Monday, February 25, 2013

A Change Of Clothes For Python Blue

Python Blue is becoming a huge force to be reckoned with in the arena of 80s inspired soundtrack synth music. He has progressively impressed me with each new release with his ability to craft and evolve musical ideas in a genre that is usually a stop-off rather than a destination for many producers.

According to the by-lines, the Change Of Clothes album marks a concerted effort from this producer to make a "slightly lighter mood" as opposed to the shadowy realms of his previous record. This has added a great deal of scope to the album's character and personality and is, I believe, Python Blue's strongest record thus far.

The delightfully titled Shed Skin opens up proceedings, keeping a constrained and melancholy air about itself. The resonating soundscape fills and builds but keeps its emotional connection distant and slightly darkened. Maybe it's just the Plaisance-Effect, but I can't help hearing elements of Twin Peaks in the opening track, which actually enhances this piece for me a great deal and adds that air of tragedy to the music. As mentioned though, this is change in sounds and shedding of skin from his last album to this one still leaves the blue mood lingering on the horizon.

The opening transitional piece leads to Fun And Work and this second track really begins to change the colours from a the Python's darker blue tones into a much more vibrant and energised blue. Music is charged with positivity and dramatic changes and powerful percussion add weight to the airily formed melodies. This is still, most definitely, of the soundtrack synth denomination. Python Blue manages to create his own visuals for his music and Fun And Work leads into a dramatic second half that loses the innocence of the first act beautifully.

Taking the mood back to darker climes is Time Capsule. This trudging dirge offers a superb contrast of down tempo percussion with stunning vistas of synth melodies. The delicate balance ebbs and flows with a poignancy that keeps the good and evil on a level playing field. This piece is epic in it's make up and across it's five and a half minutes covers aeons of future history and stories yet to be told.

This track is followed by What Is Love which takes the mood of Time Capsule and turns it on its head with high powered melodies that remind me of Wang Chung's superlative To Live And Die In L.A. soundtrack. Action and drama are on the streets, heating up to a boiling point that's sure to leave hearts broken and innocence lost. Python Blue's instrumentation choices, especially his synth sounds, are a huge strong point for how this album works as a thematic, each piece feeling sonically linked and aurally drawn from the same palette.

Moods become much more intimate in Snowmen; Change Of Clothes' 'love theme' if you will. The sparse soundscape is energised with human emotion the longing for the touch of the one dearest to our hearts. Snowmen is joyous in it's delivery, hopeful and gleaming with warmth. The air is light with colour and the sounds draw directly from our emotions, tying and binding them to each other. The melting of the ice leads to the discover of kindred spirits and our souls soar together into the crispness of the clear winter sky.

Like a shot, Leave You Behind signals that the honeymoon is assuredly over and it is now time for duty and honour to rise. The build up in this track extraordinary with a pounding and forceful drum track that allows each element to be triumphantly layered as the face of battle looms. This piece leads into Analog Desires, almost serving as a precursor to it. The build continues with a more mechanical flow but once again the synths elevate and rise above with the power of humanity in the face of a soulless foe. There is hugely moving final stanza in Analog Desires that feels like the culmination of the this chapter's vignette.

All Over The News begins a new chapter and once again energetic percussion complements the building synth layers as melodies begin to form and evolve before our very eyes.  The lead melody is superbly arranged with a vivid brightness to it's colour and keeping it's energy flowing majestically throughout the experience. All Over The News gives just enough action to keep the pace moving but the overlying theme is made much more esoteric by the angelic synths.

Moving into the last experiences on Change Of Clothes we return to the shadows in The Final Frontier. Sounds are much less bright and begin to show the tarnish of age as we look much more introspectively and realise the final frontier is about our own limitations and shortcomings. The darkness never feels oppressive in this piece, in fact it feels comfortable and right. This introspection isn't about failure but success, the synths guide us through our psyche into realms of new positivity and a feeling of elation begins to wash over us like a mental baptism of spatial awakening.

Change Of Clothes finishes with Memories, a book-end piece that finishes off the record very succinctly. It's reflective in nature, but brings to mind the vast territory we've covered in our new wardrobe. For now, the darkness isn't something that scares or intimidates. No. The darkness welcomes and provides a comfort. Like falling asleep, the darkness is our protector and confessor every night we rest. The darkness is a part of who we are and the balance between the light and dark is exactly what Python Blue has attained on his new record.

The Change Of Clothes album is presented on Python Blue's Bandcamp page here and is highly recommended to those who want to spend some quality time with engaging music that asks as many questions as it answers but allows the listener to decide where this takes them on a beautifully crafted musical journey.

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