Few instruments are as capable of giving you calm and peace as a piano, and when it comes to piano compositions, I favor heavily the melody over everything else. This is why I like Holly Jones‘ latest piece, Believe, so much. The song’s beautiful melody takes you on a journey to the Sea of Tranquility and back, which is very much in line with what Holly had in mind when she composed the song. Her aim was to bring relief, reassurance and comfort during these uncertain times.
This contemporary classical pianist and composer is originally from Kentucky but now lives in Oklahoma. Her debut piano album was released in 2003 but it wasn’t until 2016 when she released her sophomore record. Since then, Holly has been getting new music out regularly, including Believe just this week.
Check her work out on your favorite streaming platform. In the meantime, you can relax on this Sunday afternoon listening to Believe here.
There are plenty of musicians out there who have been studying and playing music for decades and can play and compose the most challenging pieces, which usually sound every bit as complicated as they are supposed to be. I dislike that type of music. I think the true musical geniuses, like The Beatles, are those who are able to make even intricate compositions sound simple. Do you know what’s hard? Making music that sounds beautiful and original using the same four chords everybody have been using for ages. Yet, it happens from time to time, and when it does, you wonder why no one was able to come up with that idea before. Well, that’s because it isn’t easy.
All this preamble is just to say that I think David Walters, the man behind The Echelon Effect, got that talent. His songs, which dance on the border between ambient music and cinematic/post rock, are beautiful yet sound incredibly simple, until you start noticing all the different layers and textures revealing just a wonderful entanglement. The Echelon Effect started in 2009 and I fell in love with its 2019 track, Goodbye My Friend (a really emotional song despite having no lyrics). Now, David is back with a new single, Your Memory Feels Like Home To Me, that is just as good. What could be a better song to “chillax” to on a Sunday afternoon?
I”m always amazed by the amount of talented musicians that are out there just waiting for an opportunity to be heard. Here we have another example of that with Joey Westerlund, a multi-instrumentalist from Portland, Oregon, who is the person behind Darkfield. The music he creates as Darkfield is catalogued as post rock, with some songs leaning on the heavier side and others, like A New Beginning, on the mellower one. All of them, however, are definitely cinematic.
In fact, A New Beginning –which is part of Darkfield’s second EP, Carry Us Away, released in June– certainly feels like the score of an epic movie about space travel. At the very least, this beautiful track could be the perfect score for this Sunday afternoon. And you can enjoy it here:
Friends of The Alternative Mixtapes, Kirsten Agresta Copely, is back with a new modern classical harp track inspired by Rachmaninoff‘s Études-Tableaux. With the piece, Kirsten wanted to “capture romantic era elements with a modern approach”. I think it is safe to say she managed to accomplish more than that.
Tableaux is a charming and very peaceful song. The perfect track to relax to on a Sunday afternoon. Enjoy it, here:
From Spain to the world, Floating In Space is yet another great cinematic rock band in Deep Elm Records‘ lineup, which includes Lights & Motion and U137. And just as those bands, Floating In Space is really the one-man show of multi-instrumentalist Ruben Caballero, which is frankly incredible. Earlier this year, the “band” released its third full-length album: A New Dawn, which is a great collection of emotional soundscapes, such as Eclipse, the epilogue of the record.
Eclipse is a beautiful song that evokes new beginnings, featuring a magical clarinet that sets it apart from other cinematic songs. It is really a beautiful track and album. Enjoy!
You probably know Mélanie Laurent for her famous role in Quentin Tarantino‘s film Inglorious Basterds or from any of her many other films (with my favourite one being this one), but it is a lesser-known fact that she’s also a musician. In fact, back in 2011 she released her first and only (so far) album, En t’attendant, to moderate success. It was basically a French pop album, with many of those pop songs co-written with Damien Rice. However, the reason why I decided to highlight Mélanie’s album for this week’s Throwback Thursday, is because of the two wonderful piano solos that open and close the record: Début and Fin.
I decided to feature here Début, but I might just as well have chosen Fin. Both songs are incredibly beautiful and delicate, the type of tracks you can listen on repeat without getting tired of them. Unfortunately, there is no “official” video on Youtube, but you can listen to Début on the mixtapes below (or the one on the sidebar here). Enjoy!
Maybe the name Amelia Warner does not ring a bell to you, but it’s quite probable that you have listened to her work before. Perhaps it was back when she used the moniker Slow Moving Millie and her gorgeous song Beasts was everywhere after it got featured on a popular Virgin Media ad. Or more recently when she started to score movies such as Mary Shelley . If nothing else, you for sure must have heard about her husband, the actor Jamie Dornan, a.k.a. Christian Grey. Since 2017, Amelia has released a few EPs and one album under her own name, consisting of beautiful piano melodies.
Last month, Amelia put out a new EP: Haven, with Drawing Room being its first track. It is a touching and melancholic piano song that is the perfect soundtrack for a moment of solitude on a Sunday afternoon. Check it out at the resources below.
I love listening to cinematic rock –also known as post-rock, although I dislike that name– when I need to focus or relax. Something about the atmospheric sounds and the different acoustic textures that cinematic rock artists often use elicit joyful yet peaceful emotions in me. Unfortunately, it is not a massively popular genre yet, so the number of artists creating this kind of music is still somewhat small (and the best ones all seem to be signed by Deep Elm Records), but the good news is that this seems to be changing with a number of new “post-rock” bands that have been popping up lately.
The 93 is one such band. Based in Cardiff, the group is formed by two talented brothers from Poland and started in 2017. I discovered them on Instagram when they liked one of my posts and started following me (I love to discover new music that I like this way). They got some samples of their songs on their profile there that got me interested and then I listened to their EPs, which are available on most streaming platforms. They say in their official website that they were originally rooted in punk-rock and you can definitely sense some Angels & Airwaves influence in their songs, which can never be bad. 03 is their latest single, which was released earlier this year, and it encapsulates perfectly the gorgeous kind of music they make.
There is no video available yet but you can listen to this song in the playlists below. Give this band a chance. You won’t regret it.
U137 was a “cinematic post-rock” duo from Sweeden formed by Adam Tornbland and Oscar Gullbrandsen in 2013. Unfortunately, Adam passed away at age 27 in 2017 (and I strongly urge you to listen to the beautiful “Adam Forever”, which Oscar released as a tribute to him), so nowadays Oscar is the sole member of U137.
Back in April this year, Oscar released U137‘s latest single, Have Hope, which he wrote as a message of optimism during these uncertain times. The song has the rich textures and layers for which U137 is known for within the genre enthusiasts and makes you want to hear it again and again. As other U137 songs, it evokes feelings of euphoria and has a calming effect. I find this kind of music ideal to listen to while I work or have to focus on something. I guess the best adjective for Have Hope is, quite simply, beautiful.
If you are into Indie Rock, then I’m pretty sure you are also into Sweet Disposition –the song released in 2008 by the Australian band The Temper Trap–, which has been described as an “indie anthem“. Besides being a great song, it also became popular after it was featured in the soundtrack of one of my favorite movies,500 Days of Summer. Needless to say, I love this song.
It should come as no surprise then that when I heard the first chords of this sublime cover of Sweet Disposition by classically trained harpist, composer, and arranger, Kirsten Agresta Copely, I was simply blown away. The song’s distinctive intro is emulated beautifully by Kirsten’s harp and the rest of the song is just as charming. Copely has had a successful career performing for heads of state and alongside a wide array of top artists, ranging from Andrea Bocelli and Beyoncé to Evanescence.
Listen to the song below and then visit Kirsten’s channel on Youtube or the usual streaming platforms to hear her original compositions as well as other covers. You will thank me later.