Video Premiere: Dreamery by Merganzer

Merganzer_Montage_artA member of Canadian music group Timber Timbre from 2008-2012 and a part of Agnes Obel‘s touring band from 2013-2014, Mika Posen records her solo work under the name of Merganzer. Her new album Montage released on So Sorry Records last October is a spellbinding collection of painterly vignettes and neoclassical reveries which Posen wrote primarily during a residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point on Toronto Island in 2015. On the album, she employs violin, viola, cello, piano, and effects to realize her own musical visions which she characterizes as “a rumination about place and self, an atmospheric rendition of transition, and an impression of the idea of home”.

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Video Premiere: All I’ve Said by Mike Lazarev

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“it was unspoken, hence unheard
unwritten, and in turn unread
but in between each silent word
i have resigned to all i’ve said”

“All I’ve Said” is the sixth and final entry in Moderna Record’s Fall Single Series, a collection of minimalist piano-centered pieces by a globe-spanning roster of musicians: Jacob David (Denmark), Hiroco.M (Japan), Adam Daudrich (Canada), n-So (US), Richard Luke (Scotland), and ending with Mike Lazarev (England). In addition to being editor-in-chief of Headphone Commute, one of the leading online magazines covering ambient, experimental, & instrumental music, Mike is a London based composer & pianist with who has released solo albums on 1631 Recordings as well as a stellar collaboration with Uwe Zahn (aka Arovane) for the Eilean Records project just this past summer.

To cap off this beautiful conclusion to the series, Mike collaborated with Jessie Rodger, a visual artist & director from South Wales who specializes in filming music & dance, and Greek freelance dancer Nancy Nerantzi to create a captivating video against the dramatic background of the Cornish coast. Less than three minutes tick away on the clock before it comes to end, but the tender melody, stunning cinematography, and expressive choreography come together to create a moment that lives outside of time.

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Premiere: “Monument” by Still Life

Still_Life_Press_ImageProvidence, RI-based composer/producer Daniel Fine is poised to release his sophomore full-length album under the moniker of still life next month on Hush Hush Records, a Seattle-based label curated by KEXP-FM DJ & Pacific Notions show host Alex Ruder. ‘for a long time time i went to bed early‘ is a kaleidoscopic montage of reflection and memory that revolves around crystalline piano lines, prismatic textures, shimmering electronics, cinematic vignettes featuring strings and trumpet, euphoric post-rock crescendos, samples, found sounds, and spoken word.  The constant shifting of mood, pace, and color is reflective of life itself exactly as Fine intended when he started working on the album.

“This album has been a project that’s consumed my life since January of this year and has served as a sort of “emotional grounding” as I’ve gone through a lot of big changes in my life. It’s full of really quiet and really loud moments, messy moments, somber moments, joyous moments, and everything in between. It’s a bit lo-fi, a bit noisy – it’s a bit of a diary for all of my thoughts and emotions and places I’ve been and experienced.” – Daniel Fine aka still life

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Video Premiere: “Lament” by Sontag Shogun

Sontag Shogun Floreal EP cover

While many of us are still savoring the kaleidoscopic panorama of It Billows Up released by Brooklyn-based trio Sontag Shogun this past spring, the band delivered a pleasant surprise along with the turning of leaves in the form of a new EP called Floréal. It is a introspective “mini-suite” in a distinctly autumnal mood that once again finds Ian Temple, Jesse Perlstein, & Jeremy Young in compelling form with their alchemical fusion of foley & tape treatments, organically derived textures, painterly solo piano compositions, and ethereal vocals.

Presented in a cassette tape format, side A belongs to a single immersive composition entitled “Photographs from a moving car” featuring guest vocals by Finnish composer & musician Lau Nau, while side B unfolds in three parts – the moving title track, the collagic “Plaid Lines”, which features the voice of Canadian artist Ora Cogan, and the hauntingly beautiful “Lament” which is featured here in a touching video created by multi-disciplinary artist Joshua Miller using old found footage shot while on a road trip across the United States with his ex-partner.  Though deeply personal in origin, the music and visuals combine to powerfully convey themes of both nostalgia and solastalgia in an especially moving and relatable way.

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Premiere: “Glaciers” by Logan Nelson

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Composer Logan Nelson has as worked on films like Green Book, Dear White People, and other Netflix shows, scored over 40 short films, two web series’, and a video game, written on commercials for companies like Google, Nexus, IBM, & Prudential and just finished up collaborating on a documentary epic about Mt. Everest produced by National Geographic and Sony including a live orchestra recorded in Budapest. That might sound like the CV of a veteran composer, but Nelson was still still a senior at the USC Thornton School of Music when he was named the Best Young International Composer at last year’s World Soundtrack Awards.

Come January of next year, Nelson will be releasing a solo EP entitled Lavender Echoes which branches off from his extensive film work to explore his interest in “blurring the lines between live instrumentalists and electronic atmospheres” in a more abstract way.  The album was recorded in Los Angeles with the members of the Calder Quartet who formed its “backbone” as well as electroacoustic harpist Lara Somogyi and Nashville-based violinist Shawn Williams all of whom gave Nelson a rich tapestry of sound to work with for his endeavor.

“It’s a process that quite literally defines ‘Lavender Echoes’… I think this process is analogous to what technology can do to beauty; taking neither a positive nor negative perspective, but a perspective of manipulation. I hope that the EP represents an honest portrayal of my relationship with music, musicians, and space; and perhaps gives a perspective on the modern definition of beauty through the lens of technology.” – Logan Nelson

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Video Premiere: “St Kilda” by Mhairi Hall

 

Airs coverRight from the off it seems, Scottish pianist Mhairi Hall‘s albums have blended traditional and contemporary music while maintaining a close connection to the local landscape. She famously took a grand piano to the top of Cairngorm Mountain to celebrate the release of her trio’s debut album and, along with Patsy Reid, arranged a composition to evoke the contours of that same mountain. On her forthcoming new record entitled Airs, Mhairi continues in this vein but in a quieter and more reflective direction as she performs new arrangements of traditional Scottish slow airs alongside her own original compositions in a seaside setting.

“I have always loved slow airs, many of which come from the rich song traditions of Scotland and have been passed down through families and friends at gatherings over many decades. It is a beautiful thing to take a very old melody or song and turn it into something new, with colours in chords and textures, giving it a new life on a completely different instrument that maybe didn’t exist when the original melody was composed.”Mhairi Hall

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Premiere: “Astray” by North Atlantic Drift

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From the glacial post-rock soundscapes of Canvas (Polar Seas Recordings), Monuments (Sound in Silence) and Resolven (Polar Seas Recordings) to the sprawling drones of the more recent Departures series, Brad Deschamps & Mike Abercrombie have shown a willingness to change tack as they have navigated their North Atlantic Drift project over the years since their first release in 2012 even as they have developed their own solo projects, grown a record label, and scored films. Pillars will be the band’s seventh full-length record and the towering concrete arches on the cover herald yet another subtle evolution in their sound. The Brutalist motif with its colossal curved forms and silent defiance of chaos seems as fitting a symbol as any for the austere elegance of these weighty melancholic abstractions.

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Video Premiere: “Swells” by Adam Daudrich

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Moderna Records‘ Fall 2019 single series has gotten off to a fine start with releases thus far by Hiroco.M (Hiroko Murakami) and Jacob David and now Montreal-based pianist Adam Daudrich. “Swells” is a selection from Daudrich’s solo release ‘The Wooden Box‘ which explores the use of muted upright piano, harmonium, and Wurlitzer electric piano in the telling of “intimate stories” and what he calls “adult nursery rhyme” and “fading music-box songs”.

It is a lovely piece with cascading, arpeggiated patterns of shimmering notes and feather-light percussive textures. Delicate, yet full of movement & color, the song finds an ideal match in this mesmerizing video shot on the Berlin S-Bahn by photographer & filmmaker Emma Roufs.

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Video Premiere: Midnight by Raphaelle Thibaut

Artwork - Raphaelle Thibaut - Genesis

Born half deaf, Raphaelle Thibaut was pushed at age 4 by her music-loving parents to start an intense 17 year piano practice in order to re-educate her hearing and by her early teens, Morricone, Goldsmith and de Roubaix were already playing on her Discman. In 2015, Raphaelle quit her marketing job at Google to pursue her lifelong passion for music and film scoring leading her to work with brands like Ubisoft, Coca-Cola, Nike and featuring in movie trailers for such major Hollywood productions as ‘Incredibles 2‘ and ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ as well as the Hulu TV series ‘The Act‘.

On November 15, she will release an album entitled Genesis on 1631 Recordings that showcases her range from piano-based neoclassical reveries to cinematic mini-epics. Following the arc of a day from morning to night, these eight compositions enchant with an acute sense of melody, deft narrative pacing, an beautifully layered arrangements.  Here in an exclusive premiere is a video filmed by Adnan Islam to accompany one of the album’s more contemplative moments, the lovely penultimate track “Midnight”.

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