Today I’m introducing you to the Turkish composer and pianist Selin Gökova and her track Haze. Selin started to play the piano at the age of 11 and started composing her own tunes when she was 13. During quarantine she decided to start making her music public, and Haze is her debut track!
This track Haze was released as a a singleton the 12th of March, 2021.
Tell us something about your track Haze!
I composed “Haze” on a very sunny day in July. Despite the weather outside, I could only feel an intense haze covering my thoughts and life due to all the uncertainties and anxiety the pandemic brought forth. The piece draws visual imagery of a hazy scene, in which one is alone and unable to see anything or move forward. Surrounded by fear and hopelessness, one starts to feel smaller and smaller, while the future transforms into a source of anxiety instead of excitement. However hard one tries to get rid of this haze, every step taken to reach the sunlight becomes one more miserable move into the big grey ocean of uncertainties.
Thank you very much for this Selin!
Today I’m introducing you to the American composer and piano player Andrew Shapiro from Brooklyn, New York and his track Mint Green. He started recording solo piano music in 2009, and that partricular recording was made in one day at Philip Glass’s studio.
The track Mint Green was released on the album Numbers, colors and people back in 2008 and re-released as a solo piano single in 2021.
Tell us something about your track Mint Green!
I was a young artist making my first album and was amazed a piece of art-music could find the reception that it did. But it was in the way that it did I continue to find fascinating. Mint Green has resonated with fans of a number of disparate artists and genres. It’s Classical, Ambient, Emo, Pop and Trance simultaneously. One could make the case that this is really a piece of Electronica realized by a human on a piano… When the piece reached into mainstream territory –initially on Coldplay’s Pandora station– I started hearing from people all over the world. In recognition of this journey, I’ve created a remastered and shortened version (four minutes); the one I play on TV and in other appearances.
Thank you for this Andrew!
Today I’ll present you with the track The Void by Andrea Carri and Ian Urbina. When I read the content for this post I decided to do something I don’t normally do and just copy/paste in what Ian wrote to me. It was a little hard for me to rewrite, and why would I want to rewrite the words from a real journalist?
I am an investigative reporter and director of the journalistic non-profit, The Outlaw Ocean Project. For more background on me here’s my Wikipedia page. However, I believe musicians and journalists are both storytellers and created The Outlaw Ocean Music Project as a first-of-its-kind collaboration of such creators. In combining their mediums, these narrators have conveyed emotion and a sense of place in an enthralling new way. The result is a captivating body of music based on The Outlaw Ocean book and reporting. While reporting for 5 years at sea, Urbina built an audio library of field recordings. It featured a variety of textured and rhythmic sounds like machine-gun fire off the coast of Somalia and chanting captive deckhands on the South China Sea. Using the sound archive and inspired by the reporting, over 400 artists from more than 60 countries produced EPs in their own interpretive musical styles — be it electronic, ambient, classical or hip hop. Andrea Carri, whose track you were interested in is part of this project.
Andrea, tell us something about the track The Void!
Working on The Outlaw Ocean Music Project inspired me to alter the way I write music. It usually takes me a bit of time to transform my ideas into complete tracks. With this project, I would typically compose my music organically immediately after reading chapters of The Outlaw Ocean — such as “Storming the Thunder,” “A Rusty Kingdom” and “Adelaide’s Voyage.” At times, it took me longer to read a chapter than it did to write the music influenced by it. Ian has done incredible work with The Outlaw Ocean Project and investigating the nuances of a topic we often ignore. The things I read woke me up to a world I never would have known, compelling me to learn and understand more about what is happening on the ocean. Because of Ian’s book, I began to follow Sea Shepherd and their campaigns around the world. Music has an ability to convey messages fundamental in alerting people on issues such as there, and I hope listeners can dive deeper into the realm of The Outlaw Ocean through my melodies.
Thank you very much for this Ian and Andrea!
There is a couple of links in the text about, so if you want to learn more, please click on them!
Today I’m introducing you to the French composer and piano player Pierre-Alexandre Monin and his track With you. Pierre-Alexandre started playing the piano at the age of eight, and the piano is his best way to express the music in his mind.
I use it to compose, and also to simply express in the moment what is trailing deep inside me. I love spending time on my piano, improvising, just to express what is happening in the present moment.
The track With you was released on the EP with the same name on march 8th, 2021.
Tell us something about the track With you!
I composed it while thinking of those pleasant moments which are imbued with melancholy. I wanted a very simple melody that was delicate and sweet. And emotionally ambiguous. I found it in this major key. For a long time I played it in C. The piece was brighter. And when the time came for the recording, I said to myself: I would like it deeper. At the last moment I changed the key and finally recorded it in G.
Thank you very much for this!
Today I present you with the track Smiles by the guitarist and composer Denis Turbide. Denis got his first guitar about 40 years ago and started releasing guitar music in 2008. This song is, however, a piano version of one of his guitar songs.
This version of the songs was released as a single on the 5th of march, 2021.
Tell us something about your track Smiles!
Smiles is a collaboration with fellow Canadian Jesse Brown AKA Winston Church. It’s a reworked piano version of a guitar tune I released back in 2011 called Dimples. This was the first track of mine to be added to a Spotify editorial playlist, Peaceful Guitar. I called it Dimples because my son has dimples.
Thank you very much Denis and Jesse!
I have written about several songs by the composer and piano player Matthias Gusset before, and you can find them all here! Today, we go Behind the piano and gets to know the person behind all those songs a bit better!
Where are you from? And where do you live?
I was born and bred in Basel and still live here since I really love the city and all my music-projects are based here.
How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
I’ve been playing the piano for 26 years now. As a teenager i wanted to be able to play all the band instruments. So I started to learn bass, guitar and drums. Don’t Kill The Beast, Moonpools, Slow Soak, Sheila She Loves You, The Night Is Still Young, Mastergrief and of course Kappa Mountain are musical projects in which I perform on different Instruments.
Tell us about how you started playing music.
My parents are heavily into music so I had to get in touch with it. I don’t really remember how I started with piano lessons, but my parents tell me it was out of my own free will.
How long have you been making piano music?
I’ve been writing my own songs for 14 years now. A lot of them were never released.
Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
I always tried to play songs I liked on the piano as a kid, kind of pianocovers. At some point I started to change the melodies and harmonies of these songs. That was the moment I started creating new music. Also my best friends are all the middle child like me, so we were desperate for attention in our late teenage years. Writing songs and showing them to people gets you that.
What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
I really love Arvo Pärt and his transcendet style of writing music. Also Max Richter and his feeling for heavy-hearted melodies and harmonies is a big inspiration for me. There are a lot of other artists I like in this genre.
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?
Not really, I always try to concentrate on new things.
What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
I don’t know many rules, so I can’t say which ones I break. Something I’m learning more and more is that the magic while playing the piano lies in letting go of thoughts like:‘What will people think of my music’‘What do I think of my music’‘Is the oven still on?’Basicly any thoughts.
How do you record your music?
I recorded my album ‘3’ on a grandpiano in the auditorium of the school where i work as a primary teacher. The album ‘Inbetween Birdsongs’ which will be released soon was recorded on a Yamaha upright piano in a room used by theater groups. I prefer places which inspire me more than big studios. Both productions were made with Alain Meyer as sound engineer, producer, mixer and friend.
Whats your take on sampled instruments?
I especially love the concept of the mellotron instruments. Other sampled instruments like pianos or strings are interesting and very authentic nowadays but I prefer working the analogue way.
Anything else you want to share?
I just hope my music can inspire someone or help them in any way.
The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from?
I don’t know the place where they come from. Maybe in a hidden forest where it is not relevant who one is. Maybe there’s an ancient being who writes all the songs. So we can just be silent, listen and replay them.
Thank you very much for this, Matthias!
Today I’m presenting you with the track Brother from the Dutch composer, producer and piano player Wouter Hardy (HRDY). In 2019 Wouter produced the song Arcade by Duncan Laurence which won Eurovision Song Contest for the Netherlands. Last February he started making neo classical music, and this is his second release.
The track Brother was released as a single, but will also be part of an album in December, 2021.
Tell us something about your track Brother!
Brother is really special to me. I wrote it for my big brother. It’s about our history together as brothers written as an intimate musical piece. Enjoy!
Thank you for this!
Today I’m presenting you with the track Per Aspera Ad Astra by the British composer and piano player Dom Mason from Birmingham. Dom has made music since he was a teenager and plays a variety of instruments. He also works as a ballet pianist!
The track Per Aspera Ad Astra was released on the album Lockdown Sessions: Songs for John, which came out on the 19th of February, 2021.
Tell us something about your track Per Aspera Ad Astra!
The album is an exploration of my memories of John, my late stepfather. He sadly passed away during the initial lockdown in the Spring of 2020. This particular track is a moment of calm reflection, its placement at 6 is deliberate as it follows on from the busier ‘Memories of Sevilla’ and precedes the bittersweet ‘Little Bird’. The Latin title translates literally as “Through hardship(s), to the stars”, which perfectly summed up John’s struggles with his health in life over many years. The album represents the journey towards a peace which I believe he has now found. It is deeply personal. Some of the more tender, heartfelt melodies (such as track 14’s ‘It’s been a long time’) reflect those personal emotions.
Thank you very much for this!
Today I’m introducing you to the American composer and piano player Dan Schrage and the track Jarrett. Dan has written a lot of music for licensing (film and television) but hasn’t really released any of it. During the lockdowns of 2020 he started to write music again, and this time with the intent of releasing it to the public.
The track Jarrett was released as a single on the 24th of February, 2021.
Tell us something about your track Jarrett!
“Jarrett” is the product of a late night improvisation session following a week or so with Keith Jarrett’s The Köln Concert album basically on repeat. I am not a jazz musician, and “Jarrett” doesn’t sound like most of The Köln Concert, but if you know the album well you may hear the subtle influence of some of those quieter moments of Jarrett’s 1975 improvisational performance at the Opera House in Cologne (German: Köln).
Thank you Dan!
Today I’m introducing you to the American composer Bruce Stark and his track Little Waltz. Bruce is a classical trained composer, born and raised in California, now located in Redmond, Washington. After Juilliard he spent over 20 years in Tokyo before returning to the U.S. in 2013.
The track Little Waltz was released as a single on the 5th of march, 2021.
Tell us something about your track Little Waltz!
The track Little Waltz is a composition from a piano scorebook collection entitled “To A Child’s Heart,” composed during the 2020 lockdown, and dedicated to the child’s heart in all of us. Little Waltz is a delicate, even fragile, little piece for piano. It it touched with a bitter-sweet lyricism and nostalgia. A nice metaphor is a small flower, like the cover art.
Thank you Bruce!