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 Post subject: THE DREAMSHIRE CHRONICLES : LISTENING NOTES FOR DISC ONE.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:32 pm 
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The listening notes I prepared for the 'Joy Through Amplification' album a while ago proved very popular with Dreamsville citizens so I've attempted to do something similar for the double album 'The Dreamshire Chronicles' whose release is hopefully going to be announced sometime next week, (provided the pressing plant manages to complete the album's manufacture in time. :wink: )

I've spent most of today listening through to Disc One of the album to try and capture its mood for you. In this post you will be able to read brief descriptions of each track. I'll continue the process tomorrow, for Disc Two.

Before getting into a track by track breakdown of Disc One, I'll just say that the entire album, (both discs,) feels rather haunted and ghostly, despite the predominance of big arrangements and solid sounds.

The 'Dreamshire' of the title seems to be inhabited by benevolent phantoms, lost but gentle spirits and glowingly transparent entities, vague memories materialised as nebulous, dancing spectres...the album feels like an act of necromantic conjuring. This wasn't consciously planned but has certainly emerged in retrospect...yet, despite the spookiness, it feels warm and welcoming, a world within a world. It's probably not an instant gratification album...but is probably all the better for that in the long run... 8)

Here are my listening notes for Disc One. I hope to publish the listening notes for Disc Two tomorrow. So stay tuned! :wink: :)

Bill Nelson: Listening notes for 'The Dreamshire Chronicles.'
DISC ONE:


1: 'Prelude: The Night Is Lit By Diamonds.'

A gentle electronically treated piano and reverse guitar lead to a processed percussion loop. Chorused, echo chamber guitar floats languidly. A two minute forty four second instrumental. It suggests starlight shimmering above the slumbering towns and villages of Dreamshire, settling and centering the listener's mind in preparation for the movie in sound about to begin.

2: 'Welcome To Dreamshire.' (Monitor Mix.)

A heavily treated percussion loop underpins this mid-tempo vocal ballad. A romantic but melancholy song whose opening lyrics are: “I dream of cities that don't exist, faces of people I've never met, empty streets bejewelled with rain...” Instrumental textures combine strings and woodwinds with Hammond organ and electric guitars. A couple of liquid, melodic, sustained guitar solos enhance the song. A brief toy xylophone line concludes it. This is the first of two mixes of this song. (The second appears on disc two.) This one is a monitor mix which is more or less as it sounded whilst I was still working on the piece in my home studio. It has a simple, intimate quality which I liked, hence its inclusion here.

3: 'The Pleasure Boaters.'

Somewhat dark and mysterious. A one minute and thirty six second instrumental. Brushed drums and chiming guitars lead to an Indian orchestra and reverse guitar conclusion. Brief but moody.


4: 'This Everyday World.' (Vocal version.)

Spooky opening cuts suddenly to piano and orchestra for this melodic song which is a distant cousin to certain tracks on 'The Alchemical Adventures Of Sailor Bill.' Time signature fluctuates between 4/4 and 3/4 (Waltz time.) Lyrics open with: “This everyday world is a haunted place...This everyday world, far from commonplace...”
The song's coda shifts pace as a steam driven percussion loop enters and tremolo guitars accompany the repeated refrain “Voices in the darkness...”

5: 'Rainboy And Whistledog.'

Thunder and rain opens this charming, chiming, freely improvised instrumental. A latin percussion loop suggests a mutant mix of cha-cha and bossa nova. (Spot the piano quote from 'Begin The Beguine.' ) Squelchy synth bass underpins twangy guitars and ghostly strings as Rainboy and his Whistledog wander the cobbled streets of a gaslit Dreamshire town sparkling with night rain.

6: 'Young Marvelman.'

Opens with needle static, brushed snares, raindrop-piano and dreamy guitars, leading to a strange and moody song inspired by the 1950s comic book character 'Young Marvelman' who, in my imagination is a denizen of Dreamshire.' Lyrics include: “Young Marvelman hovers in halogen, miraculous powers under control...Ladies in lavender gaze at the bolt from the blue...so there he goes and everyone knows, Young Marvelman...”

7: 'Garden Railway.'

A whimsical little instrumental which opens with synthesised 'steam' effects leading to electronic percussion, piano melody, choral motifs, plucked strings and backward harps as a minature railway train puffs its way happily around the garden of one of Dreamshire's more eccentric lords of the manor.

8: 'The Shimmering Threshold (On Your Bike Emperor Ming.)'

A vocal ballad this, beautiful but not a little strange. A sample of the lyrics: “Mandolin by the sea, broken clarinet, mandolin by the sea....My location on your dial, my name on the edge of your smile, roller coaster century...And there we stood, on the hilltop, looking at streetlamps and stars...Chimney stacks and viaducts, smoke that blows away, blows away...The shimmering threshold....”
An oriental melody enters followed by lyrics referencing 'Emperor Ming' from the old 'Flash Gordon' Republic film serials of the 1930s. A combination of orchestra and electric guitar leads to a change of tempo and fast synthetic phased drums as a weird coda kicks in with cellos, electric guitars and a lyric which sings, “Oh my God, this looks like, oh my God this looks like, some weird kind of apparition....” The song ends with a burst of heavily distorted guitars, running in both forward and reverse gear.


9: 'Evening Star Electric Park.'

An eight minute forty six second instrumental featuring slightly oriental Marimba patterns with improvised jazzy guitar overdubs. Has an overdriven guitar break leading to a piano section, then key change into a four to the floor rhythm with fuzz guitar then a return to marimba and jazzy improvisation. Mood alternating throughout between jolly and sinister. Other worldly voices enter, leading to a 'musical box' loop coda over which Gretsch guitars intertwine and twang. A Mini-Moog synth enters and snakes its way through the undergrowth before vanishing. Ghostly voices return to conclude the piece. What exactly lurks in this mysterious Park? Sacred monsters or creatures of Faerie?


10: 'Sailing To The Moon.'

A single sub-bass note begins this two minute and twelve second vocal-based song as a swell of processed guitars and soaring strings set the opening mood. A guitar loop enters and the vocal begins “This garden is a theatre in which colour casts its spell...This window is a portal through which ghosts are bid farewell...” A gigantic orchestra enters then dissolves as a woodwind loop gently ends the track. Short but widescreen.


11: 'The Milky Way (Burning Bright.)

An abstract opening to this instrumental featuring 'found' voices. Insect-like high speed percussion kicks in and the textures shift between guitar, synth and strings, ending in a bizarre, haunted sound collage.

12: 'The Sparkling Idea.'

Feedback guitar starts this song before tremelo guitar pattern enters with Indian orchestra, sitar, Moog and medium tempo drums. The lyrics begin: “My left hand holds a key, my right hand holds another...My mind defines the centre and all extraneous thoughts are dimmed...” A heavy guitar riff underpins an instrumental theme from the Indian Orchestra. More lyrics, “My left hand beats the drum, my right hand calls the thunder...Sometimes I'm struck by lightning, sometimes I'm struck by wonder...” A huge orchestra crescendo leads to quiet coda and oceanic synth and piano ending.

13: 'Ghosts Wind The Parlour Clock.'

A one minute and twenty one second instrumental combining sample-and-hold synth sounds with strings, woodwinds and harp.The tick of the parlour clock sets the tempo. But who's hand is winding it?

14: 'Spooky Little Thing.'

A poppy vocal in this whimsical song which cheekily references titles from several of my albums. (I won't quote from the lyrics on this one as it will spoil your fun!) Guitars, drums, slide guitar and orchestra all combined to create a melodic, catchy and concise number.

15: 'Now I Come To Think Of It.'

This is one of my favourite vocal tracks on the album...psychedelic, trippy, fractured, non-linear. A sample of the lyrics: “Oh yes, now I come to think of it, oh no, maybe some mistake...Oh, yes, now you come to mention it, I guess, we were wide awake...”
Guitars, synths, sitars and strings interact throughout. Enigmatic and dreamlike.

16: 'Spinning Pentagrams.'

Weird opening that sounds as if the guitar has been put through a washing machine on spin cycle, over which a sampled voice speaks of 'the dark mystery of time and space.' This mysterious song develops into a strange kind of blues riff whose reverberating guitar hints at Howling Wolf mashed up with David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks.'.
Here's a peek at some of the lyrics: “Here in the future, in an ancient England, pentagrams spin within electrical circuits...Swan boats drift on a beautiful river, beyond these oak trees, the glorious sea...who can tell if this is real or unreal, who can tell if this was meant to be....” The bridge section vocal has a subtle hint of mock-Cockney, Dick Van Dyke cheeky-chappie pronuciation about it as it sings, “Some days I feel special, some days I feel strange, some days I'm all metal, some days...disarranged...”

An orchestral middle section then enters complete with cocktail piano and ripe flutes, sounding as if they're seeking refuge from a 1960's kitsch television spy series. The song suddenly finishes...but a shimmering loop of vari-speed guitars enters a heartbeat later and initiates a coda featuring underlying dark noise and overdubbed voice samples.
Does this song suggest a bizarre fusion of '60s camp detective Jason King with Elizabethan occult Magus Dr John Dee ? Hmmm...Orson Welles would say, “probably.”

17: 'The Ruins Of Youth, The Twang Of Tomorrow.'
A one minute and forty nine second instrumental with rippling piano and wiry electric twang guitar which quickly evolves into a picked blues feel. Phased noise ends the piece and ends Disc One of 'The Dreamshire Chronicles.'
-----------------------------------------------------------





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 Post subject: Re: THE DREAMSHIRE CHRONICLES : LISTENING NOTES FOR DISC ON
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:43 pm 
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How tantalising ! Like getting a lovely fragrance before actually tasting.....

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 Post subject: Re: THE DREAMSHIRE CHRONICLES : LISTENING NOTES FOR DISC ON
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:44 pm 
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"..... haunted and ghostly"? Enticing!

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 Post subject: Re: THE DREAMSHIRE CHRONICLES : LISTENING NOTES FOR DISC ON
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:20 pm 
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As usual I am beside myself with excitement! A new DOUBLE album for Christmas! FANTASTIC!
As always best wishes,
Glyn Jackson


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 Post subject: Re: THE DREAMSHIRE CHRONICLES : LISTENING NOTES FOR DISC ON
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:23 pm 
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Put me down for a copy. :D :arrow:

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 Post subject: Re: THE DREAMSHIRE CHRONICLES : LISTENING NOTES FOR DISC ON
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:40 pm 
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Quinault wrote:
Put me down for a copy. :D :arrow:

+1!

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 Post subject: Re: THE DREAMSHIRE CHRONICLES : LISTENING NOTES FOR DISC ON
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:59 pm 
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Sounds Brilliant. Can't wait for the release

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 Post subject: Re: THE DREAMSHIRE CHRONICLES : LISTENING NOTES FOR DISC ON
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:21 am 
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New Favorite Song Title: "'Rainboy And Whistledog"

And who cannot be chomping at the bit for:
“My left hand beats the drum, my right hand calls the thunder... Sometimes I'm struck by lightning, sometimes I'm struck by wonder...”

I'm thoroughly curious, Sir.

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 Post subject: Re: THE DREAMSHIRE CHRONICLES : LISTENING NOTES FOR DISC ON
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:00 am 
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8)

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 Post subject: Re: THE DREAMSHIRE CHRONICLES : LISTENING NOTES FOR DISC ON
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:09 am 
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These descriptions have me sold on this one 8)

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