If albums are novels, EPs are short stories: a good one is concise and its meaning is as clear as glass. Here are two short EPs by multi-instrumentalist and composer BP Moore, whose gorgeous 2021 album If I Don’t See You Again and its equally compelling 2022 reworks collection have previously caught our attention. These two EPs are ostensibly on different themes, but there’s a thread that runs through both: self-discovery and acceptance.
The Practice Of Suffering, which comes out on the 26th August 2022, is a reflection on the mental highs and lows that we all experience at times. Moore suffers in particular with panic attacks, and the EP is in part an exploration how to live with these overwhelming and profoundly unsettling experiences. The opener, ‘The Ten Percent’, co-written with composer and multi-instrumentalist Jameson Nathan Jones, begins with what at first seems to be an innocent motive for felt piano, but as other instruments enter over the first few minutes a palpable tension builds: anyone who has experienced a panic attack will recognize what’s being depicted. Those familiar with If I Don’t See You Again will know that Moore is a master arranger and the abrupt cut-off of tension and the shifting instrumental layers as the piece comes to rest in the final minute is a perfect example of his skill.
Despite the EP’s theme, it isn’t an uncomfortable listen. The remaining tracks are co-written with composer and double-bassist Maciej Sadowski and performed beautifully by his string quintet. The second track, ‘Dear Mother, Father, Brother & Golo’, is about acceptance: the melancholy beginning opens out, blossoming into a heart-achingly beautiful depiction of self-love. Moore seems to be saying “yes, this is who I am, this is what I experience” and “dear family, please help me”. The EP closer ‘The Morning After’ is full of hope, particularly in the second half, filling our chests with hope. The message of this EP may be expressed concisely, but it’s no less profound.
Our second EP Monaro, which was released on June 18th 2022, is named for a region of rolling hills and grassland in New South Wales, Australia and inspired by the novel My Heart is a Little Wild Thing by Nigel Featherstone. The book’s blurb presents the scenario: “The day after I tried to kill my mother, I tossed some clothes, a pair of hiking boots, a baseball cap and a few toiletries into my backpack, and left at dawn.” The protagonist heads out into the Monaro countryside and reassesses his life. Moore tells us that the EP practically wrote itself in his mind as he read the novel, and certainly the listening experience is visceral. The landscape reveals itself the hills are unending, the sky infinite. We are reminded our smallness, our fragility, but at the same time we become aware of our connection to the world around us. We know that the world can be cruel at times, but there is beauty there. We may not always be safe, but we’re no longer afraid. (Garreth Brooke)