Philadelphia-based songwriter, engineer, and saxophonist Keegan Tawa has just released his debut album Startide, a collaborative release that is meant to be enjoyed cinematically from beginning to end. Depicting a science fiction narrative of two lovers who have been separated, Startide is an incredible feat that is unique in presentation and combines the talents of many of Philadelphia’s finest musicians.
Startide begins with a slow, peaceful fade-in with ambient electronic tones and the sound of waves before an entrancing piano melody comes in supporting Sophie Coran’s dreamy, light vocals. An electronic album at its core, Startide also makes use of strategically placed analog instrumentation that brings the out-of-this-world production down to earth. Soulful saxophone makes an appearance in “Fantasy Sidereal” before leading into emotional track “The Moon” featuring Zach Kramer on vocals. “Time Passes” offers a beautiful classical piano composition before leading into “The Siren’s Call”, a driving, ethereal piece featuring Sophie Coran’s vocals and Elizabeth Steiner on harp.
“Superlight Overture” is a dynamic instrumental piece that will have you on the edge of your seat as it blends moving orchestral arrangements with electronic compositions in a heart- wrenching and intense display. “The Stars Watched” is another classically influenced, haunting piece that features Qin Qian on erhu. The album draws to a bittersweet end with “Love Survives”, once again featuring Coran’s emotive vocals as she sings “Not even love survives”. We are played out with “On Silver Shores”, a piece that begins with piano and grows to a captivating, encompassing arrangement that is both tragic and hopeful.
Startide is an engaging sonic experience that showcases Keegan Tawa’s unique musical perspective, balanced production, and engaging storytelling. Effortlessly flowing from one track to the next, Startide is an expertly produced musical masterpiece that will take you on a journey to the moon and beyond.
Written by Katrina Charles