Thursday, 15 May 2014

A Lifetime of Adventure

It's been a while, but I'm back! Honours is crazy, but I've finally gotten used to the current level. But soon it will be ramped up again so I will probably disappear for about another month or more. I'm much closer to figure out my thesis topic. But I will need to do a lot of reading and pondering before I make my decision. Time's running out...

But for now, here's something I meant to post a few weeks ago.

I've finally figured out what I consider to be the best music. It's been a long journey, with many failed experiments, and a few successful ones. But I now know what it is! Or rather, how to describe it.

It is music that speaks directly to the heart, with all the grand triumphs and bitter sorrows of life. The tears, the laughter, the pain and the bliss. It doesn't matter whether it's conveyed through a dramatic surge of orchestration or the soft strumming of a guitar. It's something that might even make me shed a tear or two in emotional times. In a word: Bittersweet.

I was listening to the entirety of the album once a day for every day, for about two weeks. Heck, I even pre-ordered it before March and got it signed by the man himself. I was pretty excited after listening to Lifetime of Adventure, and I knew I made the right choice by the time The Last Sled was released on Youtube.

I'll just point out some of the most interesting tracks, which is kind of hard since they're all so fantastic in different ways. But here we go:

Into the West:
I haven't actually read any of the comics, which are apparently big in Europe, but I take it that this is inspired by one of Scrooge's first adventures. It's a wonderfully bold and full of "moxie", for lack of a better word right now. I absolutely love the use of the banjo and harmonica, which immediately evoke images of the Wild West, or at least a kid's cartoon version of it. It has a nice jiggy sort of rhythm that makes you want to tap your feet and clap your hands to the beat, usually when the banjo takes the spotlight.

Duel & Cloudscapes:
I'm not too sure what this one is about. But I can certainly feel a sort of juxtaposition between two elements: A very mischievous, light-hearted escapade created by the xylophone and flutes/piccolo, bookended by an incredibly tense clash, announced by the loud clap of thunder and organ at the start. The first part is definitely like a flashforward to the conflict under stormy conditions.

Go Slowly Now, Sands of Time:
The last words of an old man with many happy memories... It has that curious mix of happy retrospection, weariness and a tinge of sadness, which is reflected throughout the motif of inevitably returning home and the slow pace.

One of the many things you'll notice from listening to this album is that it's very much unstructured, except for A Lifetime of Adventure. I think that's one of its greatest strengths. It's not formulaic, and it is so much richer for having additional variation in the melodies and prolific use of (what I would consider) uncommon instrumentation. With every listen you will certainly find something new. I cannot recommend this enough.


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