Three Colored Squares – ‘After Rain’

Amsterdam-based producer, Three Colored Squares, has created his first full-length LP, a downtempo/house album entitled After Rain

Three Colored Squares - After Rain
Three Colored Squares image via Three Colored Squares

Three Colored Squares has created an album constructed using one tiny device — a Teenage Engineering OP-Z sampler/synthesizer.

Produced by: Three Colored Squares

In a world where bigger tends to grab the most attention, Three Colored Squares has decidedly taken a step back and created his latest project using one tiny device — a Teenage Engineering OP-Z sampler/synthesizer. For some, this may be an overwhelming and grueling task as it requires the user to know the limitations and capabilities of one instrument. Others see it as a moment of growth as the limit shifts the focus from tweaking the sound after the fact to composing the track in real time. Three Colored Squares falls in the latter camp.

Teenage Engineering OP-Z sampler/synthesizer
Shown: Teenage Engineering OP-Z sampler/synthesizer

Three Colored Squares also creates all his music in a DAWless manner. DAWless is a method in which the producer constructs music without the aid of a computer. The “DAW” in DAWless stands for “Digital Audio Workstation.” And music creation in the 21st century heavily relies on the digital audio workstation. It has become the de facto standard. A digital workstation allows the producer to adjust sounds and tracks through computer programs such as Reason or Pro Tools. But in a DAWless setup, that isn’t possible.

With a DAWless setup, the producer needs to understand the instrument(s) at their disposal. There is no studio to adjust sounds after the fact. Typically, this results in the creator assembling a comprehensive group of drum machines, grooveboxes, samplers, sequencers, synthesizers, and other hardware devices needed for composing and performing. At other times kits and samples are added to one sampler/synthesizer, like what we have on After Rain.

Three Colored Squares Toolkit
Shown: Three Colored Squares’ toolkit

Started at the height of the pandemic, After Rain explores the theme of leaving a place you once loved. One of the initial sketches (‘Night drive // OP-Z house jam’ video below) included a four-on-the-floor rhythm punctuated by a hypnotic arpeggio. The thought was to create an atmosphere of driving alone on an empty road at night. Eventually, that track would become ‘See You,’ the 3rd single of the album. At the time of creation, Andrey (Three Colored Squares) was settled in Amsterdam for about a year and was considering moving to Berlin with his wife.

‘Night drive // OP-Z house jam’

Andrey further details his thoughts,

“I was reflecting on where I feel like home and what is it we call home at all. I thought about my earlier life… about [how] those places used to be home to me but are not anymore. I was happy there so many times, and I remember so many moments from there, but there unlikely is a way back for me, the places have changed, the people I used to know have changed, [and] so have I, and it will never be the same again. I conceived most of the tracks on the album thinking about it.”

Throughout the 8-track project, Three Colored Squares explores how textures and musical notes can stir up memories. From the opening title track, ‘After Rain,’ to the gut-wrenching ‘Generation Flee,’ Three Colored Squares confidently takes the listener on a compelling and authentic journey that just begins to convey what he has left behind. If you decide to dig deeper there’s much more to learn about Andrey and his journey. Overall, the thirty-four-minute album is a gentle and graceful listen that offers plenty of time to reflect on one’s past.

The closing track offers some answers as to where Andrey lands in all of this. With ‘Welcome Home,’ Three Colored Squares comes to the understanding that Amsterdam is home. As he explained to The Daily Music Report, “‘Welcome Home’ transmits a feeling of relief as I feel I am where I am to be. At least, at the current moment in time.”

After Rain is available on all streaming services on May 27, 2022.

Standout Songs: After Rain, Poppy, Generation Flee, See You, Welcome Home


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