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"Southern" by Johan Eckman & Per Gustavsson

Johan Eckman aka "Sleepy Songs" is a composer based out of Malmö, Sweden. As the moniker suggests, he specializes in relaxing and hypnotic pieces. His latest piece Southern released yesterday and is a companion to the composer's single Northern already out and doing well.

There's something about sparse, open tracks that can ironically seem full and satisfying. Southern is a great example of that. Every note choice matters more when you're writing minimalistic music and Eckman crafts a beautiful tapestry of notes in this melancholy song. In talking with the composer, I learned that his uncle, Per Gustavsson, was the one who came up with the idea for the song and most of the melody, but since he doesn't play piano Eckman was able to take his ideas and craft a full-fledged piano piece from them.

This felt piece begins with slow minor undertones and then a beautiful melody in the treble clef. There is a temptation I find in my own writing to fill up the empty space with notes, but here Eckman shows restraint and finds just the right balance of sound and space. The melody progresses and reaches higher while adding a bit more complexity. The piece repeats some thematic material and then slowly and softly winds down.

To be honest, I sometimes rant privately that I'm annoyed that so many people think of classical music as merely relaxing. But while it's true that instrumental music has more to offer than its meditative qualities, it doesn't mean that classical music that is relaxing somehow misses the mark. Southern truly is relaxing in the best sense of the word. It is the type of song that puts you in just the perfect mental state to fall asleep, but can also be an enjoyable trip into your own imagination. Check it out now and see for yourself. The full EP releases November 6.

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