Monday, February 26, 2007

Monday Music Madness!!!

I'm in a pretty good mood after having a pretty good and productive weekend, so I'm going to celebrate (in a way) by sharing some lovely music. What's more, I'll even give a little background on these clips.

I occasionally have whims. Flights of fancy, as it were. I can be inspired by the smallest of things, and they can lead me to do relatively rash things. Well, a little less than a week ago, I was skating accross the Intertubes when I chanced upon this little character creation game. The game itself is fine, but what really struck me was the music. I absolutely fell in love with the music. Unfortunately, when I played it, the only citation he gave was to Cirque du Soleil, the world-renowned troupe. He didn't specify what album it came from.

So, I hopped on over to my music headquarters, and found a multitude of albums. Now, I could have skimmed through every song's sample clip to see which album it came from, but that would have been tedious to say the least. "Plus," I reason, "if I like the music from one album, wouldn't like the music from the other albums?"

So, on a whim, I buy every single Cirque du Soleil album I could find.

Well, all except the "Collection", as that would be quite redundant. Still, that's 8 albums. Now, at the sound of this impulsive action, some people might be clutching at their heart with one hand and their wallet with the other. But because of my sources, I was able to get all the albums for less than what a normal CD costs in the stores.

The real cost came in the downloading. My god, downloading all those files took about three years off my life. I'm not exactly sure why (maybe it was the sheer load I was trying to squeeze through the tubes), but they were downloading at a rate of about 8Kb/s. That means that it took about a half-hour to download a single song. And since I could only download 2 songs simultaneously, it was an altogether soporific process, taking about two days to finish.

The funny part, though, is that the songs that I liked came from a different album altogether.

Yes, although the website I used had a lot of their albums, it didn't have them all. So, I made a concession and bought the last album for $6 on eBay, clenching my teeth all the while.

I must say, when I have whims, they're usually good whims, and they tend to turn out to be me, at least. I may have spontaneously purchased nine albums after hearing only two representative songs, but dagnabbit, I was right!

Of all of the albums I've gotten, all of which are good and recommendable, three stand out to me as my favorites. The first one is called Quidam. What's actually interesting is that I believe my family and I watched this show on TV around Thanksgiving some years back. So, I guess I already had some attachment to it. I'm only going to share one song from it, but it's a good one.

Quidam - This is the finale song, and I must say, it really sounds like a finale song. Actually, it really sounds like a downer if you don't know the context, especially the little girl's lines in the beginning:

Your world is yours not mine Quidam.
Your dreams are yours.
You may have touched the stars but they weren´t moved.
And if you reach for me I may not choose to hold your hand.
I might smile or I might turn away.
However, the show is about a little girl who dreams up a mystical world to live in, which is the home to Quidam, a headless dude who is a representation of everyone and no one at the same time. After seeing all the mystical world has to show, though, she is again ready to live in the real world. Now the lyrics don't seem quite so downbeat. I feel this would be good death music, by which I mean good music to die to (either in a movie or in real life). Listen in after 3:50 and you'll better understand what I mean. In my mind, it seems like the song people would sing to you as you're ascending into Heaven.

The second album is Mystere. I have three examples of its music, and they're really interesting in their variety.

Egypte - Try to guess what the inspiration for this song is. I've said before I like it when a singer (usually a female singer) takes a single sound (in this case "lai") and uses it to carry the tone and pitch. Part of this song is like that, and the other part is quite mystical and sensual. This song makes me want to eat some grapes, or rather, have some grapes fed to me while I recline on my silken couch.

Ulysse - I'm not sure if this has to do with Ulysses/Odysseus or what. However, I like it regardless. It really seems like a cross betwixt Howard Shore (you know, the guy who composed the Lord of the Rings soundtrack) and Gustaf Holst (he composed a famous composition called The Planets), with a dash of Requiem thrown in for good measure. This seems like a song my mom would be good at singing.

Kalimando - I realize those are forest birds chirping in the background, but I always imagine myself walking across a large plain when listening to it. This song has "feel-good" ending proverbially written all over it. I imagine the following scenario when listening to it: I've just finished helping some small town, and now it's time to go. I'm walking toward the town limits, and a little girl holds my hand, asking me not to leave. I laugh and rustle her a hair a bit before walking out, the whole town waving me goodbye. When I'm about a half-mile away, I turn back to look at the town, tug my coat, smile, and walk into the sunset, the music playing all the while.

Finally, you have the soundtrack which I would definitely put down as my favorite, Ka'. While I realize all taste in music is subjective, I can't help but use the cliché expression: "If you only get one of these albums, get this one." Unfortunately, as it's the only one not offered on the Russian website (something I'll try to remedy), you too will have to buy it off eBay or Amazon (or, God help you, from a store).

I've decided that, should I ever go to Vegas, I am going to see at least this show. Yes, it's absurdly expensive. ($70 - $150 a ticket), but what am I going to do with the money anyway? Gamble? I'd much rather spend my money on a sure bet. Still, I have no immediate plans to go to Vegas, so it'll have to wait...

Pageant - This is the "Trailer Music" for the show, as can be seen here. It seems like very good sword-fighting music to me. Or it would be good in a dance. I usually don't dance at proms and formals and what have you, mainly because I don't dance well to bass (which is essentially all they play at dances, with hip-hop and the like). This has enough flow that I would actually do something; how graceful I would be is another story. (P.S. Don't try to figure out what language they're speaking. It's made up.)

Forest - This song (as well as "Aftermath") is the one I first heard on the game, and it was the one which inspired my impulsive purchase of all the albums, so you can tell the impact it had on me. This is another of those "feel-good" songs (you notice how I tend to like those). I imagine this as being a very celebratory song. It'd be fun, don't you think, to be in a choir singing this. It'd rock out the church (or auditorium, or wherever you are)!

Aftermath - Okay, I guess this doesn't fit well into the whole "feel-good" equation. You if juxtaposition has taught me anythings, it's that the "aftermath" in the show ain't that great. Although, this is a pretty melancholy piece, it makes great, non-intrusive reading music. You could listen to it on repeat for hours (though, to their credit, you could listen to all these songs on repeat for hours. they simply work that way).

If I could Reach Your Heart - If I had a girlfriend, this would probably be my "romantic" song for us. Not to imply that I could sing it, mind you; I doubt I could hit those high notes. Still, if my life was a movie (something which I am constantly comparing it to), this would be part of the "first kiss" scene. (Or, alternately, if we were cats, the scene where we do one of those little cat hugs...yeah, that's the stuff!)

There's more, of course, but I'll let you explore it for yourself, if you so choose (and I'm always a great resource if you do). Just remember, it's okay to follow your whims every now and then!

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