Beautifully realised in an ear-wriggling, soul-shaking beat, Sit In Silence, one of the tunes Rowland O’Connor released from his new 9 Songs album, captures urban alienation, dislocation, and disillusion.
Admittedly, Rowland says Sit In Silence is, along with Stand Up, one of the sometimes angry songs – in the latter he calls for people to Stand up, wake up. They are part of the wide shades of emotions mapped in the collection of tunes written in 2004, after moving to central London from suburban Hampshire for the first time.
The London landscape pictures that accompany the album originate from the beginning of that process – from a central London rooftop above Leicester Square, where Rowland was staying at the time, looking over vast swathes of buildings punctuated with famous landmarks, with not a person in sight. These photos accompany the songs’ feelings – mass commercialism at the expense of nature, loneliness amongst millions of people and the contrast between that level of industry and the human experience.
Along with capturing elements of anger, the songs are sometimes reflective, as in Crazy Heights (Crazy Heights and blinding lights / Pitch black dark / and who can fill the biggest park) and Sailing (But sometime it will be no more because the people on the other side are breeding war) or the more triumphant Set In Stone; sometimes finding solace in abstract creativity as in ‘Slight Beat’ and ‘Dreamer’ (I’m walking down the road seeing my reflection in other people’s eyes) or seeing it in romance as in ‘It’s You’ and ‘Fight The Fear’ (to your mind, I see through your wide unfocused eyes, they shine hope and know nothing of fear).
In his own songwriting geography, 9 Songs was written in 2004, shortly after I Wish I Was (released last year).
- Theatre commissions | Exeter Phoenix championing new work - Wednesday, May 5, 2021
- Social Media Commission – May Takeover! | Cine Sisters SW - Tuesday, May 4, 2021
- Rowland O’Connor | 9 Songs explores shades of urban life - Sunday, May 2, 2021