Week in Pop: Boy Romeo, Crown Larks, Sun Glitters

Sjimon Gompers

A sunset to sunrise conversation with Sun Glitters' own Victor Ferreira; press photo courtesy of the artist.

YAIMA

The creative cult of Yaima; photographed by Evan Eremita.

The Yaima Music Project; photographed by Evan Eremita.

Here to celebrate the enchantment & excitement of Earth Day, we bring you the visual album experience of Yaima’s OvO where the entire cycles of the planet are seen in the span of a full-length album journey. Extending the audio/visual record approach into new-new-age folklore territories created through Kaizen’s (Everett Keithcart) live-mixed projections of natural splendors that propels the album’s entire season awakening narrative, lead by the aerial performances from Kirra Lien. Kaizen described the central “relaxing flow” motif created out of themes like the evolutionary, elemental, environmental, & more throughout the multidisciplinary piece—OvO—with the following:

OvO means “seed” or “egg” and stands for the point in time or space at which something starts—the next evolution. The Owl appears on the cover art as well as in the title OvO and represents the elemental energy of the Wind. Owl stands for the truth and the ability to navigate through the darkest night by finding and listening to the wisdom and light from within ourselves.

Coupling together powerful & spellbinding projected visual arts with live performances; Yaima channels an all encompassing presence of ethereal mystic expression. This is created from Masaru Higasa (guitar, flutes, handpan), Pepper Proud (guitarist, vocalist), along with percussionist Jeff Kimes & more that truly exist in a genre/style that is all their own. We welcome you to go on the following elemental-earthbound journey of orbiting around the seasons & the accompanying meditative reflections heard in both song & sight. Join us after the grand presentation of the consciousness opening OvO for an exclusive discussion with Yaima.

Tell us about working with Masaru Higasa in the blend of traditional acoustic instrumentation & newly developed approaches in contemporary artistic creation.

Pepper: From an outside perspective witnessing the magic that emanates from Mas’s presence, a seamless mastery is observed. Mas brings forth an interweaving of worldly derived traditional approaches with acoustic and percussive instrumentation, which he then infuses into electronic realms, resulting in an auditory immersive experience.

Masaru: The blend translates and carries forth the timeless legacy of ancestral sound crafting into our quickly evolving and ever changing technological present and offers an energetically stable and solid backbone to the synthesis of YAIMA.

Describe the development from conceptual sketches of sound to visuals featuring natural images from Kaizen & Kirra Lien’s performances…what was the process like of transferring audio dreams to visual conceptions?

Kaizen: I’ve been performing with Yaima for three years and the album is the result of almost two years of practicing and touring together playing these songs—the four seasons theme came about very fluidly and organically, and Pepper and I brainstormed conversations on tour about the wording for some of her lyrics which are of course very rich in striking visual metaphors. We wanted the album to tell a story, and the four seasons theme seemed perfect to tie together the songs that we had been performing on tour—the cyclical nature of the seasons made a perfect loop for the album to end where it began, starting anew.

When I started working with Kirra on the performance pieces, we had the four seasons as an outline to start from and the idea of interludes came up. I wanted the dances pieces to really be the centerpiece visually of the album video that everything else pivoted on, and the musicians kept the music very simple in the interludes which allowed us to go for more wow with the video in these parts. Kirra and I wrote outlines around with a few different ideas for performance pieces and chose props that worked for her…We wanted looks that contrasted the interludes with each other so we went with the very stark look for winter with black backgrounds, black feather fans, and high-contrast black-and-white images. We wanted Spring, Summer, and Fall to be more rich in color, vibrant, with a white background for contrast with the Winter pieces which are the bookends of the video.

Elena Escobedo’s cinematography was instrumental, she is very versatile in her shooting style and able to create a variety of different looks on film. She even did Kirra’s makeup and airbrushed the white designs on her, which you’ll see if you watch the video in full 1080p HD resolution.

Although I’ve been performing live as a VJ and producing my own HD video content for five years, this is my debut “official” album video release for a band, and I wanted to put in my very best effort and work with the best talent, and my wish came true—working with these amazing people is a highlight of my life and I’m very honored to create beautiful visions with them. It reminds me of our amazing creative capability as humans when we come together to create something that is more than the sum of the parts—some would call this magic.

Tell us to about the craft of sewing together the progressive production components with acoustic instruments & organic narratives.

Pepper: This is the alchemy of taking the present technology and musical instruments that have been born from the information age and blending them harmoniously with traditional instruments and folklore styles of the past. By engaging in storytelling from our current perspective, and telling a whole new story about where we are headed- these narratives reach beyond folk music but somehow create a familiar ambiance. Each piece of the soundscape created either by means of an instrument, percussive elements, alluring poetry, electronic synth, plug-in and soaring vocal harmonies entwine together effortlessly and beckon the listener to come along on the journey—into a collective future.

Other artists & activists that you would like to recognize?

Pepper: David Heskin and Simon Haiduk who made the cover art for OvO, Sergey Avdeev who creates beautiful documentary style videos such as this one about Yaima:

Our local collaborators & performance artist group Zepto Space, Elena Escobedo our videographer for OvO.

Thoughts & meditations for Earth Day?

Pepper: Yaima’s music is a direct result of the inspiration found in Nature, the beauty and the elegance and simplicity of the cycles and beings existing on this planet Earth. Our hope for Earth Day 2017 is that each human will feel inspired to protect this beautiful planet, to learn about the environmental issues that directly affect their community and begin to activate a sense of gratitude and commitment to the education and preservation of natural resources so that we may each step into the future sustainable and responsibly.

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