Nov 20, 2023
Liam Phan's debut solo album "Entropy" is out today. This neoclassical masterpiece showcases his captivating compositions, inviting listeners to embark on a profound and introspective musical journey.
Swiss composer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, Liam Phan got his start in the music world through his soundtrack projects and piano compositions. His creative approach resonates with styles he has been influenced by since childhood, such as classical, neoclassical, jazz, and electronic. Always open to a wide range of sounds allowed by analog and digital instruments, Liam explores harmonies and rhythms in the service of films and commercials. In 2021, "What If" became his first film project, followed by "Paloma" and "Watchers". These films had a very personal and intimate feel to them and taught him the power of minimalism in music.
Born on 17th January 2000, Liam started playing the piano at the age of 7 after being moved by the film August Rush. He first began with classical repertoires such as Chopin, Beethoven, and Rachmaninoff, and deviated from this path once he reached college. He composed his first soundtracks at the age of 14, using advertisements as raw material. Jazz and the art of improvisation were taught to him shortly afterward at school by Moncef Genoud, a renowned pianist and composer. He also discovered the beauty of stringed instruments during courses at the Geneva Conservatory for his high school diploma.
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Debut Solo Album
"Entropy" is a project that delves into the question of control in the creative process. Drawing inspiration from the concept of entropy in physics, which measures disorder and randomness within a system, this project explores patterns and the likelihood of repetition beyond the realm of physics.
Having studied statistics in both his bachelor's and current master's degrees, he noticed intriguing parallels between statistical concepts and music. This realization occurred when he designed his first modular synthesizer, enabling him to freely generate and manipulate sound using interconnected effects modules.
“In the album, I apply this principle by blending structured compositions with more spontaneous piano rhythms and incorporating particle effects to create an atmospheric experience rather than a linear narrative. The core idea is to examine the interplay between order and chaos, control and spontaneity, and their manifestation in the creative process. By embracing randomness and unpredictability, my aim is to capture the essence of entropy in music, allowing the compositions to naturally evolve, mirroring the inherent disorder found in our lives and in nature itself.”
The recording of "Entropy" marked a significant milestone for Liam, as it was his first fully recorded project. One of the main challenges he encountered was capturing the immersive experience he felt while playing the piano and translating that softness not only in his performance, but also in its timbre. To achieve this, he embarked on an extensive experimentation journey during the recording phase, exploring various microphone techniques, both fundamental and advanced, in an attempt to recreate the placements and nuances he found inspiring in other pieces.
“Recording the strings presented its own set of challenges. I conducted thorough testing, utilizing more than three close microphones, including two stereo pairs positioned in front of the trio (first violin and second, then cello), along with an additional pair to capture the room's ambience. This complex microphone configuration allowed for flexibility in the mixing process, as I lacked a precise vision of the desired final sound due to my limited experience. Ultimately, this flexibility proved beneficial and enabled me to achieve the desired results during the mix.”
"Entropy" aims to transport listeners to their own memories and evoke introspection. Liam Phan strived to create an experience where one feels their life unfolding like a cinematic journey. The intention is to disconnect them momentarily from the bustling world and free them from the hyperactivity of music consumption. Rather than constantly seeking the next track or social media content, he encourages listeners to let go of control and embrace the uncertainty of what lies ahead.
7. Inertia - Piano Version
8. Decay - Piano Version