Based in Toronto, Ontario (Canada) Voga is a multi-talented pianist who, in his own words, "produces music based around performance, identity, and transformation”. He has released a number of works – singles, EPs, and full-lengths – since 2018 that demonstrate just how he pours his raw emotions into his material just as much as he skillfully uses his abilities to compose masterfully and wisely. His most recent album, Masquerade, is an introspective, evocative work; a mellow, heartfelt, light Classical listening experience with rich timbre and well-crafted arrangements.
Released on November 27, 2020, Masquerade features a solid line-up of guest musicians accompanying Voga: Raphael Weinroth-Browne on cello, Chloe Davidson on violin, Alaskan Tapes on drums, Rinnovare and Bedroom on guitars, Jacob LaValle on additional piano, and Laurence Schaufele and Alex Toskov performing additional strings. Each musician compliments Voga’s piano performance, fitting the dimension of the sound and vision of the album’s atmosphere. While the overall mood and energy throughout Masquerade doesn’t change or shift much, the consistency in dynamics plays out very well so that the album sounds refreshing and relaxing all the way through without coming across as redundant. It also carries a heavily nostalgic sentiment which can be open to each listener’s emotional interpretation.
Many notable works are present on Masquerade. “Overture: Theme and Variations” opens the album with a wonderful solo piano piece over a bed of wooden, clock-like tinkering in the background. The ambient, string driven “Lifted” carries a pensive yet hopeful mood akin to walking in a vast, grassy landscape on a cloudy Spring day. The melancholy, warm guitar laden “Arsis” carries a subtle feeling of loneliness without a sense of being lost. The sensual “Intermission” can lead to romantic or nostalgic notions of better days gone by or hopes that lie ahead. “Spiral” is a nice, airy piece that flows in a more linear manner. “Mirror” has a cinematic, light epic feel that would be perfect for the end of a movie after the great climax or victory has occurred. Finally, “Encore”, the closer, sums up the release quite nicely.
If you’re looking for some beautiful music to accompany you while sitting on the porch enjoying the nice weather, taking a walk alone in your favorite park, or simply enjoying some alone time while reading a book or taking a ride in your car, then consider Voga’s Masquerade to be a suitable soundtrack. If you have a taste for mellow music with an appreciation for poignancy, then this album may be a delightful treat for your ear drums. While you're at it, check out some of Voga's past releases for broader insight into his musical versatility.