Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Song of the Week 14: 'Rare Respite' by Patrick Burns

7/5/2011 Met:
This is essentially the rebirth of Song of the Week, so in a sense this could be considered the first legitimate review/writeup. My links on OCR will only point to these "rebirth" SotW writeups.


Here I am again doing Song of the Week and this time Marim is tagging along. I'll break this up into two sections: first my review, then her review. This week we've got another OCR track (I love those guys) from the Donkey Kong Country 2: Serious Monkey Business album. I really enjoy the variety of tracks OCR displays for a single source tune. It is enlightening musically to be able to grasp a melody and harmony so many different ways. The track in question is Rare Respite by Patrick Burns (download here). Burns delivers a very solid outing with this track and right off the bat I like it already. The opening piano is almost a lullaby and more intimate then I would expect. The brief piano interlude transitions into a lofty percussion section with some good harp going on. If I have to dislike one part of this song it's the sudden high pitched flute that comes in at 0:50. It definitely establishes the music as Celtic, but to me it seems the low sounds just dropped out of the piece and now we're running on euphoria. I am a pessimist so this part might not resonate with me, but that's my take. The flute is well supported though and it surges through some excellently composed joyous melody. The expansion is excellent at 1:09 and it does a great job of moving the track forward. The brief pause would usually make for somewhat of an awkward transition in my opinion, but this one was executed perfectly with percussion. Now we're led into somewhat of a piano interlude that transitions very well into the guitar. I absolutely dig the guitar and piano part. The piano does a great job in its supporting role as base and the relaxing picture of rocking on a boat is conveyed perfectly with the sound effects coming in at 1:52. The next sound that comes in really puts the picture of a ship in my head. This part definitely tends to be the most visual. The flute feel completely natural coming in this time at 2:14 and there are some great supporting parts going on in the background. The picture is painted perfectly and I definitely understand the artist at this point. The transition from relaxing into this part (2:52) almost makes me laugh because it sounds mischievous when it first comes in. It's supported well by the brief stamps of base chords and it kicks us right into a fuller picture of the song then we had before as more stuff happens in the base before we jump back into relaxing. There is definitely an undercurrent of joyfulness to the relaxing as more percussion brings us along. 3:30 is definitely Celtic and the percussion does a great job of setting the mood, but no overtly so. It's not over doing the happiness in relaxation; this is absolutely nailing the feeling. Suddenly we're atmospheric at 3:48 and all that's left is the gentle tide and the intimate piano. This part just about makes me cry because it really hammers the feeling of a good day's work home. It's the perfect conclusion, and the only other problem I have with this track is the odd ending that sends the percussion out on a limb. It's not a horrible ending, but it could've been better. Overall, this is a fantastic piece and well worth the listen.

Pros: Excellent melodies with fantastic support and a knack for pulling off transitions perfectly. This song really does ebb and flow like the tide while making it feel natural.

Cons: 0:50 to 1:08 is almost too much of a jump to happiness and it stands out as euphoria. The ending is also a little confusing as it changes the mood for less then 5 seconds before promptly ending the song.

Overall: Fantastic piece that really pulls off some very difficult tricks when you're writing music. Transitions and feeling are conveyed with near perfection throughout the song along with some very strong visuals that add to the feeling. It stands out as a relaxing yet intimate piece that nearly every individual can relate to after a good day has ended.

Rating: 9.1/10


Alright, since this is my first post on this blog that actually isn't a comment, I suppose I should do a pretty decent job on this. In my opinion, I find this song to be pretty unique. The piano introduction in the beginning part of the song brings off a pretty calm mood, and how it displays a classical feel already makes me like this song. I find the transition at about twenty-seven seconds into the song to be almost awkward, since it's just a pause lasting about 5 seconds. At 0:32 a harp line and some percussion is added. The harp is pretty decent, and the percussion adds somewhat of a tropical feel to the song. As I listen to this section of the track, the melody creates some sort of feel that reminds me of the morning, where people are just starting to get up to be ready for their day. I agree with Met here on how the flute unexpectedly arrives at 0:50, as well as the Celtic feel. Celtic is just what I was thinking of as that section kept playing. At 1:21 I like how the piano takes over the melody, which thankfully isn't as loud as the flute section that was playing the melody until then. At 1:34 the piano ceases the melody and now takes the role as more of a base line. The melody is then taken over by the guitar. The guitar section is awesome in my opinion, and the piano does a great job playing in the background. The sound of a creaking boat at 1:54 is pretty cool, as it almost made me feel like I was actually on a ship. The strings introduced at that same spot do a good job with the melody, and it intertwines well with the ship noises. At 2:02 I thought that the new melody introduced was just a little bit too loud in my opinion, so I think it would sound better if it's volume was decreased slightly. At 2:14 the flute comes back in, but this time it sounds completely natural. I like the melody that arrives at 2:52, and the bass that comes from the low strings placed in the background is a great touch to it, as well as the percussion that will occasionally be heard. I think the artist did a great job with the percussion line in this track, as well as the other background effects such as the various harmonies, and even a little bit of harpsichord included at around 3:15. Starting at 3:46 is the feeling of waves crashing on a beach. Usually when I hear that sort of sound I get the relaxing feeling of having the sun set on a beach. At 3:50 the original piano interlude returns, and the song will then come to a close. That's not the only thing that does come to a close, however. The song painted a picture in my head, and it feels like the day had started when the beginning was playing. The melodies that were being played throughout the song represented the day, when the people were off doing work or whatever they were doing. And finally the end of the song represents the end of day, as things begin to quiet down. The waves sounding in the background, as well as the sound of a ship's bell adds to this feel. The very end however, I disliked, because at 4:22 it suddenly goes right back into that upbeat mood with more percussion added in. I didn't like how it suddenly transitions just at the last 2 seconds of the song; it would be much better off if it ended with that last relaxing mood that it gave me. This is a great song to listen to, despite its few cons that is displayed.

Pros: This song has some pretty great melodies, with some great support added in to make these melodies stand out even more. There was hardly anything choppy, and the song would continue to flow until the end. It has a great array of effects, including the ship noise, and the waves. It really paints a picture in your head very clearly, and it is definitely a piece worth listening to.

Cons: The transition in the beginning to the first Celtic melody was a little bit empty; it could have used a little more sound in that 5 second pause. The melody was a little bit loud at some times, and I thought that it had a bad ending right at the last second. If the ending didn't go back to that happy mood, it would have been just fine without it.

Overall: This is an excellent song, and it is something I could listen to over and over again. Like Met had said, it brings about some great visuals. The feel of the song is great, with different melodies being intertwined throughout. It gives the listener a relaxing feeling, with some upbeat melodies mixed in. Overall it was an impressive piece.

Rating: 8.9/10


Reogan said...

Wonderful selection.

I must disagree with you both, however. I like the first flute.

Also? I think you can cut out the words "in my opinion" a little, Marim. It became redundant. Great first post, nonetheless.

Will you hate me if I say I like the ending?

Marim said...

Sorry about that Reogan, I hadn't noticed how many times I used that phrase. I will double-check my next post to see whether something I said has been overused. But thanks, I'm glad you think that it's a good post. I mean, it is my first time after all. I will try my best to improve with each one.

And no, I won't hate you for liking the ending or the first flute. Or maybe I will. I guess we will never know...

Reogan said...

Well, you will.

If you improve every time, my job is in jeopardy.

Marim said...

Please. I highly doubt that I can become as good a writer as you. I'm pretty much mediocre and new at this. There's no way that your job will be in jeopardy if I keep improving.

Reogan said...

But I don't improve at the rate you do. Even if I am currently above you, as you seem to claim, your greater acceleration will soon overtake me.