The collection of instrumental piano-based pieces, Kirby says, is the outcome of “trying to accept the duality of the world, and through that find peace”. Though he recorded Conflict about a year ago, Kirby decided to spontaneously release it in response to the escalating global crisis, with the hope that it might help fortify the listener and induce inner calm.
“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.”