Ever since Maria discovered David Bowie as a teenager, she has loved his music as much as YoYo Ma's. To bring her long-time dream of making an album of solo cello renditions of Bowie’s songs to fruition, Maria teamed up with BeLikeWater Productions and called on her colleague, Swiss composer Mark Baechle, who has worked on numerous Hollywood film scores, to translate her love for Bowie to the cello. He created multi-cello, symphonic-like textures and arrangements (except Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide, which is a cello solo). And for the cover, Maria collaborated with a world-renowned Belgian designer Christian Loos (among numerous other awards, his work was chosen as one of the 20 Most Genius Advertising Campaigns Ever by La Repubblica). Maria says, “The cover is very Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim meets modern-day Man Ray and we love what Christian did.” The cover photograph is by a French-Lebanese fashion photographer Thierry van Biesen.
Space Oddity was arranged for the Ahn Trio by Kenji Bunch a decade ago, and Maria invited her sisters Lucia & Angella to record the piano trio version on this album. Maria says she had to include Space Oddity, because it was one of the first Bowie songs she fell in love with, and she couldn’t resist recording one track with her sisters.
Maria says, “the inspiration for this EP comes from many elements & artists, among them are; of course, David Bowie the true rockstar chameleon, Seu Jorge's Bowie covers sung in Portugese, Symphony No. 4 "Heroes" by Philip Glass, the Aphex Twin's Heroes Remix, my dear colleague superdrive aka Juno, and Axel Ruhland who was the first to get excited by the idea of my trio playing Bowie years a go and New York City where I live. It would take too long to describe the entire evolution of this project, but to simplify, my concept was inspired by “Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver”. The concept behind The Naked Chef is to strip food down to its bare essentials. Mark Baechle and I explored what these songs would sound like just with cello - very bare - and took our liberties with textures and forms, all the while letting the songs guide us. There are no electronic or artificial sounds added. But never say never, I may come out with the remix version in the future!”
Executive producer: Maria Ahn
Album concept & creative direction: Maria Ahn
Album producer: Mark Baechle
Cello: Maria Ahn
Violin on Space Oddity: Angella Ahn
Piano on Space Oddity: Lucia Ahn
Original compositions by David Bowie
Cello arrangements by Mark Baechle, markbaechle.com
Space Oddity arranged by Kenji Bunch
Recorded and mixed by Ryan Fagman at Soundscribe Studios, NYC
Space Oddity & Rock 'n' Roll Suicide recorded and mixed by Sean Yoo at NV Factory, Englewood Cliffs, NJ
Violin track for Space Oddity recorded by Jake Fleming for FTF Productions
Mastered by Mark Santangelo at The Mastering Palace
Chief production manager: Peter Cho for BeLikeWater Productions, belikewaterproductions.com
Cover design & art direction: Christian Loos for loosloos.com
Photo credit for cover: Thierry van Biesen, thierryvanbiesen.com
Photo credit back cover: Arthur Elgort
Make up for cover photo: Samantha Trinh
Make up for back cover: Elaine Madelon
Special thanks to Andrea Varalli, Mary Guettel, Dave Anderson, Bridget Guarasci, Mark Baechle, Ryan Fagman, Peter Cho, Mark Santangelo, Sean Yoo, BeLikeWater Productions, NV Studios, The Mastering Palace, Soundscribe Studios, Thierry van Biesen, Christian Loos, Lucia Ahn, Angella Ahn, Kenji Bunch, Arthur Elgort & Jake Fleming for making this possible and David Bowie for giving me never-ending inspiration. I dedicate this album to Young Joo Rhee and Andrea.