Travel has always inspired Amanda Bloom to create and perform as a singer, songwriter and pianist, and she spends nearly as much time abroad as she does in her home base of Phnom Penh. But in her upcoming album, Siam, the musician integrates an additional theme: time and pacing.
“There’s a tendency with a lot of [neo-classical] piano music to be sort of minimalistic, but a lot of these songs are very energetic and fast-moving in a sense,” says the musician.
Bloom weaves her deep reverence for discovering new places and cultures into all her music, whether through instrumentation, style or the video behind the piece. In her upcoming release, the musician is seeking to make the most of her time spent on her projects and life.
Like her past albums, Bloom’s Siam pulls inspiration from travel, primarily serving as an ode to Southeast Asia. Bloom set the release date for summer, with a launch in Phnom Penh in June. But Siam has been a new venture for the artist: the album solely focuses on piano, departing from the vocals and full instrumentations of previous works.
Bloom’s international gigs have continually led to others. As she flew between Phnom Penh and Berlin, where she holds an artist visa, she befriended David Klavins, a master piano builder living in Hungary.
The craftsman and technician is one of a few piano builders innovating the shape and sound of the centuries-old instrument.
Klavins’ latest innovation requires a set of stairs to reach the keys – the M450i is a towering yet elegant vertical piano at 450-centimetres high, producing impressive and resonating tones.
Klavins asked Bloom to record some of her songs on the world’s largest vertical concert grand piano as an ambassador for his instruments and perform alongside contemporary composer Bruno Sanfilippo at the Piano Day concert in Hungary in March.
“It’s the most heroic sounding [instrument] in the world,” Bloom says, describing her incredible experience playing the M450i. “Klavins has completely revolutionising the piano-building world.”
Headphones, notebooks and a takeaway coffee in hand, Bloom is on the verge of the next step in her career. She is currently planning a European tour in autumn to perform pieces from her forthcoming album.
In addition to expanding her repertoire, Bloom aims to improve her productivity, so she can produce more music and embark on new projects sooner.
Her latest album is a step in that direction, having recorded it in a whirlwind two days. She spent months on recording in the past but plans to push herself to let go of her “perfectionist” nature.
“I’d labour for years over my craft,” she says. “Perfectionism is often just fear and self-doubt masqueraded as heightened standards, but this time I really challenged myself to capture something spontaneous.”