“This new album is about letting my all of my electronic influences out for everyone to see!” laughs two-time Emmy® award winning composer and international recording artist Michael Whalen discussing his forthcoming electronic album: Imaginary Trains, due April 22, 2022, via MWM/Spout label through Six Degrees Distribution/INgrooves/UMG.
“Since I completed my album ‘Sacred Spaces’ in 2019, my evolution as an artist, synthesist and sound designer has made it essential to create a whole new palette of sounds for EVERY new album I produce. It’s a huge job but the music deserves its own unique voice – not sounds that I used before. For about a year, I have been experimenting with thousands of new sounds and I finally came up with a collection of about 200 that are the basis of ‘Imaginary Trains’. On this new project, I threw myself headlong back into the electronic music that excited and inspired me when I first started as a composer: Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, Keith Emerson (ELP), Mike Oldfield, Larry Fast/Synergy, Mark Isham, Kraftwerk and many others.”
The result of this is a judicious meld of haunting melodies and deep and complex textures all happening over percolating rhythms and percussion. As per his usual practice when working on his own music, Whalen created all ten titles for his pieces before writing a note. “I love framing every song with a narrative, character or a place” adds Whalen. Imaginary Trains is about taking the listener on a journey of the heart and the mind. But before I transport anyone, I have to take the journey myself.” Writing programmatic music is a result of having written so many scores for television, film and even commercials.
Imaginary Trains is informed by over three decades of Michael’s wide-ranging musical experiences which have been heard by literally billions of people around the world on a variety of media. From hundreds of television shows and themes, dozens of films, thousands of international advertisements, video games, 38 solo albums as an artist and hundreds as a producer and sideman to collaborating with friend Fiona Apple on an anti-Trump protest piece (“Little Hands”) for the 2017 Women’s March in Washington, DC, listeners, fans around the world and critics alike have marveled at Michael Whalen’s unique blend of iconic melodies, innovative sound creation and bold creative choices which have distinguished him as a music artist who excels in any format or genre but saves his best and most personal music for albums such as Imaginary Trains.
Whalen shows that electronic music in 2022 must have soul, style and be imbued with deep feeling even while listeners might only be relaxing to it on a weekend all while the recording might also become the sonic catalyst that will inspire composers and sound designers trying to keep up with Michael’s endless sonic palette.
A portion of the proceeds from this recording will be going to the Bob Moog Foundation of which Michael is on the Board of Directors. The Bob Moog Foundation is a 501c3 based in Asheville, North Carolina.
Imaginary Trains will be available on all streaming platforms, limited edition CD and formatted for Dolby Atmos (11.1 surround).