Tag: Zurich Switzerland

New Video: Peaches Collaborator Saskia Hahn and New Band The Heartways Release an Anthemic Ode to Joshua Tree National Park

Berlin-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Saskia Hahn started her music career in the mid 2000s as a member of the power pop/rock act Sweet Machine, a band widely hailed in her hometown for their distinctive style — and for Hahn’s stage presence. Hahn and her band caught the attention of acclaimed electro-clash artist and gender-equality activist Peaches, who recruited Hahn and the members of Sweet Machine as a her touring band for a two-and-a-half run, which ended with a live recording session with Dave Catching and Edmund Monsef at Rancho De La Luna Studio in Joshua Tree, CA.

After five years of the rock ‘n’ roll life, Hahn took time off from music and devoted herself to mixed media visual art — painting, screen printing and installations. Her work was exhibited in galleries in Berlin, NYC, Sydney, London, and Zurich — and interestingly enough, that period found Hahn rediscovered her love of music, as well as a new approach. Inspired, she decided to not only write the songs but to produce them herself. Leading her new band The Heartways, she released the band’s debut single “Maybe” last year.

The Heartways full-length debut album Damaged Goods will be released later this year. The album’s second single “By Your Side” is an a decidedly 120 Minutes-era MTV alt rock-like track centered around Hahn’s expressive yet ethereal vocals, a motorik groove and a rousingly anthemic hook. And while the song — to my ears, at least — brings PJ Harvey to mind, the song is a love song that superficially seems address to a person but is actually a swooning and awe-inspired love letter to a particular place — Joshua Tree National Park. “I tried to capture the moment of falling in love with this amazing place,” Hahn says in press notes. “I’d heard so much about it but never quite understood the deep feelings my ‘desert family’ had for that particular patch of land―until it stole my heart too! I was walking through the desert on an off-day during the “I Feel Cream” world tour with Peaches. We’d just played at Pappy & Harriet’s the night before, and it suddenly struck me. I realized the desert’s incredible beauty and fell totally in awe with it. It was such a powerful and magical moment that I can never forget and will always be thankful for.”

Of course, because of pandemic-related restrictions, Hahn couldn’t be in the desert for the filming of the video; however, the video employs gorgeous Joshua Tree footage filmed by filmmaker Will Stockwell superimposed in the background. Robin Thomson, the video’s Director of Photography and Editor contributes a dreamy and trippy feel to the overall proceedings.

Live Footage: Dani Lòpez Quartet Performs “Cafetera Stuff” at Olot Spain’s Sala El Torin

Dani Lòpez is a rising, Olot, Spain-born and-based composer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader and producer, who picked up music at a very young age. Learning several different instruments, Lòpez quickly began writing original music for bands across an eclectic variety of genres and styles, including folk, jazz, classical and contemporary chamber music. Lòpez attended the Liceu Conservatory, where he studied classical saxophone under Albert Julià and David Sallers, graduating in 2016 — and composition under renowned composers Benet Casablancas and Benjamin Davies, graduating in 2018, Towards the end of his studies, the rising Spanish multi-instrumentalist earned the Ferrer-Salat Scholarship and a special prize for the composition degree. 

Over the past couple of years, Lòpez has written several chamber music pieces, including two scores for ensemble-based adaptations of Prudenci Betrana’s “Una agonia” and “En Busqueta” centered around flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and soprano vocal. He’s also written “Mirall Trencat,” a piece for saxophone quartet that has been performed in venues across Catalonia and Zurich, as well as a small concert for saxophone that has been performed in Spain, Portugal and Mexico. As a saxophonist, the Spanish multi-instrumentalist has won several contests for solo composition and chamber music, including 2013’s Arjau Catalanmusic and 2014’s Ecoparque de Trasmiera. 

Currently, Lòpez works as a freelance musician, who has played with several different projects including Magalí Sare, El Pot Petit, Holoquè, and Hop al Metro among others. 2020 has been a rather busy year for the rising Spanish artist: he recently produced, co-produce, crafted arrangements and/or cowrote material for three applauded albums: El Pot Petit’s 10 Anys, which won the 2020 Premis Enderrock Award for the Best Recording of Music for Families; Criatures’ Praxinoscopi, which won the 2020 Premis Enderrock Award for Best Folk Recording; and Aires del Montseny’s Lilure Albir. 

Adding to a busy year, the Spanish multi-instrumentalist’s forthcoming album El que fan les cases quan no les mires is slated for release this year through Segell Microscopi. Featuring a backing band of Andreu Moreno (drums, SPD), Vic Moliner (double bass, bass synthesizer), Alejandro Esperanza (piano, Rhodes, synths) and of course, Lopez (sax, flute, piano, synths, vocals), the album was recorded during a three day recording session at Ground Recording Studios in Cornelià de Terri.  The album’s compositions finds the Lòpez-led quartet crafting a sound that meshes elements and blurry the lines  of jazz, contemporary chamber music, folk and pop with a forward-thinking experimentalism, inspired by the Spanish multi-instrumentalist and composer’s fascinating with observing reality from up close. Instead of immediately taking the material to be mixed, there was a month of patient and painstaking post-production of the album’s material with Lòpez hand-picking the best tracks to be included on the album, as well as the album’s overarching theme. 

 El que fan les cases quan no les mires’ latest single “Cafetera Stuff” can trace its origins to a previous composition Lòpez had written for a chamber orchestra “Star Stuff.” As the story goes, in an inspired bout, he had started experimenting by playing the composition in a different chord. Centered around an expansive arrangement of shimmering piano arpeggios, atmospheric synths, rapid-fire rhythms, a propulsive bass line and samples of a coffee machine, the song shifts between tempos and modes with a mischievous and whimsical air. 

The recently released live footage features the quartet performing the song at Olot’s Sala El Torin — and it’s shot in a gorgeous black and white, while capturing the quartet’s energy and connection as a live unit.