Songs from My Room – An-Ting 安婷
Release Date: July 13th, 2022
1. London Night
2. Plaque Time
3. Ping Pong Dance
4. Last June
5. Hoxton Street
6. Past Tense
7. Purple Dream
8. The Jolly Frog
9. Option 7
10. Midnight Whisper
It never fails to amaze me how music has the ability to carry complex narratives. Even without visual feedback, a powerful instrumental can transform everyday landscapes into something else; movies, memories, and feelings. Songs from My Room is the first original album by London-based pianist and composer An-Ting 安婷, and it does just that.
The album is transfixing and touching as it explores An-Ting’s experience living during the pandemic. As the title suggests, each piano solo feels like sitting with her, sharing moments in time, looking out from her window. London comes to life — and comes to a halt — through her passionate artistry. Originally from Taiwan and now based in London, An-Ting has a multitude of accreditation to her name, including being the current Artistic Director of Chinese Arts Now (CAN), which supports a variety of Chinese artists experiencing diaspora.
The power of storytelling comes through especially in the two feature songs, “Last June” and “Purple Dream.” “Last June” is a beautiful yet haunting composition that focuses on keeping the same melody and chords throughout, only to be accompanied by the twinkle of piano in the background. It revels in mundanity and feels uncertain as it progresses, but still hopeful, much like the day-to-day lifestyle of quarantine and current events happening during this time. In contrast, “Purple Dream’’ sounds more joyful with the piece reaching a crescendo in the middle that reads content and peaceful.
A personal favourite of mine is “Hoxton Street,” and perhaps it’s because I’ve never been, but An-Ting does an incredible job of illustrating what it could be like there through her music. The piece is sorrowful, dreary, but at the same time evokes a feeling of wonder and exploration. It really feels like I’m walking there, contemplating life – watching people go by as I think about my own, and think about theirs. This piece especially feels like an all-encompassing landscape.
Another highlight is the piece “Ping Pong Dance.” It is a rag-time, saloon-esque piece that was composed in a very fun way. There is a video outlining the silliness and playfulness of the number, where ping pong balls dance across the piano (literally) as An-Ting plays the tune. She states that she “entertained” herself with this number, and I think it’s incredible that someone can entertain themselves in such a talented way!
Songs from My Room is truly a soundscape of An-Ting’s personal time of living in London during the pandemic, and then some. It is an insight into her skillset as a composer and pianist. If you want to catch her live, An-Ting performs at various concert venues regularly—though you might have to travel to Europe to see her! For those that do, I am envious. I hope I can see her brilliant mind live one day.
Written by: Alexa Tarrayo