We’re pleased to bring you the track by track for Ascending Dawn’s latest album Coalesce, which is available for purchase now through Bandcamp.
Coalesce was co-produced, mixed and mastered by Jochem Jacobs (ex-Textures) at Split Second Sound in Amsterdam.
A graduate of London’s Royal Academy of Music, previous vocalist of a top-charting Greek pop band, Hi-5, representative of Cyprus in the Eurovision Song Contest, West End performer and background vocalist for world-touring acts, central figure, Marlain Angelides (vocals/songwriter) brought her cosmopolitan experience from Greece by way of London to New York. Whilst in NYC, she has been involved in musicals, Shakespeare, voice overs and front-woman of the all-girls Led Zeppelin band, Lez Zeppelin, showcasing her wide range of vocal talents that drive the heavy yet melodic sound of Ascending Dawn.
Guitarist Owen Rees and drummer Mark Weatherley remain in London, contributing their writing and production of Ascending Dawn from afar as Angelides paves the way in the US. Sputnik Music raves, “the experience of this masterpiece ends too soon. But there is still the ‘repeat’ button.”
TRACK BY TRACK
Coalesce is meant to be listened to in one, as most songs move or blend into the next.
All In Now: I wrote this song after watching myself censoring how I would portray myself online on social media. I found it tremendously frustrating that there was an increased pressure on ourselves to have an ‘online’ presence so that we can be counted as part of this world. My idealistic spiritual self just wants it all to be easy and everyone to be accepted. As one of the ‘heavier’ tracks I wanted to make sure that there was weight involved in this one.
Miscommunication: I had just had another fight where I was trying to figure out what I had done wrong. And figured that it was never a singular person’s fault, and more about how we perceive what the other is saying. How things can be misconstrued, how we can convey our feelings and have them misunderstood. A lot of ‘Coalesce’ is about my own struggle with self blame. It is also my favourite song with regards to vocal arrangement and hidden harmonies in the backing vocals.
Cannonball: Well, this one has a special place as it was the first Ascending Dawn song written to completion. It defined how the album was going to be written. The way you hear it, is how it came out. No changes were made to the melodies or harmonies. It was my ‘audition’. Perhaps it is the most commercially accessible track on the album. And it is written in 6/8 which for some reason is my favorite time signature!
Integral: Funnily enough there is always one that you do not feel is your strongest contribution. This was it for me. I had sent this off to the guys and said, ‘I’m not sure’, tell me what you feel about it. And they all came back with ‘We love it as is’. It is also a fan favourite, so this goes to show how we are very subjective with our own material!
Opposites: In opposition to ‘Integral’, this one became my favourite, especially after Jochem got his hands on it. When people ask me to play ONE song which showcases the project, I play this one. It combines the prog element with most of the song being in 5, a lot of ambient elements combined with heavy riffs and developing harmonies. In addition it has an expanding chorus where the second chorus has more vocal lines added, giving it an additional hook and the final chorus has a whole new melody which relates to the first two. Jochem really brought these out to perfection. It has the simplest lyrics, and now with the addition of the video has an added element of depth of meaning.
Simplify: Ah! This is one went through a bit of a modification. Originally, it had a more prominent backing vocal melody idea throughout the choruses. It was decided though during mixing that those additional elements were too layered for the overall album. Because of this, I recently recorded a studio ‘live vocal video’ of this song, with the original ideas in play and brought forward. It is currently in edit, and will hopefully be released soon. The lead vocal has a slight ‘world music’ element, and because of my Greek side, I felt it important to bring that out!
Inside The Silence: Our most ‘prog’ song. Funnily enough, as this happens with some prog songs, everyone has different counts for the sections. When I was trying to write the vocals for this, I had asked the guys to send me their counts for it and I received three different versions! In the end, I found what worked for me and ended up crossing bar lines with melodies more often than not. I was also inspired to bring out the darker qualities of my voice and loved the idea of octaves being a feature. When we decided to release this as a lyric video, some of the hidden messages in the song came out.
Opaque: The guys, Owen and Mark, who by personality do not like to be in the forefront, or want to be singled out, felt strongly about keeping one song instrumental. At first didn’t understand why, but once I heard the album in its entirety felt that ‘Opaque’ was a perfect addition to the album soundscape, as the vocals are very prominent in our sound overall.
Indiscretion: Perhaps, lyrically the darkest song of all. At the time I was not fully consciously aware of what I was writing about. But this year, with the #MeToo campaign, it became clear. It is about the stuff we as women don’t know how to express, the pressures we are under to endure conditions we may not fully want, just so that we can move forward. Musically, it was also one song which does not end with a chorus, but an open ended repeated outtro. Which felt like the perfect ending for the album experience.