Everything Seems Different

Undercurrent Orchestra

Iman Spaargaren and his Undercurrent Orchestra is a contemporary jazz ensemble in a modern chambre line up. Playing grooves, telling stories, laying dreamy soundscapes and serving sizzling improvisations. All straight from the heart.
‘Everything Seems Different’ is their musical commentary on the COVID-19 pandemic. The album contains songs about fear and hope, boredom and inspiration, sadness and joy.

Iman Spaargaren: “Many, if not all, compositions on ‘Everything Seems Different’ echo the range of feelings and state of mind of the past 1 1⁄2 year. That time was not only for me, but probably just about for everyone on this globe an alienating, complicated, sometimes frightening and possibly even life-threatening period due to the arrival of a malicious virus.”

“The world changed, social contacts changed, people changed. But at the same time, much also remained the same. Some companies went bankrupt, other powerful players took advantage of the crisis. The feeling of being together in a large waiting room, waiting for redemption. And at the same time killing time with rediscovered hobbies or series on Netflix. A feeling as if you are living a borrowed life, while your old life is on hold, taking a pause. A strong desire for better times and earlier times, for freedom, for social contacts, for dancing and having fun!”

The 11 compositions on Everything Seems Different capture an era that seems unique, but on the contrary is somewhat similar to several historical periods, according to Iman Spaargaren. “The state of affairs might turn our social conduct into a new standard of behaviour. A health crisis that is strongly intertwined with how people deal with their living environment, nature and the planet. Perhaps we are now experiencing a period of High Tide and then we will go back to a quieter Low Tide. We will have to work together as humanity to turn the tide.”

Spaargaren wrote 10 new compositions for ‘Everything Seems Different’ and added a new arrangement of the standard ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’ by composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Otto Harbach, who wrote the tune for their 1933 musical ‘Rebecca’.
“I picked this song first of all because it is an incredibly beautiful and well-known song. Jerome Kern is a master composer. As I said, the entire album is about my time during the lockdown period in which all kinds of feelings played a role. Also a longing for freedom and carefreeness, like it used to be ‘back in the old days’. To me, Smoke is a romantic song from a bygone era. A time when perhaps from now on, many things were better. This (fake) nostalgia (because it is a romanticized false image) I also wanted to pass in review on the album.”

The Undercurrent Orchestra is a collective of acclaimed musicians from the Amsterdam music scene. The strong interaction between the players produces exciting – and cinematic – music. Dreamy soundscapes, solid grooves and burning improvisations create strong stories in multiple layers.

1 – Ja Wat Bedoel Ik?
2 – Strange (How Everything Seems Familiar and Yet Different at the Same Time)
3 – The Waiting Room
4 – De Vergeten Tijd
5 – Los Zapatos
6 – Scene Onderbroken Door Inkomend Telefoongesprek
7 – SUB
8 – Shaba
9 – Françoise Pourquoi
10 – Waltz for Indecided Minds and the Art of Decision Making
11 – Some Gets in Your Eyes


Iman Spaargaren - clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone
Annie Tångberg - cello
Gerard Kleijn - trumpet
Joost Buis - trombone
Guillermo Celano - guitar
Marcos Baggiani - drums

Artistic production by Iman Spaargaren
Recorded at Studio Groenland, Hilversum 13 & 14 February 2021
Mixed and mastered by Hans Ravestein at Studio Groenland March & April 2021
Art design by Carolina Altavilla
Photography by Efraim Schulz-Wackerbarth