Critically Acclaimed Musician and Film Composer Arli Liberman Shares New Album, Portal

  • Critically Acclaimed Musician and Film Composer Arli Liberman Shares New Album, <em>Portal</em>
Critically Acclaimed Musician and Film Composer Arli Liberman Shares New Album, <em>Portal</em>

Critically Acclaimed Musician and Film Composer Arli Liberman Shares New Album, Portal

Critically acclaimed musician and film composer Arli Liberman announces the release of his new 9 track album titled Portal – out on all platforms today.

Arli is known for his evocative, boundary pushing atmospheric soundscapes, that effortlessly blur the lines between vision and sound. With Portal he extends this auditory journey, spelunking for subsonic textures and exploring those subtle sonic spaces that fall between the notes.

Reflecting on the evolution of his music, Liberman shares, Portal has been a slow-cooking project. Initially, it manifested as a breakup album, but it turned out to be a much more pure and personal undertaking. It morphed into a process of creating shifting frequencies, transitioning the listener between spaces – somewhat akin to passing through sonic portals.”

Portal has been a long time in the making with initial composition and recordings beginning with engineer Rich Bryan at Bigpop studios. Following an extended hiatus those earlier laid foundations were dusted off and the creation process re-ignited in 2022 – and completed the album’s tracks in early 2024 – with Jacob Rush and Chris van de Geer at Drake Street studios in Tāmaki Makaurau. The album was mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri at Black Knoll studio in New York, USA.

Portal is an immersive auditory experience that transcends traditional genres, weaving together lush orchestral style arrangements infused with ambience, depth and emotive intention. Each track invites listeners to enter into a different sonic realm, exploring the profound intersections between sound, emotion, and imagination. “The sonic portals are more like reflections of personal life lessons and challenges I have encountered over the last decade. It reflects my ongoing journey of personal and artistic growth whilst experimenting with different emotions and expressions,” Liberman explains.

Creating Portal has been a sincerely introspective journey for Liberman. The album explores themes of transition, migration and loss, – which generously provide the foundations for these portals to open which presents new opportunities and phases in life – delving deeply into core concepts of change and renewal. “One of the lessons I learnt is to openly embrace change and evolution. My perspectives and tastes have expanded since I started work on this album, so it’s about absorbing that expansion rather than dwelling solely on lingering past experiences.”

Liberman’s artistic evolutions are abundantly perceptible through every note of this album. He has deftly crafted a sound that is both universally relatable and deeply personal. It is a true testament of Liberman’s ability to evoke powerful emotions and stories without words. “It’s challenging without lyrics or a script, but I focus on abstract sensations and experiences. I build layers of sound that evoke these emotions, creating immersive worlds that listeners can relate to on a deeper individual level.”

Portal‘s storytelling is primarily achieved through the intricate layering of Liberman’s exquisite musicianship but it also introduces vocal textures, provided by avant-garde producer Missy (Abigail Knudson) on the song ‘Sentience’ and Coco Raoult on ‘Portal’.

Liberman elaborates on his creative process, stating, “When creating a piece about falling in love or appreciating the beauty of our environment, I don’t think about the object itself but the sensation in my body. I try to experience it in the most abstract ways possible. Each layer of sound has orbit qualities, creating a wide world full of particles where everything can go anywhere at any time.”

Notable visual collaborations include Australian aerial photographer/artist Paul Hoelen (who contributed the stunning cover art image), and acclaimed VFX and Flame artist Puck Murphy who created the visualiser for the song ‘Sentience’. With visuals created and generated wholly in response to the music – presenting an understated yet intensely beautiful masterclass in ‘action/reaction’. “Puck is an incredibly talented artist I’ve known for years. His visuals expand the world of Portal, creating temporary realities that encourage imaginative exploration, akin to a playground of sights and sounds.”

Portal is Arli Liberman’s third artist release within the Bigpop label family. It follows Fata Morgana (2015) and Allegra (2016).

Liberman is celebrated not only for his solo work but is also in high demand as a screen composer. His distinctive approach to sound-making enriches storytelling by bringing emotional soundscapes to life, uniquely tailored for each project.

As a screen composer, Arli has worked on a wide range of films, including scoring Sam Kelly’s acclaimed gang movie ‘Savage’, which earned him the 2021 APRA award for Best Original Music in a Film. He scored ‘Stylebender’, a documentary directed by Zoe MacIntosh about Israel Adesanya – which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival 2023. Most recently he has composed the score, with Tiki Taane, for the historical Māori drama ‘Ka Whawhai Tonu’ directed by Mike Jonathan. Liberman is currently working on the score for the film ‘Kōkā‘ directed by Kath Akuhata-Brown.

Portal releases today on Friday, July 5th, via Aotearoa’s independent label Bigpop Records. Listeners can expect an immersive journey into the evocative world of Arli Liberman.

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Photo credit: Jennifer Raoult