I played trombone in my youth, not great but good enough to play anything form New York New York to The Internationale with the local orchestra. Eventually like many a young teen there was something way more interesting than to hit a perfect B-flat, something that stirred up hormones within, and a trombone would cut it about as much as a propeller hat, so was exchanged for a guitar, that through a rapid exchange of instruments ended up becoming a camera then two then three and four. I met my wife, lived and enjoyed life, photographed, paid taxes. Even if I didn’t make music, I heard music, like a Walkman in my head with me adding tracks to a never-ending mixtape. Prior to the pandemic I’d tinkered with some software synthesizers but nothing to write home about. With the pandemic I wanted to see what happened if I gave in to it, stopped thinking and instead doing.
One day between a public announcement, doing the dishes, and picking up after the dog, it came; first like a mist, illusive, then shaped up, substantiated, denser, a formation, a cloud, something to work with. A few hours later of intense concentration it was pretty close to finished. This became what I call “Bipolar Harmony”.
I’m not religious, but music and specifically making music feels to me what I would imagine the feeling of divine to be. Like writing it comes out of nothing, out of thin air, to be materialized and absorbed by our senses, exposing it to others, and like a virus being able to travel from one host to the next, with the ability to be a highly personal experience yet possible to be shared with a group a crowd a people.
This piece was born to be the heartbeat of a short film paying homage to Quest, a Tokyo Harajuku architectural marvel perched upon the very land where NTT's visionary founder once trod. It's a structure that embodies the architectural ethos of the late 1980s, and I was determined that the composition would be its sonic mirror.
Picture it: gleaming glass, steel and concrete, a cityscape unfurling beyond, and the spirit of innovation fashioin and hairspray crackling in the air. The music had to capture that essence - a blend of ambition, futurism, and an unapologetic celebration of the era.
So, as I weaved the notes and melodies together, I aimed for a sound that reverberated with the echoes of that time, like a cassette tape playing the greatest hits of '80s architecture. It's a sonic time capsule, a musical journey back to the era when Quest stood tall and Tokyo's skyline was forever changed.
Scailis came into being a few years ago as part of a film project in collaboration with Art Basel. However, it found its true home as the soundtrack for the architectural shorts of Shi-Shi Iwa House. Over time, it has seen several changes and refinements, reaching its current state. But its future remains open to further evolution, holding the potential for new transformations.
Thinking of you
"Thinking of You" was born from a lucid dream where my wife and I, as starry-eyed young lovers, sat quietly exhausted, warming each other in the cool morning where Tokyo meets the water. Watching the sun in pastel colors rise out of the ocean like the ending of an 80s movie, neither dared thinking of tomorrow. Although this particular experience never happened, the essence of that imagined moment is encapsulated here.
This dreamy tune found its place in a short film I crafted about Team Lab for Pictet, lending a serene touch to the visual canvas.
How long is now?
Japanese summers, hits you like a sledgehammer. The air's so thick you can almost taste it, and you start to wonder if there's a point to this constant battle between sweating it out and chugging fluids. It's like life's way of testing how much liquid you can shove into a human vessel. It was in one of those sun-drenched deliriums the idea to “How long is now” came about. I needed serenity, I needed an introspect calm, I needed chill!
If you ever wanted a lesson in Swedish melancholy, "Taylor Falls" could be a good place to start. In my growing-up years, My old man played the piano at any given time. Now and then he would dance his fingers across the piano keys, flirtatiously toying with the notion of jazz specifically some Jan Johansson. Yet, his gentle, cautious soul, like a fawn on the edge between forest and meadow, prevented him from letting go of all boundaries and safety and fully committing to it, instead spinning a worn-out copy of "Jazz in Swedish" on his jacaranda clad Pioneer turntable.
Much of the music I craft draws its essence from the past, often a past I've more observed than truly lived. I had recently immersed myself in Jan Troell's monumental epics, "The Emigrants" and "The New Land." I not a pianist, hell, I'm not even a musician, but I've got a knack for problem-solving and hacking the system to manifest the sounds that echos in my mind.
"Taylor Falls" crashed over me like a wave of sorrow, a bitter chill, a struggle, and a longing for something intangible. It's my humble tribute to those emigrants, soaked to the bone in the Minnesota winter, questioning why they abandoned the familiar for the unknown.