31 March 2013

Music Day (Part Two)

This past Tuesday, my friend from dance team texted me and asked if I would be willing to be a co-choreograph/perform a trio to this song.

Honestly, I wasn't expecting anything earth-shattering. The friend who texted me has a music collection so diverse and eclectic I've given up trying to define it, but the other person in the trio seems to be very much into the current-CCM... stuff. I can't really blame her -- after all, that's all there is unless you're willing to invest some serious time into tracking down some of the older Christian stuff, and before that you have to know it even exists... somewhere.

So I looked the song up on YouTube, bracing myself for a CCM-radio-friendly, mushy-gushy, sappy thing laden with Christian-bookstore clichés. (Seriously, with a title like Arise My Love, what else could it possibly be except a bland song of plastic-happy fake 'encouragement' to all the depressed/suicidal teenage girls out there?)

I did not get a mushy-gushy, sappy thing laden with Christian bookstore clichés.

What I got was this:
Title: Arise My Love
Artist: Newsong
Album: Say Yes
Year: 1987
Label: Word Records
iTunes here; YouTube here (apologies for the crappy sound quality... it sounds way better from iTunes, but you'll get the general idea).

What really sold me on this song was the fact that it includes actual theological concepts. Nothing heavy, mind you, but enough to prove that these guys know what they're talking about -- they're not just cashing in on the 'clean music' cow. They know what actually happened on that cross. They don't take you through it step-by-step in the song (for that, look up Lecrae's fantastic song Truth), but they probably could explain it if you asked them.

It's still not completely earth-shattering -- it's definitely radio-friendly, meaning it's not real musically creative -- but it's pretty, with a nice musical progression, and the sheer passion in the vocal makes up for the potential blandness of the soundtrack. Timeless? Not likely. But a great soundtrack for Easter weekend.

29 March 2013

Music Day (Part One)

I had a different song planned for today, but at the Good Friday church service this morning, they showed this video.

It completely wrecked me.

Seriously, go watch it. You will almost certainly end up in tears, but please, go watch it. It will stretch your brain like it has never been stretched before. Go ahead. This post will still be here when you're done.

Watched it? Good.

I don't know how much you know about what happened that day, so I'll try to explain it a little. Then the video might make more sense -- in its crazy seemingly-backwards way.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. In six literal days. (I know most people refuse to believe that, but then again, you could believe all you want that grass is orange and that wouldn't make it true. I'm not going to get into the debate here because it'll detract from the point I'm making.)

This God is a powerful God -- think about it. He spoke and the entire freaking universe showed up. We can't even find the end of this universe, and God holds it all in the palm of His hand (you know what that means? We can't even measure the span of God's palm, never mind God Himself. That's how big He is). This God is a holy God -- perfect in every way, even ways our brains can't even think about. This God is unchangeable -- He has been and always will be the same. And this God is a just God -- crimes against His holy law (based, by the way, on His own perfection) are punished justly.

And the just punishment is death.

God made us so we could bask in Him. But rather than basking in Him, we spat in His face. We continue to deliberately and repeatedly break His law (as laid out in Exodus chapter 20 -- commonly referred to as the Ten Commandments). So we are now under the death sentence. This death is worse than anything else imaginable -- complete and eternal separation from God (and that is what actual Hell is). We will have no access to Him. The momentary pain of physical death is nothing compared to being completely cut off from the source of beauty and meaning and purpose and everything wonderful (namely, God).

But... God is also a God of love and grace. He forgives.

But how can a unchanging and flawlessly just God just up and forgive somebody? The crime has been committed and the guilty party must pay. If God were to just turn a blind eye to it, He would no longer be just and He would no longer be unchangeable. God would then be weak and worthless.

He is forgiving. That cannot change. He is just. That cannot change.

Now what?

Somebody had to pay. So God fathered a baby (Jesus) who had a human mother (Mary). Because the holy unchanging God was Jesus' father (rather than a human father who automatically carries the sin nature), Jesus was completely untainted by sin. And Jesus was going to pay the price for the crimes of we the humans so God could then legally be able to forgive us while still serving perfect justice -- after all, the price would then be paid.

And the price was separation from God. So God, the Father, and Jesus, the Son, would have to be separated. Understand that they had been together for eternity past, up until that point. Father and Son had never, ever been separated.

But when Jesus was in His early thirties, around the year 30 A.D. they were separated for the first time. Whenever we humans have trouble here on Earth, we can always call out to God. We know He hears us. But on the day when Jesus' entire weight hung on a cross, supported only by three measly nails, after He had spent all night being shuffled back and forth as a political pawn in a sham trial and beaten and mocked multiple times, after all His friends on earth had abandoned Him, He could not call out to God. God would not listen to Him. In fact, God was pouring out all His just wrath that was meant for all humankind on Jesus. Not only was God watching Jesus die, He was actively crushing Jesus to death Himself. (Are you seeing the parallel to the video now?)

God knew even then that the overwhelming majority of the people on that proverbial train wouldn't care. They would remain angry, bitter, and selfish. They would remain addicts and thieves and liars and cheats. They would continue to spit in His face and actively try to destroy the knowledge of His very existence. How easy it would have been to not pull the lever, to save his son and let the passengers on the train die.

But then, of course, He would no longer have been unchanging and perfect.

I've been exposed to this knowledge for my entire life. But watching that video today, feeling, however vaguely, the emotions of the father, suddenly this whole thing perplexes me. Why? Why would God do something so seemingly crazy?

Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful God did it. I'm thankful that I have the option of new life, life with Him rather than forever separated from Him. But... why? What would drive Him to save the addict on the train, who thinks of nothing but where she's getting the next hit? What would drive Him to give a second chance at life to the people who wouldn't care -- if they even knew at all -- that He had had to kill His own Son to do it?

All I could see as I watched that video was me -- the addict on the train. Because I am an addict. I'm addicted to having people think nicely of me. I'm addicted to getting things my way -- oh, I'll be 'polite' about it, but woe betide you if you 'ruin' my plans. I'm addicted to my downtime. I'm addicted to my pride, my reputation. I'm addicted to the need to have everything perfect, whether or not I'm actually responsible for the project. I'm addicted to the need to be right, to win an argument. I'm addicted to the need to be everybody's darling. And you already know of my music addiction. And there are so many others. I will do almost anything to get -- or keep -- all of this. If I'm brutally honest, God is just barely in the top ten on my priority list, below all this other stuff. And still He crushed His Son so that I may live.

I still can't wrap my head around why He would do something like this. I don't know if I will ever be able to.

I don't have any children, but if that had been me in that father's place, I would most definitely have let the addict (and all the other comfortably seated people) die if it meant I would get one more chance to hug my child.

Well... like I said at the beginning of this post, I had a different song planned, but ever since watching that video, this song has been running through my head. This is the state I'm in right now.

Title: Broken
Artist: Altar Boys
Album: Against The Grain
Year: 1987
Label: Frontline Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

I've done what's evil in Your sight
And my heart is crumbling.

27 March 2013

Life (A Long Rambling Update From The Creative Mind)

You may or may not be wondering by now -- besides geeking out over eighties music, what else have I been doing lately? (In other words, I just realised I haven't posted anything other than Music Day for... months.)

To answer the question... more choreography. Give me a second to look through my stacks of notes and I'll tell you what I'm working on.

*removes half-inch thick stack of paper from clipboard and shuffles through it*

Okay, here we go...

Eighth Wonder (White Heart): Back in December I was asked to compose and perform a ballet solo for the local dance team. I was originally going to perform my choreography for David Meece's One Small Child, but after some rehearsing, discovered that the stage in my mind is much, much bigger than most stages are in real life (unless we're talking hockey arenas). Since we aren't quite booking hockey arenas at this point, I would either have to re-work One Small Child or come up with something else. I chose Plan B, and Eighth Wonder was pretty much entirely choreographed within a week. Performances start in May. (I say this so casually, but inside I'm jumping up and down and squealing like a five-year-old.)

Raging Of The Moon (White Heart): I've been dreaming about this one for a long time, probably from the second time I ever heard this song. I'm finally working out some visual motifs and I've got formations and basic choreography figured out until about the three-minute mark. It's a lot like what I did with Speechless (big epic formation dance with intricate visual 'harmonies'), only this one will be actually danceable by humans. I'm excited about this one. It's going to look so cool.

Hollow Man (Daniel Amos): I'm hoping this will actually become a joint choreographic venture with myself and the other two choreographers on the dance team, the idea being that each of us choreographs our own part in a different discipline from the other two, and then we put the individual parts together on the stage. This would be an attempt to build on the haunting almost-discord of the song -- it looks amazing in my head, but it remains to be seen what real life will do to it...

Montana Sky (White Heart): I haven't touched this song in over a month. It started out slow anyway, but the actual dance was turning out rather nicely. I just seem to have lost my ambition for this one. I'd still like to finish it sometime, as it was shaping up to be really pretty (soft, gentle ballet trio), and I was already past the halfway point anyway...

Shedding The Mortal Coil (Daniel Amos): I kind of doubt this will ever get staged. It's bubblegum Junior Jazz One at its finest. But it's so much fun...
(Yes, the linked video does cut it off, but there's only like five more seconds in the song after that. Basically he holds the note for 'coil' and the guitar reverberates for a few more seconds.)

Going Public (Newsboys): Seriously, does this song not have 'tap dance' written all over it?

Answering Machine (Prodigal): I'm not seriously working on this (yet), but the other day I was brainstorming ideas for it and I think there's some potential for this one. This would be another tap dance.

Other stuff I've been doing...

Photography -- just did a snow photo shoot with my sister yesterday. I waited nearly a week for cloud cover before I finally gave up and figured I'd just have to make it work with the sun's harsh glare coming off the snow (before it all melted away). Those pictures had better have turned out (I haven't looked at them yet).

On a side note, I, unlike everyone else in this province, am LOVING the snow. We got a mild blizzard here last Thursday... it was awesome. Except for the people in the 100-car pileup, but it sounds like they were all pretty much okay anyway. (If the idiots in this province would just learn that the speed on the highway is 110, not 300 gazillion, this wouldn't have been a problem.) Since I'm on my soapbox anyway, listen Albertans, you have no right to complain. It's MARCH, people. March. You have no right to be whining about missing spring yet. For crying out loud, it's March! What do you expect? Crocuses in your underwear drawer? Spring around here comes in May. IT. HAPPENS. EVERY. YEAR. Do you people not pay attention?

*gets off soapbox*

*abruptly changes gears*

So to make a long story short, I just became aware of a really cool old abandoned house literally a two-minute drive from where I live. Can you say 'video/photo shoot location?' Only one problem -- it's being demolished in two and a half weeks. But I really, really want to get something artistic out of that house before it's destroyed and forgotten. There isn't too much there for a photo shoot, but it has the best music-video lighting ever, especially in the basement.

At first I was thinking of doing a 'music video' for the dance to the aforementioned Hollow Man. However, as I thought about the logistics of choreographing, perfecting, and shooting the whole thing in two weeks, I was forced to admit defeat. There is no way I'm going to be able to pull that off, even with the other two dancers on spring break. I kind of doubt I'll ever be able to not regret getting that committed to film while I had the chance -- that basement, that lighting, is so so perfect for the mood, the sound, the dance of Hollow Man. I had camera angles figured out and everything.

So now I'm considering (hopefully) the next best thing: an already-choreographed piece that requires only one dancer -- me. Eighth Wonder. It won't pull as much creative awesomeness out of that basement as Hollow Man would, but under such a tight deadline, it'll have to do. I just hope someday I'll find another basement as aesthetically brilliant as that one with less of a deadline on it.

There's really only one problem with doing Eighth Wonder in there -- well, two -- but both would have been present no matter what dance I picked. One is I need someone to run the camera. I know almost exactly what kind of camera work I want, but I also need to be doing the actual dance. (What I really need to do is clone myself. That would make this whole creating-art thing so much easier because I would know what I want and I would always be available the same time as I am and then I could be in two physical locations simultaneously.)

The second problem is the fact that the basement floor is unprotected concrete -- a bit of a dancer's nightmare, and especially for one who's already showing signs of knee trouble. (And guess what makes the lighting in that basement so amazing? Yep... the light-conducting properties of bare concrete.) I have a bit of a temporary floor solution in mind (though it might kill the lighting a bit), so if it's possible to get in there and get the footage at the exact angles I want without any superfluous messing around, I should hopefully come out of there mostly unscathed. But it's gotten me thinking -- at what level does safety trump aesthetics/perfect lighting/space/opportunity? For me, just me, that's one thing. If I want to be potentially stupid and trash my knees, that's my problem. But even when I was seriously considering doing Hollow Man, I couldn't get it out of my mind -- would it really have been fair to ask two other dancers to risk it?

The Twitter-friendly version of that wall of words? 'Creative brain is exploding.'

And that's what I've been doing lately. How about you?

25 March 2013

A Few YouTube Gems

I've spent the last two weeks or so on YouTube. Amazing how as soon as you click one White Heart song, there appear twenty other White Heart songs in the sidebar. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. What I will complain about is the fact that EMI blocks 65% of the White Heart from Canadian viewers on 'copyright grounds.' Do you people want to sell your product or not...? It's worth noting that nobody -- nobody -- else blocks their content from Canada on 'copyright grounds.' White Heart is the only artist I have ever been blocked from seeing on YouTube.

Anyway, here are some gems I've found in my YouTube travels... they're not all White Heart, I promise... (and also, most of them are not on the Canadian iTunes Store, or I would have featured them on Music Day. Methinks iTunes needs a little competition... they've got too much of a corner on the market).

White Heart -- Powerhouse live
Rick's coat. Dude. That is an awesome coat. It looks kind of odd at first (or maybe it was just me because I'd spent the previous hour watching videos of him in blue jeans with the knees blown out), but it's seriously an amazing coat. He must be absolutely dying of heat stroke in that thing though -- it looks heavy.

White Heart -- Powerhouse live (again)
THERE IT IS! Did you see it? Did you see it? Don't blink or you'll miss it -- right at the beginning of the video (15-second mark), you see the legendary back handspring. I had heard SO MUCH about this and thought I would never get to see it... but there it is!
Also, his dancing is amazing. Not that I'm biased or anything. (Man, what I wouldn't give to see that in concert for myself...)

Crumbächer -- Track You Down live at Cornerstone 1985
This song is catchy as heck. And... not on iTunes. Literally every other Crumbächer album is on iTunes -- not this one. Sigh. But this performance is pretty great (as is the song itself... two, count them, two keyboards!) The vocal blend on this song is so, so pretty. Also, am I the only one reminded of Mark Gersmehl circa 1986? (Who in turn, now that I think about it, reminds me of Steve Green. I think it's the hair.)

White Heart -- My Eyes Have Seen (1994)
Beautiful. Just... gorgeous. This takes everything that was great about the Highlands album (from 1993), sonically speaking, and compressed it all into four minutes.

White Heart -- A Love Calling live
Actually, this appears to be just Gersh and Rick -- I looked and looked, but didn't see any evidence of any of the others. But holy smokes, this is beautiful. There's such joy on both their faces.

Isaac Air Freight -- Final Minutes
How familiar does this sound (churchgoers)? Perhaps a little too familiar... Is this my home? Is it yours? And doesn't it sound eerily like the Pharisees as we imagine them -- the ones Jesus condemned at nearly every turn?
We wonder why people look sideways at anyone who identifies themselves as a Christian. I think this pretty much sums up the answer to that question.
(For those listening and going 'What's the deal with the logs in their eyes?' it's a reference to the book of Matthew chapter seven in the Bible.)

Lifesavers Underground -- Shaded Pain (1987)
Straight to the soul. Just trust me on this one. It's not rock, but to make it rock would be to kill such lyrical perfection. Simply beautiful.
We put on all the masks
And then we play the game...
Cut by the Body
Forced to run and hide...

Daniel Amos Concert (probably 1981 or '82)
Exactly what it says... a full DA concert. I wasn't too sure how much I'd like this, since it predates Doppelgänger and if I've got it right this was just coming out of their transition period from country to awesomeness, but this is a good concert. They rocked up some up the songs rather more than on the records from which said songs came. You can pick out some of what was to come with Doppelgänger (and, on a side note, if anyone has footage from the Doppelgänger shows, I will seriously love you forever for posting it).
Anyway, this is a good show. That story he shares about playing at this high school and then an older man comes up to them and says... well, you'll have to watch the video to find out what the man says, but that story really hit me, in pretty much the same way it sounds like it hit the band. Many times I've passed the same judgement about older people in our church, but as he told that story I found the finger I've been pointing was suddenly pointing back at me.

Crumbächer -- Jamie (official video) (Trigger warning on the video: relatively explicit allusions to suicide attempts and some reference to prostitution.)
This is SO moving. In fact, it is so powerful that I actually didn't hear the song beyond the first verse -- I got so wrapped up in the story that I tuned out the song. It might be because I'm a dancer... the story is that Jamie is a ballerina, and, with dreams of stardom and dancing in her head, she auditions for something, but is turned down. Deeply hurt and in need of money, she turns to the dark side of dance -- prostitution. Deeper and deeper into this dark world she gets until finally she hits bottom, in some nameless back alley, with a gun in her hand. And then she sees a Bible in the gutter. The part that hit me the hardest (spoiler alert... as far as those go in a music video) is at the very end, when she goes up to... it's Stephen Crumbächer, and I'm not sure if he's playing the part of a pastor or a Christian friend of Jamie's. She has a Bible in her hand. The pastor/friend figure gives her a pair of ballet slippers. They embrace, and the camera focuses on the man's back, Jamie's arms around him -- the Bible in one hand, the ballet slippers in the other.
And she lets go of the slippers... just lets them fall to the ground.
As a dancer myself, that was gut-wrenching. Once a dancer, always a dancer... to give up dance is akin to, say, severing a major limb. On one hand, I literally gasped in pain as the slippers fell, but on the other hand, it convicted me -- given the choice between a Bible and dancing shoes, what would I honestly pick? The message was so clear -- Christ is so lovely, so wonderful, so worth-it, that even dancing shoes are counted as loss against the glory of the risen Christ.
And watching this now, as I stand at a crossroads, where one way I stay here, guaranteed to get a few more years of ballet, and the other way I go where it seems God is leading me... but it may be the end of ballet for at least two years (an eternity in dance-time), that was... that hit home. Hard. Jamie stood at the crossroads and made her choice. And now I stand at the same crossroad. What decision will I make?

22 March 2013

Music Day


(You: "What?")

Petra's working on a new single! Apparently it's due out in June (which seems a rather long time for a single, but whatever). Note that this is not Classic Petra, this is Petra (or at least John Schlitt and Bob Hartman -- haven't seen a reference to any of the others yet). Rest assured that I'll be reviewing it here as soon as I hear it.

Dude -- I thought last year was epic. This year it's only March and we've already got a Petra single, a Daniel Amos album and it sounds like another John Schlitt album in the works. And there's still enough time in the year for White Heart to pull something together if they get cracking... (you just knew I would bring that up...)

And with that little tidbit of excitement, on to today's song.

So all I really know of this band are two songs (this one and another track from the same album called I'm Just A Man). I don't know any history, nothing. Only the fact that they're '80s and they can rock.

This is such a great song, musically -- just blasts out of the gate, drums galloping along and then the electric guitar comes rushing in. And then the vocals. Holy cow. This dude can put it out there. Just listen to the power and the desperation in that hold ('I need to see You there...').

I also love the electric-organ/keyboard sound. And the crashing cymbals in the interlude and the winding guitar leading back into the next verse.

Lyrically, it almost reads like a psalm -- like one of David's psalms when he was on the run from King Saul and was getting discouraged and fearful. It's honest without being beaten to death -- well penned and well performed.


Title: Darkest Hour
Artist: Undercover
Album: Branded
Year: 1987
Label: Innocent Media/Intense Millenium (according to iTunes... and we all know how trustworthy they are about this stuff...)
iTunes here; YouTube here.

15 March 2013

Music Day

This song is almost perfect. Eighties analog warmth; skillful, subtle rock guitar; great echoing drumming; almost-ethereal vocals, and catchy as heck.

Title: Fade Into You
Artist: The Choir
Album: Chase The Kangaroo
Year: 1987
iTunes here; YouTube here.

On one hand it sounds so 1987, but on the other hand it sounds so timeless. I love that.

08 March 2013

Music Day

This album's been on my wish list for practically forever, but there was always something higher on the priority list (a result of buying your iTunes music in fifteen dollar increments).

Then a few weeks ago, quite by accident, I found myself in a little buy/sell/trade music/memorabilia shop in the back corner of a mall.

After first being sold on the quality of the store (they had a White Heart section! Of course, I already own all the White Heart except Nothing But The Best - Radio Classics, but the fact is they actually had a section for quite possibly one of the greatest unknown bands ever), I looked through all the little tab thingies for artists that I recognised. Of course, any store that carries an unknown band like White Heart also has a Newsboys section and I flipped through it out of curiosity more than anything.

At first I was going to leave this album behind -- after all, it was available on iTunes and I didn't have my money on me, but my dad insisted I buy it and gave me some money.

So I bought it, but having overdosed on Newsboys a few months back, I didn't listen to it right away. In fact, I might still not have listened to it yet except my sister asked to hear it yesterday.

Wow. Just -- wow.

If all the Newsboys you know is the stuff that came after Shine hit it big (you know the '90s radio hits: Joy, WooHoo, Reality, Breakfast, Entertaining Angels, Who?, Believe, plus of course the worship stuff and Million Pieces), you will be absolutely stunned by this album. I actually uttered the words: "Wow -- Newsboys does metal." My mom answered that statement with, "You mean speed metal."

Now, real metalheads will probably dispute that label, but my point is this: you have never, ever heard the Newsboys like this before. Before they became the lynchpin of 'safe and fun' radio, they were apparently a head-banging, hard-rocking, grab-you-by-the-throat-and-drag-you-along-for-the-ride band.

In short, I kind of wish Shine hadn't hit it quite so big and pigeonholed their songwriting formula so much.

Title: Lights Out
Artist: Newsboys
Album: Going Public
Year: 1994
Label: Star Song
iTunes here; YouTube here.

(There were actually three songs in the running today -- Lights Out, which I picked because it's the fastest; Going Public, with its funky groove; and Truth And Consequences... I don't know why, I just like that one. Those were the strongest, but really, When You Called My Name and Real Good Thing are the only weak songs on the entire album.)

Just listen to those guitars... is this not Guitar Hero material? And music needs more drumming like that. Wow.

06 March 2013

Sad... But Funny

You know, I'm kind of enjoying messing with the iTunes Store's 'Top Daniel Amos' list. Every time I buy a song it shoots up to number one on the list. It's sad (or maybe It's Sick?), because apparently there's only like two of us buying Daniel Amos on the iTunes Store (I haven't bought Darn Floor - Big Bite yet, and it's on the list today, but it wasn't last week so there must be someone else), but it's also irrationally funny to look at the list every time I buy something and see that it's now number one.

Oh yes... I have the power... *evil laugh*

04 March 2013

Music Nerd Musings

I was just thinking... why do we have a drug problem? I mean, who needs drugs when you can have music?
Seriously, who?

01 March 2013

Music Day

Well, since I was talking about Daniel Amos earlier this week, why not talk about them some more? (However, if the iTunes Store would acquire some Prodigal, I would have featured that instead because I just bought their Just Like Real Life album and HOLY CRAP it's freaking amazing. If you ever see it anywhere, buy it quick. You won't regret it.)

This was the first Daniel Amos song I remember hearing. I use the word 'remember' because my dad owns their self-titled debut on CD and I know I must have heard it a few times when I was younger, but I don't remember any of the material on it, only the cover art. I do seem to recall that it was country. But aside from that, I'd never heard Daniel Amos until this past week. (EDIT: Hold on, I just remembered that's not true... I have heard Shotgun Angel on classicchristian247.com a couple times. However, it's country so I repressed the memory.)

Anyway, I was reading the write-up on the Doppelganger album on the 500 Best Christian Albums blog and was intrigued. Haunting? Creepy? Eerie?

This might be worth looking into.

(You might as well know that I'm the kind of person who will willingly stay up till 4.30 in the morning reading books covering things like human sacrifice, demon possession, mental disorders, and biological warfare on a worldwide scale; then go to bed and sleep deep, long and peacefully. The author's name is Ted Dekker (and he draws a lot of Biblical parallels) if you enjoy that sort of thing.)

So I looked up the album on iTunes and, picking the song that sounded most interesting from the blog post, found myself previewing the following:

Title: Hollow Man
Artist: Daniel Amos
Album: Doppelganger
Year: 1983
Label: Alarma Records & Tapes
iTunes here; YouTube here.

Haunting? Definitely. Creepy? Well, what the song may have lacked, the cover art more than makes up for it. (Something about that wide plastic smile with the hollow pleasant 9-to-5-job eyes and the arm frozen in mid-movement still freaks me out.) Eerie? Spine-chillingly, wonderfully so.

Apparently the musical accompaniment is actually a song (Ghost Of The Heart) from the band's previous record played backwards. I bought that song too, for comparison, and it sounds about right. As odd as the backward drum sounds, it's the backwards bass line that's the most creepy. It growls, but it's an otherworldly growling, and it seems to have a slightly metallic quality to the sound. Of course it's one of my favourite parts of the song.

And the vocals on this song are amazing. They too are beautifully otherworldly as they loop around themselves, swirling, mingling with the indecipherable backward vocals of the other song, a chilling juxtaposition of flowing vocals against the slightly jarring staccato nest of the backward song. The first few times I listened to it (before I cheated and looked up the lyrics), I really kind of enjoyed listening and not quite being able to tell exactly which lyrics were forward and which were backward. The layers and repeats swirling around, plus the reversed vocals (and the fact that the song's actual lyrics tend to match the cadence and pitch of the backward vocals) makes the actual forward-playing English vocals hard to pick out and for some reason I really liked that (though it's worth noting that had this been a secular band, I probably would have had some serious reservations about it prior to Googling the lyrics to check exactly what I was listening to).

What I wouldn't give to see more of this creativity... anywhere. I only wish I had even the tiniest spark of musical understanding that I could attempt to nurture into something remotely close. Alas, all I can do is rely on the distant hope that there is a creative/musical genius out there who will get studio time and exposure without being forced by the CCM machine to kill all his God-given creativity and destroy the remains. (Either that or that the already-existing geniuses will stop believing the lie that they're too old and irrelevant to keep creating great art. As long as there's breath in your lungs, you're not too old to create. Just saying.)

In light of that last paragraph, it's worth noting that this band (unlike certain others *cough* White Heart) is in the process of recording another album -- you can find information on that here.