Expiration Compositions by The Greatest Hoax by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Camila Craig

Nine instrumental songs. Forty minutes of pure bliss and enchantment. Expiration Compositions by The Greatest Hoax begins slowly and mysteriously. Each song takes you to a parallel universe, ruled by their own melodies.

'As the Lights Dim' is daring, made of powerful, strong sounds. While 'It’s Ok' is mellow and soothing. The album is made by these contrasts. It is not as simple as that, of course, but it’s not that complicated either. 'Just Passing Through' stands out from the rest. This song is engulfing, almost intergalactic. On the other hand, 'Fading Away' has a relaxing and positive tune. It can even work as meditation music for some. The album ends with the track 'Pulling up the Sheets', which is either a hopeful whisper to the skies, or the last thoughts before going to sleep.

Expiration Composition has everything. It is hopeful and dramatic. Mellow but exciting. It displays a great diversity, well thought out by an even greater musician. 

Get your own copy of Expiration Composition here, or stream it on Spotify. Keep up with The Greatest Hoax's work on Facebook.

Artist spotlight: Seraphina Theresa by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Amanda Nordqvist

Over the last few years, German artist Seraphina Theresa has created numerous astonishing works of art, using several creative outlets such as photography, drawing, and, as of late, music. Currently based in Düsseldorf, Seraphina creates art focused mainly on nature and self-portraits, often simultaneously, and offers an insightful look at the world she has created for herself – a world in which she flourishes.

Seraphina’s drawings range from abstract to minimalistic but mostly display a lighter side to the artist – likewise, her dreamy collages dwell on the brighter side of the spectrum, all soft curves and gentle shapes. However, it is with her photography, either hauntingly grim or blissfully light-hearted, the intense intimacy of Seraphina’s art is made perfectly clear – she hides nothing, shies away from nothing, and appears completely un-afraid to shine a light on the darkest parts of life.

It is this contrast of dark and bright that seems to me the core theme in a lot of her work, and a big part in what makes her art so intriguing; still, her art is constantly growing and changing, made obvious by the drastic differences in her projects, Le temps, la vieillesse et la mort and Phase 3 - Wie es an uns zerrt, published only a couple of months apart, yet displaying and evoking completely separate emotions.

Instead of drawing inspiration from any particular outside source, Seraphina prefers to look inwards – to Hooligan Magazine she said, in regards to her collaboration with composer Sergio Díaz de Rojas, “[…] it is more about the ways I understand and experience life itself which make me do the things I do”, and that shows in her work. The art Seraphina creates – whether it be music, poetry, photography – is unabashedly personal, but relatable all the same, and frankly unnerving in its complete, uncensored authenticity. 

Keep up with her work on Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and Flickr.

Esquisses by Dominique Charpentier by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Aubrey Woodward

Dominique Charpentier, a French pianist and composer, recently released his EP Esquisses on his bandcamp on June 23, 2017. Esquisses is French for ‘sketches’ which matches this EP perfectly – the experimental way that Charpentier created these tracks echoes the act of a rough sketch. He challenged himself to create these tracks in a very short period of time.

All the tracks were composed in less than two hours and were created with this method as a form of artistic experimentation. According to Charpentier, ‘The idea was to stimulate my creativity and force myself to make very spontaneous compositions. The improvisation part of the process was very important of course but then I also had to make essential choices about the musical structure and the instrumentation in a very short time.’

Despite the time restrictions that went into creating this EP, it is impossible to tell that a shorter time period was a factor in the creative process. Esquisses consists of five separate tracks; each track carries a different emotion within them, whether it be melancholy or romance, and they are all very strong tracks individually. What’s more amazing is the way that all of these tracks fit together. While one might think that this method of composing might lead to similar sounding compositions, it only makes them stronger – and together they make a very strong, cohesive body of work.

Though the actual album only lasts a little over 12 minutes, the emotions it evokes range wildly. Through the simplicity of the composition, the listener is left intrigued and longing. The minimalist aspect of Charpentier’s music does not take away from its effect, but simply leaves it more open to interpretation. Experimental, yet evocative, it’s an extraordinary body of work.

Keep up with his work on Facebook, Spotify and SoundCloud.

P&C interview: James Maloney by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Amanda Nordqvist

On July 7th, London-based producer and composer James Maloney had his debut album, Gaslight, released by our friends over at Moderna Records. With experience both from studying music and producing scores for film and theatre, Maloney channeled his creative spirit into an exceptionally atmospheric album, filled with intensely harmonious as well as more experimental pieces. James took some time from his busy schedule of composing for a huge musical play, and spoke to us about his debut solo release.

Firstly, James - how were you introduced to music? When did you start creating your own? 

My introduction to music was an organic one. Music was constantly playing in my home when I was a child, by my parents who are music enthusiasts, but not musicians. I remember vividly hearing Holst’s ‘The Planets’, which my dad brought home when I was about three, and experiencing a total, overwhelming euphoria, which I realise now probably isn’t a normal reaction to that music for a three-year-old.

I was exposed to a really eclectic mix of stuff, and got really hooked on Michael Jackson’s music. One Christmas, when I was about six, I saw a Casio keyboard with a picture of Michael Jackson on the front of the box; that was my Christmas present, and it all started there.

From that point I started making my own music, in rudimentary ways, and it’s never stopped. 

Could you describe your creating process for me?

Every creative project I have brings its own process; this in itself is terrifying, but also vital for keeping the journey invigorating, and the end product interesting. 

Generally, however, I have an impetus. This might be a vague idea I’ve had for something, or it might be a commission. This is what sets the ball rolling. What tends to happen next is a lot of thinking; eventually I get brave enough to try to make some sounds, whether it be at an instrument, a laptop, or notated on manuscript paper, and the rest tends to be a process of constant reworking.

It’s so important to have the courage and tenacity to keep reworking ideas until they’re where you need them to be. It can be hugely exasperating, but that’s how I get most of my work done.  

Are there any significant differences in composing your solo work and the work you create for film and theatre

Ultimately it’s always about graft.  People think making music is about inspiration; it’s not.  It’s about really hard work, perseverance, imagination, and a bit of cunning.

The principal difference is that with solo work, you have total control of everything; in theatre, you’re at the mercy of many exterior factors which are completely out of your control; that’s what makes the latter so terrifying, and so exhilarating. 

What or who is your biggest inspiration when composing? 

Bach, I think, is the ultimate master; students of composition can little better than study his work in minute detail. Other major inspirations are Radiohead, Steve Reich, Miles Davis - warriors of integrity. 

What can you tell me about Gaslight?

The impetus for Gaslight was twofold: I’d been living in Paris, and then in London - two very intense cities – and found myself listening to more and more ‘quiet’ music, as a means of counteracting my surroundings - I liked the idea of making something in this area. Additionally, I’d been writing a lot of very complex, densely orchestrated atonal music, and was getting nowhere with it. I imagined what the musical antithesis of this might be, and arrived at a vague idea for the album.

Then it was a case of making several hundred iPhone recordings of little musical ideas on the piano, whenever I could access one (I don’t own a piano), over the course of a couple of years. Eventually, I realized there was probably an album’s worth of decent material in there somewhere, if I really worked at it. I borrowed a couple of microphones and spent some weeks at my parents’ house experimenting. I’d return a few months later, and do a few more days work, and it grew like that.  

In regards of Moderna Records: I was a big admirer of the label, and simply followed them on SoundCloud after I’d uploaded some of my music. I had the very, very good fortune that they noticed that I was following them, listened to my music, and got in touch. I’m so grateful to those guys. 

How does it feel to have released your debut album? What were your thoughts and expectations throughout the whole process? 

It’s been joyous getting it out there - especially on a label like Moderna - and the reception has been brilliant. But at the same time, I’m already onto the next thing. Knowing myself, it’s important to be working on new material straight away, rather than spend too much time thinking about what’s already complete. I’ve made a couple of sketches for my next album already, which I’m really excited for, and a big Shakespeare play I’ve written the music for is about to open too, so I’ve had little time to bask. 

Any thoughts or advice you’d like to share with young artists out there? 

Make something that’s true to you, and work hard at it. Keep going, keep going, keep going. 

And keep going we will! While we all wait for James’s next album, you can listen to his latest release on Moderna Records’ Bandcamp

Skörheten by Jakob Lindhagen by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Amanda Nordqvist

After its successful release in 2016, Skörheten (Fragility) – a Swedish film about crippling anxiety – was granted several nominations and awards; based on director Ahang Bashi’s own issues with panic attacks, the film had an incredibly important task in portraying quite the difficult subject, and managed to do so expertly with the help of the intricately invested soundtrack, proficiently matching the desperation and delicacy of the film. The soundtrack, written by Jakob Lindhagen, stands just as tall on its own, and was recently re-mastered and released by 1631 Recordings, with the addition of three bonus tracks.

The eerie intro sets an immediate scene – an excellent teaser of what Lindhagen will build onto, of distinctive melodies with unsettlingly vivid personalities; the piano seems to hold a monologue, each terse note delivering an unwanted truth. After starting off sharp, defensive almost, the tracks quickly slip into deeper water, despair tingeing the tracks, Ett Mörker (A Darkness) paves way for Mottagningen, a track that explores further the confusion and unease, and builds to Varför Mår Jag Dåligt? (Why Do I Feel Unwell?) – a track that indisputably seems like a question unanswered, ending in a soft yielding to the unavoidable scenario that it provokes.

Läggas in? (Be hospitalized?) introduces some new elements, a sense of denial suddenly rushed into the relief of being taken seriously, and thrown back into not wanting to look, and be looked at, too closely. The album takes on a more experimental form for the next few tracks, until Lindhagen takes us back to the beginning with Samtal Med Roxy, a gentle reminder of where we’ve been before and will be again. He repeats and reinvents himself in my favorite track of the album, Jävla Ångest (Fucking Anxiety), and quickly moves on to the title track – an ode to the beginning, the eerie, hollow sound, vibrating on the verge of a breaking point – fragile but determined to push on, push harder, edges blurring, ears ringing – a track made grandiose by its blissful doom.

The bonus tracks add another layer to the album and seem to be a summary of the things Lindhagen hadn’t had the chance to express previously, and though an abrupt ending to an otherwise slow, graceful album, they showcase a side to the musician only briefly explored. Skörheten is an incredibly important soundtrack to an equally important film, and I couldn’t be happier with the decision to release an extended version of the album. Even with tracks screaming frailty, Lindhagen has a strength to his sound that is awe inspiring, and his impeccable way of portraying the emotions relevant to the story is, frankly, chilling. 

Stream and download Skörheten on Spotify and Bandcamp.

Points of Decay by Theo Alexander by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Tilsa Llerena

Music has magic. It gives us the possibility to reach beautiful and distant places, feelings and emotions that are usually removed from us, almost involuntarily. So here we are now, floating in the hands of the English Theo Alexander who takes us to a fantastic world of landscapes, textures, and melancholy, telling a beautiful story from beginning to end.

Points of Decay is one of those albums where music goes beyond the studio recordings, to continue in production work – where the effects, distortions, and the way the sound was managed are like other musicians who play along with Theo and build each piece of this album.

Alexander plays with sound; the extracts of recordings in "Dying", voices appearing in "Please Forget" and "Waiting for you to die", and the beautiful simplicity of "Twice, get out” remind us of the great Daniel Johnston and his free and unprejudiced way to play with music. In "Improvisation (February 3)" Alexander doesn’t hesitate to show his virtue on the piano, but the most interesting thing is that virtuosity is not a priority at all. Break violently the sound of the piano, distort it to obtain different textures with such delicacy that they don’t lose their smoothness. Alexander prioritizes the search from an honest place and achieves it.

Points of Decay is definitely an album to listen carefully to – take a moment to appreciate and not miss any detail because details are what make up the beauty of this album.

Theo's latest work is available on Bandcamp. Follow him on SoundCloud and Facebook for updates!

Dave Jackson y Adriana Trujillo presentan 90’s Gen Nostalgia by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

Por Camila Craig

La década de los noventa llevó la misión de resumir un todo siglo de información y cambios culturales significativos en todo el mundo. De la misma manera, los jóvenes de esta época fueron los encargados de afrontar la emergencia de la era digital y recibir un futuro lleno de promesas y desarrollo. Embargados por contextos tan variados y diferentes, tratando de recapitular y entender un pasado cercano, esta generación cayó en una confusión cultural que los ayudó a descubrir su propia voz y marcar su paso en la historia.

Hay un momento en toda búsqueda personal, en la cual nos detenemos a analizar cuales fueron los pasos que dieron a luz al presente. Dave Jackson y Adriana Trujillo capturan estas épocas de transición vistiendo a sus modelos de acuerdo a la época correspondida y tocando asuntos delicados de los mismos.

“Navy Boy” saca a la luz la situación de los americanos homosexuales durante la segunda guerra mundial. Muchos de ellos eran juzgados y retirados de las fuerzas armadas. En los años cincuenta, se cometieron muchas atrocidades hacia la comunidad LGBT, pues estas personas eran consideradas enfermas, y sometidas a sesiones tortuosas con la intención de “curarlos.” Esto inspira la estética y carácter de estas fotografías.

La movilización masiva de mujeres para luchar por su independencia económica y laboral inspiró el capítulo “Business Woman.” Aquí se representa a una mujer que lucha por el derecho de decidir sobre su propio cuerpo, ante la dependencia familiar y social.

Flower Child es una denominación dada a los jóvenes que participaron en el festival Summer of Love en 1967. Sinónimo de hippie, los principales protestantes contra la guerra de Vietnam y ciertas políticas gubernamentales. Esta situación inspiró a Jackson y Trujillo para fabricar el styling y arte de “Flower Child.”

Las siguientes colecciones de la lista son “Rude Girl” y “Lost Kid,” las cuales nos irán revelando poco a poco el desenlace de este ensayo visual. Dave Jackson y Adriana Trujillo están desarrollando una propuesta innovadora y holística, que incorpora una estética visual de calidad y los fragmentos más importantes de la historia americana moderna. 

Para mayor información sobre este proyecto, visiten la página web de Dave Jackson, y síganlo y a Adriana Trujillo en Instagram.

No Love For Fuckboys by Ricardo Bouyett by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Aubrey Woodward

No Love for Fuckboys explores the intricacies of surviving sexual assault and the possibility of what happens afterwards. Ricardo Bouyett – artist, cinematographer, and filmmaker – created the film as a response to his own sexual assault experience. It is a film about healing, any way you know how. Separated into seven chapters and set to spoken word poetry that Bouyett wrote himself, it explores themes of sex, love and relationships through dance, color and monologue.

As it moves through the different phases of trauma response, it starts with detachment. The inability to find yourself in one place with one person. The isolation that comes after an assault, whether it is self-imposed or forced. The loneliness. The way it feels to long for love. The viewer watches a woman as she tries to call her friends, desiring anybody to talk to. The viewer watches as she is left alone, forced to confront her isolation. “Keep me in the company of ghosts,” she whispers. “I want to be held by the ether of their past and sustained by the promise of my future.”

“It took down a wall for me,” a man describes the act of losing his virginity in the woods and the way it shapes his view of sex. It changed him, made him view sex as a way of feeling emotion, as having power over someone else. It’s a simple concept. Bouyett depicts it beautifully as a conversation between two friends, one asking for stories from the other who she considers more adventurous. Her friend responds with his sex story but it morphs into something more as he describes his goals and the way the man who took his virginity mocked him afterwards, wanted him sexually but ignored everything else. It’s oddly disconcerting, starting out as playful banter and ending with the determination to prove others wrong.

The film explores the terror and forms of roadblock intimacy a survivor finds themselves feeling. The way that you might want to be loved but find that you can’t, want to love back but find that you can’t. There are too many obstacles in your way. There are things you know that your lover doesn’t. There is the way you have been loved before. “If you’re going to ruin me, do it in a way that he hasn’t already,” Bouyett writes. It is hard to imagine you could be loved after experiencing something so violent. The finality of the situation is very apparent. Bouyett beautifully matches this feeling with scenes of a dance, two lovers attempting intimacy but hitting that roadblock over and over again. “This is my last love,” one of them repeats.

The concept of hypersexuality tends to be shied away from. But it is a way some survivors choose to cope. Bouyett chose to portray it as a way to hold himself accountable for the behavior he engaged in after his own assault. After an assault, one can become almost obsessed with replacing their rapist with something else. It’s a complicated feeling. Some survivors see their worth in sex, others see power. “Illuminate the dark corners of my night with digital lights pulsating with the names of men I’ve pushed out through my veins,” a woman sighs, “Tell me I’m pretty.” It’s haunting, beautiful and tremor inducing at the same time. This is one of the first honest examples I’ve seen of this concept within film.

The film ties the past and present together intimately, and the most amazing aspect of this is that Bouyett portrays it without words. The viewer watches a man as he starts to have sex and continuously ‘wakes up’ to no one being there, over and over until he is standing alone in his room wondering what happened. Is his partner a memory? An ex? A nightmare? Whatever it is leaves a vague sense of both empty and overflowing. It’s a juxtaposition between the comfort and pain, survival and healing.

The many layered approach to a depiction of sexual assault is something new. These men and women are somehow the same person. All of them are surviving their own way. “It's all cyclical,” Bouyett writes on his website, “the names and the faces change, but it's always the same dance.” And it’s a beautiful dance. One that could only be told by someone who has experienced and survived it.

INSIGHT III by Julien Marchal by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Camila Craig

Julien Marchal is a pianist and composer from Bordeaux who released Insight III, his third studio album, on June 2nd. Recorded, mixed, and designed by the artist himself, the intimacy of his work is evident and enthralling.

Insight III starts with the song “Insight XXIV,” which introduces the listener to a world of quietude and auditive hypersensitivity. Each second is important, thus this piece contains all the hints of what will come later in the album. Delicate and smooth, natural in its progression. That’s how the artist starts the record, aiming to surprise and catch the spectator’s attention from beginning to end.

The following track, one of the most popular songs from Insight III, is called “Insight XXV.” This song builds up suspense, slowly, almost as a premonition. You can feel a wave coming at you, or picture a car accident in slow motion. It keeps building up, faster, to then fall abruptly into peace and nothingness.

By the middle of the album, the music is more calm and soothing. “Insight XXIX,” the sixth track, is calm like the sound of the ocean after a storm. Structurally, it is incredibly well put together. It is vibrant within its calmness, which provides a sense of balance and stability.

In contrast, the final track has an insanely good crescendo. The song is generally more upbeat. It transmits a sense of hopefulness, it is an end full of promises. It has the power to evoke memories of tranquility. It takes you back to when you were a 5 year-old, hiding under a fort made of blankets and pillows. You can picture a beautiful sunset, painted by the rich melody. The album concludes in a comforting darkness, as the metaphorical sun falls softly under the ocean. 

Stream/buy Insight III on your prefered digital platform.

P&C interview: Garreth Broke and Anna Salzmann by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Amanda Nordqvist

With the September EP, Garreth Broke and Anna Salzmann began a project to cope with and comment on the stages of grief, portrayed in the different seasons. Following the first EP came three more – December, March, and June. With Garreth’s heartfelt pieces ringing with accuracy relevant to each season and Anna’s incredible, abstract paintings so clearly following each note of each piece, the project has been a joy to keep up with. The artistic duo joined us for a second interview, telling us about the latest – and last – addition to the project.

What can you tell me about the June EP?

Garreth: It’s summery, hopeful, and - I guess inevitably, given that it’s me - occasionally pretty bleak! I really wanted to write something that would sum up the whole series, a series which began with a track called The First, a minor key waltz that I wrote around the first anniversary of losing my Mum to suicide. At the time I was still in the middle of some pretty intense grief - probably still in shock, to be honest. The First opens the September EP but for most of the rest of the series I made a conscious effort to focus my thoughts elsewhere, to look at the landscape around me, to respond to it in music, to try to find some hope. I think that comes out particularly in the March EP. The track Hope is one of the most joyful things I’ve ever written, I love it. So when it came to this final June EP, I thought the best way to sum up the whole series was to refer back to The First. I wrote an even bleaker minor key waltz, and called it The Last. It’s the opening track.

Anna: Why “The Last”?

G: It’s a neat pairing with The First, for one thing, but more than that - grief is a process. Sometimes it’s really painful but there are also times when you completely forget about it and then it will hit you again out of nowhere. I guess The Last is about being hit again by grief, and knowing that while it might feel terrible, it’s survivable, and actually necessary. I think I’m getting quite good at grieving.

Anna: [sarcastically] Yay…

Garreth: [laughs] … I guess the point is that there is no “last” grief; it just goes on and on. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy life anymore, you just have to accept that sometimes you’re going to have to spend some time grieving. I guess the June EP is about that: grief is incorporated in it, but it doesn’t dominate it. The next track is called Take Flight, and it’s totally different in character. It’s almost a dance, it’s just such a pleasure to play. I remember the day I composed it, it was almost like it just appeared out of nowhere, and I remember you really liking it.

Anna: It made me cry!

Garreth: But in a good way, I think?

Anna: Yes, it was beautiful!

Garreth: For a while I jokingly called it “Anna cries” but eventually I changed it to Take Flight, because it’s a really positive, stirring, moving kind of song, and I always feel like I’m taking off towards the end when my right hand starts playing those rapid arpeggios. I guess the flight thing is also a reference to Murmuration on the September EP.

Then, finally, there’s another track called Making Something from Nothing on a Random Evening in Dobrota in June. This is really a departure from my usual style - it’s even more jazzy than normal. It’s also a collaboration with a friend of mine, Phil Smith, a musician and radio producer. I wanted to get that feel of a hot summer evening in southern Europe. Phil sent me some field recordings of cicadas from a tiny village in Montenegro, and then I just made up this jazzy chord structure out of nowhere, came up with a melody and he improvised a response, and it’s just there, as it is, in all its slightly random glory, mistakes and all. I love the process of improvising - you just let things happen and extract the good bits. I’m sure Phil feels the same. And sometimes you have to keep the slightly rough bits in the mix, because the “mistakes” make it real. Anyway, for the EP cover Anna created some pretty spectacular art, like she’s done for all my EPs - do you want to describe it, Anna?

Anna: I wanted it to be summery, a bit heavy, a bit dark, a landscape. But I also wanted it to be abstract. I really wanted to be able to feel the heat, the sun, the cicadas, the long evenings. When I look at that painting it feels a lot like longing for that place where summer never ends.

Garreth: Like the long evenings?

Anna: Yeah, but also like being a teenager again, or a child, and having those endless-seeming summer holidays, that felt like they’d never come to an end.

Garreth: And I took the art, did a bit of digital manipulation and created this video, which was fun.

So the year-long project of yours is coming to an end – how does it feel? Did you both get to express and portray all the things you wished to?

Anna: That’s an interesting question. When I look at each EP they are artistically very different. I think the March EP was the most exciting for me in terms of the art that I created, just because I used a different format - the leporello format - and with that leporello I had this order, this chronology, and it was a bit more like telling a story. And I always feel like spring does that. As you watch plants grow, the countryside coming to life, growing out of the earth, I thought that was very fitting.

Garreth: I guess there are a few bits that I seriously considered including but eventually dropped - a lot of improvisations fell by the wayside. I also really wanted to do an arrangement of a favourite Welsh folk song of mine, but I just couldn’t find a place where it fit naturally in the series. Maybe I’ll release it at some point. But I never had a concrete plan about all the things I wanted to portray – it was more that I wanted to create a sort of diary of the things I’d experienced throughout the year. I needed a structure, and doing one per season seemed logical. I wanted to focus on something other than myself - landscapes were an obvious choice.

Were there any significant differences in your respective creating processes from beginning to end? Did they change or stay the same?

Anna: As the project has gone on, we’ve become busier and busier and have had less time to spend creating art at exactly the same time, which was always our process.

Garreth: We still work together a lot, though, don’t you think?

Anna: Yeah, I guess, but we used to work at exactly the same time. You would sit down to compose while I painted and your composing would influence what I painted and vice versa. Now it’s more like you compose and then I listen to it and react to it.

Garreth: Yeah, but your paintings definitely influence the final product. But my way of composing has definitely evolved. I still start all my compositions with improvisations, but I now record everything I do so as soon as I’ve done a good one, I’d listen back to it and try to capture that in sheet music. It’s much more efficient for me because I can focus on the good ideas and discard the bad ones quickly.

What will you take with you from this experience?

Garreth: I’m really happy with all the music, and I really enjoyed it. I also really loved working with 1631 Recordings - they have been so good to me.

Anna: And I’m also really pleased with the collection of art we now have and I think it goes really well together. We work well together! It’s fun, I like it!

Garreth: Me too!


What might the future hold for you two?

Garreth: I’m gonna make a CD of the collected EPs. I’m also preparing all the sheet music for all the EPs and my Coping Mechanism album. I’m going to spend some time making sure it’s really well presented, and then I’ll publish sheet music books for both projects. I want Anna’s art to be featured very prominently in those books, both on the inside and the outside, and I might even include some writing. Oskar Schuster does a great job with his self-published music books and I want to follow his excellent example! Aside from that I am going to take some time to improvise again for a while, and learn to play other people’s music.

Anna: I’m still hoping that we can do a performance piece at some point, where I paint large scale paintings as you play.

Garreth: That would be a lot of fun.

Anna: I would also like to have the opportunity to exhibit all the pieces I’ve made for your music over the time. And then I have a picture book project I’ve been working on, which I’d like you to make the music to.

Garreth: Definitely more concerts - I’ve got a few scheduled for the autumn. I played several house concerts this spring and I’d like to do more of them - they are such an awesome experience. I’ve attended a few as an audience member recently and they are usually so much better than concerts in traditional concert halls. Just more intense, somehow.

Anna: I started making art for other musicians as well - Dominique Charpentier’s EP Esquisses came out on 23rd June, and there’s an album with a group of musicians coming soon. I really enjoy creating art for musicians and I wouldn’t mind doing more!

Garreth: If people are interested in keeping track of us they should sign up to my mailing list, or follow Anna on Instagram, or either of us on Facebook (Garreth/Ana).



Habitación de Santa García by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

Por Camila Craig


Roberto Espinoza, más conocido como Santa García, es un músico emergente de la ciudad de Lima, Perú. El pasado 15 de Junio lanzó su primer sencillo, Habitación, el cual formará parte de su primer EP a estrenarse muy pronto vía Empty Fields Recordings. Este jóven artista profesa lamento y reflexión interior a través de su música. Las cuerdas de su guitarra se sienten cercanas, al igual que su voz y sus palabras, resultado de una íntima producción conjunta con Diego Meneses Suárez.

La nueva ola de jóvenes músicos peruanos le queda corta a Santa García. Con su primer sencillo ha logrado cautivar a decenas y hasta un par de cientos de personas. Tal vez sea su honestidad, o quizás la intimidad transmitida en su trabajo, la cual logra que sus oyente se sientan en la misma habitación que el cantautor.

De repente Roberto es la habitación. Una llena de añoranzas y memorias. Una que tiene recuerdos colgados en las parades, los cuales escoge minuciosamente para escribir versos tan punzantes. Santa García hace bien en concentrarse intensamente en el contenido de su arte. No es fácil describir este proyecto, tan prematuro y provocador. Pero sea lo que sea, queremos más.

Brus by Vargkvint by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Amanda Nordqvist

Vargkvint’s EP was first released in 2016, it was by her own hand in all ways possible – Sofia Nystrand, from Stockholm, Sweden, did everything from write, mix, master and design the cover art for Brus, and it shines through in the authenticity of her music – it is hers and hers alone. Delicately raw and mainly instrumental, the re-release of Brus, managed by French label Soft Recordings, is an expansion of her debut and lifts the EP to another level.

Honest, genuine accounts of her Nordic world can be found throughout her music, and she portrays the perfect example of the slightly unsettling ancient folklore Sweden has to offer. Midsommar is a chilling experience, matching the rain that pounds on my window – as I write, it is Midsummer’s Eve, the sun is meant to be shining and summer is to be celebrated. Sofia seems to have foreshadowed this exact moment, as the piece unnervingly narrates the gloomy, disheartening joke that is the Swedish summer.

Innocent but not to be trusted completely, Vargkvint’s music is soft and beautiful on the surface but something darker lingers beneath, and her harmonies are as intriguing as they are eerie. Minimalistic with surprising elements of unexpected instrumental decisions, Brus is a phenomenal piece of art that gave me a whole new appreciation for my Nordic home. 

You can buy/stream Brus on Bandcamp and Spotify, and keep up with Sofia's work on Facebook.

P&C interview: Analogue Dear by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Amanda Nordqvit

With a history in producing indie and electronic music, Rotterdam-based Sjaak Douma behind Analogue Dear recently decided to scale it all the way back – his latest release, Stories We Tell Ourselves, reveals the minimalist in the musician, and the EP is fiercely strong in all of its fragility. The subtle piano and airy phrases carry an unfathomable amount of emotion and together they ultimately offer the perfect example of how delicacy does not equal weakness. 

How were you introduced to music? When did you start creating your own?

In one form or another, music has always been there in my life. Even long before I ever played a single note myself, music was already one of the few close companions I had as a kid that mainly practiced solitary activities. I remember music being such a pure and visceral experience, unburdened by any musical intellect. When I did finally take up piano lessons at 15, composing instinctively came right with it.

Have you studied music?

I formally studied pop music, although I’m more of an autodidact by nature. In my day-to-day as a musician, I do place a great deal of emphasis on the craft of music and find it key to keep exploring anything that aids me in becoming a more well-rounded musician than I was yesterday.

Could you elaborate on how the somewhat opposite types of music you’ve produced have influenced your work?

For me, classification by genre is a mere practicality to make music journalism easier. The only importance to me is finding a way to develop and nurture a composition in what I believe is its purest form. The output can then be either neo-classical, indie pop or electronica, or – more often than not – a combination of them.

Would you describe your creating process for me?

The curve of creation for me is typically like this; trying to find one inspired idea out of dozens of sound clips of me “noodling” on the piano. Stick to one, flesh it out structurally, but become jaded with it and abandon it. Pick it up again after I start another idea that I lost enthusiasm for. Try an ungodly amount of ways of arranging. Try an ungodly amount of mixing. Crawl to the finish line and consider it done at one point.

What is your biggest inspiration when composing?

I’m drawn to and inspired by any work in any form of art that breathes melancholy and I think that is the common thread throughout my work. I don’t devour new music as much as I used to, although I’m slowly but surely turning into a cinephile, where I draw most of my inspiration from these days. At the end of the day it’s also just a matter of elbow grease and doing the actual labour, with or without inspiration.

What can you tell me about Stories We Tell Ourselves?

For me, Stories We Tell Ourselves is about showing vulnerability as a musician and as a person, and feeling comfortable by doing so. As far as producing goes, it took a great deal of wayward wandering before I had a clear outline of what I wanted the EP to sound like.

Any idea what the future might hold?

Right now I’m finishing up music I transcribed and engraved for a big publication. After that, I’ll be back to composing and trying to push the envelope as far as my capabilities allow me to.  

Analogue Dear's work is on SoundCloudFacebook and Spotify.

Down to the Sadness River by Emilía by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Blake Parker

Hailing from Rottenman Editions, Emilía has just released the ten-track album Down to the Sadness River.

This album is a lush soundscape bursting with emotion and storytelling. The band, comprised of Lee Yi and Meneh Peh, has two releases prior to this – though Down to the Sadness River has the most potent narrative of freedom and adventurous spirit of them all. The short, episodic tracks run fleetingly past, mirroring the nostalgia and cinematic imagery they create in the mind of the listener; a pairing perfectly in sync. Much of the album recalls summertime adventures and the subtleties of childhood and occupying a world that can’t yet fully be understood, but can still be fully experienced.

Down to the Sadness River is a collection of recordings by the duo, played on piano and bowed guitar. The album art accompanying the songs is original artwork and photography by Peh, while the sound design and mixing are the work of Yi. Together, they accomplishes something in Down to the Sadness River which is at the same time ineffable and totally familiar. All while paying respect to an important individual in both bandmates’ lives; this album is a powerhouse of atmospheres, emotional auras, nuanced musicianship, and trans-medial artistic creation. 

Limited edition CD is available on Rottenman Editions' Bandcamp.

INSTINCT by Wojtek Szczepanik by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Blake Parker

The melodies of INSTINCT drift past in the same way a summer breeze moves through an open window – not demanding attention but rather adding atmospheric pleasantry to whatever may already be occurring. The music in this album, made by Wojtek Szczepanik, wonderfully accompanies and enhances those activities already peaceful and simple in nature, such as brewing tea, reading an old book, or napping in late morning. However, INSTINCT as an album was constructed in no simple manner.

Far from major civilization, amid farm fields and clusters of trees, there is a historic chapel, constructed entirely of wood in the 18th century. Szczepanik chose this chapel as the recording location for the entire album, utilizing a piano with a peculiar tuning and the atmosphere of the chapel itself – the vibrations of that 300 year old wood – as an instrument no less important than the piano. Additionally, the Swedish-made piano was built in a way that favors the non-standard tuning of A-432 Hz, rather than A-440 Hz. This tuning is mathematically balanced and is said to contribute to physical and mental relaxation, calmness, and even healing.

These elements of the album, paired with the earnest and sincere composing prowess of Szczepanik, come together to form something more than just an album of music. The resulting recordings hold a musical power beyond expectation. INSTINCT may be heard by those not seeking such an impactful peace; but once realized, this peace is valuable to both those who seek it and those who do not.

Listen to INSTINCT on your favorite digital platform, and keep up with Wotjek's work on Facebook and SoundCloud.

Veer by Fins Ara by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Camila Craig

Veer is melancholic. A truthful lament sang by Fins Ara as the first of three tracks that compose his debut EP: A Love, Elusive. This compilation is not only promising but compelling. Fins Ara’s voice takes the listener to a parallel dimension, ruled by romantic sorrow and emotional engagement. Everybody is able to relate to his music, as it deals with the fragility of love and being loved. The artist will reveal each of the tracks in a distinct season, to ease his listeners into his music.

“Fins Ara” literally translates from Catalan to “see you now.” However, Catalonians use this expression to say “see you in a bit.” Sergi, who’s now 22 years old, adopted this expression from his mother tongue due to the confusion it caused among the non-natives. Originally from Barcelona but having moved around quite a bit, Sergi considers himself both Catalonian and Andorran. Currently, he lives in London and studies Songwriting in the Institute Of Contemporary Music Performance.

Sergi started playing the drums when he was 9 years old, but a few years later he picked up a guitar and started composing. “I've tried writing in my native language but the music I have always listened to is in English and that's how it comes for me”, Sergi confesses. Naturally, carried away by Bon Iver’s falsetto and Daughter’s soothing melodies, Sergi rediscovered his voice not so long ago. He finds it comfortable, even natural to sing and write this way. When doing so, he is not only influenced by other musicians such as Ben Howard, S. Carey, Ólafur Arnalds and The Beatles, but also by books and other forms of visual art.

A Love, Elusive is a portrayal of love, and mysteries it conveys. Each track is an impression, a blurry fingerprint, a disposable photograph of a ticklish relationship. Fins Ara tries to explain his work with the following words: “There's a quality to love that is almost an illusion, you can't pinpoint it, can't grasp it (…) Veer relates to a moment when a relationship is not stable but of course, you still love each other. So there's this weird thing where love pulls you in, but at the same time pushes you out and you don't know what to do. I find this so strange and awesome.”

More than a groundbreaking release, A Love, Elusive paves Sergi’s way to the public’s ears and presents Fins Ara as a growing artist who is mainly compromised with the quality of his music. He humbly admits to know what he wants, even though his career is only starting: “The point here is to make them (the listeners) feel that 'wow' feeling I get when listening to the artists I love. It's all about that split moment when you're really aware of what you're listening to and what you're doing. It's a moment printed in your memory. I think that's the whole point of art, to make you fully aware for a few seconds. That spell is magical.”

Veer is one of those songs that freezes time, gives you chills, and provides a name to that magic spell. Fins Ara is young, bold, and a promising musician with a bright future ahead. There is no doubt that the following tracks will be as fascinating and engulfing as the first one.

Premiere: Bohemia by Danny Mulhern by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Amanda Nordqvist

In an excellent showcase of his talents in writing scores for film and TV, London-based Danny Mulhern recently released Metanoia, an EP that is positively boiling with unhurried sentiment and grandeur. Accompanying one of the pieces are arcane scenes in black and white that set an eerie backdrop – but the pure, nostalgic tones of Bohemia immediately redeem one’s initial sense of dismay, and instead establishes a welcome but heart wrenching feeling of love and loss. The piece goes so well together with the video that it’s hard to say which came first, and as we are allowed glimpses into blissful childhood memories, Bohemia narrates the story – a story of familial devotion, as well as the inevitable loss of innocence. 

Stream and download Metanoia on 1631 Recordings' Bandcamp.