Soundcloud picks #02: April 2016

I've been excited by a lot that I've heard on SoundCloud this month, so narrowing it down to a few to post here has been a challenge, but hopefully you'll agree that the number I've selected here are truly exceptional tracks. So, without any further ado...

Dos Brains // Extinction Preview

I'd been following Colin Fisher (a gifted musician in his own right) on SoundCloud for a while when I saw a couple of his other projects - Soundprank, an electronic progressive trance project, and Dos Brains - a Canadian production music house with a focus on trailer music and sounds that are more on the epic end of the scale.

All of Dos Brains' work is consistently excellent, and the preview track for their upcoming release, an album by Phil Rey, is no exception. Their work is inventive, distinctive, and meticulously well-produced, and it sounds like Extinction will have these qualities in spades.

Dos Brains are on Facebook and YouTube, and you can follow Phillippe Rey on Facebook.

James Everingham // The Rest Of Us

James got a mention in last month's edition too; and each are fully deserved. I'm hesitant to repeatedly feature the same names in this list in order to give as many people as possible the chance to get in the mix, but The Rest Of Us is a truly exceptional piece of work. James' writing often displays rich emotive strings and pulsating synth lines, but not since Leviathan (a track written very much in the same vein) have we heard such euphoric writing from this talented young man. Featuring the exceptionally talented Chris Coleman on 'cello and an inventive 7/8 outro, this track is not one to be missed.

James is on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and you can visit his official website here.

Mark Laukkanen // Dwell

Mark is a gifted young Finnish composer with an output that shows consistent steady growth and development. I've been following his work for a while now and it's fair to say that there's an audible evolution with each track, as he matures and gathers experience. Dwell is one of my favourites of his recent releases, with a striking melody that moves in unison with a strong harmonic progression. 

Mark is on Twitter and Facebook, and you can check out his official website here.

I hope, like me, you've enjoyed these audio highlights from April, and as always, I'll leave you with a little something from me; this month, it's velocity.


Inspirations 2: Arvo Pärt

'Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication', said Leonardo Da Vinci. It's a sentiment that can perfectly be applied to the music of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, one of the great post-minimalist composers of our time. 

With some of the articles in this Inspirations series, I'll look at artists where there are multiple facets of their work that inspire me, and with others I shall feature them in this series because there is a specific feature our quality in their work that I admire. With Pärt, the main thing that inspires me so about his music is the straightforward, essential sound that he is able to produce, and the gravitas and, indeed, sophistication, that come with that. 

In general, there is something I find very impressive about creatives and makers who are able to produce work that has integrity and elegance whilst having only the most elemental musical components to make it work. Pärt's work falls into this category. He writes music that is refreshingly unfussy, with no superfluities to hide behind. Live performance differs slightly from production in this way; I'm learning that in production, the devil really is in the detail, and so I try to make interesting background textures and non-linear or -looping elements. Equally, it's so important to remember that it's easy to over-write. Much of the detail in my work often needs to remain below the surface, where interest is added subtly. Pärt is a master of writing only what is completely necessary, and that is a confirmation that I must apply to my own work. With every element, every layer, every texture, I have to make myself decide whether I need it. 

Spiegel im Spiegel is one of Pärt's most famous works, and for good reason. The astonishingly simple piano line forms a framework upon which the violin melody can float. Much of Pärt's music fits within a similar aesthetic and somehow managed to occupy the delectable middle ground of being respected by music scholars whilst holding widespread appeal. I love how, in this piece, he creates such atmosphere and emotion from a few crotches and dotted minims, a piano and a violin. No pretence, no fluff. Just sound, and nothing unnecessary.

Next in this Inspirations series, I'm excited to be talking about a British band whose second album was the first album I ever owned, and their third album shaped a huge part of the way I thought and felt about music for a long time.

In the meantime, let's keep writing, keep practising, and keep inspired. Thanks for reading (if you've made it this far), please share this with friends if you've enjoyed what you've read, and hopefully I'll see you next time.