Joel Pike (Tiny Leaves) describes View From Here as “a shifting of perspective,” but as a year has passed between genesis and release, the EP represents two perspectives, one mid-pandemic and one emerging.
Last spring the artist turned to nature for solace and joy. The birds seemed louder, the blossoms brighter. Inspired by the sounds of his garden, Pike put pen to paper to reflect “The Sweetness of the Morning,” a track whose very title recalls “Morning Has Broken.” This became the first single, released on Piano Day, adorned with the friendly sounds of saxophone and glockenspiel. The timbre implies the Day waking up, shaking off her blankets of clouds, reaching for a cup of light. Pike writes of an intense gratitude for nature and the promise of renewal. Hearing the music now, one recalls those early days in which a brief neighborhood walk could make all the difference, seeing the first buds and the pictures of rainbows that children had placed in their windows.
Now our perspectives are shifting again, from gratitude for smaller things to gratitude for larger things, restored first in a trickle and then in a torrent. The word “Animae” (air, life, breath, spirit, vitality) became a muse to the artist, whose track of the same name is an expression of hope even in the darkest of times. Andy Lowe’s saxophone graces this piece as well, and the edges are gilded with strings. Thumb piano provides a personal touch, reappearing at the beginning of “Rest.”
The view from here is abundance without travel: things we can see from our own windows, in our own yards; hope we can imagine in our own minds. The pandemic didn’t take such things away; in some ways, it amplified them. We may have noticed the migration of birds for the first time, or the order in which perennials bloomed. Pike’s ode is not to a time lost, but a time discovered: a gift in our hour of need, always present yet seldom seen. (Richard Allen)