Carmen Braden offers a glimpse of her forthcoming third album Seed Songs with her single and video Kick Kick — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
“Each song has a core — a ‘seed idea’ — I tried to capture,” the Canadian composer and singer-songwriter explains. “They’re each a kind of vignette: a moment in time; a snapshot of joy or struggle, fragments; phrases; edges. Through this past fall and winter of the pandemic, the minutiae and small details of everyday life were my focus. I wrote dozens of these short ‘seed song’ ideas — all connected to moments of beauty I encountered, or struggles of the day-to-day. I strived to share things that may seem ordinary or simple at first, but are actually profound, fulfilling, and nuanced.
“Most of the songs are very short,” she continues — noting the shortest track clocks in at just 38 seconds. “I feel there is beauty in miniatures, in brevity. If I can say something meaningful and musical in one minute, then that’s all the time it needs to take! I chose 18 of the strongest ‘seeds’ to bring together in this album, and it was a journey in releasing expectations, allowing each song to have the sound or length it needed.”
Given how the album’s inspiration was gleaned somewhere between the ebb and flow of navigating Covid, the tangible construction of the album also presented a creative curveball, given social restrictions. “I worked through the writing and recording of Seed Songs all by distance from my home in Yellowknife with my friend and producer Mark Adam in Nova Scotia,” Braden recalls. “Working that way meant I brought the music to life with Mark in ways I hadn’t done before. Mark encouraged me to embrace the rough while not sacrificing the concise. I also used instruments and technologies that were new for me — guitars, synthesizers… This brought a process of freedom and exploration to the recording process.”
Braden is long familiar with the process of exploration. Her debut album Ravens was released in 2017 combining her songs and compositions, and her sophomore offering Songs of the Invisible Summer Stars followed two years later as a deep dive into her contemporary works for chamber ensemble. Among her many accolades, Braden won the Western Canadian Music Award for Classical Composer of the Year in both 2019 and 2020, and received nominations for ECMA Classical Album of the Year (2020), WCMA Classical Artist of the Year (2019), and WCMA Classical Composition of the Year (2017).