Thursday, 30 August 2012

Rome - Masse Mensch Material [2008]

Recently I've caught myself classifying a lot of the music I adored a few years ago as boring. I keep growing tired with more and more stupid and obvious lyrics of bands I enjoyed a lot in past. Verifying my old favorite albums I was amazed once again by the beauty of music and wiseness of lyrics of the good old Rome. I may not enjoy their last release as much as those of their middle age, but it's good to remind how great they used to be:)

Rome, usually classified as martial folk, neofolk or industrial has been playing rather light, simple music with growing instrumentations and passionate melodies for good seven years now. In that really inspiring time, they released six albums and a couple of eps. Of them I enjoyed really, really much the three released between 2008-10, and quite substantially less the others. Still, asked about the favorite and best album, I'll say Masse Mensch Material without any hesitation. 

Why MMM? It's not as rich musically as Flowers From Exile, it doesn't have the cosy, warm feeling of Nos Chants Perdus. In fact the music is raw and may seem a bit repetitive. It is closed in the ascetic, instrumental frames, yet within them there is an open wound, smelling of fire, smoke and ash, gunpowder and steel. Rome has repeated multiple times that their songs are supposed to carry pacific, antiwar meaning, at the same time reminding of the great pain of the soldiers from not that far past. And quite in that style, MMM talks about solitude, loss of motivation and will to fight, inability to create relations – putting it simply in my own way – heart shrinking in soul's pain.

I absolutely adore lyrics from MMM. The music itself, however entrancing, is rather simple. Regular, but intense drums, acoustic guitars and some other instruments at times, super deep voice of Jerome, background murmurers... Yes, it's definitely the lyrics and the way they're sang and fitted to music. In fact I love each of those songs, Die Nelke, Neue Erinnerung, Die Brandstifter, but just to mention some lyrical highpoints of the album – one of most painful – Das Feuerordal and it's wise reflection:
We who sing of the void
We who burn with love
So strangely plaintive
So strangely complete
In a few drunken hours
In a few hasty words
From our watering mouths
Lose all we came here for 
Der Erscheinungen Flucht is a much more optimistic tune, with a good advice among many doubts:
your pride should be a lighter thing
an easy thing
a cheerful thing 

It's true, that few of us Europeans face nowadays a real horror of war, but under no circumstance are we allowed to forget of our nations' past and sacrifices. Unification of Europe, however doubtful, cannot be built on the base of ingratitude towards our ancestors, and as much as we care for peace, we must not let ourselves get killed. And if you keep asking what's the point of remembering history, let me just say – so that we can confidently fight with our own reality and its difficulties to stay focused on our purposes. Don't we need today to be reminded of how:
When we should be - weeping with rage
Or at least be rattling our chains
Look at us now - we are over 

Well, I could give many more examples, but not to prolong and make my point – Masse Mensch Material is one of the few really enhancing and important albums. If you're still not convinced, play Wir Götter Der Stadt, read its lyrics and enjoy its pure beauty. It's four years now, and I still feel like a trembling newbie every time I hear...

...Would you embrace
What is left to me?
Ever embrace what is left to be?
Would you embrace
What is left of me now? 

Friday, 10 August 2012

Murray Gold - Doctor Who: Original Television Soundtrack [2006]

The last couple of weeks had me being everywhere and listening more to nature than music. But since it would be impossible to completely cut off from music, I quite traditionally chose to obsess about little things. And what can be a better reason to obsess than recently discovered the best TV series ever which by the way has one of the best music scores ever? Just not to break our habit of focusing on music – let me speak a couple of words of mentioned OST, not just show. 

My adventure with the Doctor hasn't last long yet, but it's been pretty intense, which I was told is a normal condition for every at least a bit nerdy girl. I can't exactly say at which point I began to really, really love it, but I can say I loved the music since the very first episode. And though all series have perfect points (just to mention This is Gallifrey- Our Childhood, Our Home), I'll talk about the very first OST.

If you aren't a fan of film music like Zimmer, Williams, Morricone, Mansell and so on, you'd probably ask what's the point of listening to some cheeky background. Well, one thing is the amazing reminiscence of the brilliant show, the other reason is that the music itself is simply gorgeous. Sure, there is a lot of orchestra, but how interestingly arranged? 

Let's just take one of the first songs - Westminster Bridge – it's a super confident secret agent song. And Cassandra's Waltz? You can literally feel how slimy and treacherous can 'the last female in the world' be. There is a place for sweet romanticism like in Hologram or Madame De Pompadour (oh, this one was adorable!) and a sad melancholy over the fragility of life – The Face of Boe or Father's Day.

My biggest confusion is due to double meaning of Song For Ten – super accurate, cheerful music with lyrics that go from
I wish today was just like every other day
'Cause today has been the best day
Everything I ever dreamed
Well I woke up today and you're on the other side
Our time will never come again
But if you can still dream
Close your eyes it will seem
That you can see me now and then
and back again. Well, sorry, but if Doctor can jump from 'best day' to 'oh, we're apart' and again being so merry-go-roundy, our female mood swings are nothing! No wonder he drove his girls crazy!
But of course Doctor Who isn't just about emotions – it's also about epic fights and nothing adds them spirit more than songs like Unit or oriental Tooth and Claw (queen Victoria, werewolves AND eastern martial arts? How much more awesome can it get? Well, considering cutest lost Tennant and Billie Piper in jeans shorts...)

Still, my absolute favourites are cello focused, filled with pain, majestic The Impossible Planet (am I the only one getting LOTR/old China chills?) and heartbreaking Doomsday. Actually, the last got the unofficial status of my flat team's exams time hymn. Well, it was really hard to decide whether the music (and episode) are more or less depressing than poor students' reality;)