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Lotta St Joan created a scintillating mise en scene with the sapience in her cinematic folk single, Once

Lotta St Joan

With the opening lyric, “I’m waiting for someone to die to have a reason to be upset”, Lotta St Joan’s latest cinematic folk single, Once, will speak to countless people in ways they never knew they needed to be conversed with. Anyone who has always lived with black clouds lingering above them will know how compelling the idea of a real reason to mourn is. From there on out, the resonance only gets (bitter)sweeter.

Haunting enough to bring you to the brink of tears, consoling enough to make Lotta St Joan your new confidant, Once, with its mise en scene of a film noir classic reverberating through the crescendos, and the Southern Gothic timbres bringing a decadent sense of romanticism, is a masterclass of redolence.

No review of Once would be complete without mentioning how the Berlin-based singer-songwriter carries such emotional weight in her light yet flawlessly commanded vocal harmonies. With all the grace of a Chanteuse in her vocal performance and a scintillating sapience in the lyricism, Once could easily be one of the most affecting singles released in 2024. Although, I suppose it depends on what Lotta St Joan has prepared for her upcoming album, Song for the Undecided, which will be released on March 22.

Once will be available to stream on Spotify and purchase on Bandcamp from January 26th.

Find out more about Lotta St Joan via her official website and follow her on Instagram to stay up to date with her latest releases.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Get ready to rock (opera) with the standout single from Solemn Pledge’s latest concept EP, Hollywood Dreams

A starlet sleeps in ‘Hollywood Dreams’ in the standout rock opera number from Solemn Pledge’s latest concept EP, Anna May Wong: A Screen Icon Story.

There are few things as visceral as the passion that drives us to reach the heights we are born to ascend to; the anthemic orchestration which emanates determination by the cinematic smorgasbord is one of the few exceptions as the NY outfit pays a fittingly strident ode to Hollywood’s first Chinese-American star.

Right from the opening instrumental sequence, you will be catapulted in the captivating hit which puts the guitars in overdrive to give them a fighting chance to dominate the soundscape with Maria Genevieve Elia’s commanding vocal lines which will blindside you with their three-and-a-half octave range.

After the previous EP, which touched on the history of Joan of Arc, we can’t wait to hear the ground Solemn Pledge choose to storm across with their next.

Stream Hollywood Dreams with the rest of the concept EP which dropped on October 20 by heading to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The extraordinary composer/sound designer Peter Zongting Li tells us more about his world-class piece of work, Roller Coaster

We were lucky enough to speak with the award-winning and world-renowned music composer/sound designer Peter Zongting Li. He kindly lets us in on the particularly impressive visionary process behind his success with Roller Coaster, life in Hollywood, what it’s like to win such sought-after accomplishments and his future vision.

Llewelyn: Firstly, many congrats on winning Best Soundtrack and Best Sound Design at New York International Film Awards and Oniros Film Awards for your scoring efforts for Roller Coaster. What’s it like to win something so prestigious?

Peter: Thank you very much! I am truly honored to receive these awards. It is one of the best experiences in my professional career that both my music and sound from one film won awards in their respective categories in different film festivals. This is the best recognition for me and makes my three months of hard work worthwhile. I will continue composing more good music and doing more detailed sound design for more films with this encouragement.

Llewelyn: Please tell us more about the David Geffen Theater, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on May 3, 2023. This was a special moment. It must feel good right and surely push you to even greater heights?

Peter: Yes. I was so honored to have my film selected by the 2023 Producers’ Show and premiered in this prestigious theater. David Geffen Theater, Academy Museum is one of the most prestigious Dolby Atmos theaters in Los Angeles. This theater was built with 966 seats as a grand presentation space for major films screened. Watching the film with my music and sound in this Dolby Atmos surround sound system was also a very enjoyable experience.

Llewelyn: How do you both: a music composer and a sound designer? You must have some sort of superpowers right?

Peter: Thank you for saying that! To be honest with you, switching hats between a music composer and a sound designer is not easy. But I have been enjoying doing this since 2018. Especially for an animation like Roller Coaster, it required both music and sound to be very accurate and precise on the spot and hit certain moments. I had to make many decisions as both a music composer and sound designer.

For the storytelling purpose, I constantly switched my concentration when I felt like certain moments should be carried either by music or by sound, or both. But as we all know, when both music and sound hit something together, it also can be very busy for our ears. Then I had to dive deeper to see if I can have both at the same time but using different frequencies to separate them (Vertically), or if I can hit one thing slightly different in time (Horizontally). For example, at the moment when Katen (the girl who had magic power) pulled Mill (the main character) to run to the terrace of the train station, I stopped the last tonic note of music right before the railing hit sound so that they were not getting in the way of each other. Overall, it is all about finding the correct rhythm for the story.

Llewelyn: We might have some readers who are super keen to be a composer. What is the workflow like?

Peter: The workflow can be very different based on the directors and the type of project. This film Roller Coaster is the fourth film that my director Sapphira Chen hired me as her composer and sound designer. We have established our standard workflow during the 5 years of our collaboration since 2018.

To be specific about workflow, I got a rough animatic for the whole film in which the first half picture had been down with all the details. So I first worked on the sound design to give all the hard effects, foley, and ambiance. During the time I worked on the first half of the sound, Sapphira was doing the second half of the picture which is where the roller coaster was transformed into a dragon. Then when the second half pictures were done and I finished all the sounds for the first half, Sapphira began to review them and gave me notes for revision.

The next step was Sapphira adding the detailed frames between all the keyframes and colored everything while I was composing the music for the second half as well as doing sound design. Because the roller coaster as the title name is the main theme of this story. So I decided to compose music for it as my priority.
There were many back and force, revisions, and conforming. But in the end, we got all the sound and music that we are both satisfied with.

Llewelyn: What do you feel comes easy to you and which skills are rather difficult to master?

Peter: I feel easy when my director trusts me. Trust is everything. Surely the director can make all the decisions. But the trust from a director like Sapphira who has been working with me for 5 years together, is the most priceless thing ever. She would let me make many decisions by myself because she trusted my instinct.

For the difficult part, I would say the “sleep on” issues. A lot of music ideas and sound designs can be created in a short time. But if we put too much time eyeballing them frame by frame, sometimes our brain can sleep on them and they don’t seem to make sense anymore. For example, if there are 5 different takes of ADR for the effort sound such as a sigh and it’s your 6th hour of the day working on this thing, I doubt whether or not you can still distinguish the best sign sound you should use. In this case, I will leave it alone and come back to check it the next day or the next couple of days if it is a musical idea. You will be surprised that many times our first instinct is better than the revisions. Sometimes after we revised till the 4th or 5th version, there still be cases where we went back to the original version in the end. But it is part of the process in post-production where we tested many things out. I always believe these revisions are worthwhile.

Llewelyn: Also, how do you get into this field? It must be massively competitive.

Peter: Yes, film scoring is a very competitive field. Especially living in Los Angeles, where the most talented composers and sound designers from all over the world gather in the film/TV industry, is very challenging. I still keep grinding my skills daily to match the growth of new technologies in this industry.

I got into this field because I always love using music to tell a story. I studied music since young. I was also mentored by many great composers and music editors in the industry such as Peter Golub, Kubilay Uner, and Shie Rozow. During my years in LA, I also established my connections with many producers/directors who always come back to me with their next projects.
It is all about getting connections and being responsible to your clients.

Llewelyn: Last, what is the vision for the future and where do you see your career headed? Any big plans to reveal or should we keep glued to your socials for more news?

Peter: I see myself heading to music and sound lead roles for films and animations. I am a huge fan of making animations because my favorite activity when I was a kid was watching cartoons after school. My future goal is to join a big studio team such as Pixar or Dreamworks to work on more top-tier projects and use my skills to help more projects have the best music and sound outcome.

See the award-winning piece of work here.

Find out more and follow his remarkable career here.

Follow his socials on IG.

Somebody is Waiting: HYPER CLASH reminds us of the possibilities on Everywhere I look there’s Angels

Urging us all to keep searching for cloud 9 no matter the windy weather, HYPER CLASH leads the way and shows us where the positive energy is on the terrific new single to heal with, Everywhere I look there’s Angels.

Bren Curran aka HYPER CLASH is a Hollywood, Birmingham, UK-based indie singer-songwriter who has a raw schizophrenic musical tendency electro sound.

I wrote this track after my son split from his first girlfriend ( She ended it after they both went to different Uni’s this year) He was clearly heartbroken and I was useless… I didn’t have any words of comfort other than ‘ I am here for you’…It bothered me that I fell so short…so I wrote down all the words of comfort that were passed my way from the wiser generation before… some might seem old-fashioned… but all come from the heart.” ~ Bren Curran

Scintillating from each angle and showing such strength and skill, HYPER CLASH is rather ear-soothing on this wonderful song with soul. Alleviating all worries and reminding us that the light at the end of the tunnel is close, we are treated to a superb soundtrack made with love and care.

Everywhere I look there’s Angels from Birmingham, UK-based indie singer-songwriter HYPER CLASH is a rather splendid single which will settle the nerves and simmer all apprehensions away. Guiding us to the daybreak and hiding the darkness away, with a leader mentality and changing moods, into a striking story which so many of us have sadly felt before.

Even if it’s raining right now, the sun with come out to play again.

Hear this new song on SoundCloud.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Don’t Make A Fit: California rapper MidTrip is only rolling the potent soul-calming ‘Slopes’

Released from his latest eight-track ‘Sheet of Tabs Vol. 1‘ album, MidTrip keeps it real on this new quick-fire track about staying relaxed with so many distractions around as he keeps in the buzzing zone with ‘Slopes‘.

MidTrip is a Portland, Oregon-born, Hollywood, California-based indie rapper. He has a wildly vivid imagination, that strikes a sharp-witted whirlwind of gusty rhymes into our earth-bound stratosphere.

This is the story about wondering when his crush is going to come around as he urges her to keep it chilled, as his mind isn’t keen for any extra drama. His mind is all about making money and doing what he loves right now, as he keeps happy while disregarding all the smoke and mirrors around him.

With a self-assured swag and rampaging flows which leave you gasping for air at times – and featuring a foot-stomping beat – he emphatically puffs out the doubts of others and only smokes in the good vibes, as he throws down a rigorous effort.

Slopes‘ from the highly confident Hollywood, California-based indie trap artist MidTrip, is a fast track which has your mind racing like a finely-tuned sports car throughout. He raps with such a mighty style which has your heart beaming with intrigue, as he takes us for an introspective look into his world of breathtaking bars-filled speed, that will have you blazing to this new track.

Hear this fine new single on Spotify and see more stories via the IG channel.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Got Caught Up: St Oshun wants to rewind the pulsating party on ‘The Joint’

Formerly known as The Charles Walker Band who were based in and are one of the most respected acts in Milwaukee, St Oshun change up the flow to water our mouths even more with their tasty new single that will have you reminiscing on ‘The Joint‘.

St Oshun is a Hollywood-based indie-pop act formed by Porsche Carmon and C-Dub. They makes music with a real message and strive to leave their mark on this rather odd world, that needs lots of love so that proper change can be made.

The song offers a message of empowerment to women because the woman doesn’t feel helpless because of her mistake,” C-Dub said. “She is ready to move on and learn from the experience. The song message is, ‘Yeah, I screwed up. We all do. It was fun. It was stupid. Let’s move on.” – C-Dub from St Oshun

The Joint‘ from the luminescent Hollywood-based indie act St Oshun, is a story that started all the way back in Milwaukee with their guitarist Christian. After the song evolved from a love that faded after summer to a story about the repercussions of a hot and steamy one night stand after a few naughty refreshments, this is a track that lights up your mind and reminds you of those youthful times. Moving on is the only way to deal with these moments, as stewing will only thicken the pot and makes you feel bloated.

This is a fresh new single from St Oshun that displays their quality songwriting, energetic beats and stunning vocals – all packed lovingly into one tasteful mix – that is so pleasurable for us to all consume.

Stream this fine new single on Spotify and check out their IG for more news.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Australia’s Nick Chilli Haze leads the way with new single ‘City Lights’

Australia’s Nick Chilli Haze leads the way with new single ‘City Lights‘ and this is a superb effort.

The small town Australian kid moved to Hollywood to chase his dreams. This is the story here, the life was set and everything was going so well, playing at all the venues and really going for it. The lights were bright and the dream was alive. So many memories and love, some tough times too but you two made it work. Then, tragedy stuck and the story was flipped over upside down.

After losing his musical soul mate and best friend, Australia’s Nick Chilli was in turmoil. However with the strength inside and his memory so clear to see to do what they plan was no matter what, this is a sad story but one of strength. This is a lovely song, filled with heart and gratitude. This is what music should really be about, just making music that matters. Anything fake is no where to be seen. This is the soul and life of what it is all about.

Head through to the Spotify page.

Click here for the Facebook link.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Del Gibbons and Marina Berry fire in with party beat on ‘Hollywood’

Del Gibbons feat. Marina Berry fire in with their party beat on ‘Hollywood‘, a 3am type of song which is a fun listen to get us on the dance floor again.

Del Gibbons is a Scottish-born producer who is now based in busy London in England. He is also a presenter, actor and composer. This is a man with a lot of experience in the music world and he loves challenging himself to learn new skills.

Marina Berry is a singer-songwriter, front-woman, backing vocalist and session singer with a fantastic voice that is so powerful. She is on full form on this new single with her style that is so stunning to listen to.

This is all about the crazy world in Hollywood. Things are fake and there are a lot of trophy wives out there. You want to try and avoid that as you want something real. You see so many people who are lost at night and you want to be the knight in shining armor and show them what life should be. Being happy and not worrying about small things that don’t matter.

Del Gibbons feat. Marina Berry are on full flow with the dance-infused ‘Hollywood‘, this is a song to turn up real loud.

Click here for the Soundcloud page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Maia Zakay storms in with frustrated but elegant new release ”2 Nice”

Maia Zakay is an American singer, songwriter, model and actress. She was born in London but left the UK for the bright lights of Hollywood when she was 7 years old.

She is back with her new song called ”2 Nice” and this young future superstar delivers with an outstanding vocal performance off her album ”Speak up”.

2 Nice” is all about being messed around and finding that you are way too soft with the particular love interest. You are a kind person inside and feel like they are taking you for a ride. Maia shows her frustration and I love how to she breaks everything down in this new release. Her vocals are crystal clear and the tone is fantastic.

Maia Zakay is going to be a huge star as she is immensely talented and seems to have the desire needed to fully reach the top. She has also written hooks for artists such as Cardi B and Beyonce so you know she has the skill-set required.

2 Nice” from Maia Zakay is a quality R&B-Pop song that perfectly shows that this young artist is not going to be messed around any longer. She is rising fast to the top so keep an eye out for this fantastic talent.

Stream this fire new track right here on her Spotify.

Find out more about the fine artist on Facebook.

Check out Maia’s journey on her Insta.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen