Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Song of the Week 21: 'Wasteland' by zircon

Okay, this week's song is once again from a site that I've never even heard of again. Not that it's a bad thing, it's just that I don't even know how the heck Met finds all these songs for me to review. So yeah, here's the link for the song. It's called "Wasteland", and it's by the artist Zircon. I've heard of Zircon (mainly from what Met tells me of him), but I still really don't know much about him or any of the artists for the songs I review. Enough of that though, so I might as well start off this review.

The first ten seconds of the song sound sort of creepy; it gives off a science-fiction sound (if that's a good way to explain it). More of a beat starts to appear at 0:10, and that with some percussion added in give off a nice electronic groove. At 0:21 more treble sounds start to appear, consisting of a string section. This at this point makes up the melody. At 0:33 the piano takes over the melody, transforming the strings into more of a bass section. Until 0:43, the piano is just simple, loud notes. When it does get to 0:43, the melody in the piano has a little more excitement. It's not much excitement, but it's something better at least. At 0:54 it drops down into just the bass and percussion playing, which works quite well together. More piano appears during this section also. The dynamics of this song are pretty decent; the piano is loud enough, however the percussion and bass could change volume level once in a while. At 1:16 the song definitely become more upbeat than it was before. This section is pretty sweet, although lacking a melody. It dies down, and during this section you can hear somewhat of a melody. At 1:56 the song transitions into a different rhythm, with some musical harmony to support the piano melody. At 2:40 it goes back into what it was before at 1:16, with some differences though. At 3:08 it dies down again, leading into the song's conclusion.

Pros: The song did give off a nice feel, the instrumentation was decent, and everything blended together nicely.

Cons: There was a lack of melodies in many places, the dynamics weren't all that great, and in some sections the song seemed sort of dry.

Overall: This is a pretty decent song. I can't really give much for a review for it though; it's way shorter than most of the songs I review. It's pretty well-rounded, and the artist did a good job in making this.

Rating: 8.6/10

I've labeled Marim a heretic for giving zircon a rating under 9 and I will now continue with the proper review :). Alright, you'll notice that this track is from a compilation of sorts for 10/10/10 and it also features a few artists I've heard around at Protagonist Records. However, as far as I'm concerned, Wasteland is a track by zircon from an unreleased album featuring more of a darker tone (something I'm very excited for). With this in mind, it is possible there will be a few minor differences between this track and the actual song when it is released. Going back to my opening statement, I may be a bit bias toward zircon because I absolutely love his music and I've gotten my hands on just about all of his stuff (except maybe the complete Phasma Elementum, his first album). Zircon has built himself an impressive reputation in my opinion and he seems to work tirelessly at what he does. Anyway, I should get down to the review already.

This actually does appear to be a little different from most of the zircon stuff I've heard in the past, but I like how he's pushing things in different directions. Some abstract synthwork starts this track out before the drums are introduced under a low pass which is slowly lifted. Matrix Rob Dougan-esque strings soon join the track, but they soon start laying down a more complicated bass line than I usually hear with Rob Dougan. You'll notice that the time signature is somewhat hard to pin down with the odd percussion hits. I counted it initially in 4, but I soon realized that 3 actually works better; I'd love to see some speculative comments about the time signature here. Anyway, the piano lays down a slow and somewhat wary/trippy melody with the beat and chord progression that breaks open on a high note at around 0:43 with the percussion. The same melody is repeated this time with some higher piano added in further adding to the wary/trippy feel. 0:54 is a transition with a variety of ambient synths and such with some intermittent piano added on top before it breaks open again at 1:16 into a more percussion and synth heavy section. Piano chords are added for emphasis beginning at 1:29 until we loose the trip heavy low percussion at 1:42. At this point the entire track sounds fairly uncertain without the bass as it changes notes almost on a whim, but keeping with the wary/trippy structure of the track, the synth work is pretty good. However, 1:55 brings it back together completely. Now we're rolling with some sweet synths and trippy beats with the original piano melody added in at 2:06. I'm digging the feel here and the trippy beats make for a memorable track at this point even if it isn't your favorite. 2:28 drops the central percussion again, but leaves the piano albeit with some glitch effects this time among the swirling synths. This uncertain section is once again gathered in at 2:39 when things come together in a more resolved form similar to what we heard from 1:29 to 1:55 although this time with the central percussion always there. Things are subtly escalated with the high piano notes and synths until the track wraps up at 3:05 leaving some swirly synth sounds that trail off into the distance.

Pros: Tricky beats and melody with excellent-as-always synth work by zircon. I absolutely dig 1:55 and the ensuing synth, piano, and beat work. Good cohesion on a tricky melody and beat.

Cons: This track seems to suffer from lack of structure, usually zircon's music is more styled specific. This track broke open a little too early in my opinion and it was a little too uncertain. Keeping with the trippy feel this may be intentional, but I can't help but feel that it detracts somewhat.

Overall: zircon is as good as always, but this track let me down slightly. However, that may be the point, keeping with the trippy feel in all; art is art. My personal taste tells me that this track, if it was more mature, would be one of my favorites. However, it seems a little too raw. Perhaps this isn't the final version though; we'll have to wait for zircon's album release. In the mean time, check out Space Whale Studios. Andrew Aversa certainly keeps busy in the world of music and video games.

Rating: I was joking about the heretic thing obviously. This is subject to the same rules as all other tracks we look over. 8.9.


Marim said...

A heretic, am I? Giving a rating under nine is not considered heresy. Besides, isn't a good thing that we disagree on this song? We can't always have similar reviews and opinions.

Met said...

For zircon it is.