Monday, July 02, 2012

Song of the Day 28: 'Ornamekias - A Slight Wave From the Hill Above' by Meteo Xavier

Out of all the tracks on Espers, by far I am the most familliar with this one. This is because it was avilable for free download upon release at Protagonist Records. After listening to it, I immeadiately made a note to myself to pick up Espers; sorry it took so long. Anyway, this is a fantastic piece of music which I will finally explain in full detail...

0:00 to 0:08 sets us up with a single atmospheric synth trading off measures of a single note. This cycle repeats once more until more elements enter at 0:16. What's added here is a something like a basic "tapping" synth (please excuse my laymen terminology) with some nice heavy modulation and panning going on. This sound gets swallowed in an envelope for a really nice effect. At 0:24 our next elements come in (yes these are 8 second cycles, so assuming each cycle is one measure this would put the track at a convenient 120 bpm). This high synth element added at 0:24 falls in a bit more noticeably with the unique melody sequence. You've also got a four on the floor bass drum working now as well as a more consistent melody in a soft bell synth tone that's certainly not as noticeable as the higher synth element that falls in. Finally, there's also a very subtle atmospheric synth occasionally injecting ambiance into the piece. What may seem like another new element is just the modulating "tapping" synth running through its envelope progressions. At 0:40 there's definitely a more noticeable atmospheric injection via a very similar sounding synth to the first ambient one. This ends up being more than atmosphere as it follows a chord progression and really tends to dominate the undercurrents and feelings of the piece as a whole up until its affects are noticeably decreased and eventually removed at 1:13. At 1:29 the high synth element that fell in at 0:24 is replaced in favor of a more ethnic flute synth (although more synth than anything else) that drifts through melody. There's also a brief addition with this melody that comes at 1:31 and 1:35 (although there's a single delay effect on it that causes it to repeat itself in more of an echo after each initial prod). The same atmospheric synth at 0:40 is also back, giving us more of an undercurrent to go with the melody. The melody cycles through twice until 1:45 at which time the high falling synth comes back in and the ethnic flute synth is replaced by a massive pad sweep that really effects the atmosphere and feel of the track to this point. The pad sweep goes through a chord progression of 4 notes with accumulated effects shimmering down each sound. This section here has a lot of good undercurrent going for it, pulling us along with feelings and emotions all while burying us in layers of intricate sound. This section lasts until 2:18 at which time the bass drum and atmosphere is peeled away to reveal the original single atmospheric synth from the beginning going through its two note chord progression as well as the high falling synth which now has more of a familiar feel to the listener (although this is taken out after the 8 seconds). At 2:26 (another 8 seconds) the "tapping" modulation synth comes in (the effects make it sound like its zeroing in on something) adding a very cool effect. This, coupled with the enveloped pad sweep makes for some amazing atmosphere. Now the soft bell synth tone from the beginning is running its melody at 2:34 without interference from the high fall synth. This laid back feel works very well with the swells in atmosphere created by the modulating synth and the atmospheric injections. It's also a perfect setup for the reentering four on the floor bass drum at 2:42. This continues for a bit; there's also somewhat of an added pad sweep at the 3 minute mark to keep things interesting in a subtle way. At 3:07-3:09 there also seems to be some interesting background percussion that's barely audible and goes through 3 hits that syncopate with the 4 on the floor beat before jumping back into more added atmosphere. At 3:17 there's another subtle atmospheric injection that sounds almost like a high electric guitar note (more of a syncing way than searing). At 3:25 there's also the same barely audible percussion hit that was previously seen at 3:07. By no means am I even covering all the atmospheric elements in this section, I'm just trying to cover the ones that sort of stand out (to be honest this is the first time I've ever noticed them). Atmosphere reigns supreme in this section; awesome feeling. At 3:47 we're back in familiar territory with the high falling synth and the ethnic flute synth now working together with the already existing elements. This goes through 2 cycles until the significant undercurrent atmosphere is pulled out at 4:04 along with the ethnic flute synth, flushing out the bass drum, the "tapping" zeroing in synth, and the more subtle elements of the atmosphere. At 4:20 there's a definite and significant change to the direction of the track. There's a key change that the high fall synth follows along with the zeroing in synth. This change also is felt through the mood of the atmosphere (which is touched off by a single note for the new key). At 4:24 there's another single note that touches off the new chord progression (affirming the fact that we're no longer relying on the two notes in the chord progression from the beginning, but rather on the same sequence with different notes). This single note keeps going to signify the chord progression until it is established. At 4:36 there's a definite pad sweep progression going, reminiscent of the one first seen at 1:45. At 4:53 a high synth enters and fades through a sort of atmospheric melody that is more felt in the undercurrent than through actual notes. This is just stunning, but it gets better. At 5:25 everything is removed except for some atmosphere and the high fall synth, but it is no longer "falling" per se; it's developed its own melody. At 5:33 the ethnic flute synth is back (subtly replacing the atmosphere that was left from earlier) with a melody that's no longer abstract or mysterious, but something that's near heartwarming intimate. At 5:49 we're taken up an octave with the flute synth as it continues in tandem with the high synth. At 6:21-6:25 that ethnic flute synth is slowly faded out, leaving only the high synth from the beginning which begins to fade out at 6:39 to the end of the track (6:52).

Pros: Amazing, simply amazing. Again I have to quote "atmosphere, ambiance, and awesomeness". This is somehow a calming track that still has some consistent beats and percussive elements. The shift in keys felt amazingly intimate from the previous sections and the undercurrents really pulled the listener around the world.

Cons: There are no issues I see here. The tempo lines up, transitions are seamless. Only issue might be how the initial high synth sounds exotic, it might disrupt the full sense of calm this track brings. Very hard to find stuff to complain about here.

Overall: Top notch. The atmospheric undercurrents are simply astounding; I could listen to sections of this track for minutes on repeat without getting bored at all, there's just so much to explore. I'm amazed at the sound design and layer as well as the consistent modulation that went into this piece of music. Meteo Xavier knocked this one out of the ballpark.

Rating: 9.9

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