All music written, performed, recorded, mixed and mastered by Gregory Thomas Hügel.
A nostalgic look over my life. An emotional farewell. A hopeful 'see you soon'.
I sought after a sophisticatedly adventurous, yet intimately introspective path in carving out this debut work. What we are left with stands as a 37-minute linear piece of music, divided into four chapters, all in natural succession.
You see, my first 31 years of life, all spent in New England, have been lived within a mile of one of four rivers: the Aberjona, the Quinnipiac, the Neponset or the Charles. In New England nearly every town or city was built on a river. They give life, passage and an ability to industrialize. Their historical significance plays the most integral part in the settling of those regions, eventually leading to where my family would nest. These rivers bestow life to everything they touch, yet not lauded with the same praise we give to the majesty of the sea they run to.
So I made every attempt to paint each of these rivers, and the invaluable stages and series of events that they each stood by over the course of my life.
To make this narrative come to life I played acoustic instruments, vintage synthesizers and even incorporated elements of musique concrète from monaural field recordings--some of which date back to over a decade ago.
From the opening moments to its close, I found myself ebbing and flowing between waves of Postmodern Minimalism and 19th-Century harmonic cadences. Splashes of angsty moments of aleatoric texture are splattered throughout this work and seem to underscore my emotions best.
Instrumentally, Autobiographie received its start in March of 2015, where I recorded myself playing inside the 'Winchester Cathedral' on a rare German and Italian made Shulze-Pollmann baby grand piano. Standing eight miles from Downtown Boston, resonant and earthy tones were candidly captured inside this great stone edifice.
A relocation to California put any further recording on hold, until I resumed this past June. Here, beneath the hum of the Los Angeles Airport, analogue synthesizers began to slowly rise and fall around those recorded baby grand sequences. Bowed electric bass guitar and violin created strange, yet seemingly familiar tonalities.
Aberjona features an analogue poly-synth that hails from the same year I was born, 1984, to further connect this early self-portrait. Quinnipiac exhibits the rush of the Quinnipiac River to remind us how Nature sings just as well as melodic instruments. Neponset features the Shulze-Pollmann as prepared piano, this time slightly out of tune, creating wonderful chance and metallic sounds. Lastly, Charles opens with Winchester's massive Casavant Frères Pipe Organ, giving way to a mono-synth's four-part counterpoint, followed by a richly layered chordal passage and nocturnal cricket song from my home.
Like a book, this work is linear. It was designed to be taken in from its beginning, to its conclusion. I really hope this music moves you, in the same way that it has moved and changed me during its making.
g r e g o r y