• Spotted!

    Spotted: Mattia Cupelli – Intimacy (Rework)

    Today I’m introducing you to the track Intimacy by the Italian composer Mattia Cupelli from Rome.

    The track Intimacy was released as a single on June 11th of 2020, but is a reworked version. The original track was released on the album After the rain back in 2018.

    Tell us something about your track Intimacy!
    The song is about the intimate space with your most beloved person. I tried to let the sound flow these feelings with the slow soft piano I recorded in my home studio during the pandemic emergency. I think my emotion about this situation and the needs to stay with my loved ones took me to this sound. Also, the track is a Rework of the original 2018 track “Intimacy” focused on a more ambient sound, different from the new one with is only played on the piano.In the remake process I simplify the sound removing all the sounds around, digging in the melody idea and focusing on it, amplifying it through a deep bass piano overtones and a really really absorbed violin in the background.

    Thank you Mattia!

    For more information and updates, check out some of these links:
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  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Illuminine – Dear, Limerence – Affan Rework

    Today I’m introducing you to the Belgian composer Kevin Imbrechts and his project Illuminine. Kevins main instrument is guitar and can’t play the piano, in contrast to most artists I post about here.

    Oh btw, I love Iceland. It’s my second home. That’s why all of my records are finished and mixed at Sigur Ros’ Sundlaugin Studio, just outside Reykjavik.

    This track is a part of a solo piano rework album, called Dear, Piano. 18 artists from all over the world made beautiful piano compositions of existing Illuminine tracks. The album will be released in August 2020. As from now, we’ll release a single every month.

    Tell us something about the track Dear, Limerence!
    Affan’s rework of ‘Dear, Limerence’ is a hidden gem. It’s a rework of one of my favourite Illuminine tracks. The first time I heard it, I fell in love with it. Also, the first time I heard Affan playing I immediately thought about working together, his style is very similar to Illuminine’s.

    Thank you for sharing this with us Kevin!

    For more information, please check out the following pages:
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  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Matt Koranda – Farewell, Pt. I

    Today I’m introducing you to the German composer and piano player Matt Koranda;

    I live nearby the Lake of Constance, the deep water connection between Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  My zodiac sign is Aquarius. I don’t know, if this is coincidence.

    Matt’s greatest inspirations comes from classical composers like Chopin, Mozart and Beethoven but he also likes to listen to New Age, Rock and mainstream Pop Music.

    The track Farewell, Pt. I is the opening track from the album Desperation which was released late January of 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Farewell Part I!
    This track is a spontaneous recording of a piano improvisation I performed to the dead of a friends pet named Hunter, a cute hamster. Farewell Part I and the much deeper elaborated Part II work like an embracing to the album “Desperation” with its narrative character about someones sorrow and desperate moments in life.

    Thank you Matt for sending me this tune!

    For more information, please check out the following links:
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  • Spotted!

    Spotted: REW<< - Sonoran

    Today I’m introducing you to the latest release by American composer Ryan Weber (REW<<), born in the upper mid-west, but now located in Washington DC. You can find previous posts about Ryan here!

    The track Sonoran was released as a single, but will also be featured on the upcoming EP Kuruvungna.

    Tell us something about your track Sonoran!
    I was in California dodging the winter for a few weeks last year and sketching out these tracks. The name of the EP in the Tongva language means “a place where we are in the sun.” I learned about this as there’s a spring not far from a friend’s house named this, so I thought it was a great title and word that captured how I felt writing the pieces. 

    Thank you again for the music Ryan!

    For more information and updates, please check out these following links:
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  • Stories

    Spotted: REW<< - Salix Amygdaloides

    A while back I introduced you to the track Swimming with Kawatora by Ryan E Weber (REW). Ryan its from Lake Michigan, USA. After being part of different musical projects in different styles, REW<< is now heading in another musical direction focusing on the neo classical piano genre.

    Tell us something about this latest release of yours!
    Following on from my 2018 EP Conversation ArctiqueSalix Babylonica is another series of neoclassical miniatures which I have the great fortune of releasing with the always outstanding label Hidden Shoal. Each of the five tracks is centered around the piano, with the spaces around each note coloured with strings and synth. The full release will happen May 14th and the single and video for Salix Amygdaloides is out now.

    Tell us something about your track Salix Amygdaloides!
    So I had this weeping willow tree in my backyard growing up. It was fun to swing and play on, but I was horribly allergic to it and would break out with rashes any where I touched it, so I’d have to avoid it. Sometimes, however, despite knowing I’d be in for problems, the allure was too great and to have a swing or climb on it. I was thinking about this and that melancholy funny looking tree when working on the EP Salix Babylonica (which is the scientific name for the weeping willow), so I explored and researched it and took pieces of its history and science related to inspire the songs. 

    Thank your for this Ryan! I was about to ask you about the title, but you gave me that answer without me asking about it. Nice 🙂

    For more information and updates, please check out these following links:
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  • Spotted!

    Spotted: REW<< - Swimming with Kawatora

    Today I’m introducing you to American composer REW<< (which is the initials for Ryan E. Weber). I guess Swimming with Kawatora would be considered a single, since it’s only two songs. But to me, and maybe even to Ryan, this is just a really short EP

    Rather than force a disjointed EP I thought it’d be fun to just release them together

    Tell us a bit about yourself Ryan!
    I originally hail from the snowy western shores of Lake Michigan. My musical pedigree includes roles in indie bands: Camden, The Promise Ring, and Decibully, and I am also one half of the dream-pop duo Eric & Magill in which I sing. Working on various releases while living in both Kenya and Armenia, I had the great fortune of collaborating with a host of notable contemporary indie artists as well as an array of local musicians. These days, when I’m writing and producing music, I can be frequently found drifting through subterranean tunnels under and around the US capital. 

    Tell us something about your release Swimming with Kawatora!
    So I took inspiration from some Japanese folk-lore for these tracks. The Kawatora or “River Tiger” is an amphibious Yokai or imp often depicted with webbed feet and a turtle shell. They like to eat cucumbers and engage in Sumo wrestling. Their habits were fascinating to me, so I was compelled to write a piece fo music I thought might capture these traits. Then, apparently an ancient Zelkova Tree in the Autumn of 1817 was struck by lightening revealing a chamber inside where mythical creatures governed themselves and created their laws, like a parliament. This seemed like an important event for which I should write a piece of music. Typically when I write collections of pieces they stem from some research I’m doing or something that fascinates me. 

    Thank you for sharing this with us Ryan!

    For more information, please check out these links:
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  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Paul-Marie Barbier – Melancolia

    Today I’m introducing you to the French pianist, performer and composer Paul-Marie Barbier. Paul-Marie started plating the piano at the age of five, percussion at the age of 12 and later guitar at the age of 15. Besides of writing neo classical piano music, Paul-Marie is also part of the band Caravan Palace (of which I am a great fan of, btw).

    The track Melancolia was released as a single on June 26th, but will also be part of an upcoming album.

    Paul-Marie Barbier describes ‘Melancolia’, his 3rd solo piano single, as a blend of two main influences, Satie’s Gymnopédies and Chopin’s Mazurkas. Connoisseurs will also hear a reference to Schubert’s impromptus towards the end of the piece, with descending broken arpeggios in the right hand. ‘Melancolia’ was originally a Caravan Palace song but this time the rework goes much deeper with even the meter changing from a slow and heavy 4 beat rhythm into a lighter, melancholic waltz.

    Thank you Paul-Marie!

    For more information, please check out the following links:
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  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Felix Reuter

    A while back I posted about the track Petite Sonate Pathétique – Part II by the German composer, pianist and music comedian Felix Reuter. And today we’ll get to know the man behind the piano!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I live in the middle of Germany, in the federal state of Thuringia (Thüringen). I grew up in Jena and today I live in Weimar which is just nearby. 

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I’ve been playing the piano since I was seven years old. Before, I learned to play the recorder – with a strict teacher: my mother! During my studies at the “Franz Liszt Academy of Music” in Weimar I got acquainted with jazz harmonics which inspired me a lot. For several years I played in different bands: jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and pop music. I needed to keep this a secret in front of my professor: She was quite severe and argued that this music would ruin my touch for playing classical music. Later I studied playing the church organ which I also enjoyed pretty much.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    When I was a kid, my father, an organist, would have us listen to the radio and ask over and over: “So, who do you think composed this piece?” We were many children and would guess together, so we learned to distinguish between different musical eras by ear. Our father stimulated my curiosity so much that I was eager to learn to play the piano.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I grew up with music and composing. I invented melodies early and got composition lessons at the age of 9, so it was rather a flowing development than linked to some certain “turning point”. Today, as a pianist, I have been giving cabaret piano concerts for several years. It has become my true specialty to improvise over classical music, playing with a variety of musical genres. E. g. I perform Mozart’s “A Little Night Music” in a rock’n’roll way, or Beethoven’s famous piano sonata “Pathétique” in the style of modern pop music. In this way, I interact both with the old masters and with my audience. That is a lot of fun to me. 

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    My favourite composers are certain romantic ones: Edvard Grieg, Sergej Rachmaninov, Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    Not precisely. When I sit down at the piano, I usually improvise and play just the way I feel: sometimes excited or temperamental, but sometimes also very calm and quietly. Rarely, I play compositions by others.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I think there are hardly any rules these days. Many compose as well as their computer software allows them to, and some still master the feeling and the actual technique of composing – and this, you can hear and tell either.

    How do you record your music?
    For the recordings I have been to different studios, all of them featuring a grand piano, a lot of microphones and someone able to operate all of this perfectly. Some of the productions also included a camera team and were documented. Lately, I have been recording in a studio in Hamburg – also for my latest EP “Petite Sonate Pathétique”.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    Well, there are many stunning sounds I really like. But you need to be careful – just the same you find very coarse samples that I would not recommend using. You can hear the differences between a good and a bad sample particularly well when it comes to wind instruments.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    I am happy that you are interested and curious about my music. This year, music lovers celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary and I reckon some more artists are going to release fresh reinterpretations of the composer’s pieces or music inspired by Beethoven. Sadly, now during the restrictions against the spread of Covid-19, artists all around the globe cannot perform normally, but I strongly hope that this will be possible again soon.

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 

    The pieces and songs on which I am working have often come to my mind already some time ago. I have played them on stages in the same or in a similar way and eventually I have written them down so that I do not forget them. But sometimes it also happens that I think of something when I’m out for a walk, taking a shower or driving in my car. Then I need to write my idea down quickly and only later I decide whether I really like the idea – if not, the note goes straight to the recycle bin. 

    Thank you Felix for your participation!

    For more information, check out these following links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Karl Thesing

    I have previously written about the German composer and piano player Karl Thesing, and today we’ll go deep!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I am from Cologne, Germany

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    The Piano was my „last“ instrument. I started with drums when I was 6 years old or something- but I was never really good at it 🙂 My main instrument was guitar and bass- I also sang a lot. I can not really remember when I started playing piano. I did not had a teacher and just always played Piano when I saw one. It was just always something I liked but never had in mind. I intensively started playing about 13 years ago.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I always listened a lot to music. When I was a kid I was singing along to operas and musicals, I heard on Cds my parents liked to hear. I really started playing with my first band, what now seems more like a joke, because we were more then bad. I played drums and sing in this group.I wrote my first solo piano composition with 16.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I really started making piano music or neoclassical music at the age of 16.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    My mother told me about a scrapbook I used when I was 6 years old or something. I had a little cheap Casio keyboard. I did not know how to play, but I invented melodies using my own pretty dumb notation system and wrote them in that scrapbook.I am pretty curious how it did sound. Unfortunately I do not have it anymore. Otherwise I may could make some nice rework 🙂

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    It often changes. Right now I would say it is Niklas Paschburg. I can’t get those melodies out of my head 🙂

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    I can’t really play other songs unfortunately and I don’t see the fun in it as well. I am always playing the songs I am writing at the moment over and over again.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I never felt like there are rules at all. When I started playing guitar, a kid from school said I am not good at all, especially my songs, because I did not stay in the right key. When I got my first teacher (an amazing guitarist) he said I can do whatever I want when I write my own music. I believed him since then.

    How do you record your music?
    I always start just by myself, with my piano. Then I change over to Logic and cheaply produce the song with MIDI. When it comes to production, recording and mixing I always work with the same Producer and the same studio. Lennart Damann from High Tide Studio in Hennef (its near by cologne). I can’t do what I do without him. He is the sound in my music. We often spend 10 days mixing the same song together- not because it is always necessary, but we enjoy going really into every possible detail. 

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    I used to job a bit in that section and sampled just a few instruments myself. I often changed my mind about them. I think it is a great way to work and it opens a lot of creative opportunities. I don’t want to miss them. But when it comes to my songs and the final production, all sampled instruments have to go.There is not a single sampled instrument in it.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    I just want to say hi to my friends/team and I hope I can soon replan our tour. Lenn, Tobi, Linus, Linda, Dominik, Raffi, Marco, Tommy, Marcel! 

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 

    I am dreaming of the songs. When I wake up my fingers are itching. Then I sit down at the piano and my fingers show them to me 🙂

    Thank you Karl for your participation!

    For more information, please check out these links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Alstad

    A while back I wrote about the track When we lost it all by the composer and piano player Alstad. And today; we go behind the piano to get to know the person behind the track a bit better!

    What’s your real name? 
    My name is Cory Alstad

    How did you come up with your artist name? 
    When I started producing instrumental piano-music, I decided to separate my other music (mostly singer/songwriter stuff with full band, studio recordings, etc) from this particular music. So under ‘Alstad’ at this point, the music will all be instrumental and will feature piano as the main instrument.

    Where are you from? And where do you live? 
    I’m a Canadian and have always lived in Canada. I grew up in a few different places, but spent most of my early life in Winnipeg, MB, which is in central Canada. Years later, my wife and 3 kids moved to where we live now about 14 and a half years ago. We live in a city called “Langley” which is basically kind of a suburb of Vancouver. 

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well? 
    I’ve played piano for many years…I started lessons when I was 7 years old and have played ever since. My parents forced me to take piano lessons, even later on when I begged them to quit! Now I’m thankful that they wouldn’t let me, but we had lots of fights about it…I can play a few other instruments as well, but not at the same level as the piano. I can play guitar, a bit of the drums, bass guitar and can ‘fake it’ on a few other  instruments. I’m also a singer. 

    Tell us about how you started playing music.  
    I grew up in a home where my dad was quite musical, on the piano and with vocals. I took lessons from a young age, on. I did the whole classical “Royal Conservatory of Music” route and actually ended up going to the University of Manitoba School of Music, where I completed a Bachelor of Music. But from the very beginning I was drawn to songs that I heard on the radio and loved. I have a good ear for music, and so I would often  learn the songs by ear and focus on that in my practicing, much to the annoyance of my piano teachers! I would also often ask them to play a piece that I was supposed to learn, so that I could have a head-start in learning the piece by ear! As I grew older and developed as a musician, I began to write music as well and that quickly became a real passion for me, which it continues to be, today. I also grew up attending church and was very much involved musically in that context, as I continue to be. 

    How long have you been making piano music? 
    Probably for 30 years or so.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself! 
    I think that I was writing/making music from very early on – writing all sorts of terrible songs on the piano at a young age! But, they got better as I got older. I think that one of the turning points for me was when I was attending a college near Winnipeg (before my university days) and I showed my music professor a piece that i had written. He loved it and was super encouraging to me and urged me to continue down that path. i think that was a really good ’nudge’ in my life and I started to take it more seriously after that. Having someone believe in your music is such an important thing in any musicians life, I think.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    I would have to say that Olafur Arnalds is one of my favourites. He’s fantastic. I also really love the music of Joep Beving, Peter Cavallo, Nils Frahm – and many others!

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano? Your own or someone else’s? 
    Hmmm. I made up a fun arrangement of “Billy Jean” by Michael Jackson a few years ago with a guitarist friend of mine, so I often will jam to that!

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I think that it’s good to know the rules before you break them. But I think there are lots of rules that can be broken. Of course, part of the challenge is, depending on what genre you’re in, the rules change 🙂 If you’re writing a piece in the baroque era/genre, you’re going to have to be careful about sticking to their rules, or else you’re not going to actually be making baroque music. I’m drawn to chords that have dissonances to them. Like a suspension 4 chord (say a Gsus) that still has the third in it – so you’ve got that beautiful tension of an 11th chord (without the 7th and 9th necessarily). So maybe you’d call that a G add 4…lots of subjectivity around chord labels. I think that anyone who claims that there are hard and fast rules about what can be included or not included in music isn’t correct. It can all be music – it may just not be great music 🙂 

    How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
    With my Alstad stuff (piano instrumental) I started out collaborating with a friend, but for the last little while I’ve been doing it all on my own in my little studio in my garage. So very much a solo thing.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    I love sampled instruments! I use them all the time. There are so many legit sounding instruments out there right now and it’s never been easier to have a great sounding piece/album without needing to do it in a big studio with a real piano, etc., which costs a lot of money.  Obviously, using a real piano is ALWAYS ideal – sometimes just for the feel of it (which of course affects how you’ll play the piece) if for nothing else. But there are lots of great sampled instruments out there.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    I appreciate the chance to be part of this blog! If people are interested in my music they can definitely check me out on Spotify, Apple Music, or any other music platform. Also, I curate a great little playlist called Chill Evening Music that’s filled with beautiful and reflective instrumental music. 

    The last question is asked by my 6 year oldson
    Where do all your songs come from? 
    Ha ha – beautiful question! I think that my songs come from my heart. I really believe that we’ve all been made to create and it’s one of the ways that we speak about the things of the heart and the soul. Words often don’t do a good job of articulating what is going on in our inner lives and so music can really help us there. There’s an old, obscure passage in the Bible that says that God has placed eternity on the human heart. I think that when we make music, we are reaching for that eternity – we’re made for it and can’t help ourselves. So, I think that my songs come from a deep place of longing and of reaching towards the Divine! 

    Thanks for participating Cory!

    For more information and updates, please check out these following pages:
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