Comment: With the sad news of the passing of legendary and Oscar-winning composer Vangelis (R.I.P.) earlier this week, I thought it would be fitting to feature today a song that will certainly remind you of him: the alliteratively titled: The Beacon Beckons. Actually, South Africa born composes Jarp du Plessis, aka antinode, didn’t use to make synth-based music but he decided to step away from his usual melodic piano tunes when he started to work on his symphonized EP. The result was nothing short of mesmerizing.
Comment: Diarmuid 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.