Today I’m introducing you to American film composer Kevin Stahl based in Philadelphia. He usually makes music for movies and video games.
Like many others, Kevin has a lot of unreleased material laying around. And like many others Kevein goes through this old material every now and then.
After re-discovering all these tracks, I realized that many of them contained a common thread and would work nicely together as an album.
I hear you Kevin.
Tell us something about your track Everlasting peace!
Everlasting Peace is the calmest and most serene track on the album. It is a Thomas Newman-inspired track that, upon hearing it for the first time, Denis DiBlasio struggled with what to play. In a single take with no edits, he recorded the most beautiful melody line that became a cornerstone to entire Circadian Rhythms album.
Tell us something about your album Circadian Rhythms!
When the world-renowned jazz musician, Denis DiBlasio, expressed interest in collaborating on an album, I began work re-composing, re-orchestrating, and recording these tracks. In the most un-intuitive fashion, Denis came in about halfway through the composing process and laid down improvised solos and melody lines on top of the incomplete works-in-progress. He played a variety of instruments including the rare and hauntingly beautiful bass flute. With his parts laid down, I finished composing and orchestrating “around” his parts. And, in the end, Denis’ solo lines, the orchestrations, and the rhythm section met in the middle and came together to form the album Circadian Rhythms – an eclectic jazz / classical crossover album, featuring lush orchestrations, subtle grooves, and virtuosic solos.
Thank you for this album Kevin! Truly wonderful music!
Today I’m introducing you to Spanish composer and pianist Javi Lobe from Zaragoza, Spain. Javi has always been a musician, and the interest just keeps getting bigger. He got his first piano lesson from his older sister and then went on to study piano at the Conservatory. He doesn’t just make piano music, but also makes arrangements for strings.
This song, Infinity, is released as a single and a part of Piano Storys; a series of songs; another song every other week. The full album is released in June of 2019.
Tell us something about your track Infinity!
The point behind Infinity was to get a simple work at an easy pace, however with a special, haunting sonority. This is done by means of a set of chords chosen thoroughly in order to build up an atmosphere that will carry you away; your mind will go blank and you will have a vacant stare, staring into infinity.
Thank your for this wonderful piece of music, Javi!
Today I’m introducing you to American composer Jacob Pavek and his latest album NOME. Jakob lives in Minnesota and mainly composes for piano and strings, and has a pretty big collection of pianos (11 pianos is a lot, isn’t it?).
The album NOME was released earlier this year.
Hi Jacob! Tell us something about the album!
After my previous album Illume, I was involved in a number of various music projects that occupied most of my time. I wasn’t focusing on writing an album until I had the opportunity to open for Johann Johannsson, where I realized I should have some better pieces to play at the show. In particular, the track Love/Marriage came from this catalyst. I ended up writing about 15 pieces over the course of a year and whittled it down to 8 for the album. I performed the piano on the same Steinway I used on the last records, located at the University of Wisconsin. However, I did something a little different on this one by sampling my wife Katy and my best friend Travis’ vocals and including them. I had them sing each note of a scale in the largest range they could and ended up using them to help texturize the music. You can hear Travis on 2040 and Katy on Pulse.
Tell us something about one of the tracks from the album!
I wrote NOME about 3 years ago, kind of by accident. I was brushing my teeth getting ready to go to bed and I walked by the piano, laid my right hand down and played that beginning theme. I stayed up and wrote the chord progression and knew it would be perfect with strings. I wrote the parts for violin and viola, performed by Joshua Misner. As the origin of this piece was mainly from the sub-conscious (or just luck), I focused on keeping it void of any particular subject matter so that the listener is free of bias and can feel whatever they want from it. The title NOME itself is purely for aesthetics.
Thank you for this wonderful record Jacob!
Today I’m introducing you to Swedish composer and piano player Felix Martinz. Felix lives in Stockholm and mainly makes music for film, games and commercials but also plays (jazz) vibraphone.
I was pretty happy when I got sent this song, since Sunne is a town not far from my own hometown of Arvika in Värmland, Sweden. It made me think of home just by reading the title. I was even happier when the song was great!
This track is released as a single and there are more singles coming (the next one will probably be out when this is posted).
Tell us something about your track Sunne!
The track was recorded in my living room on my black Yamaha Upright piano. It was just the time when many great memories from the Swedish town Sunne were surfacing, a place I have visited many times. The quiet large forests, the lake Fryken… The area is very beautiful and I tried my best to paint it in music.
Thank you Felix. for this wonderful song!
Today I’m introducing you to Swedish composer Jonas Anderson, who release music using the name Heim. Heim means Home in the north of Sweden.
Heim is my refuge for meditative piano with a cinematic touch along with a true love for the vast cold landscapes of northern Sweden.
This is his debut on Spotify, but he has been making music for many years, mostly for his own pleasure. There’s more singles coming; one every month. So keep a look out for more Heim-music in the near future!
Tell us something about your track Motif!
The idea came to me one day from out of the blue when I wasn’t around my piano, so I sang the rough progression, recorded it on my phone and hoped I would still understand what I was doing when I came back to my studio. Luckily I did! As Motif is my first track I wanted it to sum up everything that is Heim so that the listeners now what can be expected from me in the future.
Today I’m introducing you to the song Identity by 86Plot, a.k.a. Bob Benson from Iowa in the United States. The album Identity crisis by 86Plot is not a neo classical nor ambient album. The genres varies a lot throughout the album, but the song called Identity is definitely a beautiful piano tune.
I strive to push the boundaries of traditional genres and blend elements of cinematic scores and experimental compositions with conscious hip-hop and commercial pop.Bob Benson
Tell us something about your track Identity!
Identity is the only instrumental on Identity Crisis, and is intended to be an introspective breath of fresh air following the heavy thematic content of the other tracks preceding it on the album. There were many thoughts that could only be conveyed lyrically, but I find as much (if not more) pleasure composing instrumental music — I’ve always felt that it inherently enables the listener to connect with art on a deeper, intimate level.
Identity actually started out as a random session in Propellerhead Reason, which is typically used for electronic music production, but I enjoy using it to sketch out musical ideas. One feature in Reason allows you to conform notes to a specific scale, a limitation that I found ironically liberating while experimenting with what became the primary chord structure of this piece. It ultimately opens up and ventures into a more free-form arrangement, and in retrospect it’s a fine example of how integrating technology into our creative processes, even solo or minimalist compositions, can be a huge inspiration and lead us in directions we may not have otherwise found.
Thank you for this wonderful song Bob! It’s interesting to hear about another way to compose piano music than the traditional one I think most people use.
A couple of weeks ago I introduced you to Rob McAllisters project Music Within and his song Julicha’s Theme. Basically, Ron has done it again. On Julichkas Theme there were three versions of the same song: Solo piano, Sting quartet and music box, and this time he has used the very same instruments to perform his song A moment of symmetry!
Tell us something about the recording of the piano version of the song A moment of symmetry!
For this recording, I really wanted to use a ‘felted’ piano because of its soft, warm and beautiful sound. (For anyone who doesn’t know: a foot pedal on the piano literally moves a piece of felt over the strings so that the hammers hit the strings with much less force, muting and significantly softening the sound). So, I was over at a friend’s studio on a quiet Sunday afternoon to record. I’d been there before and had played around on his upright piano so I knew that it would be very nice to play. We were all set up and ready to get going when I realized that the foot pedal which normally moves the felt in place wasn’t working. After checking it out it was clear that this particular piano simply didn’t have the felt piece! 🙁 …
I wasn’t ready to give up on the sound I was envisioning just yet though, so I hurried out to a fabric store and bought a big sheet of green felt. After cutting it into several smaller pieces we were able to rig up a system where the felt hung down from the top of the piano and stayed between the hammers and the strings. We held the pieces in place using a bunch of guitar pedals as weights! So I hope you enjoy the sound of the piano, I worked hard for it. Haha!
Today I’m introducing you to composer and piano player Anna Yarbrough, originally from Belfast in Northers Ireland, but now located in Brooklyn, New York. Her song Éire is released as a single, and came of early march.
If you recognize the cover art it might be because this, as many other releases on this site, was released by the New York label The sonder house.
Tell us something about your track Éire!
I wrote the track over the Christmas season (maybe I was feeling nostalgic) as a nod to my home. I love infusing quirky elements into my work so I wrote the opening melody with an interesting time signature, and had the piece fluctuate between major/minor resolutions. Something about the melodic and harmonic choices felt mysterious to me, so I thought it reflected by homeland well. The cover art features a photo I took in the Mourne Mountains at Christmas in 2014.
Thank you for this beautiful piece of music Anna! And good luck with your song!
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!
Today I’m introducing you to Australian composer Justin Hunter and his latest release Drown. Justin lives in the Blue Mountains in Australia and apart from being an amazing pianist and composer he also runs ultra marathons and is a part time photographer.
This is a first taste of an upcoming album coming out sometime 2019. But first; a couple of singles.
When I asked him about the song he responded with something that looked and sounded like a poem. It wasn’t, but I’ll keep it poem like!
“Drown” was written in a small cafe high up in the Blue Mountains.
By actual fluke, the first time I sat at the keys to continue writing the piece the keys and notes all perfectly meshed into one.
It sounded so beautiful, like everything was just falling around me.
It struck me that if the ocean was only made up of musical notes,
then I would absolutely not have the strength to swim. I would be overtaken by the melody and “Drown” ..
A perfect representation that there are in life, memories and experiences that are so perfect, that the moment we sit back and soak it all in, we are actually in fact, being so thrown into an ocean of emotion, almost as if we are drowning in the moment.
Music is totally that.
A trigger for memories, that consume and allow us to linger and drown in the moment.
Thank you for the music Justin! Looking forward to hear the album!