VIDEO PREMIERE: Majel Connery’s ‘Rebeam Me’

by Maggie Molloy

Majel Connery had a rather unusual path to the world of pop music.

Originally trained as a pianist, opera singer, and eventual musicologist, she went on to collaborate with a number of wide-ranging artists both within and beyond the genre of “new music.” Among them are the art pop duo Hae Voces, the book-club-band Oracle Hysterical, and the radically experimental Opera Cabal, to name just a few.

Presently, she’s set her ears on exploring her own voice as a solo artist. Her new EP Anything Chartreuse features four original songs that layer her translucent voice over shimmering electronics. The result is dreamy art pop with the sensitivity and nuance of classical music—but none of the inhibitions.

We’re thrilled to premiere the music video for her new song “Rebeam Me.”


Majel Connery’s Anything Chartreuse is out now. Click here to listen.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Bearthoven’s ‘American Dream’

by Maggie Molloy

Bearthoven. Photo by Colin Beattie.

There’s a certain dissonance inherent in the notion of the American Dream—it promotes a unified ideal for a nation that feels increasingly divided. Yet there remains a fundamental hopefulness in the face of this discord; a belief that we really are all working toward the same promise of freedom and prosperity.

The paradoxical nature of this national ethos in our current socio-economic era inspired Bearthoven’s new album American Dream. The trio—comprised of pianist Karl Larson, bassist Pat Swoboda, and percussionist Matt Evans—performs three works by Scott Wollschleger that explore different aspects of the American experience: moments of true beauty and lofty idealism balanced against moments of impending crisis and despair.

We’re thrilled to premiere this brand new video for an excerpt from the album’s title track, a trio scored for piano, double bass, pitch pipes, and percussion instruments ranging from vibraphone to water crotales and vibrators. Weaving together broken melodies, competing grooves, and the pervasive white noise of everyday life, Wollschleger reflects on the modern day role of the American Dream—in all its beautiful dissonance.


Bearthoven’s American Dream is out Feb. 8 on Cantaloupe Music. Click here to learn more.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Melia Watras’s ‘Berceuse’

by Maggie Molloy

Photo by Michelle Smith-Lewis.

Fairy tales and folk songs are just a couple of the major influences behind violist Melia Watras’s new album, Schumann Resonances. More specifically, the album grew out of her love for Schumann’s Märchenbilder (Pictures from Fairyland), one of the great pieces of the viola repertoire.

The album features Watras performing six world premieres of new works inspired by Märchenbilder, fairy tales, and other folklore. Among them are enchanting new pieces by Cuong Vu, Richard Karpen, and Watras herself.

We’re thrilled to premiere the video for one of Watras’s original compositions from the album, “Berceuse with a Singer in London.” Scored for voice and viola, Watras dedicated the piece to folk singer Galia Arad (the daughter of violist and composer Atar Arad, with whom Watras studied). The piece is equal parts art song and folk lullaby, its intertwining melodies made more potent by its sparse texture and poetic text, which was written by Watras’s frequent collaborator, violinist Michael Jinsoo Lim.

Schumann Resonances also marks the launch of Planet M Records, a brand new record label founded this year by Watras and Lim. The Seattle-based, artist-led label specializes in music at the intersection of classical and contemporary.


Melia Watras’s Schumann Resonances is out Friday, Feb. 8 on Planet M Records. Click here to learn more and pre-order the album.

VIDEO PREMIERE: ‘Fields’ by Anna Thorvaldsdottir ft. ICE

by Maggie Molloy

Anna Thorvaldsdottir finds inspiration in nature—her music is its own ecosystem, the nuanced textures shared, traded, and transformed among individual instruments over the course of her works.

You won’t hear any birds chirping or water splashing in this sonic ecosystem, but you will hear the full subtleties of timbre, the complex interplay of voices, the way the music expands and contracts, breathing and humming and vibrating like the earth.

That notion of seismic balance is at the heart of Thorvaldsdottir’s newest album AEQUA, a constellation of chamber works (plus one solo piano piece) that explore shimmering nuances of sound. Her delicately textured compositions are brought to life by the International Contemporary Ensemble with conductor Steven Schick.

We are thrilled to premiere the video for the album’s closing track Fields, featuring a mixture of footage taken by Sono Luminus CEO Collin Rae and Thorvaldsdottir’s husband Hrafn Asgeirsson, woven together and edited by Allison Noah.


Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s AEQUA is out now on Sono Luminus. Click here to learn more and purchase the album.

VIDEO PREMIERE: ‘Spirals’ by Maria Huld Markan Sigfusdottir

Nordic Affect (Left to right: Hanna Loftsdóttir, Guðrún Hrund Harðardóttir, Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir, and Guðrún Óskarsdóttir.)  Photo by David Oldfield.

by Maggie Molloy

“Hér” is the Icelandic word for here. That idea of being present—of listening, of connecting here and now through music is at the heart of Nordic Affect’s new album He(a)r. Out now on Sono Luminus, the album is a collection of seven world premiere recordings penned by women composers and performed by women musicians.

He(a)r is an ode to hear, here, hér, and her,” writes Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir, the ensemble’s artistic director and violinist. Wide-ranging sound worlds from Stefánsdóttir, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, Mirjam Tally, and Hildur Guðnadóttir comprise the album, each offering a distinct perspective on the ways in which we hear and create sound—our individual voices and the ways in which they interact.

“Spirals,” one of two works contributed by María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, circles around these themes and expands outward: dense chords, hazy melodies, and fragmented sounds from an old music box echo and grow into an immersive meditation on time itself.

We are thrilled to premiere a brand new video for Sigfúsdóttir’s composition “Spirals,” performed by Nordic Affect.


Nordic Affect’s He(a)r is out now on Sono Luminus. Click here to listen to the full album.