100 Ian Hawgood 'Love Retained'
Cat no: homen100
Artist: Ian Hawgood
Album: Love Retained
Release Date: 25/12/16
Format: 500 x four panel recycled card CD
As someone whose work deals with human communication and interaction, it may seem ironic that I have kept the depression I have suffered for years a secret from friends and even family. It is easier when you have an intense work schedule and live on the other side of the world from them to mask this of course.
My wife and I took the decision to leave our lives in Japan early in 2015. The intensity of the move and the reasons behind it caused a huge amount of stress for us both and due to our backgrounds we were unable to communicate just how hard this was to any of our friends and family. By early autumn, my mother and sister one day had come over to find me curled up in a ball, unable to speak and in an uncontrollable fit of tears. This was nothing new after a life spent in and out of severe depression but it was the first time family had seen this directly in my adulthood. Severe bouts have led to terrible thoughts, and yes, among them suicidal, but these are the realities of depression.
Silence is the real killer. It feels embarrassing and shameful to speak of such things as it shows weakness, which leads to awful judgement from most people. This may sound negative, but the simple fact is we all judge others whether we want to or not. And those who suffer from depression have a stigma attached to them. That stigma's name is 'pity' and it isn't very helpful in truth, albeit understandable. People who suffer from depression can feel joy, can laugh, and can connect deeply to others, but they also need friends and family to support them now and then in a world where people are growing increasingly alien to one another.
I am happy to say that I have been able to deal with my bouts of depression with the love of my family. However, I have been unable to finish an album myself since 'The Shattered Light', as I found the pressure to complete something in any timeframe caused the stress that would in turn lead to depression. That's five years now, but understanding these triggers really helps in the long run, even if this means I will likely not complete a new album ever again. It is not something that ever goes away, not something that ever really heals. But being aware of it and how to deal with it the best way you can really is fundamental to a half-way passable life. The two genuine attempts to end my life were taken with a twenty year gap, so the struggle never really ends, and I am sure many people out there can appreciate this. You are not alone, even if it feels that way a great deal of the time.
'Love Retained' is a series of mostly piano sketches I made which I had intended for collaboration. The recordings are simply tracked to cassette, and contain no editing or mastering, so you know, filled with 'mistakes'. They are pieces I found really enjoyable to make, and have found I have increasingly enjoyed looping on low levels at night, or when the mind wonders/wanders. They are incomplete and yet it feels right for me to give this to friends, family, and anyone else that this connects to in some way. The incompletion is a beautiful and freeing thing.
Any healing that has happened is purely down to family and friends, so I would like to thank them very much indeed for the connection we all have. I am sorry for not being open about things, for locking myself away and not communicating the good and the bad the past few years. I felt the burden of responsibility for people and things that were never really my burden to bear and I am sorry for not reaching out when I should have. I hope you find some form of communication from me personally through these simple pieces of music.
This release marks my first and last solo release on the label I founded with my friend Ben many moons ago, and also marks me fully stepping down from the label after returning for a bit in 2016. This album has been designed by Christian Roth who has been a dear friend for so long, and along with another great friend in Jeremy Bible, they helped the aesthetic of the label right in those early days. I am so happy and proud of what we have achieved between us, and thank you all for listening and supporting our work.
Finally, this album is for the amazing women in my life. I love you very very much.
All profits from this release will be donated to Mind - a wonderful mental health charity who do incredible work. Please go to http://mind.org.uk/ for more information.
2. March of Soul
3. Morskie Oko
4. Komaya (For Lee, Danny, and Clem)
6. Waves, Again
9. Love Retained
10. For Ste and Tania
All music by Ian Hawgood.
Photography by Melanie Hawgood.
Design by Christian Roth.
- P*Dis / Inpartmaint
'Ian Hawgoodはソロ・アルバムではノイズ〜アンビエント〜ドローン・サウンドのリリースが中心ですが、今作は以前1作だけリリースされているピアノ・ソロのミニ・アルバム『Piano Works』と同じく、シンプルながらも切なく静ひつなピアノが胸を打つピアノ作品となっています。隙のある素朴さ、不完全さがあるからこそ深いところまで響いてくる、エモーショアルな愛が込められたアルバムです。'
- Linus Records
'With a stripped-down haunting style is Ian Hawgood’s mournful “Love Retained”. Exploring a sense of solitude the songs are unadorned but imbued with a natural beauty. Ian Hawgood’s playing has an impressionistic quality to them, one that at times recalls the original purpose of the piano, to allow for both soft and loud in equal measure. “Love Retained” certainly brings a great deal of soft sounds into the mix those that possess great strength in their fragile structures. Layer upon layer of these cyclical pieces adds to the overall mood of the album, one of introspection and reflection.'
- Beach Sloth
'Ian Hawgood's Love Retained is laced with poignancy. These 10 sketches - "simple pieces...tracked to cassette, & contain[ing] no editing or mastering, so you know, filled with 'mistakes'" - are deeply affecting. Their restraint & directness amplifies the sense of frailty around their "beautiful & freeing" incompletion.'
-Lend Me Your Ears
'Hanno origine da una sensibilità profonda, causa di un costante senso di precarietà emotiva, le dieci tracce, veri e propri schizzi pianistici composti per essere destinati ad una potenziale collaborazione e che adesso vengono pubblicati come lavoro autonomo volutamente nella loro forma scarna ed incompleta.'
- So What Musica
'Od strony muzycznej „Love Retained”, to bardzo swobodnie potraktowane fortepianowe impresje, nawet niepoddane dodatkowej obróbce, masteringowi etc. Hawgood nie wyeliminował także „błędnych” fraz, dźwięków. Zależało mu na uzyskaniu całkowitej naturalności i oddaniu autentycznego przekazu. Mnie przekonał!'
'...sono tutte testimonianze di una sensibilità umana messa a nudo in maniera disarmante, tradotta in un suono essenziale, emozionale, totalizzante.'
- Music Won't Save You
'Imperfections are made perfect through their very real and heartfelt thoughts and intentions. In turn, a kind of poetic deliverance gushes from the music.'
- James Catchpole, Fluid Radio
'Each second of Love Retained is imbued fully – and I truly mean fully – with the sense of love and thankfulness overwhelming Hawgood at any given moment. Each piece is a tribute, a love letter, an apology, and an example of the artist’s soul laid bare. The record is overpowering in its simplicity and elegance.'
- Critical Masses
'Empli de souvenirs nostalgiques de la capitale japonaise qu’il a quittée il y a deux ans (Sugamon, un district de Tokyo connu pour ses magasins old fashion, ou le bienveillant Kawaguchiko dédié à ses amis musiciens, parmi lesquels Danny Norbury et Clem Leek qu’il côtoie au sein du très mélancolique et texturé projet Black Elk), d’impressions fugaces pétries de tendresse et de mélancolie (March of Soul, Love Retained), de contemplation propice à l’introspection (Waves, Again ou encore Morskie Oko, lac de son son pays d’adoption), d’accès de lyrisme douloureux (Islands) et puis d’imperfections bien sûr (le touchant She), qu’il assume comme il le fait désormais de sa condition en acceptant le fait qu’il ne pourra peut-être plus jamais mener à bien un projet d’album avec la même implication obsessionnelle qu’auparavant, Love Retained "est incomplet, et pourtant cela me semble juste de l’offrir à mes amis, ma famille, et quiconque puisse y trouver une connexion. L’incomplétude c’est beau et libérateur". Pas mieux.'
- Indie Rock Mag
'Ian Hawgood has a way of creating deeply reflective music that avoids the expected and is suited for both attentive and background listening. The underlying tape hiss from the cassette-based recording process remains a constant; a slight characterful aspect of a simplified recording technique creating a feeling that would otherwise be lost without it.'
- Slow Clinic for Irregular Crates
'...beautiful wintery fragments, delicate to the point of feeling like they are falling apart any moment.'
- Norman Records
' In light of this, Love Retained becomes an act of acceptance, weaving compositional intention into the lattice of environmental factor and executional oversight, with sudden silences and tape warbles rendered permanent facets of a music that doesn’t require further correction and refinement. With each listen, the visible seams start to recede into a work that I wouldn’t wish to be any other way. Meanwhile, the silence – that green screen that stares back so vacantly at Hawgood’s little cursive signatures of harmony and repetition – ceases to feel so empty.'
- ATTN: Magazine