Art pop singer XI.ME.NA from New York/Venezuela uses her voice to create neoclassical, vocally-driven, ambient, electronica music. Produced by Joe Rogers, these are love songs, nourished by poetry and besot by the spirit of music.
corners art VIDEO
Music by XI.ME.NA
Lyrics by Carrie Getman
Director: Dani Prados
WHO AND WHO MUSIC VIDEO
Music by XI.ME.NA
Poem by E.E.Cummings
Dancers: Jerron Herman, Jillian Hollis, Meredith Fages, Rain Saukas. Directed/Edited by XI.ME.NA
NEW YORK/VENEZUELAN EXPERIMENTAL MUSICIAN, XI.ME.NA BORGES IS AN EXTREMELY ECLECTIC SONGWRITER. ARMED WITH AN ARRAY OF DIGITAL AND ANALOGUE TECHNOLOGIES, XI.ME.NA USES HER VOICE TO BLEND THE MUSIC OF DISPARATE TIMES AND PLACES, CREATING ALLURING SONIC COLLAGES ALL IN REAL TIME. It's like being inside a composer's mind while she works, and the effect is totally mesmerizing. Called “pop diva of opera” by Parenthesis Magazine, XI.ME.NA migrates confidently between avant-garde opera and electronic pop: From stacked harmonies and joyful hooks, to moodier, reflective moments that showcase her sophisticated vocals. Neufutur Magazine says “XI.ME.NA’s music does come from left field, but it is done in a fashion that is absolutely catchy and hard to forget.” She has been performing using only her voice and electronic instruments to create the music. She performs in five different languages with original songs, jazz standards, and covers arranged in a unique and contemporary way for her voice and looper. XI.ME.NA and her band have performed in New York, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Miami, Caracas, Valencia, and Berlin.
I started composing this album in 2015 after spending a few months in Berlin. The coolness, mystery and strangeness of that city inspired the atmosphere of the music that I would make. There, I also met the lyricist who inspired most of the songs, Carrie Getman. She is a beautiful actress and casually mentioned she had written some lyrics a while back. Her words spoke to me in a very subconscious way. I could not immediately speak of what they meant, but somehow my instinct knew and the music flowed into them. They evoked a foggy landscape, a grey city, a sense of a palpable past in the air, of spirits that live among us and sometimes brush up gently against us, summoning thoughts of what our life could otherwise be... Back in New York, surrounded by potential lyrics and poems, I challenged myself to compose one song a day for one month. My country, Venezuela, was very present in my mind's eye each day. Out of that month, the rest of the album was born. In this EP, you will hear four of those songs.
"Corners" speaks of those relationships that shove you, stifle you, inhibit you into a corner, until you are read to run as far as you can. But I did not want to make a song about self pity. On the contrary, I wanted to make it propulsive, aggressive, urging. I wanted it to have the energy within it, so that if you feel you are in a corner relationship, it gives you the drive to run, to leave, to escape.
"Mr Spaceman" came to me as a gift. Vinny Alfano was a good friend, engineer whom I had recorded a few songs with. One day he mentioned having composed a song that he thought I could like. He played me a sketch version of this song and I loved it immediately. It happened only a few days before I read in the news that scientists had been able to record the sound of two black holes colliding a billion light years away. It finally proved Einstein's Theory of Relativity and how the universe expands and contracts. The sound was of course imperceptible to any humans, only their very complex machine made out of mirrors captured it. A tiny chirp. In today's world, where so much seems upside down, incomprehensible, inconceivable, this event reminded me of how small we are and how little is important. We wrote the verses of the song with this inspiration in mind and I hope it gives the listener a sense of much-needed perspective.
"Roaring Sea" was inspired by one of my favorite lines in any opera. At the end of La Boheme, Mimi who is dying, pretends to fall asleep so that all her friends will leave for a while and she will get a chance to speak alone with her love, Rodolfo. She sings to him: "There are so many things I'd like to tell you. Or only one, but as large as the ocean. As the ocean is profound and infinite, so is my love for you." I adore these words and the music Puccini wrote with them. So I composed a bed of voices that sounded like an infinite ocean, with its repetitiveness and its expansion. The first line of lyrics is inspired by a poem of Carl Sandburg "I could love you as dry roots love the rain" and the rest was written between Carrie Getman and myself. It is my favorite song on this EP.
"Who and Who" is based on a poem by E.E.Cummings. In his quirky, unconventional grammar, he expresses the wonders that two people who join as one can create. "Two little who's/ he and she/ under this wonderful tree/ ... / aflame with dreams incredible is" In composing it, I wanted it to be a happy song in a major key. But something in me prevents me from composing anything major and straightforward. So it ended up being fun but also dark. Celebratory yet brooding. When we recorded this at Room 17, everyone who was present went into the live room, grabbed a drum and played along to it, with serious yet happy faces. It made us want to dance in wierd ways. So I filmed a music video with four dancer friends, who have extensive improvisational techniques, inspired by this track. You can watch it below.
Arriving at Room 17 Recording Studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a lanky, grey-clad, tall guy in his 30's opened up. I cheerily sang the first lines of "Good morning good morning" from Singin' in the Rain. And he, without missing a beat, sang back "it's great to stay up late / good morning / good morning to you!". His name was Joe Rogers, and from that day I knew we were going to produce a great album together. We brought in terrific musicians whose talent elevated my music beyond my imagination: Mike Ramsey on percussion, Mason Ingram and Jon Epcar on drums and John Kengla and Joe Rogers on bass. Collaborating with them was my favorite part of making this album and I cannot thank them enough. Lastly, I must thank Norman Perry, whose belief and trust in me, propelled me to make this album.
Available at Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby.