US-based Sumeet Sarkar’s new album, Cymatic Chronicles Vol 2, stems from his personal experiences
Los Angeles-based Sumeet Sarkar creates therapeutic soundscapes and transforms them with electronic music using instruments in augmented reality live on stream. An alumnus of Trinity College London, the composer-violinist-orchestrator aces in ambient music and has done music for Netflix shows like Ginny and Georgia and Strip down rise up, assisting Grammy-winning composer Lili Haydn. The 27-year-old recently launched his new album and Cymatic Chronicles Vol 2, and he talks about it in detail here. Excerpts:
You constantly talk about healing through your music. Tell us more about this aspect of your compositions and the method behind it.
Ambient music has been a growing genre in the US. Since soundtracks can capture emotional moments in films, I use the same techniques with improvisation and I’ve been scoring music to real-life experiences within my community virtually. I create soundscapes that my audience can meditate to or focus on and transform them with electronic music using instruments in augmented reality live on stream. I’m able to communicate directly with my audience through the chat through the creative process and in addition, art and literature are shared while we write a new song each day through interactive media on Twitch @orchestereo.
Your latest album Cymatic Chronicles Vol 2 is also on the same lines. Take us through the album in detail talking about the tracks and their music.
The events making the album has recurred every day during the lockdown and was finalized after streaming for 24 hours continuously to raise funds for the Samaritans an organization based in the UK that offers a hand to mental health awareness and suicide prevention through emergency lines.
Talking about the tracks the first one is – Inclusion, an anthemic ambient piece that is built on a palindrome with the piano. This song represents the absence during the lockdown and slowly coming back together and returning home with a calmer state of mind as we remember our loved ones.
The second one is Catharsis. It birthed through a dark time when my grandmother had passed. I had returned to the US with much loss and wrote this song while with a piano in a film studio improvising with a motif that represented a cycle motion to keep moving forward and reflected on mourning.
The third one is Jamaica Pond. This is in memory of my friend and colleague Davey Thomas Tucker who had passed away in 2020. He had inspired me to pursue ambient minimalism and was a talented composer and multi-instrumentalist himself pioneering his own compositional style. This song combines piano, violin, viola and synthesizers with a cycle progression that builds each time and each instrument expresses their depth and vulnerability moving like waves through the nights sky.
The other one is Gravity, a story within our community offering a hand to those in a dark time where we traumatized through experiences in reality and fall to bad habits. Beyond the moon is an anthem that resembles freedom, vulnerability and hope. I had written this song for one of my closest friends who had shared a letter from a friend she had grown up with who had passed away with the last few words “I love you beyond the moon”. This song reflects on our inner child and memories that help empower our moments moving forward. This song was rewritten and completed on the mental health charity stream I had performed in December on Twitch.
Lastly, Serpents in the Mist is an ambient orchestral piece featuring a string orchestra, piano and brass section to conclude the album. This piece represents confronting ourselves through the mist that may blind us but offers us a chance to breathe and reflect as we walk out with the light. The journey builds to a climax with the full orchestra as the mist clears and we explore the ocean under the moonlight.
You have worked on some remarkable projects and your hard work has also been recognised on premium platforms. Tell us about your approach when working on a commercial project.
Musicianship is my first approach with those I work with. I hope to build an environment of trust as the creative process requires vulnerability which turns to strength itself being flexible to change and bringing change to a project.
When working on The Jacob Collier concert “Imagination off the charts” with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was intended to be a small ensemble and musical performance with the mit band but later expanded as I challenged the stage to grow further with musicians from 70+ countries coming together within a month and had been filmed with the video crew that won the Emmy Award. This required trust within the team and communication within the community. We can create music alone but we cannot share it alone so why not open the doors in the beginning and let the community collaborate and build.
Realizing and understanding that we are all humans with the intent to share our ideas in the art field regardless of how small or big or with whom, helps us celebrate our inner introvert and connect further to expand. Balancing this with the ability to make decisions is important for any collaborative work
You did a fundraising show for an organization working for the prevention of suicide. Tell us about that.
The Samaritans have been there for a few members within our community on Twitch already so we had affiliated with to assist further. We have just started building the community of creatives and mental health advocates since the lockdown had begun and hoping to grow through twitch as live performances are limited during the pandemic.
I am currently working on our next fundraiser through streaming and connecting with more organizations in light of mental health awareness that we may raise funds for. I can always be contacted directly through social media platforms to take this to mind in event planning.
Since the pandemic regulations have focussed on physical health only, many of us have not taken the time to focus on our mental health or ability to support it and there are cases where professional help is needed over what we do, that I hope to support with being able to advocate through my music and invite those who can assist in funding such programs.
What are the projects you are working on right now?
My recent releases include my work on the series “Ginny and Georgia” and “Strip down rise up” on Netflix as well as the documentary series Home on apply T.V. which has been nominated for an Emmy Award in 2020. With the release of my album as well and the growth of my channel on twitch, I am extending it further to work on the third volume and composing it live on stream every day.
I am currently working as a film and T.V. composer, multi-instrumentalist and developing my studio to make music in augmented reality further with my computer that’s able to integrate my hand movements into music and turn my voice commands into key commands where I can control my audio programs by talking directly to it which can be seen live on twitch.
As the channel grows, we are pushing for twitch partner status above the affiliate status so we may provide more events, performances and fundraisers and I hope to provide a safe community that extends to gamers and creatives celebrating the introvert within us.
What after Cymatic Chronicles?
Once the pandemic is relieved and live performances are safe to present to an audience, I will be taking my virtual performances with my technology to live venues to perform healing sessions through music and having a in-real-life audience to interact with my stream audience at venues and create a new form of performance through active composing in augmented reality. My community is based between the US, England, Africa and Europe which I plan to present my shows in those regions as a touring one-man orchestra, thus creating the persona – Orchestereo.