Friday, February 22, 2019

Music Review //
Michael Chinworth
"Three Vapors"


https://michaelchinworth.bandcamp.com/album/three-vapors //

"Three Vapors" opens with a song called "Good As It Gets" which has a piano loop to start.   Michael Chinworth begins to sing and in ways with the piano and singing- and at other times of the singing as well- this can remind me of Ben Folds.    The hook on this song is "Baby loving you was as good as it gets" which has a nice melody as well.  The vocals get layered and begin looping over each other before the aahhhh's blast out loudly over it all.    Everything is working together but it still feels like there are one or three songs being played at the same time and it just works somehow-- Michael Chinworth makes it work somehow.   Higher pitched manipulated vocals come out at the end with these space sounds as well. 

"Fugue" also begin with this sad piano line but it's not in a loop and it just seems to grow, slowly.    As soon as the vocals come in, there are three voices singing at once.  "Why does it have to be a robot?" is a question asked and I think the answers to that can be found in the most excellent film "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" (Yeah, I skipped the first one)  The singing has soul.    Of the voices all singing at once, you can likely most clearly hear something about the water.    I often times listen to instrumental music, which of course is that lack of vocals, but compared to even the first song I wonder if this needs a special name because it's not just the opposite of instrumental-- it has more vocals than the songs you're typically used to hearing.

"I look at you / don't look at me" makes me feel like the different voices on "Fugue" are beginning to not get along.    This is my favorite song on "Three Vapors" if only because it feels so conflicted.   There are also lines about fire now, which go nicely with the one about water.    A nice piano tickle comes in and then "The water gets harder to fight / The water gets harder to hold onto" comes in next, which is interesting because I never really thought of water as being something you could hold onto but I suppose fish would disagree.  "This won't be the first time you've waited / This won't be the last time you've waited" can also help you get an idea of what the lyrics are about here as they seem to not only go against the other voices but in ways they have that "Statement 1 / Statement 2" and there are opposites within them.

As we near the end of "Fugue" it gets a bit shaky.   Then it turns into this melodic "When I drove over the bridge..." part which is just so pure.    The vocals can be layered still but in some ways it does feel like this is the expanded version of the other sounds which were played on top of each other.   "You know I'm right / I know I'm right" ends this song with that feeling of either drowning of floating on clouds, but since there is also that line about the bridge I imagine the car driving off of it and this being about drowning.   Maybe you would like to have a more optimistic take on the situation but that's how I see it.

Sharp tones almost like beeping, like an alarm, start the last track.     It beeps back and forth like a car alarm going off before picking up its pace.  It feels as if it's growing now, that one little beeping sound is hatching into longer notes and there are pleasant piano sounds behind this as well, almost like a lullaby.    The notes can begin to feel frantic, there is a sense of urgency within them and though this song is instrumental I feel like the way these notes move, the shapes that they take, speak volumes.    I've always been a fan of music where you take out the earbuds and when you're back to what you normally hear around you your ears have to adjust.   These sharper tones fade by the end and we hit only these more blissful tones, which kind of help to bring us back to reality, but it still kind of messes with my ears and I like that so much.

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