Today I’m introducing you to pianist and composer Michael Ottoson from Sweden. Michael has worked with music in some way for the last 30 years or so, but this last year he decided to try something different. This!
The song In Circles is taken from his debut piano album In time we’ll be. The entire album is recorded in the same order which the songs were written in. In time we’ll be was released late march of 2019.
Tell us something about your song In Circles!
This song is written in one go at the piano. I wanted something of a repetitive motion going on in my left hand. After some bars presenting the chord progression, the melody kicks in. Much in the same way as the chord motion, the melody repeats itself and stay quite calm. “In circles” is, like the rest of the album, meant to express an inner longing of keeping things small and easy.
In contrast to a lot of my previous work, this music tells it all just by being what it is. A felted upright with two microphones. I feel like it resonates with me a lot more and hope it does for the listener as well. The up-close microphones also captures all the mechanical sounds and overall flaws of the performance, which I believe adds to the whole thing.
Life is sometimes running ‘in circles’ and sometimes we need to just sit down and simplify things. I hope this song, and album, will help people do just that.
Thank you Michael for this song, and this album!
Today I’m introducing you to London based composer Thomas Hewitt Jones. Becoming a composer was kind of an obvious choice since two of his grandparents were composers and that Thomas comes from a very musical family.
The track Autumn of Life is taken from the album Contemporary String Quartet which was released in February of 2019.
Tell us something about your track Autumn of Life!
I recorded the album with the internationally-acclaimed Carducci String Quartet – my cousin Emma Denton is the cellist! The album is loosely themed, with each track exploring a different emotional concept. This particular track, Autumn of Life, explores the passing of time, and it remembers my Composer Grandmother Anita, who was a huge inspiration to me both professionally & personally.
Thank you for this Thomas!
Today I’m introducing you to Kepa Lehtinen, a finish composer and sound designer. Aside from being a great pianist, Kepa has also studied many other instruments like drums and synthesizers.
His first solo album was released in 2018 and this tune is taken from the follow up called Helsinki in November, which was released in April of 2019.
Tell us something about this latest album of yours!
This album is written for piano, contrabass, and theremin, which is an almost-century-old Russian electronic instrument. Leon Theremin, the father of this instrument, created it by an accident after studied on Russian military radio-engineering school. Theremin is played without direct contact to instrument, and that is why it is possible to create both soft and melancholic athmosphere or anxious and screeming effects.
Tell us something about this track (with the very long title)!
On “Serenade for theremin, piano and double bass” theremin takes the role of a violin in more typical classical duets and compliments the piano well. It also allows for sounds and techniques a violin could never equal. The combination of theremin, piano, and contrabass creates a sound full of cinematic darkness that immediately commands attention. The theremin is no longer a freak but a stand-alone lead instrument.
I have used several synthesizers for composing, but for last track of this album I constructed an istrument using Commodore-64-home computer. Its robotic sound combined with etheric theremin is really freak.
Thank you for sharing this track with us Kepa!
Today I’m introducing you to German composer and producer Klinger based in Hamburg, Germany. He started his piano career by posting short 60 second songs on Instagram (60 seconds due to their limits on how long a video clip can be on instagram).
This is Klingers first full length piano composition and it was released in April, 2019.
Now that you have gotten the last of full length songs, will you release more songs soon?
Yes, there will be an ep soon and Prisoners in Paradise will be featured on it. The basic theme around the ep will be “insects”. Not the most obvious choice for piano music, I know. Acutally my mother brought it up, after listening to the new songs for the first time. My sister even drew some pictures of me, a piano and lots of insects.
Tell us something about your track Prisoners in paradise!
I made a very simple video symbolizing what the song is about.
It features a wasp trapped in a pot of strawberry juice.
But this is not only about wasps. I guess all uf us find ourselves in such situations from time to time. We’re drawn so heavily by something we crave and when we’re finally there it turns out it doesn’t make us happy at all. And even more: It’s very hard to get away from it again.
Thanks you Klinger for sharing this with us. The video, drawing and the song is all amazing! Looking forward to hear (and maybe even see?) the EP!
For followers of the blog, Anna Sofia Nord is nothing new. Anna Sofia is a Swedish pianist ands composer who lives in Örebro. You can read more about Anna Sofia here, and about a previous release here.
Music is both my occupation and passion.
Anna Sofia started to record her own piano music last year (2018) and this is her fifth piano piece; released as a single in April 2019.
Tell us something about your track Reflection!
This piece started out as a theme with a touch of Swedish folk music and evolved from there. A melancholic reflection of things passed. My music often comes from a feeling or theme i improvise over until i find a structure that i like.
Thank your for this Anna Sofia!
Today I’m introducing you to Wesly Tan, a classical trained pianist which makes (piano) music using the name Wesleezy. Wesly comes from Hacienda Hights which is a suburb of Los Angeles, California.
The song Waves is taken from the album Hybrid Behavior which was released the 31st of march 2019. Half of the album is piano solo songs which would be classified as neoclassical, while the other half of the album is jazz with full instrumentation.
Tell us something about your track Waves!
Waves was actually the last song that I completely finished when I was writing my album. I initially wrote most of the piece within the last year and a half, but I didn’t feel like it was truly finished. I kept putting it off until I finally approached it at the end when it felt right. A lot of the journey as an artist is trying to find different ways to be inspired and waiting for the perfect time, place, and wavelength so that what we are creating feels right. About a week before I finished the album, I finally got the inspiration and it was so easy to finish. In a lot of ways, it is representative of my journey as a musician, with all of it’s ups and downs. Something you’ll notice about my music is that I write things that are very melodic and easy to listen to. They are usually hopeful and thoughtful, with an undertone of sadness and bittersweet. This is how I feel about my music and art in general. I am a very happy and positive person, and my music tends to reflect that. But when I am looking for inspiration for my work, I tend to go into some deep and dark places in my mind and soul. And it is when I emerge from the other side, I feel that I write my best work.
Thank you for sharing this song with us Wesly!
With this post I’m celebrating 100 Spotted posts! That means 100 songs/album I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying since I started this blog (for real) in December 2018. And I’m celebrating with the album Bells for splitting reality by fellow Swedish composer Olof Cornéer. I’m gonna try to make this post about him as well as about myself (and my blog).
Olof sent me an email a while back asking if I would be interested in doing a post about him or his latest album on my blog. As always I forward him to SubmitHub because that’s how I handle all my submissions (and I get a lot of submission for this blog, and submithub makes it easier). But as usual I couldn’t resist having a listen to the album while I waited. And what met me with Bells for splitting reality took me back to when I was a teenager.
I have mentioned my uncle Per Gustavsson for you before. Both because he’s the artist behind the cover art for many of my (early) releases, but also because he (as I mentioned in my interview with Mike Lazarev) was the one who introduced me to this wonderful world of piano music (and still does, apparently). When I was a teenager my uncle introduced me to Mike Patton and bands like Fantômas, Mr. Bungle and Faith no more. But he also introduced me to the wonderful album Music for airports by Brian Eno. Listening to Bells for splitting reality took me back to that record and those songs. Even if the instrumentation is quite different it still reminds me a lot about that ambient record by Brian Eno.
When I write music I usually work with what may be called a “pop structure”. There’s an “A part” (verse) and a “B part” (chorus), and sometimes I throw in a C and a D part as well. Olof has instead created a background soundtrack of… whatever you want it to be a soundtrack of.
On my first listen through the album I was sitting in my living room watching my kids play with a big cardboard box (some bastard stole our bicycle trailer so we had to buy a new one, hence a very big cardboard box). They were nice to each other (oh, I can’t explain how much I love watching them play with each other) and this record was a great fit for that moment. Beautiful.
On the next listening session I was sitting in my kitchen, actually writing the beginning of this very post, and, well, it was a great moment for that moment as well. Beautiful.
Now I have been rambling around quite a bit about myself and my life. It’s time to give Olof a proper introduction!
Olof is a Swedish composer, based in Stockholm. He has worked with electronic music in different forms his entire life.
A few years ago a life changing event happened and I felt I had been neglecting one of my musical dreams – to compose notated/classical music. I suddenly just knew what kind of music I wanted to create, and it actually just took 1-2 days to finish the first part of the piece Bells For Splitting Reality. After that I just kept going, and I’m still writing. I just finished a wind quintet, and I’m also working with a choir here in Stockholm on a piece I’m writing.
I made some references to Brian Enos Music for airports earlier. Do you have a relation to this album? And can you see why I made those references?
It’s a classic album/piece and I have listened to it a lot of times during the years. The original is amazing of course, but I also really like the recording by Bang on a Can.
Thank you for this music Olof! What a to celebrated 100 spotted posts!
Today I’m introducing you to American pianist and composer Wei Yuan from Los Angeles, California. Wei is primarily a pop/hophop producer under the name Ox The Moron. Wei has however played piano since a young age and someday wanted to make piano music as well. And the day has come!
I started writing and recording piano music as Wei Yuan at a time when I felt my own life was spiraling out of control, and somehow writing calm piano music helped me find some peace. It’s maybe kind of corny to say, but my hope is that my listeners may also find solace in listening to my music.
The track A warm light was released the 12th of April and is one of many singles coming this year from Wei!
Tell us something about your track A warm light!
This particular composition, A Warm Light, was written for my mother. I tried to channel memories of my childhood to evoke melodies, and I hope that listeners will be able to experience the dreamy nostalgia I was aiming for. My mom liked it, so I’m sure you will, too, haha.
Well, we do like it! Thanks for sharing with us!
Today I’m introducing you to German composer Thomas Klak and his latest release What’s here. Thomas was born in Haltern am See in 1979 and grew up in Marl. At the age of six he took his first piano lessons with Hungarian Gilel’s student Istvan Nagy as teacher.
Thomas has been playing keyboards in different metal bands, and also studied the piano in the connection with Musical Education in the class of Arnulf von Arnim at the Folkwang-University, department Duisburg. Since October 2009 Thomas Klak is teaching Piano and Piano Improvisation as lecturer for special tasks at Folkwang University, Essen.
The track What’s here was released on the album with the same name in April 2019.
Tell us something about your track What’s here!
What’s here describes the moment of orientation in your/a bedroom at night. It’s dedicated to the tiny little moment, before your brain and thoughts kick in to give you orientation:orientation in the place and the story you actually stay in.
Music: my music is simple, intimate, melodic, melancholic, deep and calm. It’s based on ostinato pattern and intensive melodies.
Thank you for sharing this with us Thomas!
Today I’m introducing you to French composer Stéphane Horeczko born in Paris and currently living a bit outside the capital. He released his first piano album in 2009 (called G. 1888) which was a tribute to the composer Erik Satie.
I tried to combine many of my musical influences, mingling a touch of jazz with extended classical harmonies.
This latest release is not as “classical” as the debut, but rather ambient with both drums, and is that even an electric guitar I can hear?
Tell us something about your song Little things!
This piano music is very recent because I composed and produced it in February/March 2019. The idea was to create a cinematic piano track with an introspective side and a repetitive pattern from beginning to end but with an harmonic opening for give it a little more relief. I still wanted to keep a nostalgic and minimalist aspect that characterizes my musical creations. I sat at my keyboard and improvised an harmonic basis based on 3 chords on 4 bars, then I thought about an extended variation on an 8 bars lenght in contrast with the reflective side. I resampled what I had just played inside Cubase Sampler Track, then I kept a 3 note pattern in the introduction that leads to full piano arpeggios after the introduction. The piano melodic theme played in a guitar amp-like effect comes a little further in the song with fairly distant, and faster equalized piano chord inserts, which fit like an echo referring to distant memories that resurface suddenly. This gives a contrast with the piano arpeggios more anchored in the present moment. In the background, the high pitched evolving pads and rhythmic loops in movement give a catchy and appeasing effect to the piece. I finished the music with the return of distant piano elements and the piece ends with a concluding final arpeggio. My musical work has always been based on memory, in contrast with the present moment. We are what we are today only by the memory of those who have gone before us. We are tracing the way to those who will follow us, that is my message. it may seem a bit simple, but we are all a drop in an ocean. ‘Little Things’ was included in the Soundcloud ‘Piano Day 2019’ Playlist by talented German pianist and composer Nils Frahm. It will be included in an EP or album I am currently working on.
Thank you for sharing this with us!