SEM. is the moniker of Popi Semerlioglou, an Athens, Greece-based singer/songwriter and pianist. In 2016 she released"Natural", her debut EP. It is an instrumental creation, comprised of five original contemporary classic pieces played on the piano. Since then, SEM. made a bold turn of her sound towards indie and pop territories, while using her distinctive voice for the first time. The first single from her upcoming full-length was released in July 2018.
Following the release of her contemporary classic "Natural" EP in 2016, containing hauntingly beautiful piano compositions inspired by naturalistic imagery and impressionistic feelings, Greek singer-songwriter SEM. (a.k.a. Popi Sem.) is exploring new territories. After several appearances in renowned Athenian venues, her newly-built sound contains her distinctive vocals and thrives in an art pop simplicity, subtly inspired by the spirit of musicians such as Sufjan Stevens, Sóley and Joanna Newsom.
Her new songs, already introduced live, are deeply influenced by her personal experiences and are presented in a loosely semi-autobiographical way. "T.I.M." is the first single of her upcoming album which is in the making, recorded with the help and invaluable input of Sergios Voudris (The Voyage Limpid Sound, Montero etc). Rather than a plea for forgiveness, it is a reflection of regret for the people we hurt and thrives on the cruelty of understanding and embracing this fact.
grej is the solo project and performing pseudonym of Greg Harrison, a Canadian-based percussionist from Fredericton, NB. He has produced works for Toronto Dance Theatre, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, Form CDT, Morris Palter, and Division 85 Films. His work and performances have been described as “rich & curiously cool landscapes”, “sensitive, sophisticated & powerful” and “transfixing”. Specializing in classical minimalism and electronic music, grej seeks to merge these worlds to create truly unique sounds, rhythms, and textures.
Chasing the Path was commissioned by Hanna Kiel (Human Body Expression) and was presented under the same title by DanceWorks in March 2018 in Toronto, Ont. The piece investigates the beauty and pain of memory.
Grej explores the relationship between classical/contemporary music with electronic sound design. Starting from a pure acoustic world featuring piano, cello, percussion and organ, the thematic material journeys through various stages of distortion and manipulation until reaching a cryptic synth-driven climax.
Californian By An Ion is a duo composed of Ray Aguilar and Alex Gonzales. Merging the worlds of ambient synth and contemporary music, creating a stunning sound that echoes their melody driven vocals. Dreamy and cinematic, the music speaks of personal and relative topics to the listener. Both members have a similar yet distinct sound to their vocals, which makes the music that more interesting.
Aguilar and Gonzales discovered the power of their chemistry whilst in the studio and playing in different electronic acts. They describe themselves as best friends and brothers and compare this chemistry to literally finishing each others sentences. By An Ion’s heavy use of synth pads and reverb give the music a euphoric and angelic ambiance without shying away from the sometimes abrasive electronic drums. Their layered, lush synthscapes fill every inch of the spectrum, whilst maintaining a balance that keeps listeners rooted in their empathetic songwriting.
Leading single ‘Autre Vie’, highlights the bands signature style of beautiful, ethereal melodies which emit a sense of tranquility. Fusing nostalgic electronica, atmospheric aesthetics and building anthemic drum beats, the band have succeeded in producing a dynamic song to portray a sense of peace and understanding. 'Autre Vie', meaning “another life” in French, was written in a time of need during Aguilar’s struggle with a temporary illness. The illness consequently forced him to be house bound. Aguilar reveals, “they say that a man's character is best defined when they are alone, my journey led me to discover a specific musical sound that brings peace and freedom to whatever someone is going through”. The single expresses how love is the most powerful thing to conquer ones personal moral state of being.
‘Fenestra’ is a shimmering serene song, which takes listeners to a place of utopia. Immersed in ambient melodic hooks over celestial backdrops and 80’s drum machine beats, By An Ion have created a unique sound reminiscent of vintage M83 fused with Depeche Mode.
By An Ion’s eagerly awaited upcoming EP, Violet Sky has already had the stamp of approval from industry professionals, being mastered by Pete Maher (Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Rolling Stones, The Killers). They have also worked in the studio along side with The New Division's John Kunkel, TimeCop1983's Jordy Leenearts and Spanish Synth Pop artist Sergio Palacios from Puerto Aereo. Aguilar and Gonzales continue to collaborate with various artists and are quickly propelling into the next chapter of their musical journey.
" Without You" talks about the effects of depression on a relationship or partnership. It’s Sarah Hiltz's way of saying that for better or worse, when one person in a relationship is suffering, it can bring them both down, whether they want it to or not; and that when you commit to living life side by side, it means living through all the peaks and valleys you both go through- together.
Sarah Hiltz's new album "Beauty in the Blue" is coming out on November 7th. The album is a compilation of songs and stories culled from Sarah’s multiple journeys across Canada as a traveling musician on cross-country Via Rail passenger train, “The Canadian”. Hot off a UK tour supporting Canadian darlings Running Red Lights, Beauty in the Blue is Sarah’s first studio project featuring long-term stage collaborators, drummer Jordan Michaelis and multi-instrumentalist David Puzak.
Beauty in the Blue (2017), co-produced with Kevin Howley (Running Red Lights), is a response to those stories, a full-hearted return to Sarah’s Canadian folk roots, rounded out with the cross-country experience of her train travels and the desire to dive deeper than most pop artists her age with a rich voice that belies a soul in tune with the balance of both pain and beauty, suffering, and art.
Crafting a concept album is an incredibly difficult task. Tying together a cohesive narrative across a record’s worth of songs isn’t just daunting, it’s an endeavour that even some of the industry’s finest have failed to do memorably. This task, however, becomes notably more difficult when you’re dealing in the abstract via instrumental soundscapes. That is what Chronotope Project, the moniker of composer Jeffrey Ericson Allen, attempts to do with his latest project, ‘Ovum.’
‘Ovum’ “is a concept album that poetically reflects on the nature of beginnings, seeds, and primordial states of being,” Chronotope Project muses in their liner notes. The project is Allen’s attempt to explore the depths of time and space utilizing complex sonic landscapes. Surprisingly, ‘Ovum’ does this particularly well, conjuring longform instrumental pieces that are worth listening to - an impressive feat.
As with any concept album, ‘Ovum’ is best served by being listened to in its entirety. This is quite the commitment given the length, but it gives the best insight into Allen’s creation. The first track, ‘Olduvai Dreams,’ clocks in at ten minutes, making in the album’s most weighty effort. It introduces a very ethereal, mystifying sound. In this track, though, it’s also a very earthy sound. The sound is chock-full of African tribal influence, Native American flutes and percussion, and so much more.
Throughout its ten minutes, ‘Olduvai Dreams’ proves completely enthralling. The title track, on the other hand, proves less accessible, digging its heels deeply into long, drawn out synthesizer sections. The track is best served by a quality sound system due to its slight variations as time goes on, but it’s definitely more nuanced in its accessibility than its predecessor.
‘Mariposa’ is very similar to ‘Ovum,’ providing a sublime dive into angelic, soft-spoken synthesizers. Some of the instrumentation draws very thin parallels to, perhaps, Nordic influence, but by and large ‘Mariposa’ lacks the earthly qualities of ‘Olduvai Dreams.’ The track culminates into a much stronger finale than ‘Ovum’ as well, one that builds as synthesized choruses and a percussion section enter the fray in a beautiful fashion.
‘Primordial’ is a rather beautiful tune, one that harnesses soft, cricket-like sound effects over soft orchestration. It feels like a combination of ‘Olduvai Dreams’ and its familiarity and ‘Ovum’ and its otherworldly nature.
‘Epiphany,’ too, proves a fairly compelling listen, the synth-driven experience is a fascinating one. The same could likely be said for the finale, too, ‘Starry Messenger.’ It is a wonderful ending that pulls flute back into the forefront, likely to strike a contrast to the first song.
‘Ovum’ is, for the most part, a strong effort. The songs are surprisingly intriguing to listen to, which can rarely be said for ten minute instrumentals. The conceptual part of ‘Ovum’ is very subjective and abstract, but it does do a fine job exploring the dichotomy between earthly and celestial sounds. On the whole, ‘Ovum’ is a treat for experimental instrumental fans worth spending time with on a good sound system.
A combination of retro aesthetics, enduring lyrics and alt-rock grit.
The best music happens when artists refuse to remain stuck in their own comfort zones and creative boxes. Whenever this happens, they are free to give full range to their vision, and they can really come up with something that’s groundbreaking and personable. This is certainly the case here with Tommy Red and his brand new EP release, “I Wanna Be Exploited.”
Marva Von Theo is an Electropop / Synthwave duo formed in 2016 by the Athens-based singer-songwriter Marva Voulgari and the Vienna-based composer-producer Theo Foinidis.
Their Debut Album “Dream within a Dream” was released early in 2018. The 12 songs on their Album, lean towards an electronic sound that incorporates a variety of influences ranging from the music of the 80’s until today. Darkwave sounds, Jazz harmonies, Rock and Dance drum beats resonate together and mature into something darkly romantic.