Ben Dowling

Ben Dowling

Los Angeles

Pianist Ben Dowling, whose roots are in classical and jazz, has developed a unique, minimalist piano technique specifically for his solo piano project The Path of Peace. A “singing” melodic touch and novel pedal work are joined with a spatial sense that crosses effortlessly between diatonic and modal harmony. “I needed to develop a different way of playing to take advantage of the 5.1 surround field—surround-sound is allergic to too much motion,” explains Dowling. “For years I’ve tried to capture the open, suspended quality of the piano - like the experience of improvising in a dark concert hall. Finally, technology has made that possible. I can safely say that The Path of Peace is one of the sweetest recordings of piano I have ever experienced.”

Visual artist Mark Wagner is of the few traditionalists awarded a National Endowment of the Arts grant for early experiments in computer-generated art. Using oil, chalk, pencil and even hot glue, Wagner synchronized his own creative vision with Dowling’s music in a slowly unfolding, multi-layer video-scoring style. “This is something you won’t get at once. It takes time - time to slow down and breathe,” says Wagner. “I put this on shuffle and let it go for a few hours in the background. It’s a little bit like looking at an ocean for a few days. After a while, it begins to work on you.”

“This work was scaled for a longer time frame,” confirms Dowling. “It was designed to help people to slow down and relish the beauty of life - including conversation with each other.” The artists envision practical applications for personal inner peace in health, therapy, hospice, incarceration and post-traumatic care as well as, more broadly, consciousness raising for an increasingly sensory overloaded world. “These are times when it’s vital for artists to consider the environment for which we create,” says Dowling. “This is a work about inner and outer peace, that doubles as a great way to get there.”

The Path of Peace balances artistic brilliance in vision and sound with technical mastery and innovation, captured in a product design that beautifully embraces a profound and timely idea.

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