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9 ROOMS-BEHIND THE MUSIC

9 Rooms covers nine geographical spaces, each a mini-universe traversing themes of change and transition, conflict and uncertainty, relationships and intimacy.

Ambient guitarist and music producer, Arli Lieberman, has created a deep sonic texture for this album that works as the perfect foundation for Stewart's vocal and lyrical sensibilities. At the heart of each song, master drummer Chris O’Connor laid down earthy grooves and textures that invite the listener to engage closely with the unfolding narrative. Indeed, the album is rich in layered textures and ambiences, wide-screen atmospheric currents that ebb and flow through nine journeys beyond the ordinary into an immersive musical universe that serves as an ideal environment for Stewart's thoughtful lyrics and finely-honed melodies.

Stewart started working on this album in 2018. Looking to create a unique sound, he sought out Arli and recording began with the track ‘The End is the Start’. The synergy in sound worlds was clear from the beginning and the two agreed to work on the rest of the 9 Rooms album.  

Looking out over the coming and goings of Auckland’s Kingsland train station, nine tracks were laid down in Arli’s studio. At the Lab studio, master drummer/percussionist Chris O Connor (Trinity Roots, Phoenix Foundation, SJD) was brought in to add tasty layers of percussive texture including drum kit, the Irish Bodhran, as well as more experimental sounds such an anchor chain dropping onto a cymbal and an array of tiny fairy bells tied to a floor tom skin. 

The album was fine tuned, engineered and mixed through a plethora of valve technology by Chris Chetland at Kog Studios, giving it an unmistakably lush, warm and inviting sound.

Covid-19 lockdown gave Stewart an opportunity to make contact with human rights documentary maker friend Sammy Riley. Normally, a resident of Colombia, who was visiting family in Yankalilla, South Australia. Offering Sammy the track ‘Shall We Dance’ turned out to be a match made in heaven, with Sammy producing a concept for our times, referencing video-conferencing as a way to bring together over 100 dancers from 14 countries across 6 continents.

Over the course of 2021, four more video singles were released including Silver Wings, Glow and The End is the Start 

The album was released on Rattle records on October 7, 2021 in conjunction with the thought provoking video New Moon.