Josh Johnston | The Shape of Things

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Classical: New Age Jazz: Piano Jazz Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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The Shape of Things

by Josh Johnston

A gentle, sometimes meditative piano-solo album of 11 original compositions and 2 unique interpretations of former collaborators Roesy and David MacKenzie.
Genre: Classical: New Age
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Peace (Nightsong 1)
3:52 $0.99
2. FVX
3:23 $0.99
3. Atlantic
3:53 $0.99
4. Nightsong 2
4:12 $0.99
5. Missed Her On the Road
4:43 $0.99
6. Guest
2:56 $0.99
7. Nightsong 3
2:58 $0.99
8. Asylum Harbour
4:12 $0.99
9. The Late Train
3:37 $0.99
10. Nightsong 4
2:48 $0.99
11. A Light In the Dark of Night
3:37 $0.99
12. Cimiez
4:48 $0.99
13. Saving A Life
4:28 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
As well as his distinctive piano style, Josh Johnston's previous albums were noted for their lyrics - sometimes playful, sometimes provocative. But, in The Shape of Things, Johnston boldly abandons lyrics altogether. “Going purely instrumental wasn’t only a response to the turbulent times we live in,” says Johnston, “but when I thought about it, I figured the last thing the world needed today was yet more words. There are both too many words and, at the same time, not enough to give us calm in these times.”

So here instead is a piano-solo CD recorded two days after the end of the big freeze in January 2010 in St. Peter’s Church of Ireland in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland. It was recorded, mixed and mastered by Brian Masterson and produced by Johnston himself.

The CD features eleven original compositions, a new composition by long-time collaborator David MacKenzie and a unique interpretation of The Late Train by Birr singer/songwriter Roesy with whom Johnston toured regularly from 2001-2006.

As critics have noted, Johnston’s live performances are often elevated by a high degee of spontanaeity. The Shape of Things too captures that improvising spirit: while all the tracks on the CD had a composed structure, various parts throughout were improvised in the studio, including the covers.

The idea of a completely instrumental album had been brewing for a while. Josh explains, “I’ve always put instrumentals into my live set as the piano and my piano style is such an important part of my sound and I knew that people enjoyed that side of my playing. A lot of people had been suggesting that I should record a purely instrumental piano album but I always resisted as I could always hear other instruments in my arrangements and love working with other musicians.”

“But when I was recording a follow-up to Asylum Harbour, I decided to start by changing tack and spent a day recording piano with Brian Masterson who I’d worked with before with David MacKenzie and on Asylum Harbour. We went to Drogheda to record some music – we had no preconceptions but to record whatever happened.”

“The sound grew very organically from the beginning of the session which took place at the tail-end of the really cold snap in the middle of winter 2010. I think the atmosphere is really palpable from the tracks and that informed my choice of cover art as well. By the end of the day we had 13 tracks and that was definitely a CD’s worth so we decided to put it out as it was. Now I’m really looking forward to playing the music live.”



to write a review

Raj Manoharan (

The RajMan Review
If you’re looking for something to take you away, The Shape of Things by Josh Johnston provides a perfect escape. Consisting of gorgeous, arresting, and unobtrusive solo piano pieces, the album draws you into a relaxed and peaceful state of mind from beginning to end.

Much like the artwork on the CD jacket, Johnston’s understated piano playing wafts in like a dense fog, with the light of his beautiful original compositions piercing through the mist. Rather than overwhelm with a full-frontal assault, the music works its way into your psyche like gently rolling thunder and stays there like a persistent but calming rain.

The music is transformative and transports you to such idyllic locales as a lush green countryside, also depicted on the album cover. The chords and melodies roll off the ear as effortlessly as they seem to roll off Johnston’s fingers.

The result is music that is truly cathartic and therapeutic, perfect for solace, healing, and reflection.

Helena Dee

Josh Johnston Creates "Nightsongs" On New The Shape Of Things Album
This is a solo piano CD by Irish musician JOSH JOHNSTON. The album, THE SHAPE OF THINGS, was recorded in one day in an empty church in an Irish country town. The tunes all have cohesive, written-out melodies, but also contain an improvisational section too.

Two compositions – “PEACE (NIGHTSONG 1)” and “GUEST” -- were written by Johnston as the soundtrack to an acclaimed silent Irish film (“GUESTS OF THE NATION”) his grandfather wrote and directed in the mid-1930s based on a short story by Frank O’Connor (one of Ireland’s most acclaimed authors). During the past decade the film has been shown throughout Ireland as well as in England, France and the Czeck Republic with Josh performing live a largely-improvised piano accompaniment eventually refined to include these two themes.

This is just some of the back-story of this incredible music which somehow manages to capture a whiff of the Irish life which has always been balanced between sadness and happiness. As you would expect, there are tunes inspired by people and places. Apparently one Johnston’s main inspirations is the night-time when he likes to go to his local church when everyone has gone, turn out the lights and in the darkness improvise on themes he has written. Some of this material shows up as a series of “NIGHTSONGS.”

Solo piano music is difficult to describe, but this music feels like it has a lot of emotionalism at its core.