Diarmuid J Kennedy – Maud’s Melody

Artist: Diarmuid J Kennedy

Song: Maud’s Melody

Genres: #Instrumental, #Neoclassical, #Piano

Location: Dublin, Ireland

Release date: February, 2022

CommentDiarmuid J Kennedy, who has been featured here a couple of times already (here and here), is back with another beautiful piano composition called Maud’s Melody. which he dedicated to his youngest daughter, Maud. The story goes that Diarmuid came up with the original melody first and then decided that it would be a nice tribute for Maud. However, her older sister, Medb, thought that the piece needed more drama to reflect her little sister’s personality a bit better, so their father ended up adding a bit of drama in the second part. After hearing this story, I’m sure we’re all dying to meet little Maud, as she must be quite the character, but even without meeting her, we can all appreciate this charming tribute from a loving father to his little girl.

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dieg0 – Insieme

Artist: Dieg0

Song: Insieme

Genres: #Instrumental, #Ambient, #Relaxing

Location: Valencia, Spain

Release date: January, 2022.

Influences: Ludovico Einaudi, Yiruma, Mozart

Comment: Diego Salvati used to write indie folk songs influenced by Damien Rice and John Mayer, and he played them in a still-active band called Colourshop not only across the UK but all over Europe as well. He then moved to Spain in 2015 and started a solo project, Dieg0, with the focus on writing easy-listening piano melodies following the footsteps of modern composers as Ludovico Einaudi and Giovanni Allevi. Insieme, which is Italian for “together”, is his latest composition and it is as magical as any piece by those other artists.

Dieg0‘s intention with this melody was to express how we get sad and happy moments from any relationship and that we have to take them all in: “together”, the good and the bad. As an interesting tidbit, both the music video below and the cover art were taken and recorded simultaneously by Alfredo himself during a boat trip he did from Ibiza to Valencia. The sky was so grey and the sea so black, that he didn’t need to use any filter or special effect to get that dark tone.

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Seamus O’Muineachain – Vltava/Shannon

Jana Talířová

Artist: Seamus O’Muineachain

Song: Vltava/Shannon

Genres: #Instrumental, #Ambient, #Relaxing

Location: Belmullet, Ireland

Release date: January, 2022.

Influences: Brian Eno

Comment: I discovered a few years ago that listening to ambient music while studying or working did wonders to your ability to focus (trust me, give it a try if you haven’t done it), which is why I’m always keen to discover more ambient pieces. Unfortunately, the vast majority of ambient music sounds exactly the same, and that makes finding great tracks that also sound unique all the more remarkable. Seamus O’Muineachain‘s latest album, his fifth one, is full of such tracks, with the closing piece, Vltava/Shannon, being my preferred one.

The Irish musician named this record Different Timezones because it was written and recorded between the Czech Republic (CET) and Ireland (GMT) last year. The atmospheric songs highlight simple melodies and textures in a delicate but very fulfilling way. In Vlatva/Shannon, for example, you can listen to some birdsong in the background, but just enough of it to enhance the track without letting it become too distracting. If you enjoy this piece, I recommend that you check Seamus’ back catalogue as well. You won’t be disappointed.

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Ryan Douglas Michelsen – Dark Clouds

Artist: Ryan Douglas Michelsen

Song: Dark Clouds

Genres: #Instrumental, #cinematic

Location: Arizona, United States

Release date: June, 2021.

Comment: Dark Clouds was released last June but I hadn’t discovered this captivating piece until recently. Sadly, it didn’t receive the recognition it deserved but I can assure you few tracks feel as magical as this one from Phoenix-based artist Ryan Douglas Michelsen. Surprisingly, he started performing in a metal band but after founding his own business called Pombrah Music Publishing, he started exploring pretty much all other genres. I seriously hope he persists in writing enchanting tunes like Dark Clouds. The world needs it.

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Yehra – Resonate

Artist: Yehra

Song: Resonate

Genres: #indierock #neosoul

Location: Canada/Denmark

Release date: August, 2021

Comment: This is possibly first time I add the same song to both the indie and the relaxing mixtapes. That sums up Resonate very well. Yehra is an interesting duo that combines the soothing vocals of Barbadian/Canadian singer Jen Mahon with the chilled arrangements of Danish producer Rasmus Liebst. They have been working together, one way or another, for almost a decade without ever meeting in real life (at least so far). I’m glad we live in a time when that is possible. Otherwise, we would miss plenty of little gems just like Resonate.

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Steve Luck – The Haven

Artist: Steve Luck

Song: The Haven

Genres: #Instrumental, #Neoclassical, #Piano

Location: Newcastle, United Kingdom

Release date: April, 2021.

Influences: Yann Tiersen, Ólafur Arnalds

Comment: The Haven is a hauntingly beautiful neoclassical piano piece named after the house in Northumberland where its composer, Steve Luck, spent most of his childhood holidays. This British artist has been composing and releasing music since 2014 and will release an album in October. Definitely keep him on your radar. In the meantime, enjoy the tenderness of this nostalgic piece.

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Raffael Seyfried – Passage

Artist: Raffael Seyfried

Song: Passage

Genres: #Instrumental, #Neoclassical, #Piano

Location: Germany

Release date: March, 2021.

Influences: Otto Totland, Nils Frahm

Comment: Relaxing piano-based piece from German composer Raffael Seyfried. It got a gorgeous texture that makes the whole track even more enjoyable.

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Away From The Earth – The Secret is To Begin

As it happened to many others, Kyle Wright lost his job in the middle of the pandemic. After graduating college, he had to work as an Uber driver to make ends meet. However, he never stopped dreaming about a better future. Just one year earlier, he had started a solo musical project called Away From The Earth, inspired by his time as a guitar player during worship events and on local bands around Memphis. The events during 2020 motivated him to compose and self-record an EP he named Paint With Grey, See In Color that reflected what he was feeling at the time. Kyle defines AFTE’s music style as “somewhere between post-rock energy and ambient vibes”. I couldn’t agree more with him.

The EP is really good but I fell in love with its first track: The Secret Is To Begin, which is simply mesmerizing. Kyle says that it was based on the sound made by “taping bubble wrap to a fan and laying it over the strings of an electric guitar”, which I would never have guessed on my own given such a beautiful piece of #postrock music. The bottom line is that it is a spellbinding song that you will want to inject into your veins. Listen to it at your own peril.

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Edward Cross – MiddleHill

When I listened to MiddleHill for the first time, it reminded me of the work of Ólafur Arnalds, so seeing him listed as one of the influences of British multi-instrumentalist and composer Edward Cross wasn’t a surprise. What starts as a piano piece recorded on an old, creaky instrument, quickly ends up immersed in a full-blown soundscape that includes strings, electric guitars and woodwind. This results in a mesmerizing neoclassical song that evokes nostalgia, hope and a little bit of sadness. Written and recorded during the first lockdown, MiddleHill will keep us company for years to come.

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David Baron – The Han

Korea is a country with a long history of hardships: from Japanese occupation to many wars and losing family members when the country got divided, among other things. Korean people have a word, Han, that has no direct translation to English and is, actually, difficult to explain. It comes from the Chinese Character 恨 (Han) which means resentment, hatred, or regret; but its meaning is much more complex in Korean. It is associated with families that were separated when Korea split and linked to the concept of ‘the beauty of sorrow‘. It is a form of sadness or longing that’s become part of the Korean identity.

American composer David Baron‘s wife is Korean and they often talk about the concept of Han and how it applies to modern life. I mean, the whole world has been in a state of Han since early 2020. All of this inspired David to compose a beautiful waltz-based piano piece that “aims to capture the duality of sadness/hope”. He managed to achieve that astonishingly well because you can definitely perceive beauty and sadness impregnating The Han. It’s a hauntingly charming composition.

With regards to the artist, as an arranger, engineer and producer, David Baron has worked with artists such as Lenny Kravitz, The Lumineers, Shania Twain and Phoebe Bridgers. He’s also successfully scored films, tv shows and ads over the years. Baron releases his solo work on Woking-based UK label Here & Now Recordings, often collaborating with other artists on that label like Donna Lewis.

Enjoy The Han below.

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