Keegan Tawa’s music seems largely inspired by the time of day/light vs. dark elements (see his Nightfall / Daybreak EP), and lucky for us it’s time for the introduction of a little sun to that mix with his latest “Sunlight EP.” Keegan has always accepted critique of his work during the writing process from close friends, but this time is different according to Keegan, as he claims this EP was developed with greater collaboration than in the past. “It is the culmination of all of my musical and artistic abilities, but more importantly, it is the first real, actual TEAM project I have built – the first one I can’t really claim sole ownership over. And that’s awesome.”
Lyrics and artistic vision were provided by his usual ghostwriter, Myles Billard, and the vocalists provided much of their own experience and ideas during development and recording. The lyrics truly inspire fantastic imagery and emotion, especially when paired with Tawa’s on-point production; they refuse to be overlooked on the EP’s biggest stand-outs, “Beautiful Motion” and “Sunrise In Blue (feat. Olivia Price).”
“Twilight,” the very edge of the end of day, opens this powerful EP with slow extended chords unfurling like smoke over the smooth glassy surface of undisturbed water. Zach Kramer croons over the track into the very powerful “Beautiful Motion,” which has a very distinctive and pounding chorus. Zach Kramer’s vocal talent is really evidenced here. The dynamics of all the songs are incredible, but “Beautiful Motion” is really grabbing and will have your head nodding. The vacuous pauses in the chorus setting the song apart feel as though the air has been sucked out of the room with every pounding synth and cry from Kramer.
From there we move into “Starlight,” sporting Beethoven-like arpeggios and a dreamlike, spacey quality that sends the listener’s mind drifting through pinpricks of light and sound, until night falls away that is, leading into the ominously titled “Sunrise In Blue (feat. Olivia Price).” Olivia’s more fleeting, ephemeral vocals contrast nicely with Kramer’s clear, glassy tones and help power the EP’s stunning imagery. In every note, the listener hears this warmth like the sun’s rising, but it’s layered with this fantastic blueish overtone that haunts every aspect of the track. It’s inspiring and at the same time sobering. The closing song, “Sunlight,” marks the start of day and the end of the EP with reflective yet ominous piano playing out over warm strings; the sun has finished rising.
Overall, this EP shows a marked improvement in songwriting and collaboration for every person working with Team Tawa. It’s focused, elegant, well thought-out, and it finally has a place in your iTunes library.