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Film/TV Composer Joshua Moshier Announces LP Semipermanence out May 24, 2024

Twice Emmy-nominated composer Joshua Moshier announces Semipermanence, a debut solo album that knits together more than two dozen collaborators from his 15 years making impactful music, out May 24. The pianist became an established improviser in the Chicago jazz scene before making his name as a composer for film and television. His music helps define the tone for premium series including The Shrink Next Door, Baskets, Special, Three Busy Debras, and Looney Tunes Cartoons.

Today, Joshua released the track and accompanying lyric video to the indie-tinged gorgeousness “Fountain Glass,” featuring singer Macie Stewart. It’s the album at its most kaleidoscopic, the song with the biggest cast of characters, the track recorded in as many as five cities. “There can be a monochromatic effect when you make a piano record, where it’s like showing somebody a black and white film. I wanted to subvert that—it’s based around the piano, but it’s full of color and unexpected orchestration.”

Semipermanence shows his vision as a bandleader: a new-classical and jazz foundation paired with indie pop and soul sensibilities—think Daniel Rossen, Big Red Machine and Son Lux. It’s a cohesive yet unpredictable journey through cinematic soundscapes, grounded by riveting improvised performances, often flowing into songs with foregrounded vocals. Each track is a beacon back to an era of Moshier’s musical history to date, with trusted contributors Macie Stewart, Jeff Parker, Sabina Sciubba, Caroline Davis, Akenya, and Marquis Hill playing key roles in defining the album’s intricate compositions.

“When you move away from a place, there’s kind of a death when you leave,” says Moshier, who has settled into multiple cities across the past decade. “I never really said goodbye when I left because I didn’t want to close the door, but it really was a goodbye in retrospect.” By working with old friends, Semipermanence is a return to Chicago, to Boston, to Los Angeles. It’s a monument to the scenes and full-on careers that built him into who he is now. “I wanted to find a way to tell the story of my experience after Chicago through these disparate connections and places. I wanted to weave that into something coherent.”

Permanence became less theoretical during a period of mourning a loved one, when the composer began to unpack his individual voice without an ensemble or entertainment structure surrounding him. He decamped to Nashville to go through five years of voice memos—of hummed melodies and asides played on piano, scraps that came to him while working on scores and other projects. He picked out the best bits and solidified those into demos which he then brought to drummer and Semipermanence co-producer Jeremy Cunningham, whose deeply personal work The Weather Up There was an inspiration to Moshier.

With broad strokes laid down, Moshier began to think about his dream conspirators. Chicago trumpeter Marquis Hill, whose early band and records featured Moshier, was a no-brainer to shape the sound of the title track. Jeff Parker’s electric guitar soloing elevates the soulful “Canceled Plans.” One of the first people he approached was Macie Stewart, his collaborator on the song he calls the album’s thesis, “Fountain Glass.”

The final words sung in “Fountain Glass” impart Semipermanence’s overall thrust: “Nothing is sure.” As the album winds to a close on “The Present Hour,” as Cunningham’s drums and the strings and pedal steel all wash away, all that’s left is Moshier’s voice quietly singing and the sound of birds. He was recording those vocals in the final moments of working on the album, when suddenly, weeks of clouds gave way to sun and cacophonous birdsong. “I opened up my window and put out a pair of microphones,” he said. “As soon as I had recorded one minute of the birds, a dark cloud rolled in, and it started pouring.” A surefire sign if there ever was one: Nothing is sure, and nothing is permanent.


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