Ed Carlsen, an Italian composer, and producer made quite a name for himself in the contemporary classical community and on Spotify. With three albums under his belt, Morning Hour (2019), Elusive Frames (2017) and The Journey Tapes (2016) and more music to come, you’ll certainly want to keep an eye on this artist.
Ed Carlsen blends elements from modern classical music, such as intimate piano and strings, with electronic beats & ambient soundscapes.
Inspired by live shows of Steven Wilson and Nils Frahm in 2015, Ed Carlsen decided “music was the way to go”. Playing music wasn’t new to him; he’d played the guitar from the age of six, but playing the piano was:
“Instead of learning through the study of other artists, I decided to follow a different approach that led me to acquire the instrument technique by composing my own songs.”
The multi-instrumentalist started out as a professionally trained guitarist. It was only a few years back when he turned his attention to the piano. Marrying his skills on the guitar with those on the piano, he creates these wonderful ambient soundscapes. His pieces not only facilitate the firing of synapses but also send your soul a flight.
Carlsen’s exquisite work represents the confluence of his passions for both composition and sound design. Embracing minimalist piano, soaring string arrangements, and entrancing ambient synthesis, Carlsen paints a sound of introspection and autumnal hues.
The Journey Tapes
While living in Copenhagen, Carlsen drew inspiration from the Scandinavian scene. These new directions combined with the inspiration of the landscape of Denmark’s Ravnholm Forest culminated in his debut album The Journey Tapes; a loosely conceptual modern classical record with a cinematic bent and discrete forays into the territories of electronica & pop.
While retaining the light pop melodies present on ‘The Journey Tapes’, ‘Elusive Frames’ explores a darker side of Carlsen’s palette. A beautiful neo-classical opus where piano, synthesizer, guitar, and strings blend perfectly.
Moreover, Ed Carlsen handles electronic effects wonderfully. The pieces laid out in discreet layers, harmoniously married to the piano and the guitar. A violin, a viola, and a cello join his favorite instruments. Each bringing great depth to the compositions.
Carlsen managed to create something beautiful. Something inspirational that produced melodic emotions. You can feel a sense of loneliness, solitude, and melancholy. Here and there cello, violin, viola. Stark soundscapes suddenly appear, perfectly aligned with the majestic piano.
Aptly named, the album is indeed “elusive frames” that seemingly play out before our eyes. The contours are blurred like distant and misty tones.
Carlsen started writing Morning Hour in 2018 while living in Krakow. Most of the recording and production processes conclude d upon his return home to Sardinia, Italy.
Morning Hour is a fun and fascinating album. Carlsen uses the form of modern composition, yet nearly every track blooms into beat-driven, electronic timbres.
Then just as one is prepared to call it an electronic set, the piano makes one think again. This chimeric form, coupled with an extremely positive vibe, makes for a smile-inducing play.
But it’s important to understand that the shapeshifting sounds on the album are rooted in real-life experiences. The sense of place in distant locales, the confronting of anxieties, the loss of life; and ultimately, the redemptive choice in leaving the darkness behind for a new light.
As the title implies, Morning Hour is a great wake-up album. It encourages one to get out there and engage with the world. Carlsen is the cheerleader we need, his music as energizing as that first caffeinated drink.
Ed Carlsen weaves a compact, but tender narrative, beautifully articulated in his creations. The melodies are memorable and engaging. The emotions always come across as heartfelt and unaffected.
Field recordings of rain, footsteps, and distant voices and inventive percussion from unlikely sources such as chairs and silverware add sonic depth while grounding the music in the realm of the everyday.
Piano for the minimalists and imaginative. One to close your eyes to and let your mind wander.