Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
𝘿𝙤𝙨𝙞𝙚 𝙄𝙨𝙨𝙣𝙚𝙪𝙣 𝘿𝙖𝙚𝙣𝙖𝙢𝙪𝙨𝙪𝙥 - 𝘼𝙡𝙫𝙖𝙧𝙤 𝙃𝙚𝙧𝙧𝙖́𝙣
Charles talks science - and art…
We're so often reading about "The Science" in the papers. The news seems to speak of it like this impossibly unreachable superpower that only the special people will be able to comprehend. Or like it is a filthy rag that no one wants anything to do with. "The Science”: there's always this slight pause before those two words are delivered. As if it were to be a warning to brace yourself, or to pinch your nose tightly. It also seems as though this pause is for comical effect, as if those two innocent words were to make us corpse in hysterical laughter once uttered. But aside from all this polite observation of mine, it is really just an easy save these days in politics. "Our team of experts has looked at ‘The Science’, and the facts are indisputable". Huh. Handy get-out clause. Noyce. Blame "The Science". It is easy because most of us DON'T understand it, so we simply can't argue. Facts are facts, right…?
Speaking of science, when I was growing up it was normal to call someone schizophrenic if they had an irrational, volatile temper. People didn't know what words meant. Science was for scientists. Covid 19 would not have been called that, but rather "the nasty virus". Just like we wouldn't have spoken of lateral flow and PCR tests. We would have called them virus tests and proper virus tests. People would not have dyslexia, they would simply be not verry gud at speling and word. People didn't suffer from migraines, but rather had frequent banging headaches. This sudden temper about which I spoke could these days be called Bipolar disorder. Schizophrenia, being an altogether far more serious affair, consisting of hallucinations, lost sense of awareness and delusion. In fact, it might be closer to dementia than bipolar, but we said ‘schizophrenic’ nevertheless, because it sounded cool and made us feel intelligent. Bipolar disorder was not a thing - but of course it was. Just as people got to grips with the idea of someone being bipolar, it was then assumed that schizophrenia meant having a split personality. Oh lord, how things do get a-muddled. Split personality disorder is frankly the most terrifying (and fascinating) of all. Two minds in one! Maybe even more than two. In fact, the average is apparently around 14. With cases known to rise above 100. That is 100 personalities, not 100 unfortunate afflicted individual beings. Could this then be construed as bio-diversity...? Oh lord no. It's a thought though! I mean, technically yes! But that's another kettle of cod.
Let's think about this idea of having more than one personality. But not in the literal scientific sense. To be involved solely in "The Science" can perhaps be a dull thing. Let us instead go into the realms of philosophy. Ooh! All proper like. Highbrow, my donkey. Some of us are simple beings - usually the happier ones. Some of us are, well, it’s complicated. Some of us are able to go into “work mode” with the mental flick of a switch. All serious and determined; cold and hard. Time is money! Then that very same person can go back to their loving family, and all is soft, sensitive daisies. Some can work as a car mechanic on weekdays, but train to be a ballerina on weekends. Okay, maybe not. But maybe so - people are unusual these days, and other people are more forgiving than in the past. Anything goes - rightly so! This is of course nothing to do with having a split personality (as a disorder), but more just simply being multi-faceted. Sometimes though, it can be as unexpected as the prancing engineer. This may sound more like science fiction rather than science. Now let’s talk Sound Fiction.
Musical artists tend to naturally sway towards a certain style of music when sculpting their art. It makes sense. Most people don’t even LISTEN to more than a handful of genres. When choosing an LP to place on the platter, we tend to think of an album’s general mood and feel. We try to mesh that mood with our own. In most cases this works. For the very reason that most artists tend to have a certain sound - at least for each album. Although Taylor Swift has recently gone from high gloss pop to cosy acoustic, I can’t say I’ll be expecting her to release an album of be-bop jazz. Artists may go off the beaten track, but rarely will they cross the border. However, there are some artists in the world - and particularly on the New Artist Spotlight - that are less artist, and more explorer. Oghamyst springs to mind. He is a true chameleon. And there are quite a few others. But none’s diversity hit me as much as Alvaro Herrán. This diverse Colombian has many strings to his bow, not to mention his guitar. Alvaro, now settled in Seoul, South Korea, is ultimately a classical composer. He has spent more than a decade honing his art and craft in “fine music” (a term rarely used - partly because I made it up - despite “fine art” being a thing). Alvaro has just released a truly avant-garde piece of neoclassical music for gayageum/kayagum (you might need Google) and clarinet (you shouldn’t need Google), to the tune of 8 minutes or so. Dosie Issneun Daenamusup - pronounced as it sounds - has beauty, tension, expression, dynamics, microtones and overtones in abundance. Its slides, slurs and stutters punctuate the ominously looming space, to a point where the occasional eerie silence lends more drama than the music itself. The tension is pure and absolute. And speaking of tension, Alvaro must have been feeling it as he entered the piece for the International Younghi Pagh-Paan Composition Prize. Needless to say, he won first prize for the chamber music category. Tension followed by release. All of this can only be achieved by a master in his field.
So what did this master do before what SEEMS to be his debut release? From the oriental tinges of Alvaro’s current classical work, he came from somewhere no one could have anticipated. In May 2021, we had his ACTUAL debut release in the form of an EP. It was not classical. At all. Herrán lifted his guitar and dropped his name, replacing it with Sound Fiction. A (fabulous) name he chose, to hide away from his natural classical roots. Alvaro created Koo - an instrumental rock EP. And he did so with such tenacity, vigour and credibility, that one could never have guessed this was a classical composer capable of his latest work.
I love to rock, I love to roll. I love to dig that fat beat. I love to get lost in the heady dream of a female voice. I love to let the music switch my personalities for me; let the music take control. But what really does send me to another place is composition. The writing itself. The chords, the melodies and the sound design. Instrumental work really makes one’s mind focus on the music itself, rather than to be distracted by the voice or the words. Vocals, of course have their place, but sometimes it is the musical writing that longs to be the star. This is genuine art. And Alvaro Herrán is a genuine artist. This sort of change in “key” goes beyond the popular genre-bending of late. He instead discards - or at least puts aside - his more “usual” tendency for something entirely different and new. Much like Pablo Picasso. He may be known for his cubist style, but this was nothing like his early work. Artists naturally want to change. They are obsessed with it. There is this question that if something has been done before, be it by oneself or another, then why do it again…? Something with which I truly see eye to eye. Artists can also be quite erratic (erotic too, but that’s another story) in temperament, and so the idea of something COMPLETELY different really does appeal. Another splendid example would be The Beatles. But of course. I could hardly conceive of writing a review without mentioning our best friends, could I? The Beatles managed to pack Eleanor Rigby and Yellow Submarine into the same album. THIS is diversity at its finest.
Whatever the genre, Alvaro Herrán’s music is superb. He speaks to us without words, and never has it seemed so clear.
I raise a glass to art and its artists. Where would we be without them? For the answer, please refer to (pause) “The Science” - *corpsing laughter*
“Trust me. I’m a doctor.”
Listen to 𝘿𝙤𝙨𝙞𝙚 𝙄𝙨𝙨𝙣𝙚𝙪𝙣 𝘿𝙖𝙚𝙣𝙖𝙢𝙪𝙨𝙪𝙥 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Spotify playlist HERE!
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Listen to the 𝙆𝙤𝙤 EP on Spotify HERE!
Listen to the 𝙆𝙤𝙤 EP on Apple Music HERE!
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