Serj Tankian has today released a 24-minute modern classical composition titled Disarming Time: A Modern Piano Concerto on his Serjical Strike Records label along with a self-produced video Serj made utilizing a lot of his own pictures and videos as a visual compliment to the epic track.
The multifaceted artist releases Disarming Time: A Modern Piano Concerto on the heels of his critically-acclaimed rock EP, Elasticity, that was released in March of this year via BMG/Alchemy Recordings.
Disarming Time: A Modern Piano Concerto is a Dada-esque tapestry of classical to modern mini compositions expertly superimposed together like a Beatles medley with the dynamics of System Of A Down utilizing pianos, strings, rock instrumentation, ethnic instruments, choirs, the works.
Tankian himself expounds:
“When quarantine hit and all our projects and releases were cancelled, I started itching for a musical challenge. One night sitting in bed looking through different voice memos on the iPhone I realized I have this huge trove of short, special, unrealized musical ideas. Right then the thought of creating an epic piece utilizing them all made me smile. So I recorded them all and started arranging the instrumentation to create this incredibly unique musical experience. I mean, who the fuck listens to 24 minutes of music as one piece today? We’re about to find out :)”
Over the past decade, Tankian has delved deeply into the world of cinematic composition whilst creating music for various film, television and video game projects for both major studio productions and independent films. At the same time he released Elect The Dead Symphony in 2009 and Orca, Symphony #1 in 2010. This project is an amalgamation of all this and more.
Disarming Time: A Modern Piano Concerto will make a redux presence three weeks from now, when it is released as part of the Cool Gardens Poetry Suite. The release is a rich suite of four elegant cinematic works layered with intimate recital of prose from Tankian himself, taken from the pages of his first published book of poetry, “Cool Gardens.” Tankian narrates 87 poems over the nearly 48 minutes of music, weaving his way through a bevy of topics ranging from humorous to sullen.
Cool Gardens Poetry Suite will also be accompanied with videos, this time at the hands of visual artist David Bradford, a previous collaborative partner on other Tankian projects. Bradford’s visuals quite literally animate pixelated paint onto digital canvas as viewers are caravanned across their screens via Tankian’s soundtrack and the gradual unveiling of his visual compliment. The video for “Cinematic Piano Theme (With Poetry)”, the lead track from Cool Gardens Poetry Suite is available to watch now (video below), three weeks ahead of the release.
Tankian has slated additional music releases for later this year, as he’s queued up an assemblage of 25 cinematic compositions that roam through light and dark soundscapes. The release will be called Cinematique and split up into two collections released at the same time in early August. Before the end of year, listeners can also expect two film soundtrack releases from Tankian, for Truth To Power and I Am Not Alone, both being documentaries that the composer produced and scored.
About Serj Tankian
A singer, poet, songwriter, visual artist, film producer, activist, and composer; Serj Tankian has always created music as an outlet to express his thoughts and feelings with a level of passion and consciousness that few in today’s world of music can rival. An Armenian born in Lebanon and re-rooted in Los Angeles, Tankian was introduced to the melding of cultures, ideas, and ideals from a very young age. The principles learned from this integration and adaptation have led to his understanding of the oneness of all things and have since maneuvered and transfigured into the music and art that he lives to create.
As the lead singer and songwriter for System of a Down, Serj has released five studio albums, winning a GRAMMY Award in 2006 for “B.Y.O.B.” and selling over 40 million albums worldwide. Despite this success, Serj has never grown complacent with his art, always striving to open up new channels of sound and arrangement to articulate his artistic expressions. He has released five albums of solo material, beginning with 2007’s chart-topping hard rock album Elect The Dead. His sophomore solo album Imperfect Harmonies was released in 2010, followed by Harakiri in 2012. 2013 saw two distinct releases from Serj, the first being the critically acclaimed Orca Symphony No. 1, released in June of that year, followed up with the very unique Jazz-Iz Christ one month later.
Over the past few years, his time spent in the recording studio has been focused on creating musical scores and compositions for film and video game projects. Serj recently lent his vocals to a modern-day cover of Blue Öyster Cult’s rock classic “Godzilla” for the blockbuster Michael Dougherty film “Godzilla: King Of The Monsters.” He also recorded a modern version of the Armenian folk song “Sari Siroun Yar” along with the Authentic Light Orchestra for the film “The Promise,” directed by Terry George and starring Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac. Serj was also brought on by Survival Pictures, the producers of the film, to serve as an Executive Music Consultant.
Most recently, Tankian composed the full musical score for award winning documentary “I Am Not Alone” directed by Garin Hovannisian and the upcoming Live Nation Productions film “Truth To Power,” which chronicles Serj’s own journey through the crossroads of music and activism. In 2017, Serj composed music for Emmy nominated Intent To Destroy, a gripping film directed by award winning documentarian Joe Berlinger. That same year he created an intense score for the epic Russian action film “Furious – The Legend of Kolovrat,” followed by his 2018 musical score for award winning film “Spitak,” directed by Alexander Kott. Additionally, Tankian composed the full musical score for independent films “1915” and “The Last Inhabitant,” an original composition for Ilya Naishuller’s “Hardcore Henry” and video game musical scores for “Midnight Star” and its sequel, “Renegade,” which were created by one of the chief architects of the famed “Halo” game franchise.
Serj’s resume also includes the formation of a record label, Serjical Strike Records (established in 2001), which has released albums from many critically acclaimed artists, including Fair To Midland, Buckethead and Death By Stereo.
Along with fellow musician Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave), Serj co-founded the non-profit organization Axis Of Justice in 2002, which strives to bring together musicians, music fans and grassroots political organizations to fight for social justice. He has also dabbled in the world of broadcasting as co-host of the Axis Of Justice Radio Network, which can be heard via Sirius Satellite Radio and KPFK in Los Angeles. With a mission of spreading diversity and understanding through music, poetry and activism, Serj Tankian will continue to surprise and enlighten those who listen to his music and hear his words.
In recent years, Tankian has split his time between holding a mic and a paintbrush, having feverishly created over 60 pieces of art since 2013. His journey into the world of fine art began with his Disarming Time Musical Paintings, which were exhibited at Project Gallery in Los Angeles. Since then, he has had multiple exhibitions at galleries in both the United States and New Zealand. In 2015, his artwork was exhibited at the grand opening of New Museum Los Gatos in Northern California as part of a group exhibit that ran from May through September of that year. Most recently, Serj’s artwork was exhibited at two notable galleries in New Zealand during February and March of 2019. He has an upcoming exhibit titled “The Incandescent Pause” happening in the Los Angeles area July 2 – 16, 2021 at Tufenkian Fine Arts in Glendale, Calif.
Featured image by Travis Shinn.