D//E Premiere: GALÁN / VOGT: Between the Tides

GALÁN / VOGT is a collaborative project by Spanish ambient experimental composer Pepo Galán and Australian dreampop singer Karen Vogt (Heligoland). Their debut album, The Sweet Wait, was written remotely between Paris and Malaga in 2020-2021, and it's a very emotive record which emphasizes on concepts of endurance and surrender.

A merger of earthy slowcore and dreampop sounds with more ethereal dark ambient minimal, experimental, drone, and neoclassical music enters all expressive to grip the listener and produce a highly dreamlike sensation. 

The Sweet Wait includes contributions from American composer Akira Rabelais, Mark Beazley (bass), Jolanda Moletta (backing vocals), Simon McCorry (cello) and Achim Färber (drums), while the album artwork features two photographs by French photographer Aurélie Scouarnec.

Between The Tides is a melancholic song which captures the duo's evident emotiveness. Karen Vogt created the accompanying video, which features footage of herself, her colleague Pepo Galán, and guest percussionist Achim Färber, together with footage from lesser known parts of the Seine River on the outskirts of Paris. The clip is dedicated to Steve Brown, who passed away in March 2022. Steve was a DJ at the US radio station WECU and a big supporter of the album, with this song being his favorite.

Exclusively on D//E, Pepo Galán offers great insight on the creative process: "When Karen sent me the demo for this song, it was just with her guitar and voice. I immediately had ideas for the instrument arrangements and within hours I recorded a guitar intro and piano parts to replace Karen's original guitars. I am a longtime fan of Nick Cave and Low, so I was perhaps drawing from this slow ballad style of arrangement, but I also added trombone and later Karen suggested that we add drums.

"I asked Berlin based musician Achim Färber to add some drums. He is a great session drummer and has recorded with Ben Lukas Boysen, among other great musicians. He recorded several versions that I later mixed in to the track, along with some distorted drums I designed to give more body and presence to the song. 

"After releasing this album, DJ and WECU Sonic Landscapes radio host Steve Brown kindly said, “You have just made a masterpiece,” and really supported Karen and I by playing our music on his radio show. We had become good friends and I was very grateful to him. Steve was so authentic and loving and I can't believe how quickly he got sick and passed. He even broadcast his last radio show on the same weekend that he passed and shared his passion for music until his last moments. Between The Tides was Steve’s favorite song, and so this video is dedicated to him. The video feels warm and close with images of the sun glistening on the water and clouds moving freely across the sky while our faces briefly appear."

Karen Vogt has more interesting details to share on both the song and the creation of the video: "Pepo and I had written the track Nacre for this album and it was based on a guitar piece that Pepo had written and I had later added vocals too. I felt really inspired by this song to write something in a similar style that was ballad like; slow, spacious and deep-reaching. When I was writing the lyrics for Between the Tides I was thinking about the pandemic and drawing similarities to periods in our lives when we are just trying to hold it together. We hope that things will swing back at one moment and we just have to wait it out and stay focused so we don’t lose ourselves or succumb to hopelessness. The main theme of this song is a kind of dark soul of the night and really looking into the shadows. I feel like this track really digs around into that area to explore what surrender looks like. Essentially, the idea that we can’t control anything except for how we respond."

"When I was making the video I wanted to use images of water that were dark and murky to give the sense of the unknown, but also simple images of the sky, the sun and the clouds to give a sense of the natural cycle of things. I asked the guys to film a little bit of them playing the instruments and I also took a moment to sit down and film myself briefly. I thought it would be nice for us to appear in the video together."

The video premiere coincides with the release of the album's CD edition. Formerly only available on digital and limited edition white vinyl, a Digipack CD version is now available on the artists' Bandcamp.

Pepo Galán Website | Facebook | Twitter Instagram

Karen Vogt Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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