Discovering Lindsey Stirling

Unlike the other artists featured on the small ‘Discovering’ series present on this blog; my discovery of Lindsey Stirling is not a recent one but more a resurgence. For those of you who do not know, Lindsey Stirling is an American violinist/dancer, two things no one would have thought could be combined with such success. Lindsey’s music is the kind I would always listen to when revising during college or when I wasn’t sure what kind of music mood I was in. Even then, I was utterly blown away by her creative talent and couldn’t be prouder as a fan of the progress she has made during her journey.

Being from a small Utah town didn’t stop Lindsey from dreaming big, even when she was told she would have to choose between learning to play the violin and dancing. Although she chose to take violin lessons, Lindsey didn’t drop her passion for dance but managed to find a way to keep both in her life. The first time I was ever knowingly introduced to Lindsey’s music was back in 2013 when she collaborated with the popular a cappella group, Pentatonix (future blog post imminent). The artists combined their unique musical talents to record a cover of Imagine Dragon’s ‘Radioactive’, adding another layer of brilliance to the already incredible song. Whilst Pentatonix’s performance was outstanding there was just something about Lindsey’s violin and footwork that was mesmerising. Without a voice Lindsey managed to sing the loudest and completely captured my attention.

Listen to the cover here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE2GCa-_nyU

However, this was not the first time Lindsey had been on the musical horizon for me. Back in 2010 the artist took part and became a finalist in America’s Got Talent. Being something totally unseen got her far in the competition but unfortunately that was not enough to impress the judges in the semi-finals. Whilst Lindsey’s performance on the show was not as refined as it is today, there was still the lingering hint of potential that would go on to build into an admirable determination to pursue her dream. Despite the judges’ critiques that Lindsey would find more success in dropping the dancing and joining a band, she prevailed and proved she only needed herself and belief.

Being dubbed a ‘hip-hop violinist’ on the show was not the most accurate way to describe Lindsey as a musician. Since then she has broadened her horizons by creating and covering music in classical, rock and dubstep, just to name a few. Her own original music came about in 2012 when she singed a deal with Lady Gaga’s manager, Troy Carter. Lindsey’s first self-titled album is a fuse of dubstep and electronica, conveying emotion and narrative through her evocative playing. Songs like ‘Transcendence’ that manage to portray feelings of being trapped and the need to break out. Lindsey’s violin performance perfectly reflects the narrative moving from control to realisation of this control.

Listen to ‘Transcendence’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiyPRqP5glY

Many of Lindsey’s songs have powerful and important meanings behind them, the emotions of the songs hitting harder than words ever could. On more than one occasion her music has managed to move me to tears from the sheer beauty she pours into it, especially on her other albums such as the incredible Shatter Me. Even her covers are something to behold. Not shying away from already popular and beloved songs but taking on the challenge of making them her own and, more importantly, succeeding. I never expected to hear a cover of Evanescence’s ‘My Immortal’ and feel like I was hearing it for the first time. A song I have listened to more times than I can count being presented to me in a way I wasn’t aware I needed. With a focus purely put on the melody of ‘My Immortal’ adds an open vulnerability and offers even more depth to the song.

Listen to Lindsey’s cover of ‘My Immortal’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-onQcF95pfs

Lindsey’s story is truly an inspiring one and Lindsey herself is the kind of person many could and should look up to. Battling against musical restrictions in her youth, putting effort into and building her Youtube channel whilst always managing to keep a clear head and remember her roots. Her talent as a musician aside, Lindsey truly seems to be the ultimate example of a girl living her dreams and loving every moment of it. Evident in her dedication to her music even when being told it wasn’t good enough, the energy and emotion put into her live performances and music videos and her love of music in general shining through in her covers. Still on the rise, Lindsey will soon be embarking on a summer tour with none other than Evanescence. Something I would love to see if there had been any dates for the UK, but I cannot think of two artists better suited to perform on the same stage.

Links to two of my favourite medleys:
‘The Greatest Showman’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGhPGH2YROA
‘Beauty and the Beast’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-AjhXhk19U

Links:

Website: www.lindseystirling.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lindseystirlingmusic
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindseyStirling
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/lindseystomp
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/378dH6EszOLFShpRzAQkVM
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lindseystirling/

 

By Skye W.Winwood

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Antimo Magnotta: the music of a survivor

Classical music embodies an ethereal beauty no other genre could come close to imitating. Each composition marrying loss, love, pain, beauty and everything in between to produce timeless music. The genre has a special place in my heart from falling asleep every night to the soothing sound as a child. The genre taught me many things about my own emotions and at times helped me understand what I was feeling when I felt there were no words for it. Translating into my adult life through playing the piano and seeking out the genre when emotions are running high, I am always eager to discover new classical musicians. Musicians who are some of the most talented artists to walk this earth and Antimo Magnotta is my most recent discovery. With the capacity to take tragedy and turn it into hope, the pianist is truly an inspiration for a generation.

In 2012 Antimo was aboard the Costa Concordia, acting as their resident pianist and sharing his gift with fellow lovers of a transcendent genre. To those who are unaware this was the same year the boat tragically sank, claiming thirty-two lives and irrevocably changing Antimo’s life forever. Suffering the loss of fellow musicians, his possessions, career and marriage could have silenced Antimo’s music and robbed the world of outstanding musical vision. Antimo took the blessing of surviving the heart-breaking disaster and moved to the UK to re-build his life along with his young daughter. Beginning life anew left Antimo with a small pool of options but this did not stop the man from persevering, taking a job as a waiter that led to a chain of events that have found him where he is now. From waiter to resident pianist at the Victoria & Albert Museum’s café to now working on his own musical projects, Antimo stands as a role model for up and coming musicians, saying that there is nothing in life that can ever stop you from pursuing your dream other than you.

Antimo’s artistic vision, determination and sheer musical talent have been poured into his two albums, Inner Landscape and The Raphael Project. Inner Landscape is Antimo’s tribute to those who lost their lives and loved ones aboard the Costa Concordia, a profoundly moving album that documents the musician’s thoughts and what he witnessed during the tragedy. Through the creation of Inner Landscape Antimo was able to find solace and hopes his music can provide the same peace for others. The album stands as an inspiring message that from heartache and grief can come closure and comfort offered by the therapeutic effects music has.

The Raphael Project reflects Antimo’s interpretation of Raphael’s seven cartoons, tapestries depicting the acts of St Peter and St Paul, the founders of the early Christian Church. Although the art pieces are heavily laden with Biblical elements, Antimo focussed more on specific details from each work and used these details to inform his compositions. Each composition that makes up The Raphael Project leads you deeper into Antimo’s mind to witness all the beauty and pain he has conquered through a combination of dark, chaotic, sweet and awe-inspiring piano playing.

Antimo has rebuilt both himself and his music to a great point of success but now he plans to go further, embarking on a journey to share his music and stories with new audiences. Antimo has provided support for anyone who listens to his music, encouraging people to find the comfort they need in his compositions. Truly a man with remarkable talent and resilience who embodies hope in both the human spirit and the restoring powers of music.

Links:

Websites: http://www.antimomagnotta.com/index.html
                    https://antimomagnotta.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/antimomagnotta.official/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/antimomagnotta
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4pRiwawy8YS_2wGO_0UJMw
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/antimo-magnotta-1
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/antimomagnotta/

 

Review by Skye W. Winwood

Discovering Yiruma

The demand for classical music has been on the decline in recent years, with the rising trend in pop music overshadowing other genres. However this has not stopped the undeniable beauty classical composers are producing every day. One of these composers goes by the name of Yiruma; a man with unquestionable talent and creativity in the classical genre.

Born and raised in South Korea as Lee Ru-ma and going by the stage name Yiruma, the musician has gained an exceeding amount of popularity for his unique twist on the classical genre. From an early age there was no doubt Yiruma would go on to be one of the greats, beginning to play piano at age five before moving to London at ten to continue his education at the Purcell School of Music. After graduating from Purcell he went on to complete a composition major at King’s College London and by the end of his education had released his first album, Love Scene. In 2001, he released the album he is most attributed to, First Love, containing his most popular piece ‘River Flows In You.’

Listen to ‘River Flows In You’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsTjI75uEUQ

‘River Flows In You’ is nothing short of audio beauty, the composition and performance of the piece expressing a tear inducing abundance of emotions. The track has a direct attachment to your heart strings and Yiruma is playing every single one of them perfectly. Yiruma’s influence of the romantic music of Paris is apparent in all of his music but none more than ‘River Flows In You.’ The composition takes you on a journey of the soul, easing you in before showcasing Yiruma’s talent with the ivory keys. ‘River Flows In You’ is possibly the number one song for people’s first dance because of how it bursts forth with feelings of love and romance, ending on a melancholy note that just leaves you wanting more.

In 2003, Yiruma went on to release his third album, From the Yellow Room, which saw pre-orders reaching over 30,000 copies and hitting top rank on popular music charts like Phono and Hot Tracks. This album included the equally popular ‘Kiss The Rain’, a twinkling piece that could have been plucked directly from the end of a romance movie that leaves no dry eye in the room.

Listen to ‘Kiss The Rain’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so6ExplQlaY

The piece strikes as one of realisation of something known beneath the surface finally coming to light. The repeating chords resonate deep in your psyche, connecting on a truly emotion level. The track soars high before falling into a soft end that echoes the beginning, giving the piece a feeling of total completion. ‘Kiss The Rain’ is a pretty and admirable piece that leaves the listener in wonder and awe.

After his fourth album (POEMUSIC) and fifth album (Spring Waltz), Yiruma gave up his British citizenship to enlist in the Korean Army, as all South Korean males are required to do. The break in music did not lesson his talent, however, for he returned in 2008 with the Yiruma Come Back Tour. The tour consisted of twenty cities in Korea and followed on with Yiruma becoming a DJ for KBS1FM Yiruma’s Music All Around The World in 2009.

Yiruma’s musical style is unlike famous composers of eras gone by, recognising the rapidly changing world he lives in and adjusting accordingly. Whilst still creating music belonging to the classical genre, Yiruma’s music has been labelled ‘new age’, likened to music used in film scores or television dramas. The modern twist placed on his music has allowed multitudes of fans to connect on an almost intimate level with his compositions, continuing to boost his popularity.

Links:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0fauHpmSHwodVYIjTqOGHz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Yiruma-125708571122/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/YirumaVEVO

 

Review by Skye W. Winwood

New collaboration album from Michaela Polakova and Natalie Kocab

Composer Michaela Polakova and singer/songwriter Natalie Kocab have joined forces to create intricately dark music in the form of their new album Ellis Island. A contemporary musical experience that takes inspiration from the meticulous story telling of eras gone by such as the 70s and 80s. An out of this time album that is sure to lure you into a siren’s trance.

Artists such as Michaela and Natalie working together should lead to the inevitable condemning words in the music industry of ‘musical differences’. However the two have managed to transcend gene and cultural differences to create something utterly breath taking that otherwise could not exist. The overall incandescent darkness of Ellis Island is based on the sound of Michaela’s classical background with the piano and string quartet compositions. The effect sensually chilling to listen to when combined with Natalie’s vocals that create a sense of mystery you can’t help but be intrigued by. The sound of the album can be compared to the likes of Nick Cave with it’s explorations of both the mind and human spirit, the song ‘Underwater’ alone exposing the hardships of life some of us are ignorant to. Ellis Island is a dark, eye opening tale that could be akin to a musical awakening.

The brilliance of this album did not happen overnight, however, but is a collective of hard work from a multitude of talented musicians. The project is of course the brainchild of Michaela and Natalie but even they realised something on this scale could not be accomplished with only the two of them. After meeting during the making of the album Hummingbirds in Iceland, which received outstanding reviews in Europe, the two recognised in one another what they themselves could be lacking. From here the album was created with the help of The Verve’s guitarist Nick McCabe as well as long-time bassist Fernando Saunders of Lou Reed. Initially the two recruited McCabe for a single track but after being moved by the sound of the album the guitarist took it to heart and ended up contributing to a total of eight tracks on the album. Saunders also showed his love for the work Michaela and Natalie were doing and both these praises are just as slice of the recognition Ellis Island deserves.

The album is infused with 90s indie music vibes and has a sound not unlike G Tom Mac’s ‘Cry Little Sister’ leading also to a distinctive 80s hint in the sound. Specifically the song ‘Underwater’ which is a beautifully dark composition that highlights physical and emotional struggle through the soaring notes and powerful vocals. The track is a spiralling roller-coaster of genuinely moving musical talent that can be described as nothing less than beautiful. This beauty, however, is one of a sinister nature once the electric guitar kicks in at the song’s crescendo that will leave you with an insatiable need to fill that strange hollowness it leaves in you with more of the album’s music.

Watch the video to “Underwater” here: https://youtu.be/omx-6V6hbk8

The song to fill this hollowness is ‘Social Affair’ with its dream like sound that will send you into a trance whilst still embodying the same dark, swelling emotion of ‘Underwater.’ ‘Social Affair’ seems to move forward in time to have a more 90s vibe to it, the repeating guitar riffs not unlike music from Love Spit Love but slightly softer. Something that you can put on, plug in your head phones and let the music consume you into a tranquil state. The repeating lyrics of ‘come find me’ in the opening set a good rhythmic tone for the rest of the song.

Yet if you want something more to pull at your music heartstrings like ‘Underwater’, the album also includes the orchestral piece ‘These Years.’ A combination of string instruments and piano keys that is harrowing and immensely creative at the same time; marrying both a heartfelt ballad and a musical score into one. The swaying sound is as hypnotic as the rest of Ellis Island as well as conveying the raw emotion behind the song in its own right.

Ellis Island is out now and available for digital download at https://wmcz.lnk.to/ellisisland and is an undeniable creative album that will sweep you away before pulling you in deep into the dark yet beautiful world Michaela and Natalie have created.

Links:

Soundcloud:  https://soundcloud.com/nataliekocabmichaelapolakova

Youtube:  https://youtu.be/QDOEQVGicqM

                   https://youtu.be/sT1g9fYFon0

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Ellisislandalbum/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 

Review by Skye W.Winwood

Roger Rudenstein Introduces Opera to the Masses

If classical music to you is just something that seems to happen around other people, you could do a lot worse than listening to American composer Roger Rudenstein. Throwing the rule book out of the window, Roger does not compromise or necessarily follow the tried and tested routes followed by his contemporaries. A two-part opera on an absurd individual campaigning to be president of the United States has proved disturbingly prescient, and another opera on the post 9/11 activity in the Whitehouse was similarly scathing.

Having grown up in a musical household, classical music was always in his blood, though he did have a brief dalliance with rock music in the late 60s, with the band Tiny Alice, who, thankfully for Roger, didn’t become megastars after he left. Since then his output has been absurdly prolific, with no corner of composition off limits. A perfect starting point for those with novice ears would be his opera based on James Joyce’s Ulysses, not only being brave enough to include the rather more ‘ribald’ bits but also opting to utilise Joyce’s actual text. No horrible dumbing down or paraphrasing, you get your classic literature and your classical music fix all in one. A whole new world awaits you.

Ten seconds is all Anthony Vincent needs to win you over to his music

In this day and age music stars are being created across all kinds of platforms. Signing a record deal to gain fame is a thing of the past with multimedia sharing websites such as Youtube. Anthony Vincent, better known as Ten Second Songs by his Youtube channel, has fully taken advantage of the opportunities the internet offers by creating something to showcase both his talent and musical genius. Anthony takes popular songs and preforms them in ten second snippets in 20+ different styles.

Listen to Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ in 20 different styles here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jus7S5vBJyU

Beginning his channel back in 2014 Anthony blew up the internet with his unique take on ‘Dark Horse’ currently his most popular video at over twenty-one million views! The cover includes twenty different styles by twenty different artists ranging from Frank Sinatra and Pavarotti to Panthera and Slipknot. Anthony manages to perfectly capture the unique sound of each artist so that they are recognisable even without the subtitles crediting who they are. As his channel has grown Anthony also manages to imitate mannerisms and stage personas of certain artists such as Marilyn Manson in his ‘Pokémon in 20 Styles of the Late 90s’ video. Branching out even further to include styles of Mongolian throat singing and Mozart in ‘System of a Down Chop Suey in 20 Styles Cover’ and ‘Twenty-One Pilots Heathens in 21 Styles Cover.’

Despite being able to imitate a plethora of genres and styles Anthony’s personal talent lies in the heavy rock genre, giving him the multi instrumental talent and powerful voice to seamlessly transform between styles. It’s obvious Anthony takes great pride in his work, the editing of his videos as precise and well thought out as the music itself. Anthony takes the idea of a one-man-band to a level of professionalism that astounds as he also includes videos of himself playing the instruments of each video.

Not only does Anthony provide a bounty of entertainment but he uses the popularity he has gained to interact with his fans. Holding votes for certain songs to be solely preformed in one style or voting for which song he will cover next. As well as his affinity for music Anthony comes across as a genuine guy who appreciates all the support people have given him over the years. His Youtube channel currently stands at over two million subscribers and I encourage anyone with a love of music to follow him as he continues to provide humorous, talented entertainment with a genre or style for just about anyone.

As well as covers of other artists’ songs Anthony has his own band, Set The Charge, who deserve just as much support and will be covered in a separate blog post in the future!

Popular Videos:

Linkin Park ‘In The End’ 20 Style Cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urzWY6sqVGw

Jason Derulo ‘Talk Dirty’ 20 Style Cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhTaNHYWRZ4

Adele ‘Hello’ 25 Style Cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgMAAzzQz7s

Pokémon Theme in 20 Styles the late 90s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioE3oKQ6WbU

System of a Down ‘Chop Suey’ 20 Styles Cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFwZA4fcetI

 

Links:

https://www.youtube.com/user/TenSecondSongs

https://twitter.com/TenSecondSongs

https://www.facebook.com/tensecondsongs

 

Review By Skye W.Winwood

Mihail Doman’s Arhythmology is an epic realisation of the human condition

Artists of all natures and platforms use music to portray their emotions, draw attention to important issues or to evoke particular emotions from their listeners. Mihail Doman’s first full length release, Arhythmology, accomplishes all of the above.

Listen to the complete work here: https://soundcloud.com/mihaildoman

After two years in the making Arhythmology has finally been realised into the world. The complete formation of the tracks create a thought provoking arrangement of classical sounds that manage to voice Mihail’s message without any actual words. The minimalist sound of the tracks leave the music to be soothing to listen to, not overpowering and has been described by Mihail himself as ‘a soundtrack without a film.’

Mihail was born and raised in Romania and created Arhythmology with the vision to have something that is a fully immersive experience to be heard as a whole entity as opposed to separate tracks. This vision being realised with the way the tracks almost seamlessly blend into one another whilst still having a distinct sound to tell them apart. Arhythmology is segmented into nine phases (numbered as such with roman numerals) after the style of Jean-Michel Jarre; one of Mihail’s heroes. The legendary French composer was obviously an influence on Mihail’s music as Arhythmology shares the same style, seeming to sweep through musical landscapes as the listener is taken on a journey. Using both electronic and orchestral elements Arhythmology portrays the idea of rebirth, humanity and discovery.

The lead track, Arhythmology VI, has been released along-side a pro-feminist video.

Watch here: https://youtu.be/rtnZGFgjt9g

The video that can only be described as a short film depicts a single female seeming to shift through different phases – possibly those that people expect of her as a woman. A phase of innocence depicted through her costume of white dress and a phase of hysteria through the jagged and animalistic movements she makes are some examples. However all these phases lead to the final image of her naked, laid bare for who she truly is. The video perfectly complements the music with a repetitive sound that slowly builds to something stronger but still with the same melody underneath. Reflecting how the woman was herself beneath all the versions society threw on her.

Mihail has created influences from Botticelli’s Birth of Venus due to the likeness in traditional themes that transcend time and reflect the modern age we live in. Other influences Mihail cites are Beethoven due to his traditional classic sound as well as Hans Zimmer to include a modern twist.

Links:

https://soundcloud.com/mihaildoman

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLqDaz4DiSXVd6TTInSG7XQ

https://facebook.com/mihaildoman

https://twitter.com/mihaildoman

https://instagram.com/mihaildoman

https://mihaildoman.com/

 

Review by Skye W. Winwood

Roger Rudenstein Reveals his Epic X-Rated Opera to a European Audience

Based in New Hampshire, Roger Rudenstein has very effectively mounted a concerted feather-ruffling campaign. As one of the busiest composers of operas currently active, Roger has already very firmly nailed his colours to the mast, with full-length satirical works including “The Devil and George Bush” and “The Rise & Fall of Ronald P. Glumph”, a not-so thinly veiled Faustian opera based on the current President of the United States of America.

 

Though his satirical expressions through classical music have garnered him rave reviews from the likes of The New York Times and over 100,000 streams on Soundcloud, this is far from Roger’s only output. Having worked alongside luminaries such as the renowned clarinettist, Richard Stoltzman, he has written a raft of compositions for both solo instruments and orchestra, including symphonies, concertos and chamber pieces, not to mention 29 full-length piano sonatas.

Having made his name in America, Roger is now ready to announce himself on the European stage with his Herculean operatic interpretation of James Joyce’s “Ulysses. Translating a 732 page literary epic into a two and a half hour opera might seem an impossible task but Roger has achieved this whilst staying true to every X-rated avenue of the text! Using the actual text from Joyce rather than his own interpretation, Roger has composed the score to fit around leitmotifs which reflect the rhythm and cadence of the characters speech and internal monologues; he has also kept the elements which make Ulysses so raucously hilarious in some parts, yet tragic in others

Taking ten years to create, Roger has recorded his magnum opus using professional singers from the Boston area and is now looking to have the opera performed in Europe, where there is still huge interest in Joyce’s epic novel, as well as being where the beating heart of Roger’s music lies. With influences including Schubert, Stravinsky, Beethoven and Richard Strauss, Roger is ready to continue his quest to bring his incisive, European-influenced operas to a new, deserving audience.

 LINKS:

SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/rudenste/tracks
Youtube https://www.youtube.com/user/rudenste
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/roger.rudenstein
Website https://www.rogerrudensteinmusic.com/

 

Edward Abela returns with ‘Echoes’

Warner Chappell’s Edward Abela goes straight to number 1 after less than 24 hours of releasing ‘Echoes’ EP

 

Warner Chappell’s Edward Abela goes straight to number 1 in the Malta charts after less than 24 hours of releasing his EP ‘Echoes’ March 1st. The musician has scored films such as ‘Belonging’, done sync work for NBC, SKY, Channel 4 and BBC and now returns with this stunning piano based EP.

With the aim to create an ambient space through the use of soft and beautiful piano based music, ‘Echoes’ allows the listener to create their own story.

 Listen to the EP here:

 

 

 

 

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