The two weeks I spent on my artist residency in Courthouse Arts Centre Tinahely was truly inspiring and nourishing as an artist. It was also a challenge, but that is what sparks creativity. Getting out of your comfort zone is always good!
Here is a little piece I wrote as a reflection on my time there
The 14-day Navigator Jazz Residency programme is run by Improvised Music Company and it offers jazz and improvising musicians professionally remunerated time and space to develop and perform work, while building relationships locally.
It’s a wonderful opportunity to be embarking on this residency. As an artist it is rare to get the support to focus on your work for an extended period, away from the distractions of day to day life, and I feel very fortunate for this opportunity.
Community engagement with the arts is something very close to my heart and I’m really excited to work with and be inspired by the local community of Tinahely.
In recent times, nature has been inspiring my work more and more. I’m also looking forward to drawing inspiration from the beautiful surrounds of Co. Wicklow and the nearby ancient oak trees of Tomnafinnoge Woods.
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.
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..
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)