Balligomingo - Beneath the Surface
mp3 | 320 kbps | 2002 Year | 56 min | 127 mb
Genre: Electronic, Ambient
Composer, programmer and producer Garrett Schwarz draws upon a myriad of influences to create the atmospherically rich, melodically lush and percussively intense sonic world of Balligomingo. On Balligomingo's debut 'Beneath the Surface', he designs a lush soundscape of electronic, acoustic, orchestral and world beat textures layered with hauntingly seductive vocalists, including Kristy Thirsk, well known to ambient-pop fans as lead singer of Delerium and the Juno Award-winning ensemble The Rose Chronicles.
Schwarz chose the name "Balligomingo' for its exotic sound, which not only parallels the global flavors in much of the music, but its ethereal and ambient qualities as well. 'The idea is to create music that takes you there and I wanted a name to convey that message,' says Schwarz. 'Balligomingo (translating in Welch as Valley of the Mingo) is that destination.'
'The idea behind the title 'Beneath the Surface' refers to one's personal journey of self discovery,' he says. 'Though each song has lyrics and a basic theme, the songs aren't designed to make direct statements but rather to function as metaphors for moments in life. To me, music is about being picturesque and metaphorical rather than telling precise stories. When I was younger, I'd make tapes of all my favorite songs to play on trips, designing a musical soundtrack for my experiences. With Balligomingo, I wanted to create my own sonic experiences with hopes that others might enjoy them as well.'
Balligomingo's female vocalists deliver an ethereal Delerium-esque sound which weaves beautifully through an Enigma meets Massive Attack style soundscape. In addition to Thirsk, Balligomingo features the ethereal vocals of Camille Miller (Vancouver), Jody Quine (Calgary), Jennifer Baldwin (Dallas), Colleen Coadic (Anchorage), Jennifer Hershman (Vancouver), and Beverley Staunton (Vancouver). Each woman brings a unique emotion to every track. 'Recording the vocals was a very spontaneous process,' says Schwarz. 'The idea was to let each singer make each song their own. I conveyed the overall vision to them, while encouraging them to create original vocal ideas or expand upon mine. Singers and tracks were matched based on the vocalist's ability to convey the overall vibe I was after - sexy voices with a touch of ethereal. Working with a variety of vocalists gives each song a unique sound and provides a fresh start to producing each track.'
To achieve his musical vision, Schwarz recruited guitarist/producer/writer Vic Levak, string arranger Graeme Coleman, drummer James Kaufmann, engineer/mixer Greg Reely, and the string section of the Mark Ferris Orchestra. 'The importance in creating music to me is being inspired with a vision and knowing what you want the end result to be. That inspiration makes working with other people easy because it becomes clear what you need help with and whom you need to work with. It also allowed me to push people for creative input in a very specific direction adding to the pool of ideas and challenging the validity of my own.'
The mood-swinging adjectives that come to mind while listening to all of the songs on Beneath the Surface include moody, melancholy, ambient, funky, cool, trip-hoppy, dreamy, sweeping, joyful, optimistic, motivating, and inspirational. Each track delivers its own emotion and unique story.
Garrett Schwarz's incredible journey from life outside the music world to the realm of Balligomingo is all the more fascinating because he has no formal musical training and only started to seriously create Balligomingo in mid 1999. 'Balligomingo was just an idea I carried with me for years,' he says. 'I never thought it could be possible until I found out what I could do on a computer!' Working with Vic Levak, Bill Leeb/Chris Peterson (Delerium), and Bryan Miller, Schwarz created 14 tracks (recording all instruments and vocals into his computer and then mixing most in Levak's studio), from which 7 were chosen for the demo that ultimately led to his deal with the RCA Victor Group.
'Now that Balligomingo is a reality, it's very gratifying to hear a recording of the same music I had always heard inside,' says Schwarz. 'Producing the album has been a crash course in musicianship, music programming and producing. Working with so many talented people has been a wonderfully draining experience because I had to restrain anxiety about my lack of specific musical skills while at the same time conveying a musical vision. It was like learning a new language as you're actually in a new country.'
"For me, pursuing music required completely changing directions to do what I felt I should be doing with my life. I didn't know how I was going to do it and I didn't care. I just knew that I wanted to go hoping I'd figure it out along the way. When I first started, I told everyone I was diving in and wouldn't come up until I was on the other side as I secretly hoped not to drown; which is why I named the album Beneath the Surface." ~balligomingo.com
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