Travelogue 2018.08.19: The Moderna Records Summer Singles Series


This travelogue entry features the mesmerizing music of the new summer singles series from Moderna Records, a label founded several years ago in Montreal by Évolène Lüthi “to trace a line from electronic sound designers to classical composers, connecting them through the realms of ambient and cinematic music”. 

Jake Lowe – Sarah

The first entry in the series introduces to the music of Jake Lowe with a tender and moving composition entitled “Sarah” that shows there is always room for fresh voices that speak emotional truth through music no matter how crowded the field.  Performed as a solo piano piece in the video below, the arrangement on the digital single features Charlotte Jacke on cello and Ruby Paskas on violin.

Maxy Dutcher – Blocks

If part of the purpose of the singles series is to introduce us to new artists we want to hear more from, then it continues to succeed with “Blocks” by Maxy Dutcher in which the Montana-based musician & producer creates tender geometries in motion out of arpeggiated and rippling piano lines set against an ambient backdrop. Spellbinding.

Julia Gjertsen – Gate

Julia Gjertsen is a musician & producer who was born in Russia, grew up in northern Norway, and is now based in Oslo. Having written music mostly for dance, theater, and multimedia, she characterizes her work as moving between modern classical, electronic and experimental soundscapes and it is always a treat when one of her solo pieces pops up for us to enjoy. The track ‘Gate’ was originally made for Piano Day 2018 and finds her crafting manipulating the sounds of an untuned piano into a delightfully eclectic and mesmerizing piece.

Pikauba – Falling/Soaring

Pikauba is a lake that transforms into a river in the heart of northern Quebec’s open spaces. It is also the pseudonym of Pierre Duchesne, who grew up close to the shores of those riverbanks which he feels have provided him with “an inevitable and steady flow of inspiration”.  His single, “Falling/Soaring” brings a dash of lush and vibrant electronics into the mix with an uplifting rhythmic trajectory worthy of the title.

Mike Lazarev + Arovane – Footsteps

Number 4 in the series is a particularly special piece that offers a great deal for the listener to unpack in just two and half minutes while (hopefully!) marking the beginning of a new collaborative partnership.  “Footsteps” weaves elegant piano lines created by Mike Lazarev (also known as the chief editor & creative force behind Headphone Commute) with a plethora of textural ornamentation provided by musician & sound designer Uwe Zahn aka Arovane.

“Mike sent me a few piano improvisations with a lot of closely recorded background noises. I used these noises to create new sounds and add many layers to the original composition. I used single piano notes, separated them to synthesize new tones for floating soundscapes and transitions between them. It was a very surgical, micro-editing process, working with discreet new sounds without weighing down Mike’s beautiful, fragile piano pieces. I integrated them with some field recordings I made last year in Venice – I recorded footsteps on the stairs and mysterious voices in an old palace during an art exhibition. You can hear doves crying that I recorded around the famous market near the Realto area.” – Arovane

Michael Legan – A Momentary Fall

The most recent entry in the series is “A Momentary Fall” by composer & musician Michael Legan who is based in St Paul, Minnesota where he creates music for a variety of projects in his Rowell Studio. In “A Momentary Fall”, the rush and flutter of dampened hammers tumble from his close mic’d piano without losing melodic shape and suspended in midair by a an ethereal synthesizer glissando.