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    Garden Broom Recordings
    To Deliver Its Inaugural Release
    Integration
    By Hybrid Electronic Duo NMND
    Featuring Jazz/Hindustani Vocalist Mana Contractor and Producer/Technologist McLean Macionis aka Alighted
    EP Out February 12, 2021
    ~
    Lead Single Hiding My Out January 29, 2021

    LOS ANGELES, CA – January 29, 2021 — Garden Broom Recordings is set to deliver its inaugural release, Integration, a 5-track EP, by the artist duo NMND on February 12, 2021. This is the first collection of music to surface from the partnership between producer/technological ace McLean Macionis and hypnotic vocalist/composer Mana Contractor. The music of NMND (or ‘No Mind’) draws equally on organic and electronic sounds, creating eclectic collages rich with otherworldly textures, haunting vocals, and tightly programmed beats. Integration focuses on the evolution and manipulation of the human voice through technology, utilized to harness the power of improvisation. This is in keeping with the primary motivation of Garden Broom Recordings – to present multi-sensory experiences in art and technology that promote presence, mindfulness, and self-discovery. The EP’s February 12th release is preceded by the lead single, “Hiding My,” out today, January 29, 2021. To learn more about NMND, please visit https://linktr.ee/nmnd.

    Hailing from opposite sides of the planet and converging in California, NMND’s Macionis and Contractor fuse their distinct experiences to shape this collaboration rooted in genre-bending and multicultural stylistic influences. Macionis lays the groundwork with a wealth of studio experience and technological sensibility while Contractor adds her unique approach to melody, harmony, and rhythmic modulation drawn from the disparate canons of jazz and Hindustani classical music. Contractor defines her work as creating a “story within a soundscape,” filling Macionis’ atmospheric topography with something to latch onto in the human voice. It follows that their music covers everything from experimental electronic/IDM to intimate electroacoustic portraits, weaving colorful tapestries of spacious downtempo ambience and uncanny sound-art to inhabit this newfound terrain shared between the two flourishing artists.

     

    On the meaning of their name, Macionis explains that, “musically, ‘No Mind’ is the empty canvas that precedes any project. Spiritually, ‘No Mind’ is the absence of thoughts and distractions that results in the experience of nothingness defined by Zen Buddhism. Personally, it is the state or experience from which all creativity comes forth.” With all this in mind, NMND produced an EP that guides listeners through an ever-evolving emotional narrative of sound.

    NMND’s Integration results from a collage process that is central to both artists’ creative practices. In Contractor’s words, the lyrical elements of the EP “stem from a very vulnerable and intimate space. It is a patchwork of the internal monologue of self loathing and insecurity most people carry with them as they go about their daily lives. The songs take us through a host of different emotions as we try to find ways to cope with this constant mental chatter. The idea to use the human voice as the focal point of the EP plays into this beautifully by exploring all the ways in which we betray our true emotions through tone, texture and dynamics. Integration is presented as a way to accept these darker spaces and find comfort in the fact that they needn’t all have negative associations.”

    The lead single “Hiding My” epitomizes this experience of internal conflict against the backdrop of an outside world in motion, leveraging Contractor’s voice to construct barely discernible fragments that draw us in while offering no clear answers. The EP showcases her vocal range as a driving factor of the EP’s complex but compelling storyline, weaving in and out of an architecture built from solid musical progressions and syncopated rhythms. Macionis describes the challenge of interlacing “each track together to form a singularity,” drawing on his experience in film and television music to create a body of work that can be “experienced as a continuous soundtrack with a strong narrative arc rather than discrete but related musical ideas.” Engaging almost exclusively with the human voice as raw material for producing the EP’s sound palette, the duo is able to put together a collection of songs that is both deeply personal and universally accessible.

    Describing the origin for the album’s title, Macionis explains that “Integration is the dominating force behind our creative process. There is integrating my skill sets with Mana’s; integrating organic and electronic; integrating each of our artistic voices into one unified vision. It seemed appropriate to name this EP after the very process that inspired the work itself.”

    INTEGRATION TRACK-LIST AND ARTIST NOTES:

    1. “Exhale”

    Notable is NMND’s process of organizing creative fragments into a complete idea—depending on the quality and clarity of each fragment—it might take some time to organize them in a way that makes sense. The lead vocal motif here was settled very quickly, and the idea was strong enough to use as the basis of the entire track.

    2. “Hiding My”

    Track-building often began with a particular vocal melody that ended up as a rhythmic element through a series of technological translations. This is the case with the lead single: the groove is almost entirely derived from transformations of Contractor’s voice that were then edited to produce the rhythmic kit.

    3. “No Further”

    The lush pad that enters alongside Contractor’s voice was created by composing dense string arrangements, printing the arrangement to audio using a sample library, and then resampling the entire arrangement in iZotope Iris 2. This technique relies on focusing attention towards composing sounds that are inherently moving to begin with, and then to transform and manipulate this music through the power of Iris.

    4. “Patchwork”

    Before the two officially became a duo, Macionis had been working on his own two-track EP tentatively called “Mind | No Mind.” For simplicity, he abbreviated the project file folder ‘NMND’ on his computer. The name of the file folder inspired the name for the duo and the initial track eventually became “Patchwork.” Contrary to the effortless thematic development of “Exhale,” this track was constructed using three different fragments that took some time to organize and weave together in a way that made sense.

    5. “Splice”

    A concentric spiral within the orbit of Integration’s planetary soundscape. The phrase “running in circles” is repeated to drive this idea home – a track that functions as conclusion and prelude simultaneously, lending itself playing back the whole EP on loop.

     


    MANA CONTRACTOR

    Mana Contractor is a multi-hyphenate artist with a deep enthusiasm for collaboration. With her formative learning experiences steeped in jazz and Hindustani classical music she has created a unique space for her globally-influenced vocal style. This is evident in her role as lead singer/composer of the neo-soul quartet Lace and a member of the Bangalore fusion quartet Chandbibi and the Waste Candidates. Between these projects and her work with NMND, she has performed in venues across Los Angeles, India and parts of South Asia. Contractor has also performed with the experimental opera company The Industry, which has been lauded by the Los Angeles Times as “an essential component of American Opera,” in their production of Sweetland. She also co-founded a music school called The Mela Centre for Learning in 2015, where she taught jazz and contemporary vocals to students of all ages in hopes that more aspiring musicians would have access to contemporary western music traditions in India. Having graduated from the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music (India) with a diploma in Voice Performance, Contractors desire to continue an education focused on innovation through improvisation led her to pursue a master’s degree in VoiceArts at the California Institute of the Arts, from which she graduated in 2020.


    MCLEAN MACIONIS

    McLean Macionis is a forward-thinking composer, producer, and creative technologist whose solo and collaborative works live at the intersection of music, engineering, and human consciousness.

    Having worked in a range of creative positions within the Los Angeles art ecosystem, Macionis broke out as a composer writing music for network television series including Top Chef and Real Housewives as well as producing original tracks for the score of the feature film Ripped starring Russell Peters. Over time, Macionis experienced a growing desire to more deeply understand the underpinnings of the music tools that he was using every day. He nurtured this desire by pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Music Technology at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), where he continued to hone his composition skills while simultaneously grounding himself in the tools, instruments, and interfaces that support the creative organization of sound through technology. During his time at CalArts, Macionis was tapped to create the sound design for The Broad Museum’s interdisciplinary production, Gifts of the Spirit, and gave his performance debut at REDCAT Theater as a member of the CalArt’s Machine Orchestra. It was only after laying this groundwork that Macionis planted the seed for Alighted, which now serves as the moniker for his solo projects integrating these diverse experiences as a composer, producer, and technologist. This creative energy also led to the genesis of a unique brand identity and Macionis’ newly formed record label, Garden Broom Recordings.


    GARDEN BROOM RECORDINGS

    Garden Broom Recordings is an independent label founded by McLean Macionis to serve as an outlet for this surplus of creative output and collaboration. The spirit of the label rests on equanimity—an unwavering balance of mind inhabiting the present moment. Drawing from the devout Buddhist and Beat Generation writer Gary Snyder’s mantra of “sweeping the garden,” the label’s objective is to construct physically and mentally inhabitable soundscapes, emphasizing the practice of maintaining these spaces as fertile ground for creative expression. Garden Broom Recordings will launch in the spring of 2021 with NMND‘s debut EP, Integration followed by new material from Alighted, as well as full length albums for each artist.

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    For more information, photos, to schedule an interview or request audio files, please contact Green Galactic’s Lynn Tejada at 213-840-1201 or lynn@greengalactic.com.

    Posted on August 27th, 2021 lynn-hasty No comments

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