BORN in Argentina in 1985, Marcelo Schnock aka, for the purposes of the world of composition, Olec Mün, has been playing the piano since the age of 6. For him, the piano has been his first and lifelong affair; a fluid symbiosis of expression in sound that a non-player such as me can only wonder at.
After musical academia, he travelled, soaking up the musical traditions of West Africa and northern India, leading to a transcendent, almost religious approach to his music from thereon.
He released his debut solo work, SEPTENIO, in the summer of 2018; a study of the first seven years of a life, drawing on Classical and other traditions which state that it’s in thus period that the soul adapts to its new body; that included cyclical, minimalist and intelligent neo-classical/electronica bliss such as “Me molesta la luz”.
In September last year be released his first album of solo piano studies for the Italian Lady Blunt Records, still his home – an imprint set up in 2019 by three people “whose dream was to create a new shared space in which music becomes … the lifeblood of a variety of experiences.” That album, Reconciliation, was beautiful, interrogative, miked closed, drew on jazzy vamping as much as post-Satie understanding, and was unafraid to present the piano as a breathing, creaking, real beast of wood and its own sympathetic overtones.
MAKARA, released as recently as this March, saw him collaborate with New York jazz trumpeter Michael Sarian on a work imbued with mysticism and avant-garde atmosphere; and on a creative hot streak, he’s to release his second album of the year this June.
It’s called Vögel, it’s due to be released on June 24th by Lady Blunt, and it’s again a conversation with and exploration of solo piano; and we’re delighted to be premiering a first track from that today, the empathetic, calming and beautiful “Paloma” – listen below, as Olec takes you on a four minute miniature odyssey of glissando and harmony.
It’s title meaning ‘birds’ in German, the album was, for the most part, composed during the first lockdown, March to August 2020, and is inspired by the sense of freedom that birds represent.
As already noted, this record was conceived as the world took shelter from the raging pandemic. The first couple of months of lockdown proved especially challenging for Olec, who had just moved to a new apartment in Barcelona, with one window looking out over the sky.”
“I really felt like a bird inside of a cage,” he says. “Of course I placed my piano facing the window and I spent much of my time writing this music while observing the seagulls and doves flying past my window.
“Suddenly this idea of birds representing freedom was clearer than ever! At a particular time during the afternoon there was almost a concert of all the singing birds, and that was the moment I enjoyed the most when playing my music, with that sonic background.
“So I had an idea. I asked my followers to record singing birds and send them to me. I received audio files of birds from all over the world: Argentina, Italy, Germany, Australia. I edited them all together and made a track that served as a background while composing this music, so that my room in that moment contained the entire world.
“It helped [me] get in the mood and also it was to nice feel accompanied by people and birds from all over the world in these fragile moments of isolation.”
And of the lovely “Paloma” in particular, he says: “‘Paloma’ was the first song I composed for this album. The theme had been around me for a couple of years.
“It first came to me in Buenos Aires while Paloma, my partner, was cooking in the kitchen beside my studio. I remember she was baking something, and the scent reached my piano like a spell. The song came from the beauty of an everyday scene of life. After playing it for about twenty minutes, she came into the studio and said: ‘That melody is very beautiful, is it new?’
“‘It just came to me. It’s for you’, I answered.
“Every time I play Paloma I go that moment and to all of those shared rituals of everyday life.
The theme stayed around me and it would visit me from time to time, but it was only in 2020, knowing that I wanted to make this album, that I decided to work on it.
“Vögel is an album to express my gratitude towards those people that have helped me spread my wings in this last leap of my music path.
“If there is one person that has been supportive and inspiring, that is Paloma. I know that I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for her. She has made me believe in myself like no other person in my life, and I am forever indebted for that.”
Olec Mün’s Vögel will be released by Lady Blunt Records digitally on June 24th and may be pre-ordered via Bandcamp, here.