Independent singer/songwriter Kev Minney began his musical career at the age of 30. Battling with a stutter, Kev had to overcome severe stage fright to get performing. Fueled with drive he spent the first two years practicing 6 hours a day before going to work as a guitar teacher in the evenings.
"I have an obsessive nature, when I want to achieve something, I think of little else, everything around me relates to what I'm focused on," he explains.
In 2015, when NASA's New Horizons was broadcasting photographs of Pluto, Kev was hooked. "I was in awe at how science could take us as far as 322 light minutes to the most distant planet in our solar system. At that point it felt like that's how far I was travelling to achieve my artistic ambitions.”
Now in 2017 Kev is announcing his astronomically inspired debut album, ‘Stories of the Sky’ and beautiful video-single "Like I Always", produced by the Mercury-nominated Jag Jago.
"Like I Always" documents the anxiety that affects a person trying to beyond his/her horizons. Minney explores this state of mind and the challenges it poses. He takes a sensitive but positive stance, showing how to tackle fear: resilience and determination get highlighted and their importance is driven home through the chorus.
The accompanying video (filmed by Kenny McCracken) is a visual tour-de-force. Beautifully shot in black and white, the video vividly illustrates the song’s message. Shadow, light leaks and dreamlike blurring evoke the emotions, whilst time-lapsed shots of unfurling flowers show that life finds a way.
The process of creating the album has proved a rollercoaster of excitement, involving collaboration with an impressive array of musicians, video teams, artists and so forth. Without the backing of a record label, Kev worked hard to pitch his project to the Arts Council who granted him an award in 2016, enabling him to make the album independently.
“My whole record is based around space themes,” Kev told Acoustic Presents Mag. "Even though not all of the songs are about a specific physical event in space, I intentionally used the language of science to present an emotional landscape. It's imperative, that our generation finds a way of emotionally connecting with what’s going on scientifically in and around our planet. Emotion is what inspires change."
While the music is important, Kev also believes strong visuals enhance the songs. “The visual has a double impact when folks first listen to the songs. If they can see and hear it, they’ll probably feel it a little more too.”
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.’
NAAL is an eclectic music project led by Chicago composer Dave Mantel. This talented musician has a true passion for great melodies and haunting musical textures. His blend of ambient, shoegaze and experimental drone music feels personal and unique, echoing the work of artists such as Slowdive, Boards of Canada or Sigur Ros, just to mention a few.