Sean Hellfritsch returns to Leaving Records with his second outing for the label as Cool Maritime. Sean is an active mixed-media visual artist, and modern modular electronic composer living and working in North East Los Angeles with his wife Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith.
Sharing Waves is all-expansive environments, and fully-realized worlds to explore and get lost in. A persistent sense of adventure and excitement is practically baked into the songs, many of them having been recorded in inspiring and remote outdoor locations using a nomadic studio including a “lunchbox” modular system. The narrative flair of this instrumental music comes naturally to Hellfritsch, who is also an accomplished filmmaker. What you hear is musical ideas captured in moments of awe, happiness and inspiration. Although the sounds are largely electronic, the feeling is organic, with lush arrangements that breathe and breaststroke their way gracefully through the open air. Illustrative song titles like “Forest Bathing” and “Secret Caves” evoke inviting landscapes of reflection and resonance. Pristine and glassy droplets of sound pitter over damp and mossy beds of emotional chords and feelings, as escape turns inwards.
In an interesting contrast to the nature-heavy motif, a number of the tracks on Sharing Waves were the result of a commission to create pieces for a large outdoor plaza in downtown Los Angeles. This dichotomy of nature versus development makes for an interesting fold in these fully realized compositions. As for the album’s title, Hellfritsch, who is an inveterate surfer, explains: “Sometimes surfing can be a competitive environment with crowded breaks and not enough waves to go around. The ‘right of way’ rule is that the first person to catch the wave closest to where it’s breaking gets it. It’s a known rule and everyone expects you to respect it – but the exception to that rule is that friends love to share waves. It’s a joyful experience to be riding this big undulating ripple of water with a pal alongside you. Such a unique moment of fun and connection and excitement that always sticks with me.”
Be it in a beautiful natural environment like those of the albums’ creation or shut away indoors, Hellfritsch says he’d love for people to experiment with different ways of listening. “My favorite way to listen is laying on the floor in a dark space with some nice speakers. The tape deck in my 1987 Toyota van while driving very slowly along windy, foggy coastal road would be runner up.” This idyllic image of a reliable old ride propelling through an endlessly unfolding seaboard perfectly captures the magic and mystery waiting to be found on Sharing Waves. Hellfritsch says, “the biggest thing I learned on this album was to trust my intuition when making music and not spend too much time second guessing myself. Just go for it and have fun!” Tune in with an open mind, and dare to share a wave.