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They might not appreciate this but there is a certain Muse quality about this EP. As well as being quite poppy and simplistic, the songs are lathered in beautiful string arrangements and huge distortions. Its like a more post-rocky Muse – or you might say similar to The Boxer Rebellion. In the second track “Coming up for air” the drum pattern has an enthralling sway to it, with added delay and distortion soaked guitar lines. Its unplaceably familiar.
To Bury A Ghost don’t hesitate to dabble with the orchestra, a curiosity many bands lack these days I feel. The opening track “Bithday” opens on quite an uneasy note with a discordant brass-section chord, followed up by the intervention of a stunning violin melody. Strings are quite present throughout the EP and actually, bring to mind Radiohead. I’ll stop name dropping, but there are certainly quite a few elements here that point elsewhere. This isn’t a criticism, but an observation, it doesn’t take away from the fact that The Hurt Kingdom has a beautifully evocative cinematic quality, and a noisy rocky side. I’d certainly put these down as ones to watch!
A cherry on top of the cake? Yep. A Lee Malcolm from VESSELS remix at the end. Now thats a mighty fine cherry!
Sam Thomas is a London based composer and multi-instrumentalist whose music blends influences from classical music, rock, folk and no doubt many more. This extremely interesting piece, not so interestingly named Continuous Soundtrack, is a 27 minute long epic which progresses from heart-wrenching orchestral sections, to head-stomping rock riffs, to cheesy folk ballads and I could go on. It presents musical themes and shapes that perpetually evolve quite dramatically to incorporate numerous instruments and contrasting feels. I think this is as cinematic as it gets, being completely instrumental, it takes its listener on a surprising and grand journey.
The level of skill involved in conceiving a piece like this is quite unthinkable for one person, but Sam Thomas has done it, and to an excellent standard. It may not be to everybody’s liking due to its somewhat experimental nature, but for dreamers, musicians and prog (in it’s broader sense) enthusiasts it is an experience like few others.
Although Sam’s influences may be obvious at times, they are so diverse that when stuck together back-to-back like this, they make for one huge adventure that feels like experiencing all musical development from Debussy right through to today’s Mono via The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Radiohead and Muse. I am aware of how bold this statement sounds but if you locked them all up in a studio and told them to write a 27 minute instrumental track, it wouldn’t be a million miles away from this. Every part when listened to, sounds as complex and thought-out as the next. The guitar takes off on rampant solos, the bass grooves away, the drums mix things up by changing and crossing time signatures, and the violin will make you cry.
What’s more, the production on this piece is stunning considering how many different layers there are. The distorted bass sound is fat to the point of making your face scrunch up, and the violin, once again, will make you cry. About two thirds of the way in, the track also goes into an peculiar psychedelic section with unusual percussions and bass harmonics, brilliantly panned and produced to make even the sanest person feel a bit mad. Finally, the guitar probably being the central instrument, presents various well-manipulated sounds (although one in particular is ridiculous). Overall it’s fair to say this is an opus worthy of any contemporary composer/producer/musician.
If you’re intrigued and willing to put on a pair of headphones for half an hour, you can download Continuous Soundtrack for FREE (oh yes!) at samthomasmusic.com – and needless to say, I recommend it.
For the sake of giving him a bit of press, I’m told that this piece is part of his plan to promote himself as a composer for film and TV. Basically, anyone is welcome to use it as a score, free of royalty obligation. The only condition is to credit him clearly… sounds like a bargain.