Burbujas’ is the first release off Australian composer Byron Mark’s new instrumental album Odyssey. Scored for piano, string quartet, tabla (Indian drum) and cajon (flamenco drum) the piece is inspired by the ocean, the Spanish title literally translating to the word ‘Bubbles’. The single launches on March 30 2022, with the full album to follow in June. classikON spoke to the composer, who also plays piano on the album, about this new release.
classikON: It’s an interesting array of instruments – why compose for these in particular?
BM: My debut single from my previous release was scored for Piano, cello and Cajon – and I really enjoyed the combination of these instruments and performing this piece live. I was inspired to continue on this journey, whilst at the same time expanding the possibilities. So – I decided to replace the cello with a string quartet, and add a tabla to the rhythm section to support the cajon. I have collaborated with Maharshi Raval (tabla player) on various different projects over the years, and I’ve grown to love the sound of the tabla and the depth of sounds possible on the instrument. My vision was to combine the tabla with these instruments to create a unique sonic palette for listeners with lots of surprises.
classikON: It certainly sounds interesting and unique. What led you to this point on your musical journey?
BM: I began learning piano at the age of 5, and then continued on to play throughout my schooling, completing all the grades, studying mostly classical music. I am thankful for this, building a strong foundational knowledge and technique for me to be able to branch off and explore other genres. Whilst in university, I began to play funk music, and also discovered African percussion and did a lot of African drumming for years. I was then introduced to flamenco, and began to play the cajon. Shortly after, I met Maharshi on tabla in the world music scene, and we began to collaborate on different projects. Now, for the Odyssey album, I went back to my roots and started composing music on piano with classical sensibilities, on top of flamenco-inspired grooves (hinting at other world rhythms too).
classikON: In addition to Maharshi Raval who is featured on the album?
BM: The artists featured on the album are: Maharshi Raval (tabla); Anna Murakawa & Yuhki Mayne (violins); Marianne Yeomanns (viola); Damian de Boos-Smith (cello); and Paco Lara (special guest flamenco guitar on the ‘Tres Qua’ track). I play piano, cajon and auxiliary percussion on the best best male potency pills reviews album.
classikON: What was your experience recording Odyssey and how does it compare with your first album, Amalgamation?
BM: My first album Amalgamation, was a collaboration album, with every track coming from a different genre and written in collaboration with different musicians. Some tracks on Amalgamation were vocal songs where I would write a song together with a singer; others were instrumental. Odyssey is a new approach, composing a series of pieces for a consistent line-up, and where I am the composer of all parts. I notated the string parts and the string players recorded from this for the album. This was lots of fun, as it was the first time I had full creative control over a piece of music, as I am so used to collaborating with artists. Yet, this was challenging at the same time; as I needed to remain consistently focused to make sure everything was achieved, from composing and arranging, to score notations, tracking, mixing and then putting the ensemble together to plan the live shows. Recording in the studio was an enjoyable experience, hearing each musician track their part in the studio, and see them enjoy themselves whilst playing. I am excited to share the music with people and hope they like it!
Burbujas the single is available for listening on Spotify and all streaming services here. ‘Odyssey’ will be released fully on the 18th of June 2022, accompanied by a live launch concert at the Tom Mann Theatre in Sydney, along with some other regional performances.