Rhian Sheehan returns with the new single, ‘Soma Dreams’, taken from the upcoming album A Quiet Divide, his first new album in over five years. Acclaimed for both his original music and his screen composition work, Sheehan’s latest piece of work is a sublime marriage of modern-classical orchestral chamber music, piano, and textural cinematic guitar and synth-pop soundscapes.
The single arrives alongside a video created from one of Sheehan’s long-time visual collaborators, Matt Pitt. Responsible for the video for previous animated videos ‘Standing in Silence Pt.3’ and ‘Little Sines’, Pitt again brings Sheehan’s cinematic world to life, animating motion capture dance footage from acclaimed visual artist Hannah Tasker-Poland.
Capturing the feel of the entire album, ‘Soma Dreams’ offers a preview for listeners to A Quiet Divide. His most cinematic and emotive release to date, the track encapsulates the nostalgic feel of the album, further expanding on the ambient/post-rock sound that has gained Sheehan fans across the globe.
About the track – “‘Soma Dreams’ was originally written on my baritone ukulele. I recorded an idea on an old tape machine, looped it, and played around with some chords and melodies over the loop, then dabbled away on an old 8-bit toy keyboard synth. But it still needed some structure. My wife Raashi co-wrote the rest of the track with me, and played the piano parts on it too.
I had a nostalgic childlike feel in my head that took a while to achieve sonically. I wanted the string outro section to feel like it was recorded at Abbey Road in the 60’s or something. Recording the strings was an important part of the process, and I worked closely with orchestrator Ryan Youens to get the right feel I was after. I then finished recording and co-producing it with a friend of mine, Jol Mulholland. The track was then mastered through an old reel-to-reel tape machine. My 5 year old daughter named the track herself when she walked into the studio one day during mixing. Her name is Soma.” – Rhian Sheehan Standing In Silence (2009) and Stories From Elsewhere (2013) both saw Sheehan step away from his early electronic roots, and step deeper into the ambient/post-rock and orchetral sound. These albums saw Sheehan establish himself as an artist at the forefront of the genre, and A Quiet Divide represents a deeper progression in this direction, with a heavy orchestral influence infused throughout. The nostalgic soundscapes and textural guitars are still present, however the predominant presence of a chamber orchestra and piano creates a work that is both emotionally resonant and unique from Sheehan’s previous work.
Sketched out at Sheehan’s home studio, the album has been assembled in some of NZ’s finest recording spaces. Primarily recorded at home, the album underwent aditional recording at Roundhead Studios and The Surgery Studios, with a 16-piece section also recorded at Wellington’s Stella Maris Chapel, conducted by Hamish McKeich (New Zealand Symphony Orchestra). Pre-order Digital & Limited Edition Double 180 Gram LP http://www.loop.co.nz/releases/a-quiet-divide/