L.A. Duos Making Beautiful Cinematic Music

3 mins read
Carrousel los angeles music

Each of these artist duos has a completely different sound—and story—but they all deliver sounds that are beautiful, sometimes haunting, always cinematic. Sonically explorative, dreamy, sometimes otherworldly.

When I hear these artists I think film scores, or loaning their songs to similarly toned stories. (And I don’t think that’s just because I live in a filmmaker mindset.)

The following are three L.A. based duos who are making some seriously beautiful, cinematic music.

Carrousel

Indie duo Carrousel released a 10-track album called Magnificent Desolation—and it’s pretty incredible. It’s sweeping sonic echos plus interwoven soft and primal vocals—highly cinematic.

The Los Angeles-based duo is made up of Joel Piedt (songwriter, vocals, production) and Sharon Piedt (songwriter, vocals.)

“Digital Subterfuge” is probably my personal favorite song off the album. It sort of feels like a performance that might take place at a jazz club on Mars. Or, going back to the cinematic element, an otherworldly, yet painfully human moment in the midst of a futuristic movie.

And here’s an acoustic version of it. Completely different, equally as beautiful. Aren’t they incredible?

Magnificent Desolation is just one part of a four-album project, which pays homage to Joel’s hometown of Memphis.

The region has become an intrinsic part of the band’s identity, particularly since moving away the South—in a sense, more as an allegory of a space than a literal representation of the place.

This Southern identity influences their sound with the origins of the blues, soul, and rock-n-roll.

“Memphis as beauty, Memphis, even, as Heaven.”

But the experimental result is sometimes haunting, from the deep origins and the future at the same time.

Memphis on Mars?

Earlier this year Carrousel released their EP I Wasn’t Well, which examined the fraught dystopia of life and the spiraling process of depression, both within an individual and a nation.

Magnificent Desolation is just one part of a four-album project, which pays homage to Joel’s hometown of Memphis. The region has become an intrinsic part of the band’s identity, particularly since moving away the South—in a sense, more as an allegory of a space than a literal representation of the place.

This Southern identity influences their sound with the origins of the blues, soul, and rock-n-roll. “Memphis as beauty, Memphis, even, as Heaven.” But the experimental result is sometimes haunting, from the deep origins and the future at the same time.

Earlier this year Carrousel released their EP I Wasn’t Well, which examined the fraught dystopia of life and the spiraling process of depression, both within an individual and a nation.

From that EP they released two experimental music videos for “Psychobabble Drama” and “A Solitary Soul,” as well as held a month-long residency at the famed Hotel Cafe in L.A.

Find Carrousel: Instagram | Spotify

Ming & Ping

Identical twin brothers Ming & Ping were born in Hong Kong and are now based in L.A., where they make music with producer and creative director Bao Vo. The sound of their release, ‘Los Angeles November 2019’ was created by combining vintage synthesizers with layered vocals.

Heavy influences for the project included 1980s new wave bands like Pet Shop Boys and New Order – as well as themes from ‘Blade Runner’ such as humanity, identity, and reality. The music itself features samples that were recorded in three different cities, Hong Kong, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

“Many of the lyrics have taken on more depth while exploring the chaos, grit, speed, and loneliness of a crowded urban environment. Although we grew up in Causeway Bay in Hong Kong, which is quite a chaotic place, we find more realism in the humanity and desperation we see in Downtown Los Angeles”.

The three-track EP is meant to be listened to continuously and features a journey of death, birth, life, and death again.

Ruby Red

Musician duo Ruby Red, AKA childhood friends Daniel Laner and Fernando Fine, have been performing together since they were in elementary school. The Los Angeles-based duo takes a low-key synthpop approach to their indie-pop masterpieces.

The concept for “Ozone” was sparked by the fear of flying, and marks the first time that Ruby Red has taken on a more abstract subject matter versus making music from more personal experiences.

They shared:

“The song morphed into the narrator leaving something or someone behind for something new. Most people have at least one of these moments in their life where they undergo this great, overwhelming migration from what they know and love into the unknown.”

Other singles from the duo include “How It Should Feel,” and “Superbloom,” which followed the release of their 2018 EP release, Lovelock.

They’ve performed live in California at venues like The Satellite, The Mint, opening for The Palms & Bay Ledges in San Luis Obispo, CA, and playing Breaking Sound LA at The Peppermint Club.

 

Bonus: BriGuel

A New York based duo with a thoughtful, bluesy, upbeat sound.

From the beautifully shot visuals to the epic harmonies, vocals, and flows of both artists, BriGuel’s “Mind Takes Hold” is just infectious in all its layers. The divine poetry is both spiritual and easy to process, with Brianne Berkson and Miguel Gluckstern perfectly complementing each other.

Brianne drops her lush contemporary pop-r&b vocals while Miguel fires his flow with a fine mastery. BriGuel also dropped an instrumental version of the track that you can stream here.

I'm Kate Ferguson, an L.A.-based Writer, Filmmaker, Social Media Strategist, and Blogger at, right here, That's Random Kate! (Previously Divvy Mag.) I love storytelling in its various forms, growth, shooting 35mm film, learning super random facts, building community, and admiring palm trees. Find me on Instagram: @KateFerg. (Where there will definitely be 35mm photos of palm trees.)

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