‘Encapsulating otherworldly influences, you are transported to an immensely musical place.’
Intro to Sun Moon and Talia:
If I asked you to think about the Manchester music scene, it’s more than likely that you wouldn’t immediately associate it with musicians known for creating tracks of a dreamlike and mysterious nature. However, within seconds of hearing what Sun, Moon & Talia (formed of Natalia Tavini and Max Homberger) have to offer, you can’t think of anything else. Taking inspiration from composers such as Bon Iver and writers such as Haruki Murakami, their sound is one that encapsulates these otherworldly influences and transports you to an immensely musical place. Find out more, in their Behind the Music feature.
Featured Track 1: Beautiful Last Word
Setting off with deep bell-like tones combined with more high-pitched ones, the opening few seconds create an otherworldly sound. Though edging towards unsettling, you feel lightly soothed by the sound and as the atmospherically drifting textures carry us toward Talia’s opening lyrics, you find yourself descending into an almost trance like state.
Having transported us into this state, the delicate nature of the track becomes emphasised with the overlapping of opening bell tones now forming a dreamlike melody. It’s a beautiful sound. However, it is no match for the beauty within Talia’s vocal. Sitting perfectly on top of the accompanying elements, the opening lyrics of ‘Give me, a beautiful last word’ gently emerge. Half-sung, half-whispered in tone, they project in a way which makes you feel like you are hearing an intimate, musical memoir. To say you are drawn is a huge understatement.
Continuing to effortlessly hold our attention, the initial verse moves along in much the same way. This said, while maintaining the previously established, ambient style atmosphere, highly musical, but highly subtle alterations bring new interest. Take the use of a distant sounding, heartbeat like pattern as just one. This, while highly contrasting to everything before it, works perfectly and while initially used as rhythmical content, as the track progresses, it develops and forms the basis for the low-pitched synth later in the track.
However, while the changes in the accompaniment bring ever-increasing depth to the track, the same can also be said for Talia’s vocal. Seamlessly moving through echoing and multi-tracked forms, it reaches a full sound and in doing so, greater emphasis is brought to the lyrics. In short, you hang on to every beautiful last word.
Featured Track 2: Strange Colours
In stark contrast to ‘Beautiful Last Word,’ ‘Strange Colours’ (released November) immediately takes on a more accessible and more mainstream route. There’s a true sense of tempo and indeed rhythm right from the start. It’s not full of freedom, or in fact mystery, but it is equally full of beauty.
Opening with a complex combination of rim shot infused drums, lightly distorted bass synth, gently swelling strings and an eastern sounding chord sequence, the introduction provides the perfect blend of influences. Bringing both an edge of drive and a sense of calm – yes that is possible – you are subliminally encouraged to float away with the sound around you.
Reaching the initial lyrics, the opening drum pattern shifts to one heavily centred on the use of reverberating snare and high hat. It’s a wonderful change and joined by a dreamy, seven note vibraphone melody, it provides the perfect accompaniment to Talia’s ever enticing vocal. Effortlessly encouraging us to further float away, the alternating whisper and sung styles gently lull us and before you know it, you find yourself enveloped in the musical colours as they dance around your ears.
As this continues, contrast begins to be brought to the track with the lyrics shifting from ones filled with story telling, to ones based on gently soaring syllables. Serving as musical nod to what is to follow, there is a sense of inferred freedom and space. However, while this is initially the case, the unapologetic use of empty space results in Talia’s vocal becoming completely exposed and speaking to us like never before. It’s a true stand out moment and occurring near the half way point, it forms the perfect musical hinge between what has been, and the more experimental nature of what follows. One thing is for certain, the colours within may be strange, but that’s exactly why they work.