PENT UP – Reflection

A pattern is forming; not one, not two but three instrumental pieces featured on Sonic Breakfast in recent weeks. (The other two are here and here). For a blog that is so wrapped in lyrics, this is quite a development. I’m finding so much on offer in the piano-led pieces that I’m hearing. Cinematic and evocative, they’re helpful position-statements in explaining the raw emotion of the last year. They allow you to fill in the gaps, to let you mind wander, to reflect, to think and to learn. You can lose yourself in a story without words, wallow for a while and breathe it all in. 

Today’s choice is aptly called ‘Reflection’ and it’s by PENT UP, the moniker of Stephen Brook, a pianist from the South West of England. It’s already been noted by commentators more relevant than I that Stephen has the ability to tell stories without lyrics. Stephen himself notes that the video he made to accompany the piece ‘adds the visual context to the song’s narrative‘.

It’s an emotionally-charged video. Quickly we move from the bustle of a busy underground to deserted streets and empty buses. I’ve now not been to the office of my day job for over a year but when this video charts a path up an empty Regents Street and pans down a quiet Leicester Square, things really resonate. These are some of the streets that I’d walk along daily as I’d merrily go about my working day. Their emptiness is eerie, almost apocalyptic. It’s chilling when thinking about what we once took for granted.

The video moves on to feature images of people in various reflective modes; some are alone and others are in clinches with loved ones. All are taking the time to think and to ponder. We’ve lost a lot but gained equal amounts of insight into the things that really matter. 

Stephen explains his motivation behind ‘Reflection’. “I wanted to capture all of the emotions that we’ve all gone through over the past year.“, he says. “The numerous lockdowns, the sparse opportunities of freedom and how this is affecting the population mentally. I’ve also had my own realisations on the importance of family and how I have taken my own family for granted in the past.

Do find time to have a listen to ‘Reflection’ today. It can be a thinking Thursday for us all.