“Absorb the pain and react smoothly… don’t become distracted by the white noise of possibilities… experience a flow-like state, even an Ultra Instinct” — Platinum Mike Perry

Conflict was written and composed by John Carroll Kirby. The collection of piano-based pieces was spontaneously released April 2, 2020, in response to the escalating global crisis. Exactly a year later we have the album on vinyl.

Conflict on vinyl with free digital download
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“Concert for One with Lita Albuquerque” – a performance of the song “Walking Through a House Where a Family Has Lived” from Conflict. Video by Ross Harris.

1. A Pilgrims Trail (4:14)
2. Anthony Joshua In My House (Anthony Joshua At Home) (4:57)
3. Walking Through a House Where a Family Has Lived (6:20)
4. Iconic Portraits Mutilated During the Spanish Civil War (3:51)
5. Who Will Replace Brandon Lee (4:50)
6. Canyon (Waiting Alive in a Canyon) (5:00)
7. Inside a Ruin (6:07)
8. Wabi (4:28)

From Kirby:

Conflict was an album I made during a years long dispute with a loved one. My desired outcome of the argument was that the other person would admit they’re wrong, but upon seeing that wasn’t going to happen, I tried to find a way to exist peacefully in the disagreement. The songs on Conflict try to find the space between right and wrong, winning and losing, etc.

Each song title presents a duality: The pain of a pilgrim’s journey vs. the reward of salvation, the star power of a charming boxer vs. his penchant for violence, the beauty of a battered painting vs. the fight that warped it. The music tries to stay balanced between the two opposites. Each composition starts as a 2 or 4 bar looping piano figure and usually only develops slightly, never changing key or tempo or dynamics. The flute accompaniment improvises on only 3 or 4 possible note choices per song.

This quote by MMA fighter Platinum Mike Perry was often in my head during the recording: ‘Absorb the pain and react smoothly… don’t become distracted by the white noise of possibilities…experience a flow-like state, even an Ultra Instinct.’ Funny enough, there is a bunch of white noise on this record from the DX7 synthesizer and cheap piano mics, but it doesn’t distract from the music.”

related artists John Carroll Kirby