By Sergio Díaz De Rojas
When Doug Thomas approached Piano & Coffee with a collaborative idea in mind, I knew it was the perfect moment to demonstrate why our motto is ‘imagine, collaborate, create’. At that time, I was planning to set up an imprint for limited edition physical releases inside the ambient and neo-classical music scenes, and this project was the ideal first step into that adventure.
Doug wanted to release music through a record label but he didn’t have the time nor the resources to compose and record an album. After I offered my help, he went back to an unfinished project from 2015 called ‘Ballades’ and decided to finish it, so we could produce it and release it through piano and coffee records. With the support of Sonorospace, we came across four talented and generous musicians – Marta Cascales, Manos Milonakis, Marek Votruba, and Muriël Bostdorp – that were willing to perform and record each piece from the EP. And, with the support of three Piano & Coffee artists, we were able to take care of every visual aspect of the release – the album art, a music video, and the limited-edition CDs design.
Today, two months later, ‘Ballades’ is ready to be released, and is the perfect example of what can be achieved through well-planned collaboration, no matter the barriers.
'Matryoshka-toska' is the first single and final track of ‘Ballades’ and was recorded in Amsterdam by Muriël Bostdorp. It is, according to Doug, the icing on the cake of this project. It swings you to the rhythm of its melody, which is quite catchy, and evolves in tempo and dynamic during the second section of the piece, to finally return to the melody of the beginning but in a lower register and with a slightly softer execution, bringing images to my mind of someone going back home after an agitated journey.
The four pieces in ‘Ballades’ are an amalgam of minimalism, romanticism, and the fresh compositional style Doug Thomas has developed during these years, which has been perfectly understood by the four performers and brought to life by piano and coffee records.
The EP will be released on November 17 on limited edition CD (preorder at Bandcamp). While you wait for it, enjoy Matryoshka-toska.