Many have expressed concern about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the arts. Yet, musicians Carl Storm and Sagun have shown the ways in which the pandemic can prompt new creations. Sept. 17, lo-fi Nepalese producer Sagun and Swedish artist Carl Storm released the four-track EP “solitude” coupled with an animated video featured on YouTube. Both artists worked on the EP remotely, separated by over 3,000 miles. Inspired by the distance, the video features Carl Storm in Sweden and Sagun in Nepal. Despite their separation, Storm and Sagun are united by their artistic collaboration, described in their press release as“sonically and lyrically intimate in nature.”
Sagun began his music career with the single “I’ll Keep You Safe,” complete with samplings from 2010’s Vine musician Shiloh Dynasty. With over 100 million listens on Spotify, this song effectively launched Sagun’s music career in the lo-fi scene. Sagun’s interest in music emerged with American rapper and producer J. Cole. After discovering that the rapper made his own beats, Sagun decided to give it a try. Using YouTube tutorials and digital audio software Fruity Loops, Sagun soon started uploading his early musical ventures to streaming services.
“It was a phase where I had to discover more about myself and what I actually wanted to do in my life,” Sagun claimed in an article with the Kathmandu Post. “Ultimately, I found a new hobby and happiness in creating music. I haven’t stopped experimenting since.”
Since then, with numerous songs to his name, Sagun has reached over 200 million streams worldwide. This newest EP was another chance for such experimentation. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the possibilities of musical collaboration were, as many can imagine, much more limited. Despite this, Sagun and Carl Storm worked to create a musical experience for the listener that embodied the melancholy emotions, isolation and confusion of the past year.
When describing his first interactions with Carl Storm in a press release, Sagun stated, “We were just sending ideas back and forth. After he sent some great vocals, I did what I could on the production side and it turned out to be really amazing.”
His newest EP with Carl Storm opens with “i miss the silence.” Describing the longing for the bliss of a relationship captured in the little moments when your partner falls asleep and you are met with silence, this song sets the tone of isolation and loneliness for the album.The silence of togetherness, embodied in the subtle sounds of sleep, has morphed into the silence of seclusion.
The next song, “phone by my ear,” imagines moments with a love interest, in which they are no longer separated by miles and joined only by a phone call. Like a lullaby, this song embodies the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic when one becomes trapped in their own thoughts and worries: “Did you meet some guy? Did he buy you a drink?”
The third song on the EP, “don’t you go,” takes a turn in perspective from the previous two songs. Rather than emphasizing personal loneliness, the singer highlights the experiences of the listener: “When you feel alone, I will let you know/You’re the reason that I smile.” In this moment, there seems to be a shared understanding, a knowledge that both parties are suffering through their own solitariness.
Lastly, “lost boy” expresses the emotional turmoil in which the singer begs the listener to “pick [him] up.” It feels like a melodic cry for help, wrapped in gentle beats and Storm’s soft guitar chords.
Overall, the EP offers an expressive examination into a year in which artistry and creation were transformed through new mediums and restricted opportunities. Sagun and Carl Storm clearly conquer such distance with beautiful atmospheric songs and an intimate video experience that unite the psychological states of a pandemic-ridden world.
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