Monday, October 26, 2020

Music Review //
Babe, Terror

As I sit here typing this the world has barely began to get back to what it used to be since the coronavirus hit earlier this year.   There are two aspects which make "Horizogon" so important to me and why I am choosing to review it the way that I am.  The first reason is simply because there have been many pieces of music- from songs to albums- submitted to me during this time which were reflective of the state of the world.  I was expected to listen to pop songs about "falling in love during the time of corona" and I just couldn't do it.   This is one of the only pieces of music I've really felt touches upon what is happening in the world in such a way that I am willing to not only listen to it but write about it.

Secondly, I really enjoy the way in which this album was created.   There are six songs ranging from six to ten minutes in length so it is more of an LP than an EP.   Each song also has a music video for it which means there are a number of different ways which you experience listening to "Horizogon".   You can go the traditional route and listen to only the audio from start to finish.  You can watch each music video individually or you can watch all of the videos together as one which provides you with extra footage and creates a film.   I would actually love to see the full film as a VHS release one day but for now we can just enjoy the experience of each song taken as a video and given its own piece of this overall review.  

"Scala Velodromeda

There is an eerie feeling of electronics in this one.   Keyboards, but set up in a post apocalyptic way.   This becomes more apparent as these rusty guitar strings come in.   This video is also set within an airport and as the description states it is at the beginning of the coronavirus hitting the world.   It's odd because at first I thought it could be a shopping mall and I didn't feel like people had masks on- they were just going about their business as they normally would, some just standing around with their faces glued to their phones.   But as you keep watching you continue to see the people walking with luggage and masks on.   

As the guitar notes return we are seeing a scene which appears to be people dancing out in a desert somewhere.   It feels like a party of some sort, though the mood set by the music does not reflect that of joy.    Hearing these electronics and breaking down acoustic guitar strings, which are eventually even joined by a sax, don't really set the same tone as the visuals, but as they switch back to the airport it is a scene of almost panic.   This is fitting because what history may or may not reflect decades from now is that when the coronavirus first hit not everyone took it as seriously as perhaps they should have and so it wasn't simply everyone being in a panic-- some people did panic but others simply went about their day until they were forced to stay inside (and even then, not everyone did)


Haunted tones bring out the sounds of lost souls as we see images of buses from Brazil.  Tones come into the song now and as we look onto the city it is dark and gives me a feeling of people having to flee at night.   I am reminded of living in Houston after Hurricane Katrina, this other hurricane came through and everyone was scared by it so the city pretty much evacuated.  I was driving overnight, sleeping at a rest stop and it was just such a feeling like I've never had before and never had since.  The hurricane also turned out to not really be much of anything but it was a strange experience at least to have said I did that.  

The music feels ominous- not in the sense of panic but in the way that the panic is about to come.   Cars are driving now and I'm reminded how COVID 19 is not something we can escape in such a way.   Tones come through the haunted souls and it feels like a soudntrack to a John Carpenter film.   We see a helicopter.   This video doesn't just have a lot of transportation in it, it also has a lot of movement.   Pianos and hot air balloons now.   I wonder if you could live in a hot air balloon- high in the sky above the virus.   Footage of a parade is seen now with what sounds like a trumpet also accompanying it.   This is an image of the old life, pre-COVID 19.  

Going down a path through the woods now, we've combined the piano with the trumpet and electronic tones.   This feels less haunted and more like an old time jazz number, which is just such a great leap to make within the same song.   We see a few other people but not a lot now as the bass strings also become more apparent within the music.  I'm not sure where this is but it is nice to look at and seems like the type of place I'd go to if I was nearby.  I'm not sure why but the way this entire video looked- in the city- reminded me a lot of downtown New Haven and perhaps that's the point: there's a bit of everyone's city within it.  

"Horizogon Squadra"

We are back at the airport, much like in the first video, only now we have this choir of angelic singing leading the heavenly sounds.   I'm not sure how anyone else feels about flying but I do not enjoy doing it and have probably only been on a plane maybe four or five times in my lifetime (counting there and back)  The song grows somber, almost sad, as the singing fades out and what sounds like the trumpet comes in.  It's dark and there are lights as the voices come back deeper now, with more bass, and this just feels depressing which is not unexpected because of the state of the world which it is reflecting.

At times this music can feel like it is at peace.  I want to put it on and relax, take a bath perhaps.   At other times it feels like if I tried that once I was calm it would sort of wake me from that state as it can take on this more startling sort of tone.   The piano has returned now and I think of Charlie Brown for some reason.  Images of people dancing one again in this parade-like setting.   I hear a distinct beeping as well, as if it is coming from a watch.   Wow, who remembers how fancy watches got in the 1990's with all of their buttons and such.  I used to have a wristwatch with a built in timer- where you could time a race or something- and I thought that was so cool.  Now it's all in our phones.

The bass strings come back with the piano keys and it's glorious.  The image of a pyramid in Egypt now.  This is part of the parade still I think.  The contrast of music fits the contrast of people at ease and celebrating such as in the parade and then the people are also in a sort of panic at the airport- it's not rushing around and fleeing but more of the suspense.  Isn't that what this whole pandemic has really been though- the suspense of not knowing?   That has been the true fear.   I hear a sax now with the trumpet, things are falling apart, and it doesn't quite sound like jazz but I don't know how else to describe it.   Is there a genre for neo-jazz and if not could this be it?   Sounds like steps, like someone walking around a room and beautiful piano part.

This goes back and forth between dark and daytime a lot and I feel like it is done on purpose to further portray the two different sounds, the different moods of not only the different songs but within the same song as well.   The end of this video has moments of pitch black and it spends quite a bit of time in that almost pure darkness.  

"Estuário Transurânia"

This opens with a sound like a choir and it feels like the visual is of us flying over a city, such as by helicopter, and there is smoke coming from the city below.   Pianos come in as it starts to sound sad- the beeping from the previous track returns- and it is dark.  We then switch back to day time as it feels as if we are on a beach.   People are walking through the sand and water and the buildings just create such a beautiful atmosphere.   Electronics come in like a video game and I feel like we also hear a saxophone.   It's such a layering of sound unlike anything I've heard before and it just works so well together.   

Someone is now welding on a metal barricade on the road it looks like.   There are sad strings and then it becomes angelic.   Pianos return and there are a few different genres I've noticed throughout this album which feel just as at ease side by side as they do blending together.  We're driving now, under a bridge, which reminds me of NYC and it's rather bright.  We come back to the beach now and it looks somewhat overcast but is still a lovely view.  The bass plucks return now as the piano and sax have backed off.   Now the sax returns and the way this sand looks is just amazing.  There are these trenches forged through it and it's quite the visual.

If this is during the pandemic though the beach is empty compared with how Florida handled everything (which was not well)  We're back to what I feel is the parade now.  Many people are gathered together and there are costumed characters which look like cartoon birds but they're wearing shirts and hats.   They could be a mascot of some type.   Movement like dancing as the music takes a turn towards the beeping of morse code.   We're back in that tunnel.   The video game tones come through like Pong.   There is some construction and I just noticed the singing again.    Quietly now, it fades out.  

"Salina Lúmen"

We open on the city with cars driving.   Most of these songs have all started with these same sort of choir tones.    There are some horns and pianos coming in now, in a nice rhythm, and the cars seem to be stuck in traffic.   The sound feels relaxing and ambient which seems to go well with the cars not moving but I know when people get stuck in traffic they tend to rage.   The cars begin to drive and this most holy of sounds continues.   People are shown now in large gatherings again.  I've never really been a big fan of crowds, so I suppose one thing I'm not mad about when it comes to this pandemic-- having to be six feet apart from others.

That bass line is back and someone is shown singing now.   A voice accompanies the bass and echoes it.   Smoke fills the sky and I cannot tell if this is a party or a warzone but I prefer to choose party.   It seems like the parade we've been seeing this whole time is still going on and some smooth sax comes into the audio.  We're back indoors and I feel like we are at the airport again.  The way people are gathered but there isn't a lot of luggage so it might not be the airport.  It looks like some kind of indoor event though where people can shop.   

Tones come through like "Knight Rider" and it's somewhat squealing through as well.  I'm not quite sure what everyone is looking at in the center of this floor but it's pretty.   They have these markets everywhere I believe and I'm going to have to read about what's going on here.   Though I can state that this took place in Brazil this does remind me of going to some sort of similar feeling market in San Antonio, Texas which had a lot of Mexican items for sale and just in general being at gem and mineral shows here in Meriden, CT.   It's strange to think how these indoor events are the ones which we will miss the most during the pandemic.  

"Horizogon Catalase"

We open up with the sounds of sweet synth like something out of "Tron" and we see people doing construction work.   There are sad strings coming in now with laser blasts and this just has such the feel of a movie which is ending, which isn't just because I know this is the last in this series of videos.   Vocals come through now but they feel hollow.  People walk, a cat and dog play together around bicycles.   The strings make me feel like we are dancing a great waltz.   We're through the streets again and it sounds as if piano keys are trying to emerge.

I enjoy the contrast of streetlights with the dark sky.  We move closer to the light now and the piano keys get higher.   This city feels abandoned and the bass strings come back with horns.   It's odd to admit but at some point during the pandemic- maybe a month or so in- I wanted to get out so I just drove around and this video reminds me a lot of that.  For many, the pandemic started around March of 2020 and I was working up until April so I do remember just going to work in the morning and coming home at night without traffic, the whole city just feeling like a ghost town.  This video really resonates with me on that level.

Car lights are flashing and we go into almost darkness again as different colored lights take the form of a woman dancing.   The bass, horns and ahhhhh's make me think of some sort of futuristic jazz breaking down (as other tones come through as well) and it just feels like somewhere between that old black and white movie set in some bar where everyone is smoking and "Blade Runner".   The red and white lights of the woman dances over the street now like a hologram.    The way everything feels so empty when it was once full is such a powerful statement right now.  

Choosing to do this one video at a time might not have been the most practical way.  A different review could have been produced by only listening to the audio from start to finish or simply by reviewing the movie and having one constant train of thought from start to finish both in audio and visual aspects.   I do feel though like each song and just piece of this album deserves that individual attention and that's why I chose to do it this way.   Yes, if you watch or listen in a more complete sense (and not how I have chosen to break it up) there will be a different affect but overall this still remains one of my favorite pieces of music not just because of everything surrounding it but also simply because of how it sounds.

This is also one of the longest reviews I've ever written and not in the sense of word count but rather in the amount of time which it took me to sort of open up these songs and videos, dissect them and then put them back together.   Given the time and energy I've put into listening to this, I don't know how I would feel about someone else choosing to take this only as an audio experience or only choosing to watch the videos together as a film.  You need to really put the film onto your television via YouTube as much as you need to put the audio via Bandcamp through your stereo or even car speakers.    To me, that is just the completeness of the experience of this album.  

Full Movie here:

Full Album here:

Video Playlist here:

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