirations and thought processes, and became as much part of the experience as the music. With a fresh impetus for this second season of Piece by Piece, the principle of interconnectedness will continue, with each artist’s performance influencing or inspiring the next. Piece by piece, artists will create new improvised work, based on the preceding work. The full freedom of improvisation and spontaneous creation, and a diverse range of artists whose practice often expands beyond the musical will make for distinctive digital experiences.
These eight sequential solo performances Piece by Piece Season 2, will be broadcast via IMC’s YouTube channel, as well as IMC’s social media platforms on Fridays at 8pm, beginning on Friday 27th November with a ‘live’ solo performance from Galway-based guitarist and electronic improviser Aengus Hackett. Other artists commissioned in this series include vocalist and electronics composer Jenna Harris, innovati ve Belfast drummer Steve Davis, guitarist and composer Chris Guilfoyle, sound and performance artist Vicky Langan, keyboard and gamelan explorer Bianca Gannon, critically-acclaimed vocalist and composer Lauren Kinsella, and dynamic alto-sax player Chris Engel. Enjoy fresh new music, influenced in real-time, from world-class Irish improvising musicians, telling the story of these times through new music and live performance, piece by piece.
Here is ‘A Life Lived’, the second video of my new series of compositions. I don’t usually share personal matters on my website, but this needs an introduction.
The pandemic and lockdown have been tough on everyone, and I had the added sorrow of my father passing away last April. I composed these pieces mostly during the summer, and I’d like to say it was clear sailing, but it wasn’t. The grief of losing my Dad was really awful at times, and it was compounded by the fact that we couldn’t have a regular funeral for months afterward. I honestly had to dig deep to write this music, and while it was tough, it was cathartic too. Lots of people are going through challenging times these days, and I’m sure that this is a story shared by countless others. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost someone during this awful pandemic. This piece is dedicated to my father Richard, and if you find expression in it for your story, then it’s dedicated to you and the loved ones you have lost too.
I’m proud to present my contribution which was supported by the Arts Council Ireland Covid-19 Crisis Response Award.
I have composed and recorded six new pieces for guitar and electronics, and two live videos. I set myself a strict method of composing through improvisation. So all the main thematic material was written in the heat of the moment and the pieces were meticulously finished afterwards. It was an interesting process and I’m pretty happy with the result!
All will be revealed in the coming days and weeks, so please stay tuned..
Very much looking forward to next week as I will be working with one of Ireland’s leading ensembles, the ConTempo Quartet!
This wonderful project is put together by Galway Music Residency. The concept is to combine the classical string group with a jazz ensemble featuring myself and three of the finest exponents of jazz coming out of the west of Ireland; Matthew Berrill, Barry Donohue and Róisín Mulliez.
We will perform a selection of Matthew’s compositions and some jazz standards, all arranged by Matthew Berrill.
Absolutely thrilled to be part of this socially-distanced project. Massive thanks to GMR for keeping the scene alive during #COVID-19!
Leading Irish publication The Journal of Music have written an extremely positive review of my Penji EP! Here’s a nice extract:
“Adopting the name of Penji for his solo project, Hackett appears to have taken his most interesting musical digression…in the process (Penji) has created a groove-laden sound that is augmented by weighty beats, shimmering processed guitar and warm synths. These are songs to reward repeated listens as various elements seep up to the surface and reveal themselves.. With this EP, Penji has revealed a knack of merging the ecstatic with the downbeat.”
Don O’Mahony, The Journal of Music (read full review here)