State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Meditations on "Mediations on Calabria" by Atomisk & Tawa

Andy Fitton & Keegan Tawa

Today we get to indulge in a new release from local talent, Atomisk (Andy Fitton) and Tawa (Keegan Tawa). The piece, titled “Meditations on Calabria,” has been in the works for some time, and each of the guys have put in a substantial amount of work perfecting it. The journey to creating the piece began this past spring after Tawa played Movin’ On, a free music festival held every year here at Penn State. He received a very critical review, in which a writer from a local organization claimed that his live act lacked talent, and dismissed his originality, contesting that it was a bad rip-off of a song released in 2007, titled “Calabria.” That particular song was not actually his influence (it was “Awooga” by Calvin Harris), and for that reason, Tawa thought he would amuse the idea by creating an actual remix of “Calabria,” to show how he would execute it.

What started off as a joke, turned into the original piece we can hear today. Tawa stated that through working on it, it became “a whole exploration of all these musical ideas I had bouncing around.” After around sixty hours of writing the piece, Tawa presented it to Fitton, who originally hated it. This is when the real collaboration began, and the two put in another forty or so hours of writing, restructuring the entire song. From there, Fitton worked on the sound engineering (the synths and drops), while Tawa recorded the live instruments, and it was all made possible thanks to the beast, Yamamoto. At first, technical difficulties hung them up, but Yamamoto, the supercomputer that Tawa built with his bare hands, really made the intricacies of “Meditation on Calabria” possible.

While listening, it is important to realize that the only sample taken from the original is two bars of vocals. Literally everything surrounding it was created by Atomisk and Tawa on their own. “This song is all about new ideas,” said Tawa. “It was me originally trying to branch into new sounds and synthesis while retaining my basis of style: jazz nuances and like, a lot of rock ideas…while branching out into wild synthesizer ideas that I’ve never used before…and there’s a lot of sax work in it…So it really is our own style entirely. It’s the maturation of my style and Andy’s style together.” With access to Yamamoto, Fitton has been able to do much more in terms of production, resulting in a more professional sound.

So many things surrounding us every day influence us, but when you make those things your own by incorporating your personal style and ideas, you’re creating art. As far as I’m concerned, this piece of work is art in its truest form. Influenced by a misinformed review and a popular song, Andy Fitton and Keegan Tawa turned that experience around and created something completely original. Their sounds developed separately as well as in conjunction with one another through the production of “Meditations on Calabria.” You can count on hearing much more from the Atomisk X Tawa duo, including their next release, “Yamamoto.”

For now, check out “Meditations on Calabria” for yourself and be sure to stop by The State Theatre tonight for the Community Help Centre’s Sound Relief to see Atomisk and Tawa perform live along with other local talent!