Could this be the final soundtrack? Washington D.C. based composer Taylor Jordan, aka “The Greatest Hoax”, set forth to create an instrumental masterpiece with Expiration Compositions. Layering emotional explorations on the subject of death, The Greatest Hoax has metaphorically captured his complex feelings in cinematic detail. This is a musical journey that sees the soul rising and simultaneously surrendering.
Mark Bridges (one half of High Plains with Loscil, Kranky Records) plays cello and also leads a string quartet throughout much of the album. This addition of strings lends further mastery and majesty to the already aurally commanding album. We squeezed in this interview with The Greatest Hoax on the eve of its’ recent release.
For you, who has been the most influencial artist of all time?
Beethoven would have to be the most influential artist for me. Not because I especially love all of his works, but because his music inspired me to continue piano at an early age. When I was in middle school, I heard my piano teacher play Beethoven’s Sonata Pathetique. At the time, I wasn’t able to technically play such a demanding piece, but it instilled a drive in me that I carry to this day.
What is your favourite song off your new album and why?
A personal favorite for me is the album’s closing piece, “pulling up the sheets.” I think the piece represents the influence of my collaborators on the album, including my producer Rafael Anton Irisarri. I think his influence on the album is distinctly heard on this track. It’s beautiful and haunting.
What were you trying to capture about the process of death. How did this unusual choice of theme come about?
I’ve always struggled with the concept of death. As humans, its not something we can easily comprehend. So in my mind, its scary as hell.
Everything ends, and nobody really knows what happens with absolute certainty. I felt compelled to explore my fears, and hypothetically if I was at the end of my life, what would I want, and how would I want that to sound. What would be my soundtrack? I think this album answers that for me.
Do you feel you achieved a sense of reassurance for your listeners?
I think I did reassure the listeners that this album isn’t all about the dark side of death. This album isn’t meant to be entirely sad.
My focus was that at the end of life, and you accept that it is happening, you have a chance to look back and reminisce about your life.
Did you compose the pieces with Bridges or send your arrangements over for additional overlays?
I composed the pieces for this album separately from anyone else. I wrote the string parts and sent them to Bridges, who then convened a quartet to record the parts for me.
The mood pivots from more sombre axis’ to uplifting musical remedies. Is this deliberate?
Absolutely, death doesn’t have to always be sad. There are moments and aspects for both of these feelings, in my mind. I think it follows some of the psychological stages such as anger and denial, to acceptance. Perhaps when a person accepts their fate, they can begin to think back and hold on to the things they held most dear.
Is there anything else you would like to share about this beautiful album?
I’d like to take a moment to say that this album wouldn’t be what it is without the people who came on board to help me. Mark Bridges was instrumental in bringing my visions to life. Rafael Anton Irisarri really understood the concept an the mood I wanted to create. His influence on this album, and to me as an artist in general, cannot be overstated. Serein records has also been the most supportive label. I am grateful for them, and for everyone involved.
Buy “Expiration Compositions” now!