Sometimes music can be transformative for both the listener and the one creating it. With Maryen Cairns, her seventh studio album, ANEW, caused a shift in her core song writing process that seemed to flow with ease like water down a stream. “It was like a switch clicked inside my head and suddenly I was creating music from a new perspective, writing sidewards, out of the corner of my eye” she says.
The album is aptly named as it marks a moment of change for Cairns that spurred from a move to the island of Guernsey (off the coast of Normandy). There is a shift from a drama-based approach to something introspective and moody, but with a sense of uplift that rests upon gentle guitars and piano. Unassertive percussion keeps the pulse moving along, but leaves plenty of space for the breathy vocals and harmonies to float on top if it.
There’s a folky spirit that runs through the albums core that feels more bare, vulnerable, and ready for experience something new. It’s easy to imagine yourself listening to this while laying in a hammock or floating down a river. There’s an undeniable flow that surrenders to the wind, allowing itself to go where it may. “This feels like the first music I’ve ever made…” Cairns says. “I’m unmasked as an artist. I’m naked. Here I am anew.”
ANEW is available now on major streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. Find “Change in the Weather” and more excellent music on the Alchemical Records Multigenere Mixture playlist on Spotify.
Charlie Maybee is a dancer, musician, educator, and writer based in Charleston, South Carolina who currently teaches with the Dance Program at the College of Charleston. His primary work as an artist is with his performing collective, Polymath Performance Project, through which he makes interdisciplinary performance art that centers tap dance as the primary medium of expression and research. He also currently plays rhythm guitar for the Charleston-based punk band, Anergy, and releases music as a solo artist under the name Nox Eterna.
Flow-bending artist aSanTIS discusses art, culture, and whether sound can solve the world’s problems in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
My interview with Amy Santis aka aSanTIS began in the most unexpected way. The Maryland-based flow-bending artist and lyrical storyteller came prepared to engage in conversation around questions I had posed – and she also brought one or two of her own thoughtful prompts based on her curiosities around my view of learning.
This practice of taking in her surroundings deeply through observation and inquiry has come naturally to aSanTIS ever since she was a young child. In terms of her early starts in music, she notes that she began as a discerning listener. “Just listening to music from my mom, on the radio, just being a consumer in the world of sound. But I think mainly, my mom has always loved dancing and listening to music, so that was sort of like second nature. We play music at gatherings, we play music in the car, and these songs are sort of like diaries that take us into a specific place.”
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