1. Daydreaming from A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead
How lyrics and recognisable aural artefacts brings out the most powerful stories. ‘Daydreaming’ is a film by itself, painting the picture of ‘a human experience’ in one frame, from one point of time to another. Truly a masterpiece ruminating on the nature of time. This track made me understood how music can be shaped/written as message, a slice of thought on reality; Using lyrics as the main element of the piece, and soundscapes designed out of the human’s voice as the harmonic foundations can be such a powerful way of portraying the tensions within intimacy.
2. Async by Ryuichi Sakamoto
This recommendation is not a single piece of music but rather the full album. Each track on this ambient album present us with one idea, before moving on to the next. Some puts more focus on the sonic ambiguities, while the others on the harmonic structure. I’ve always been into the concept of minimalism within an arrangement and its harmonic embellishments, and this album fits brillianty in such way. Sakamoto uses only a few instrumentations on each and every track, being cautious of not overcrowding in order to really dig into the myriad of delicacies each sound has to offers. A great sense of curiosity towards the things happening around us.
3. A Light Without Flame from Upstream Dream EP by Slow Meadow
A playful duet of synth lead and solo violin, calling and responding with each other, intertwining with one another elegantly; Blended with acoustic piano and small string section under a bounty of textures, moods and ambiences. A great inspiration for the development of individual artistic flairs - a constant search of unheard melodies and soundscapes.
4. Woven Song by Olafur Arnalds
''A metaphor for being embraced by something arger than yourself while exporing new territories, the feeing of being held while you open your heart.’’ - Olafur Arnalds
Finding peaceful and soulful arranging techniques by weaving classical harmonies with nolstagic voices, blended with expressive performance. A brilliantly executed way in building and resolving phrases as means to create a natural bridge between sections.
5. Waltz in A minor, B.150 by Frédéric Chopin
One of my favourite classical composers of all time, Frédéric Chopin, never cease to amaze me with his ability to reinvent the piano, creating a palette of immensely rich and colorful sounds. The commonly used concept of ‘Żal’ in most of Chopin’s compositions - the momentary movements between happiness and melancholies takes on a strong presence in this piece. A concept that captivates me to explore into new territories of expressions and storytelling through tensions and resolutions.
I've compiled an 80 minutes long Spotify playlist containing all of the above mentioned pieces/album and more pieces I've always been drawn to, which has been great inspirations to my personal artistic exploration. Hope it inspires you as it has inspired me!
Artist website/portfolio Jia Lee.