For those who like listening to Sleepthief, Conjure One, Delerium, Blue Stone etc.)
Like its mythological name Longing for Orphues is a grand vision by Texas based musician Derek Smootz. This is his alter ego-the other one is a traditional Irish musician. The transporting melodies and use of studio genius to manipulate sounds are what makes the album Somnia an exciting release. The word itself means “dreams’ in Latin.
According to composer Derek Smootz: These are songs of dreams, of the night sky, of hopes and fears, of love lost and love found. These are songs about the beauty in a sometimes not-so-beautiful world.
Fire opens the album with its fiery instrumental and vocal beauty. The voice of Rebecca Smootz is further enhanced by harmonization. When she hits the high notes, she reminds me of Scottish singer Liz Fraser. The piano lines breathe all throughout. There are stops or pauses which makes this song spacey and relaxing.
Airy synth lines introduce Shine. I love use of reverb and echo. These effects are used tastefully. Like images paintings in watercolor the sounds melt and merge creating a diaphanous layers of atmosphere and imagination. Lisa Alexander lends her beautiful voice to this song.
Theremin-like sounds embellish The Walk. It has a marching tempo. “ I will hold you close until the stars and planets all turn to dust..and at the end of time there will just be us”. tThe catchy chorus rolls over and over again. This is definitely art pop at its best. Once again Rebecca Smootz perform the vocals here.
The Sea has evokes that feeling of suspense. Michelle Haché has a voice with lyric soprano quality. The electronic keys pulse all over this track that calling to mind sea bubbles bursting at the surface of tides. This track has an underwater feel. Makes me think that being enchanted by mermaids probably feels this way.
Then transport us to alien realm. I envision a huge flying saucer landing with colorful lights creating an aurora borealis effect. Derek Smootz is a synth master. He knows the kind of sonic combination that draws a feeling of the moment. The voice of Heather McCrocklin is washed in delay and echo creating an otherworldly listening experience. This is something in electronic music that no acoustic music could ever reproduce. There is that droning sound around 3:00 of this track. I think I saw whales and space ships while listening to that amazing drone sound.
A Room Full of Stars is the best example of Space Music. Meredith Ruduski is singing in the style reminiscent of Sally Oldfield. This track is best listened to using huge speakers inside a wide room. Everything about Somnia is visual and this one makes me think of floating. It reminds me of a contained cloud by a Dutch artist. http://abcnews.go.com/International/slideshow/artist-creates-clouds-art-15903014
The voice of Rebecca Smootz is back in Sand. It is a song about longing. Spiritual longing that is. “Endlessly I seek horizons”. I find myself relating to this song more and more as I listen to it several times. Derek doesn’t use the same synth effect in each track. He always brings something different in every track.
The introduction to Ghost has that of an old vinyl record with scratches. This song is about letting go. Karlyn McCutchan has a voice filled with empathy and angelic warmth. Only those who have undergone loss will understand what it means to be a ‘ghost”. But songs about loss and letting go are powerful because they are about polarity and change. “ I am so tired of haunting these walls and we have nothing left to say”. These words echo something deep and personal to me. And then “Let me go, let me fade away like a shadow into night” becomes total release.
At the Ending as the explanation in the liner notes: A glance behind. I realized even before reading that brief explanation in italics above that Somnia is actually about our life cycle. These are things we go through until we become who we are. Derek Smootz sings in this track. The only male voice in the company of female voices. How brave of him to sing about looking back with complete understanding. Very few of us can look at our past without anger or pain. “ As the last sunset and twilight dance , we will be the last falling leaves.” Fragile scenes caught within a song.
Broken Down is about mending. Once again we are warmed by the beautiful vocals of Meredith Ruduski amidst the swirling synths, electronic beeps and beats. “ I am bound to the earth and I watch you fly”. We are broken down when someone leaves us and while we have stages of grieving this song does it beautifully. Songwriting is indeed a beautiful and artistic way of expressing emotions. It might not be a process that can heal us but something good comes out of that art-so that others can bask under the light of its beauty.
Ivory Towers closes this album. You only realize the power of thine own self once you have been through the rough times. This is a song of experience and redemption. Nothing in life remains permanent. The only thing that’s permanent is your own self. The lovely vocals of Rebecca Smootz is like an expert hands of a healer. She reaches out into that part of our soul that is still pure and trusting despite the loss and pain we experienced falling out of love.
Somnia is an album that satisfies all aspects of emotions and moments that we go through in life. You can see that this is a perfect soundtrack for those moments: moments of discovery, ecstasy, loss and healing. Like a good karma, Derek Smootz showed me the beauty of life’s wisdom told in the form of an album. And that album is Somnia.
More info here: http://www.orphicmusic.com/LfO/Treleases.php
b3nny a.k.a. Benny Bomstærk
Known by the monicker b3nny in the Danish electro scene, Benny Bomstærk started learning the drums at the age of 7. He has involved himself in music for the past 20 years. It is only now that he is taking a course in the music conservatory and applying his self-taught technique along with Music Theory. His style isn’t what you would normally call ‘catchy’ or poppy but there is something within the atonal melodies and complicated beats that will drive your psyche to respond. Such primal reaction to his music is brought about by his own personality. He values subtlety and as a result, he is a type of musician who says a lot in between scales and beats.
Tugdual Pop Music
Wow 20,280 likes in facebook. Those who follow the German music scene probably already knows this music project. Check more info by following this link: https://www.facebook.com/TugdualPopMusic
Flashback:Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill – Official Music Video
Feeling a little nostalgic today so here is Kate Bush for you.