In March 2024, we will enter the studio to record the fifth album of The New York Second,
Room for Other People
The music for this album was inspired by the photography of Vivian Maier, the ‘nanny photographer’.
Maier spent her life making photographs alongside her work as a nanny, particularly on the streets of Chicago and New York, producing hundreds of thousands of stunning photographs, that she … stored in boxes. And that brought her worldwide fame only posthumously, after they were discovered at auction.
Harald Walkate and Tom Beek collaborated on the design of the two previous CDs by The New York Second where they discovered a shared passion for Vivian Maier’s photography. What appealed to them, apart from the evocative aesthetics of the (predominantly) black-and-white images, was the fact that Maier seemed to photograph mainly for herself – she shared the photos only in a very small circle of friends.
She seemed particularly drawn to the process: taking to the streets of New York and Chicago, armed with her Rolleiflex, developing films, selecting and printing the ‘right’ picture, and then stowing it away in one of the hundreds of boxes she dragged with her from family to family for whom she worked as a nanny. Ultimately to be bought at auction, shortly before her death, by a collector who realised what a phenomenal collection he had acquired and made them known to the world.
Another intriguing aspect is that Maier, as a true street photographer, captured thousands of other people on camera, but in doing so – according to biographer Ann Marks – mainly tried to reaffirm her own identity. The camera, not as window to the world, but a mirror for the soul.
In this, Harald and Tom discovered parallels with how they experience music: music as a journey of discovery to better understand the world, as a way to shape complexity and to penetrate deeper into the experience of being present: being present in being related. Free independence does not exist, it is interdependent.
Like Maier, the musicians – following the composer’s lead – put themselves in a position to ‘capture’ reality. Not passively, but with imagination; from the desire to participate in it themselves, to be of significance too. Not just to see it as it is but also to see it better than it is. Perhaps this is the romance of the artist: the expectation that reality can be made (more) beautiful, by rearranging and reshaping it yourself.
The album will be released in the summer of 2024.
The septet that recorded the Music at Night album is reunited for this project, with some changes: Tom Beek plays the saxophone, Lorenzo Buffa (from the After the Hours trio album) plays the double bass, and a vibraphone has been added to the line-up, with the Slovenian Aleksander Sever wielding the mallets.