The third series of our “Project XII” starts this year with the release of Home by Hamburg-based composer and pianist, Abbott. His story doesn’t begin as a child with virtuoso fingers flying over piano keys. Instead, his story begins in his youth with YouTube tutorials and a passion for film music. What follows are a degree at the Artez Conservatorium in the Netherlands, commissioned work in the Mecca of film-music Los Angeles and music compositions and productions in Hamburg.
The song Home is Abbott’s search for the literal meaning of the word ‘home’. He doesn’t see it as a physical place, but rather connects it with having certain people around him. This closeness, that he captures musically in ‘Home’, is also present in the production process. To preserve the personal and intimate character of the song, he collaborates with close friends and companions. This includes the talented cellist Ruben Jeyasunduram, who recorded every cello part.
Home captures the essential spirit of Abbott’s music, simple and stripped back yet saturated with strong emotions. The 25-year-old Dutch musician, otherwise known as Thomas Muis, is part of Hamburg-based 2WEI, a collective of composers acclaimed for their music for films, games, commercials and movie trailers. He adopted the artistic alias of Abbott to create a separate space in which to develop his musical ideas and language away from his day-to-day work.
His music combines influences from composers such as Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson and Arvo Pärt with his own distinctive lyrical voice. Pärt’s example, he notes, has helped him convey emotion in music without the need to use “all the bells and whistles”.
Abbott believes that less equals more when it comes to melody and harmony. He has created an intimate, uplifting score for “XII”, a delicate counterpoint of sounds for piano, cello, vocal ensemble and electronics.
“XII” has grown with new compositions every month since its launch in January 2019. The pioneering project’s diverse catalogue is set to gain another dozen pieces in the coming year, starting on 29 January 2021 with the release of Home by Abbott. The monthly rollout continues with works by, among others, Marie Awadis, Dobrawa Czocher and Niklas Paschburg.
“We set out to pinpoint music that has the power to make itself heard among the enormous number of new tracks released online every month,” comments Christian Badzura, Vice President A&R New Repertoire at Deutsche Grammophon. “Our third series of releases shows the strength and depth of emerging talent. We know there’s a hunger and passion to hear fresh new voices and that the works chosen for ‘XII’ speak directly to the hearts of listeners worldwide.”
The single is released for download and stream today, 29 January 2021.