What a Wonderful World

Hot on the heels of Oblivion, we’re back with another new music video. In contrast to the dark and sultry tango, enjoy the sweet simplicity of “What a Wonderful World.”

No tricks or fancy editing in this video. Our intention from the outset was to highlight the natural beauty of the film’s two BIG stars: the “Beartooth Portal” at the Tippet Rise Art Center and our piano/four-hand arrangement of Louis Armstrong’s classic song.

“What a Wonderful World” is sweetly tender and full of wonder, and its opening melody is famously is based on another classic song… you guessed it: “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” As a nod to the flowers described in the song's lyrics, our arrangement includes brief allusions to "Lilacs" by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

From the charming chirping of the native birds to the striking landscape and impressive skies, we knew instantly that the Tippet Rise mountainside was the perfect location to film a video proclaiming the wonders of the world. We adore the juxtaposition of the man-made elements (Ensamble Studio’s stunning, sky-high sculpture; a sleek Steinway Model D; and Liz’s outrageous gown 😍) against Montana’s rugged, rolling hills. To top it off, the sun arrived on set as if on cue, adding yet another dramatic, natural element.

Lose yourself in the timeless beauty of “What a Wonderful World,” and enjoy a few behind-the-scenes pics below.

Oblivion

It’s been 12 years since our first music video and we’ve come full circle with another sensuous Piazzolla tango, this time his dark and brooding Oblivion! (#10YearChallenge #challengeaccepted)

A sense of wistful nostalgia permeates this tango, arguably Piazzolla’s most popular work, as the dancers grasp for the last threads of passion. 😘Our arrangement has Liz circling the piano, exploring the forbidden, and hunting for harmonics on the piano strings (that are impossibly challenging to find!)… all of which played well to the camera.

Sing then the core of dark and absolute oblivion where the soul at last is lost in utter peace.

D. H. Lawrence

Whip up a blissfully bitter Tango Amargo cocktail then sit back and enjoy the magnificent melancholy of Oblivion…

Oblivion

Heavy, suddenly they seem heavy
the linen and velvets of your bed
when our love passes to oblivion

Heavy, suddenly they seem heavy
your arms embracing me
formerly in the night

My boat parts, it's going somewhere
people get separated,
I'm forgetting, I'm forgetting

Later, at some other place in a mahogany bar
the violins playing again for us
our song, but I'm forgetting

Later, it splits off to a cheek to cheek
everything becomes blurred and
I'm forgetting, I'm forgetting

Brief, the times seem brief
the countdown of a night
when our love passes to oblivion

Brief, the times seem brief
your fingers running all over
my lifeline.

Without a glance
people are straying off
on a train platform,
I'm forgetting, I'm forgetting

-poem/lyrics by Astor Piazzolla & Angela Denia Tarenzi

The Tango Amargo

Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us and Musical Mixology is back with a brand new recipe to meet all your (anti-)Valentine’s needs. The Tango Amargo is a rich, complex, and blissfully bitter drink concocted especially for all the sexy singles, cynics, and contrarians out there. It also pairs perfectly with the music of Astor Piazzolla and our seductive new music video featuring our arrangement of his Oblivion.

We spent many evenings searching for just the right cocktail to complement the dark, sexy undercurrents of Piazzolla’s endlessly passionate music. His tangos conjure up a complex mix of emotions and we wanted a recipe that captured all the contradictions of yearning. We also sought to incorporate Italian and Argentinian liquors in homage to Piazzolla’s roots. The chamomile, bitter orange, and myrrh-infused Fernet Branca (an Argentinian staple) came instantly to mind, but also presented a challenge given its bold flavors. Cue the voluptuous red hue and sapid bitterness of Campari! To that we added artichoke-based Cynar, an herbal gin, and the elegant Dolin Blanc Vermouth for balance. The Tango Amargo begins sweet, then turns dark and bitter; it’s the perfect cocktail for your anti-Valentine’s Day fete this Singles Awareness Day (Isn’t that… S.A.D. for short? 😜).

(For those who can stomach this happy holiday "straight up,” our sweet and bubbly Elixir of Love is the quintessential Valentine’s Day cocktail. Lovebirds and spurned lovers alike will also adore a batch of The Rachmaninoff Heartbreak.)

THE TANGO AMARGO

Based on “Eeyore’s Requiem” by Toby Maloney of Chicago’s Violet Hour

Yield: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Campari

  • 0.5 oz gin

  • 0.25 Cynar

  • 0.25 Fernet Branca

  • 1 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth

  • 15 drops or 0.2 oz orange bitters

Instructions:

Stir with ice until well chilled, then strain into a serving glass (coupe or cocktail glass). Drink yourself into Oblivion.

The Night... The Love...

Lights... Camera... ACTION.

You’ve asked for more behind-the-scenes stories, so here you go! Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’re revisiting the second movement from Rachmaninoff's Suite No. 1. "The Night... The Love..." paints an evocative picture of a passionate nocturnal tryst. We absolutely adore this piece, as do our mothers: they personally requested the suite for our recent Mother album, claiming it as one of their favorite works that we perform.

During the early planning stages of video-making, we allow our imaginations to run wild, and this time was no exception; we browsed countless locations in the quest for a beautiful and unusual setting. For this video, we decided to keep it simple and selected a stark studio, the darkness only to be illuminated by glowing bulbs.

(Throughout the planning process, our minds kept wandering to our New Music • New Video composition competition; we're currently looking forward to sharing the video-making experience with the winner of our competition, Edgar Ordóñez!)

When the time came to shoot, we realized our "simple" concept involved some major challenges. Hanging the lights was super difficult despite drawing up a detailed lighting plan. We had dozens of light strings hanging from hooks and nails, taped this way and that, plugged in all over the studio. The slightest bump or breeze would send the lights swaying precariously at inopportune times and we found ourselves constantly tangled in the lights. And at one point only half of them were working! 😅

As frustrating as the lights could be, the shoot was a blast overall and the effect mirrored what we envisioned: two lovers draped in an ethereal blanket of stars. We had a fantastic experience with Cherry Soda Studios in Eagle Rock, CA, and STEINWAY & SONS Los Angeles were amazing, assisting so generously with the gorgeous pianos.

We're very happy with how the video turned out, and we hope you enjoy it, too. Let us know what you think in the comments below and on social media!