by Martin Eliasson
2006-12-24 23:59:41

Heaven is a Sea

Heaven is a Sea is the title of the first album launched. It's part of a ongoing collaboration with photographer Jens Larsen, where he takes the photos, I compose the music and it all adds up to a wonderfull slideshow, a CD with music and pictures and maybe a movie in the future.

My music has been described as Vangelis-sounding, as 'New-age but more melodic'.


Listen to the Music

I have put the music here for your enjoyment to listen to ( using the XSPF player ). Be patient, the first song starts off very silently. If you realy like the music, ydrop me an email to buy the CD. It will give you the best possible quality of the recordings and it will support my future musical adventures financially. Thanks.

In the Beginning

In the beginning there were Tom Petty, Chris Rea, Olle Ljungström and the dancemusic of early 90's like Culture Beat, Master Boy and E-Type that I listened to as I grew up. Occasionally I tried to write som tracker-music on my Amiga 2000 but somehow it wasn't until late 1997 I bought myself a real synthesizer. I bought it because I figured that if I quit watching TV and spend some time infront of my synthesizer instead, maybe I would write some really good songs one day. Originally, I had set my mind on making dancemusic but I wasn't good

The First Song - 78N 16E


One day in the spring of 1998 as I just had finished my not-so-successful contribution to the "Swedish Masters of Remix"-contest, my friend Jens Larsen called me and wondered if I might be interested in seeing his photos from a recent tripp to Svalbard (Spitzbergen) he had done with some friends. He had made a slideshow out of the picture and made a special tape with music of Vangelis and Pink Floyd to go with the pictures. Good music but overused so many times, so I figured maybe I should write a special piece of music just for his pictures. Said and done, it became the start of a long collaboration between him and me. The song was 78N 16E which later that year was followed by Sleeping Sea written for Jens photos from Lofoten taken in the late summer of 1998.

The Album

Once we had two slideshows, we started think about how we could reach out and we came up with the idea to make a CD with both music and pictures. It was technically a little bit tricky but we succeeded and suddenly all our Christmas gift problems of 1998 were solved. After pitching the CD to friends and people around us we finally mad a special show of the slides at Kårullens (Linköpings Uiversity Film Club) filmfestival and that was kind of the end of that project.


Heaven Is a Sea


Audio tracks:

  1. 78N 16E (15.27 min)
  2. Sleeping Sea (14.25 min)

+CD-ROM partition with the photos

All songs written and produced by Martin Eliasson during 1998. All Photos but the photo of me taken by Jens Larsen 1997-1998. We own our own copyrights and we reserve all rights for ourselves.

About the music

The music on Heaven is a Sea is film music. Unlike ordinary songs which usually adheres to some kind of radio- or liveperformance- format, this music adheres to the mood and rhythm of the pictures (which often makes them very long). They can be described as Vangelis- or Kitaro- sounding. A friend of mine called it "New Age, but with more melody and structure". Fundamental elements of the songs are soft, sweepy, airy pads in harmonic progressions, rhythmic but not so aggressive drums and a lot of melodies played by realistic and synthesized sounds. Most importantly, it is all used to tell a story.

About filmmusic

Making music, in my opinion, isn't about buying or owning equipment. Its about using the things at hand to express something. To get from equipment to expression I started to buy books about music making and it wasn't until I started to learn about song structure I realized that part of my love for filmmusic comes from the fact that you can let the songs decide for themselves exactly what structure they need. The stories inside the music doesn't have to obey conventional format.


Many people think they have written filmmusic when they have produced a piece of music longer than 3 min, without a melodic theme and vocals. I think filmmusic is a piece of music telling a story without using words. Listen to soundtracks like Vangelis 1492 - Conquest of Paradise quest for paradise or Blade Runner, David Lynch's The Straight story. You don't need to see the film to get what it's really about and the films depend on the music "telling the other part of the story".

There are certainly other views on filmmusic than mine. Today, the most common task of a piece of filmmusic is not to tell a story, but to make it clear, beyond any reasonable doubt - who's bad, who's good, when something is to be perceived as beautiful, exciting or dangerous. Music are also used to create trademark-themes, like the themes for Miami Vice, Dallas or Mission Impossible. Some themes combine several of these aspects of filmmusic, for example the series of Bond-themes.

What 'Heaven is a Sea' really means

I guess people think Heaven is a Sea is a religious reference. It is not, although it is a possibility that there is a heaven and that it may be a sea. The title wasn't apparent until the end of the project, as we were looking back and realizing what we had done. Heaven is a Sea wasn't a planed project, it just came about, I just stroke some chords on my synthesizers and rearranged it in the MIDI-software. I started to ask questions like "what does it sound on Svalbard?" I found myself looking for sounds wherever I went and all of a sudden we had two slideshows with music that really had something to do with them.


To me, Heaven is a Sea is an album about discovering. You will understand the title if you look at all the pictures, you see, it's the heaven on the Svalbard photos that makes them special and that is what I had on my mind when I wrote the music. For Lofoten, the water has the same role in the pictures and in my composing. You just have to turn the Svalbardphotos upside down and put them along the photos from Lofoten to discover that the Heaven also is a Sea, just of a different kind.

The next project

Over the last two years I've been quite busy being involved in Linkoping College Radio (Radio Stil) and haven't had time for any big projects, but it has now changed and a new album is in the making. If Heaven is a Sea was about discovering, the new album will be about looking back upon the traces we leave as we live our lives in modern society. The album haven't been named yet nor has any song been either but it will be a bigger album with more songs closer to the visions we had for Heaven is a Sea.