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All Nagamag’s online magazine music articles in one place. Here you will find our latest posts and whole back catalog of articles.

“The singing tones of an intricately picked & gorgeous sounding acoustic guitar takes one back to the days when it was such a prominent instrument in folk & country music. A perfect accompaniment to the dulcet, slightly weathered, yet exceptionally mellow tones of Christopher’s vocal,. Die To Know is in a word compelling.”

-Nagamag.com

Christopher Paul Stelling new (sixth!) album - Forgiving It All- is out now, along with the release of its gorgeous lead single, "Die To Know we blog here on Nagamag.

christopherpaulstelling.bandcamp.com
www.instagram.com/c_p_stelling

Even before 2020 slid historically off the rails, Christopher Paul Stelling confronted an essential exercise in acceptance and gratitude. In December 2019, Stelling started another cross-country sprint from California to Florida, where the songwriter who has long called western North Carolina home was raised. Aside from recording his fifth album, Best of Luck, he had toured much of that year, making relentless laps around North America. He wanted to make it home not only for Christmas but also to see Emma, his 92-year-old grandmother. He didn’t; she passed just days before he arrived. Recorded alone in her modest white ranch house in Daytona Beach, Forgiving It All — Stelling’s wisest, most intimate, and most settled record yet, and his first self-released LP in eight years — feels like a final tribute to her and to everything he and we have lost or gained.

Last year seemed to brim with transformational potential for Stelling. For the better part of a decade, he had been a feverish and itinerant troubadour, spilling guts and blood and sweat in soul-scraping solo sets. He’d lived up the lifestyle, too, hydrating for the stage with booze. But at the end of 2017, he’d gone sober after recognizing that chunks of his life had disappeared. Recorded a year later, Best of Luck — his third album for Anti- and the first he’d cut with a producer, Ben Harper — seemed poised to push him to new audiences, its mix of wistful acoustic ballads and stomp-around-the-room rock somehow both polished and primal. The shows were piling up, so much so that Stelling planned to have barely one day off in all of 2020.

And then, of course, all that was scrapped. The news closed in around him as he toured north along the West Coast. He turned east and got as far as Colorado, then had a panic attack in a Kansas truck stop, wrestling with existential and professional despair as the world wobbled on its axis. Stelling came home and, like many of us, worked to shape a new routine in a world that was instantly alien. So for the first time in years, he spent days on end with his partner, Julia, and their bounding young dog, Ida. He hiked, read, and watched endless television to placate overwhelming anxiety as best he could. Having fulfilled his label contract (and convinced he didn’t want a new one, anyway), Stelling launched a crowdfunding campaign, asking if fans felt compelled to invest in his songs. They said yes — he sold more records in those first 48 hours than he’d ever sold in advance before.

Stelling began at last to unpack a decade into which he had packed so much. What had music taught him that life had not, and vice versa? What did he have to sing about all that he had seen? The spellbinding 10 tracks of Forgiving It All represent the profound distillates of that reflection. Committed to tape in Emma’s home a year after Stelling cut his intended never-ending tour short, these songs are the lessons of a once-wild kid looking at (not quite) 40, expressing acceptance for the struggles and joys of life and singing out his gratitude for still being here. Opener “Die To Know” is a tender ode to innocence, a remembrance of simple joy and sincerity before experience and age dulled our enthusiasms. “Wildfire,” which moves with the ineffable grace of ripples on some idyllic pond, stares down accreted adult fears and begs for the mercy of rebirth.

“WWYLLYD” presents an exercise in radical empathy, apt for our universally troubled times. “Remember, everyone is suffering/not just you,” Stelling pleas over strummed chords that rush like blood. The title is an acronym for “When What You Love Lets You Down.” We’re all starving artists, it suggests, but that’s what keeps us going, interested, and, if we’re lucky, alive.

To some extent, these songs are about letting yourself off the hook, about accepting your imperfections even as you deal with them. But title track “Forgiving It All,” as mesmerizing and motivational as a religious mantra, admits that we don’t bear responsibility for all of our baggage, that others have played a part. If we’re going to reckon with ourselves, Stelling says, we have to encourage others to do the same, to share in this catharsis. “Let the doubtful confide in you,” he sings near the start, opening what may feel like the most candid therapy session you’ve ever encountered. Stelling — truth be told, a marquee fingerpicker who’s never been content to make purely wordless music — pauses for the gorgeous instrumental “For Your Drive,” then ends with a hymn of his own, “They’ll All Proclaim.” It is a gracious, gorgeous aubade for what comes after — tomorrow, post-pandemic, whenever.

We will wrestle for our lifetimes with what happened in 2020 and what may follow. Forgiving It All is an instinctual and honest response to trying to make the best of it: sorting through the past and using the present to prepare for an unwritten future. These songs remind us we’re lucky to be here, no matter what or who it is we have to forgive.

- Grayson Currin

“Listen to Cristina Alcívar in this interesting Neo-Soul production. The artist has given great emphasis in singing and clearly aims to an emotional approach. Sensitive voice, melancholic touch and some taste of fast outbrakes.”

-Nagamag.com

Solo is a single that denotes a melancholic and deep atmosphere. They highlight soulful vocal riffs, the natural crunch sound of the guitar and an evident instrumental and vocal growth. The theme immerses us in an environment of vulnerability that starts from innocence and fragility until it leads us to a more mature and strong reality.

www.instagram.com/calcivarzavala/

Solo es un single que denota una atmósfera melancólica y profunda. Resaltan soul riffs vocales, el sonido natural crunch de la guitarra y un evidente crecimiento instrumental y vocal. El tema nos sumerge en un ambiente de vulnerabilidad que parte de la inocencia y fragilidad hasta llevarnos a una realidad mas madura y fuerte.

“Very balanced and harmonic classical piece, with positive mood. Charming singing that guides you through a soothing experience. Your soul elixir has a name and it’s called; “Spirit”. “Maryen Cairns” unfolds her talent in this mix and the video looks really fantastic too.”

-Nagamag.com

One of the consequences of relocation from the Southern to the Northern hemisphere, followed by the onset of widespread lockdown and restriction of travel, has been ongoing deep solitary introspection and self reflection, and an in-depth communion with God & nature and the search for Spiritual comfort.

This journey has resulted, for singer songwriter Maryen Cairns, in the creation of this downtempo stirring ballad that is “Spirit”, especially in this stripped back piano based “Alt-Mix” version, which is being released first as a single.

Recorded entirely by herself with piano, acoustic guitar & strings, Maryen then sent Spirit to her producer and mentor Chris Kimsey across the channel in London, where he added his magic touches and co-mixed.

www.maryencairns.com
facebook.com/maryencairns
www.instagram.com/maryencairns

“Intricately interwoven sequences develop into a lush, full sound that in turn morphs into simpler themes, & then back again to an even bigger sound as instruments are added. A progressive ever changing composition full of creativity & experimentation. Ambient, melodic, percussive & at times cinematic. This track is packed with everything that makes Mike’s music so good to listen to.”

-Nagamag.com

Barstool Astronaut is instrumental music fueled with experimentation and built for space travel drawing from influences such as Four Tet, Little People, Bonobo, The Flashbulb, and many more.

Denver, Coloardo based producer Mike Larson Schneider started Barstool Astronaut after years of touring and session work as a drummer. Feeling a creative limitation behind the kit in bands (and with the schematics of the music industry in general), he picked back up his first instrument – piano – and started making instrumental electronic music with borrowed software and semi-blind ambition. After a few years creating music with no artistic limitations in mind, Schneider has carved out his own sound from the electronic-leaning genres of IDM, ambient, and instrumental hip-hop, often blending them with a layer of acoustic instruments, inspired by post-rock dynamics and composition.

www.instagram.com/barstoolastronaut/

“The constantly changing percussive elements of this track add interest & movement to the laid back hypnotic vibe provided by the soft vocal ambience. The multi layered, almost euphoric synths add to the rhythmic, velvety atmospheric palette of sound. A crystal clear, very well produced track. A lot of time & effort went into this track & it shows.. ”

-Nagamag.com

It's an organic house track with soft ambient vocals, lush piano and big synths coming in at the end.

www.instagram.com/klinganton

Born in 1992 from Sweden. Electronic music and music production has always been a big part of my life. I make house music that tends to be melodic, progressive and organic with a lo-fi touch. My sound is spacey, atmospheric and some times a bit psychedelic with a lot of different types of percussions. I never think about what kind of music I want to create, I just do and it'll become whatever I was feeling at that time. I enjoy listening to music from pretty much every music genre so I'm influenced by it all.

“Enjoy a light, catchy melody and that truly angelic singing. Expressive bits of flowing chords and rainbow-like arrangement - all at their highest level.”

“Наслаждаетесь лёгкой, запоминающейся мелодией и по-настоящему ангельским пением. Выразительные биты, плавные аккорды и радужная аранжировка – всё на высшем уровне.”

-Nagamag.com

Orang Utan debuts with "Who's your love" , released on one of the world's biggest electro labels, Ultra Music. The music video, that features two on space balls jumping, monkey-mask wearing guys, has huge viral potential. Furthermore, the song has a purpose: Artist Orang Utan partners up with WWF and commits to donating 50% to protecting the "real" Orangutan in Borneo. This way, every 2nd stream goes directly to saving these Great Apes. Probably the most fun way to do something good!

www.instagram.com/orangutan_music