Monday, October 28, 2013

Crush On: Madeleine Cocolas

A Piece A Week

Madeleine Cocolas
Aussies know how to rock bold prints and write great music. 
Meet Madeleine Cocolas. If you read her name and thought Coca Cola, don't worry I did too. She's a cute girl from Australia who somewhat reminds me of Sia. I'm happy to have stumbled across the music of this awesome Aussie transplant who is writing one piece a week. It's a daunting task and while her latest piece is only from week 30 (It's been about a year already), I'm sure the delay is from finding time to record and properly post it all.

She chronicles each piece (with regular interjections of Seattle living) in her blog Fifty-Two Weeks. Her music varies in style, but much of it is theatrical, which comes as no surprise since she's worked in film and television. Although I wish the compositions weren't so piano-centric, the collection isn't bad. Her music is perfect for everything from yoga to stargazing to driving. Here are a few of my faves:

Did I mention that I like how her pics complement each track. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Eine Kleine Grimmusik

Grimmusik before spinning a tale of musical terror

Meet the Brothers Grimm

I'm paranoid after hearing the music of brothers Grimm, AJ and BC, and you would be, too. I stumbled across this fraternal pair whose last name really is Grimm by chance. Together they are Grimmusik, multi-instrument wielding composer-musicians who are making a name for themselves in the Wisconsin theatre and dance community. 

Their most recent work? An eerie score for the play This is NOT Shakespeare's MacBeth.  For those of you who might have fallen asleep in high school or asked your "friend" in English to write that paper for you, I'll give you a three-sentence synopsis of it: Macbeth was a Scottish general who met 3 crazy cat ladies witches who told him he would be king of Scotland. A series of events not too unlike Game of Thrones takes place (it helps to imagine Macbeth as Joffrey and his wife as Cersei). He and his overbearing wife eventually die of guilt and denial, or a sword to the neck depending on who you ask. 

Back to the music! 

Grab those in-ear buds and you'll see that they create an atmosphere intense enough to make you think you're losing your mind. One minute it sounded as if a fly was buzzing inside my ear and the next like I'm slowly going deaf. Needless to say, this isn't going to be anyone's jam. But if you have a haunted house (or basement) and need creepy music to introduce that "urban legend" you came up with 20 minutes ago, this is your music.

Sadly, you won't find these Brothers Grimm on the performing circuit anytime soon--they're taking a two year hiatus while big brother AJ teaches in Spain.

I couldn't choose just one piece because they are all so deliciously dark. Enjoy!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Hannah's Autumn Tale

As I walked outside yesterday I noticed quickly the red and brown leaves crunching underneath my feet. I know they weren't there last week. I breathed in deeply all the sights and sounds of fall. Soon, I found myself thinking of all the tastes of it--apple cider, roasted turkey, pumpkin everything! And after listening to Trade Secrets, I developed an appetite for more season-worthy pieces. 

Please excuse the typo. Being a word-class composer is tiring. 

Enter Filigree in Textile by Hannah Lash. This piece is in three movements: Gold, Silver, and Silk. (A lot like the popular Pokemon titles minus the Silk version, which was shelved after it was discovered that pokemon's bugged (no pun intended?) Harden skills made it impossible to move forward). In any case, I'm only going to talk about Gold--up to 07:12. Filigree in Textile begins with what I consider the defining timbre of autumn--the cello. It has a dark wet-earth feel to it that I love. And the interweaving lines from the rest of the quartet that emerge are like streams joining into a river. The harp plays into the sensation dancing around the other voices. It's as though it's leading us down a winding path to take in an idyllic landscape. 

Altogether, Filigree in Textile gives you the feeling there's a mystery unfolding in a quiet town. By the end, the timbres all melt into one another; I can't distinguish the violin's pizz. from the pluck of the harp. They become as sparkling and bright as the movement's name--and the story ends on a note that makes me worlds more hopeful than winning a battle against Silcoon with a Magikarp.