As the mind perceives light and shadow as distance and form, so the mind perceives sound - this blog is dedicated to the musicians who embrace the art of crafting landscapes with the pattern and texture of music. It's a metal blog by consequence rather than design as the genre offers the most impressive examples of "soundscaping," but an assortment of post-rock, classical, neo-classical and folk might find its way into the mix.


Debussy - Beau Soir

In his late teens, Debussy hadn't quite made his mark with the radical harmonies he would later become famous for, but he was still a marvelous composer. In this video violinist Kyung-Wha Chung plays the vocal part for Debussy's "Beau Soir." Even without breaking out the aesthetic of his time I find his compositions to be overflowing with imagery. It's no surprise given lyrical basis for the piece, a poem by Paul Bourget.


Lorsque au soleil couchant les rivières sont roses
Et qu'un tiède frisson court sur les champs de blé,
Un conseil d'être heureux semble sortir des choses
Et monter vers le coeur troublé.

Un conseil de goûter le charme d'être au monde
Cependant qu'on est jeune et que le soir est beau,
Car nous nous en allons, comme s'en va cette onde:
Elle à la mer, nous au tombeau.


When the rivulets are rosy in the setting sun,
And a mild tremor runs over the wheat fields,
An exhortation to be happy seems to emanate from things
And rises towards the troubled heart.

An exhortation to enjoy the charm of being alive
While one is young and the evening is beautiful,
For we are going on, as this stream goes on:
The stream to the sea, we to the grave.

Coming Soon...

2009 is proving to be an exceptional year for music with excellent releases from bands such as Amesoeurs, Cobalt, Drudkh, Fen, If These Trees Could Talk, Isis, Solstafir, Wolves In The Throne Room, and many others. I hardly know where to start. I'm spending some time with Panopticon's "Collapse" - I may also begin working on a write-up regarding Agalloch's 2006 masterpiece "Ashes Against The Grain" which I can credit for starting me on this musical journey in the first place.

Insomnium - Across The Dark

Release Date: 09/02/2009
Label: Candlelight Records

1. Equivalence
2. Down With The Sun
3. Where The Last Wave Broke
4. The Harrowing Years
5. Against The Stream
6. The Lay Of Autumn
7. Into The Woods
8. Weighted Down With Sorrow

Finland's finest Insomnium return with a work of art that will challenge established fans to stomach the addition of clean vocals on a handful of tracks, but as someone who fits in that category I can safely say "do not despair." There is a lot to digest in the eight tracks that have been leaked, and by the time "Where The Last Wave Broke" ends you will be assaulted with so much rich, swirling melodic metal that you'll forget you just heard what sounded like a less abrasive, more Finnish, later-era James Hetfield singing on top of what I think is only fair to call Insomnium's most radio-friendly track since their beginnings. A dedicated sit-down with this album after weeks of worry following the post-card release of 3 of the new tracks (aforementioned track included) dissolved my fears. Here is a band that even when walking out on a potentially weak limb toying with a new style cannot help but churn out some of the most inspired, brooding, nebulous melodic death metal they have become known for with masterpieces such as Since The Day It All Came Down and Above The Weeping World. A quick word about the production: Though the leak is not the final mix, the quality is very good. Any improvement on it would make the production value top notch.

Highlights: Pretty much every track other than "Where The Last Wave Broke." This isn't an awful track, but the clean vocals do more harm than good. The chorus is anti-climactic, is repeated too many times (it honestly sticks out like a sore thumb the third time around after a brief and pointless wind-down.) The clean vocals on "The Harrowing Years" in contrast fit very well into the song and don't feel so tacked on (the same applies to "The Lay Of Autumn.") As for the rest of the album, it's crucial to listen to the entirety of each track. The true beauty of each track usually unfolds after the 1-2 minute mark. This is an album to be listened to with no distractions, and headphones might help for that reason.

Favorite tracks: "Equivalence," "Down With The Sun," "The Lay Of Autumn," "Weighted Down With Sorrow"