Musician Night Gestalt, the musical alias of Olof Cornéer, released his first album One in 2016. He says, ” With my first album I wanted to limit myself as much as possible to see what would happen. Only bleepy arpeggios and vocals, no bass, no drums, nothing else. I love limitations, but sometimes you need to open the window and let fresh air come in too. That’s why I started a series of collaborations where I will work with people I love and admire from all genres of music, and escape my limitations, even if it’s just for a song.” His first collaboration is with acclaimed Swedish folk violinist Lisa Rydberg in a composition called “The Sunken Machine” .
Official Website: http://nightgestalt.com/
Sophia Jani is a composer/pianist currently residing in Munich, Germany. Classically trained on piano and violin since early childhood she discovered composing in her teens. During a year of studying classical piano at a conservatory in France she decided to quit interpreting music and to focus on creating her own music instead.
In her work it is important to her to discover different approaches to make music, to always find herself in new musical styles and never get stuck in one certain routine. As she is very interested in putting music in context and explore unusual ways to combine different fields of art, she now studies “Composition for Film and Media” at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich.
Blake Ewing is an American composer with a concentrated interest in creating music for visual media. His compositions have been commissioned, licensed, and well-received by film directors, videographers, sample developers, advertising firms and music supervisors from around the world. He says, “By historical standards, I suppose I was a latecomer to the world of music. At sixteen, I taught myself to play the piano by reading an old set of World Book Encyclopedias. Soon after, putting notes to manuscript became the norm. Thankfully, I later received a Bachelor’s degree in Music from much better teachers. Both experiences cemented my love for the art, and instilled in me a deep appreciation for the importance of music.”
Blake released his 2017 album Thesis with the goal of showcasing the extent of his abilities in the cinematic and ambient genres. “I struggled more with this project than any other. It’s sometimes hard to accept your limitations or to work through them in the pursuit of something that is better than “good enough”. It was a humbling experience, but also one of which I am extremely proud.”
Official Website: http://blakeewingmusic.com
Jörgen Häll composes chamber music and has worked with several chamber ensembles such as Norrbotten NEO to record his music. In addition to scoring for film and video games, he composes orchestral electro-acoustic and pop/rock music. His latest release “Breakout”, composed for flute, piano, and electronics, is performed by flutist Christine Amcoff and pianist Bahareh Ahmadi. Also featured is his composition “Braid” of which he says, “The idea for the piece was this concept of having a braid-like structure that permeates as much as possible of the music, knitting together form, instrumentation, dynamics and registers.”
Official Website: http://www.jorgenhall.com/
Samantha Wolf is an Australian composer and sound artist. She completed a Bachelor of Music at the Queensland Conservatorium in 2011, winning the Silver Harris and Jeff Peck Composition Prize. In 2016, she completed her Honours degree in Composition at the University of Melbourne, studying with Stuart Greenbaum and Brenton Broadstock. The recipient of numerous awards, Samantha’s practice encompasses solo, chamber and orchestral works, collaborations, noise and speech-based works, and music for live performance, digital media and tape.
She takes inspiration from diverse sources, including philosophy, scientific and physical phenomena, natural and manmade worlds, sociology, politics and feminism. She is fascinated with giving voice to the intangible, finding the beauty in chaos, and making sense of the illogical or contradictory. Samantha’s music has been performed and broadcast around Australia, the United States and Europe. Featured below is her composition “Shadowchaser” commissioned for the Arts Center Melbourne project 5x5x5. With journey as the theme for the project, artists were invited to reflect on an item from the Arts Center Melbourne Performing Arts Collection.
Composer Bruno Sanfilippo is obsessed with the search for new and unique qualities in music – the amazing, the magical and
the deep. His music comes from the inexhaustible and shameless source of dreams in which no imagined thing is too absurd
or strange. Graduating from the Galvani Conservatory with a degree in musical composition concentrated in piano, his focus
alternates between the exploration of minimalist piano concepts and electro-acoustic music.
In the past few years, he has composed soundtracks for feature films and performed live at different multimedia events,
including stages and festivals, around the world. Bruno’s live performances usually consist of improvised piano solos,
strings, or electronic music. His music can be found on Databloem, Stashed Goods, Norman Records, Denovali, Discogs,
CDBaby, and Amazon. He is also the founder of Ad21, his personal platform/label for some of his titles.
Official Website: http://bruno-sanfilippo.com/
Formed in 2013, Grimwater is an one-man instrumental music project from Finland mixing all kinds of music including fantasy elements, soundscapes, and melodies. His diverse range of stylesAmbient, epic, cinematic, symphonic, metal, medieval, ethnic, folk, world, science fiction and much more. Grimwater’s music is inspired and influenced by video games, movies, soundtracks, books, and other media. He says, “Music is composed with midi-keyboard and vst-instruments on computer but some instruments are recorded in the traditional way.”
In a lot of ways, Aukai’s self-titled debut is the sound of Markus Sieber bringing his career full circle. Having spent part of the ’90s playing rock music in East Germany, the composer/multi-instrumentalist then shifted his focus to acting, only to have music creep back into his life after a mind-altering move to Mexico. Aukai was born of his desire to create music that could work in tandem with film, video, theater and the visual arts. The compositions on the album also grew out of Sieber’s love affair with the ronrocco, a plucked string instrument from Argentina that Sieber first discovered through the music of film composer Gustavo Santaolalla (Babel, Brokeback Mountain).
“This album and project has a lot to do with memories from travel,” explains Sieber, “but also memories from childhood and nature. How did the river smell in summer? I wanted to create a sonic space where music guides the listener into some imaginative inner world.”
Which explains why he came up with the name Aukai in the first place; it’s the Hawaiian word for a seafaring traveler, the sort of person who seeks out the stillness in uncertain waters. In the case of Sieber’s new record, that meant spending a winter holed up in a mountainside cabin around Colorado’s La Plata Canyon. Basic tracks were then cut in Lichte Studio Berlin and brought into full relief alongside cellist Anne Muller (Agnes Obel Band, Nils Frahm), violinist Bogdan Djukic, pianist Angelika Baumbach, keyboardist Alexander Nickmann, and longtime collaborator Jamshied Sharifi (Laurie Anderson, Sting, Dream Theater). Aukai was mixed then in Berlin by Martyn Heyne and mastered in London by award-winning engineer Mandy Parnell who has also mastered discs by Bjork, Max Richter, Aphex Twin and many others.
Aukai may draw initial comparisons to the work of ambient instrumental masters such as Eno, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Goldmund/Helios, but ultimately it is a CD that belongs in a category all its own—a beguiling collection of autumnal acoustic soundscapes dappled with subtle electronic touches. “It’s kind of an unfinished sound,” says Sieber. “Tangible, not too processed. It invites the listener in.”
— Written by Alan DiPerna
Featured below is Aukai’s 2016 EP Aukai
Cover photo by Dan Isaac Wallin
The Aukai Ensemble :
Angelika Baumbach – Piano, Pump organ, Harp
Anne Müller – Cello
Alexander Nickmann – Fender Rhodes, Piano, Synthesizer, Programming
Ben Wittman – Percussion
Bogdan Djukic – Violin
Jamshied Sharifi – b3, Piano, Wurlitzer, Prophet-5, dx7, Vl1
Martyn Heyne – Juno-60, Piano, PumpOorgan
Markus Sieber – Ronroco, Guitar, Pump Organ, Piano, Glockenspiel
Official Website: https://www.aukaimusic.com/
The Clifftoppers shift through genres from folk, hip-hop, reggae and everything in between. Consisting of band members Bo (mandolin), Kyle (guitar), and Drew (producer/beatmaker), they are Cincinnati boys, though Drew lives out in the sticks near Indianapolis. They sometimes play original compositions (and covers) but more often they improvise. Their improvisations are then looped by Drewdahead who also mixes and masters. The Clifftoppers is a collective with various influences who also collaborate with many vocal artists and are committed to spreading the good vibes. Featured below is their 2017 EP ‘Clifftopers’ available from Bandcamp