×
f54 presents:

JAMES HEATHER

Details

  • Date: Tue 8 Nov 2022
  • Venue: Cluny 2
  • Advance tickets: £10.00
  • Doors: 7.30pm
In 2022 Heather releases his second album, “Invisible Forces”. The album is about becoming aware of
invisible forces around us to help deepen understanding of self and our connection to the world, from
tuning into the natural world and getting lost in its patterns and energies to gaining more knowledge
around ancestral lines such as the concept of epigenetics. It’s about looking that bit deeper into things,
into areas that are not instantly visible but are all around us to achieve this. “Composing these songs
gave me an anchor to feel more present in life after some troubling times and sent me on a journey to
rediscover a kind of wonderment with the world. I hope the Invisible Forces universe will bring warmth
to other people too.” A step forward compositionally from his 2017 debut album ‘Stories From Far
Away On Piano’, the songs are grander, deeper and broader in emotional range and are developed
through a series of improvisation techniques rarely seen in the often notated world of classical music.
He describes his music as “pulse music” with each track performed in a single take and each with its
roots in this improvisation. He memorised each movement, then subtly adapted adding more
complexities and compositional dexterity over time before committing to the final take. His approach
to the new compositions, finds him playing freely, with no metronome or official notation to recall.

The tracks (alongside 2021’s “Modulations: EP2”) were this time more honed on the road, playing
concerts such as Green Man Festival, Glastonbury Festival, Berlin Planetarium, Wilderness Festival
and Dublin National Concert Hall. Also in 2021, Heather released a new version of ‘And She Came
Home’ with added strings for Coldcut’s ambient @0 compilation in aid of CALM, Mind, and Black Minds
Matter, with the song being promoted as a doublesingle alongside Ryuichi Sakamoto. On the same
compilation he contributed piano parts to a new version of the seminal ambient track ‘Autumn Leaves
Return’ by Coldcut & The irresistible Force. Heather initially started to release music via Ahead Of Our
Time in 2017, Ninja Tune founders Coldcut’s resurrected first label. First came “Modulations: EP1”,
seven tracks which were written in various headspaces. Next came his debut album “Stories From Far
Away On Piano”, a more unified conceptual piece of work, followed by some highcalibre remixes and
alternate versions titled ‘Reworks’ in 2018. Heather was reworked by DJ Seinfeld, Aparde, Echo
Collective, Mary Lattimore, Chihei Hatakeyama, Sarah Davachi and composed new additional string
quartet versions himself.. Supporters include James Lavelle (UNKLE), Cillian Murphy, Emika (who he
played 2 sold out shows at the Berlin Planetarium), The Bug, Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label and The

Cinematic Orchestra, who asked Heather to rework their song “A Caged Bird / Imitations Of Life” for
their ‘To Believe’ remix album. Nils Frahm has put Heather’s music in his Piano Day playlists in 2019,
2020. & 2021.

Growing up in Southampton, Heather’s Grandad on one side of the family taught him core composition
techniques and how to manipulate the tuning of piano strings, whilst his Granny on the other used to
dabble with dreamy improvisations. His own compositions came soon after around the age of 11, also
inspired by a love of Beethoven and Debussy, hearing his older neighbours Acid House pirate radio
station and later hearing a young Milo from Portico Quartet jamming in jazz bands two doors away.
Heather spent years honing his piano playing, imagining composing for a collective one day, but a
mixture of shyness and the different trends of the day meant things evolved privately. Often in these
early years he would be playing in the background when family and friends were over, hoping to
gradually pique their interest without stopping their conversation but secretly wanting to be centre
stage. After moving to London in his twenties, he had a near death experience, which fed into his
energy to step out as an artist. The result was to bring a fresh take to piano music which on streaming
services have been played over 120 million streams in just a few years and his debut album charting
at #14 in Classical Crossover in the Billboard (USA) charts. Influence wise, the music takes as much
from electronic music in sensibility, postrock in its exploration of building meditative tones as it does
its classical and jazz grounding. Heather proves adept in the intricacies of composition from the tender
to more propulsive, trance inducing dynamics, always highly personal and with warmth and hope in
the sadness, it belies the fact the music is coming from just one acoustic instrument. Heather often
composes and releases on only solo piano , an instrument he has a long love story with, with
sensibilities taken from elsewhere. “My current music acts as a lived reaction to music that is more
machine than human, but not in opposition to it. To be minimalist in an age where you can do everything
so easily, can also hold power, if not more. I am still obsessed with the compositional possibilities
within a raw song.”
The embryonic unofficial Soundcloud release the ‘Water Sonatas’, helped hone his production skills
and compositional technique and received warm reactions, with the experiences being fed into his
debut album. In 2017, Heather started to release music officially via Ahead Of Our Time Ninja Tune
founders Coldcut’s resurrected first label. His first official solo release was “Modulations: EP1”, seven
tracks which were written and recorded at different times and in various headspaces. Next came his
debut album “Stories From Far Away On Piano” in 2017, a more unified conceptual piece of work. The
album concept centres on Heather’s interpretations of real world news stories. The pieces ebb and
flow, slowly enveloping the listener in a subtly subliminal fashion. In May 2018, the record was released
on vinyl for the first time. Later in 2018 Heather released ‘Reworks’, which featured some highcalibre
reworks from DJ Seinfeld, Aparde, Echo Collective, Mary Lattimore, Chihei Hatakeyama, Sarah
Davachi and brand new additional string quartet versions by himself.
“The album was an appeal to emotion, a way of bringing the listener in, to evoke an empathetic
response, they’re my interpretation of stories I discovered. The stories themselves are not the focus,
but the piano assimilation is, as the album is about viewpoint, opinion and perspective.” Perspective
is something Heather has in abundance; he nearly died in a traumatic road traffic accident, leaving him
in a coma in intensive care and then off work for an extended time. One permanent injury was his finger,
which became skewed in the crash. He was initially unsure if he’d ever be able to play to the same
standard again. “When I eventually started to recover I began taking my musical sketches more
seriously. I found solitude channeling my feelings into compositions, and when I saw the solo piano of
Rachel Grimes play to a room of underground rock fans at Shelllac’s ATP Festival, at one of my lowest
points, I was surprised that the piano might be able to appeal to a wider audience than I had thought
previously.”

Heather also presents the monthly radio show Moving Sounds on Soho Radio. The show is named
after this longtime playlist and showcases music and people from the new to household names within
ambient music and its offshoot genres and guests have included Hania Rani, Rafael Anton Irisarri,
Sarah Davachi, Abul Mogard, 130701 Records, Sonic Pieces, Büşra Kayıkçı, Coldcut and Penelope
Trappes.

Heather’s music has featured on many Spotify, Apple, Amazon, You Tube, Soundcloud & Deezer
curated playlists, reached number 2 on the UK classical charts in iTunes and received plays on BBC
Radio and internationally (including KEXP in the USA). He was also invited in 2021 to curate a 2 hour
Classical Focus mix for BBC Sounds. Coverage in the media has included interviews at Quietus and

Loud & Quiet as well as glowing reviews at Arts Desk, Line Of Best Fit, Mojo and DJ. Heather has also
completed DJ mixes for Solid Steel, a Mica Levi special for Vinyl Factory (which received Resident
Advisor’s mix of the day), Headphone Commute and taken over Nabihah Iqbal’s NTS show. Heather
has played on bills supporting Laura Marling, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Bill Laurance (Snarky Puppy) and
Lubomyr Melnyk (Erased Tapes) and toured Europe. Heather composed scores for Iskra Strings
(Radiohead, The xx & Ólafur Arnalds) of his songs for his soldout headline show at St Pancras Old
Church in London and has also broken new ground for solo piano by playing festivals such as
Wilderness, Green Man (opening the Far Out tent which included Idles and Ezra Collective and making
Crack Magazine’s 8 Stand Out Moments in their review), Glastonbury (his first ever gig in 2017 apart
from Sofar Sounds) and Seachange.
Heather is one of the new school set of ‘post classical’ artists flourishing and standing out in the wake
of the wider public’s overdue but now burgeoning relationship with this varied genre.

Back to top