“We are now here / Grace is with us / Marvelous is Paradise”
Brains On Fluffy Pillows is an alternative jazz/rock project that was born in Groningen, Netherlands, at the Jazz Department of Prins Claus Conservatorium. It features a lot of sound exploration and in-depth songwriting on various social and fictional themes.
Successfully crowdfunded in 2016 on Indiegogo:
Our lovely enterprise consisted of:
- Suzana Lașcu – voice, effects, aka the cerebellum [Romania]
- Tim de Vries – saxophones, clarinets, aka the amygdala [Netherlands]
- Milton Rodriguez Cisneros – guitar, aka the corpus callosum [Spain]
- Johannes Fend – electric bass, aka the hypothalamus [Austria]
- Ugur Kupeli – drums, percussion, aka the pons [Turkey]
Why Brains? Why so relaxed? The sleep of rationality breeds monsters, Goya famously said. The exact translation of the work I’m referring to is: El sueño de la razon produce monstruos (1799) – Plate 43 of Francisco Goya’s Los Caprichos… However, we believe it’s particularly this sleep out of which art and music get born in a performance setting. And performance deals especially with this state of translucent daydreaming, where one transcends consciousness and enters a concentration phase which could remind one of the complex, yet overly subtle processes that take place when one goes to sleep, particularly into the REM stage.
Striving to search for personal happiness and eventually finding it are also themes and life experiences that inspired this band’s concept and repertoire.
Compositionally speaking, we are bouncing with moods of all sorts… Imagine we’re the ultimate pleasure conquerors, yet still Paradise Seekers (just like in one of our tunes), embarked on orgasmic adventures and cathartic desolations, while still within suspended humor. Devoted fans of Sigmund Freud and Oliver Sacks. Concerned with existentialism and contemporary social metamorphoses. Collectively fascinated by technology in connection to the fragility of our world, in tunes such as Father Bacteria Is Rising (a pantheist view upon the Apocalypse) and Lamento to the Endless Sacrifice and Futile Wars (a very South American Film Music type of tune, with Ennio Morricone as its aesthetic godfather). Constantly evoking traumas through our performance and attempting to deliver consequential healing through a meditative set of grooves. The expressionist electronic soundscapes paint a vivid picture of internal despair, like in Violet Light, but also cheerful disasters, like in Ending Tune.
At the end of the day, our main question and mantra is always ‘what?’, since the why of life remains forever merely futile.
How does the music go? There is a certain serenity in our music which cannot be exactly found anywhere else. Theater blends with electronic soundscapes and it journeys into subsequent resurrections of alter egos. In Chaka, perhaps our biggest hit so far, we all sing our hearts out about this girl who, just like in a bildungsroman, has all the attributes to succeed in life, but manages to be foolish enough to break all rules and defy society, only to be left in the end with her own capacity to give love towards the world (who once loved her), something she hadn’t considered before. She thus renounces her ego in a glass of champagne.
We also have one tune which pays tribute to both Olivier Messiaen and Futurama!! Inspired by Messiaen’s ‘Quartuor pour la fin du temps – V. Louange à l’Éternité de Jésus’ and by the fearless character of Turanga Leela, Resurrection for Leela is an explorative meditation on female depth and spiritual potential. And it implies that the Divine Word could have the same impact, regardless of a particular gender to relate to. This Resurrection is as fiery as the one of a Phoenix, for there are harmonies and lines which build up cinematically towards the eventual peace of the entire human race, the serenity I was mentioning before, the gentle spreading of the wings towards universality.
As you can already notice, this art is of a feminist nature, for there is a prevalence of both female heroes and villains that we talk about in our music. DnB, film music & punk lamento, conversed into jazz and rock & roll…
That’s what our pillows are about – and we choose to throw our souls into it all!
“The music presented on the album contains my very best compositions written in the last 3 years while studying in the Netherlands. Before encountering the highly creative environment at the Prins Claus Conservatorium in the Groningen, I was only singing and arranging jazz standards, so I am deeply humbled to thrilled to be able to bring into the world a complete story of my journey as a creator. I am confident in the quality of the content involved, not only from a writing perspective, but also performance-wise, since all the musicians involved have brought a lot of experience to making this music happen the way it did.” (Suzana)
Sources of photography: