Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
Charles goes to infinity and beyond…
Things are not working. The system is broken. What was once a perfectly planned, sculpted landscape with each piece linking into place like a Da Vinci sketch, it is now fraying fast, and falling apart like a moth-ravaged wool rug. People understood the way the world worked. People knew how to live life. Governments governed and industries boomed. This was progress. The world was beautiful and forward-thinking, whilst never ceasing to enjoy the current era. The sun now bakes the land and forces entire populations to migrate and bustle shoulder to shoulder in a more coveted, cooler land. Cooler, for now. There is no sign of an end to war, and money rules more than ever before. Money used to be power, but now money is ultimate power. Whole industries are withering before our very eyes, and the times they are a-changin’. But the change is far too fast. It is not thought out. It is not considered. It is flung through the lawyers’ checklists and banged out like cheap mass-produced Chinese technology. And like the cheap tech, it doesn’t work. To force change so rapidly is to cause chaos and confusion. Economies are as erratic as modern weather, and people are not happy and not comfortable. We are all hot and bothered. So what can we do…?
Well, we little people can do very little. Which is frankly rather alleviating. But the big boys at the top can make a huge difference for the better. Will they, though? Will they, bugger. The obvious thought is to try to save Earth from progressive suicide. But another option is to give up entirely on this planet and look elsewhere. Sounds defeatist, right? Maybe even lazy…? NASA doesn’t think so. Recently we were given a batch of ethereal photographs taken through the lens of the James Webb Space Telescope. They are so astounding, they really don’t look real. They also rather fondly have a 70s retro vibe about them. But then again, what have we for comparison. It is out of this world. Literally.
Despite our own world still retaining so much beauty, we seem to be obsessed with two particular things. Space itself, and aliens. Yes, aliens. And yes, I have been binge-watching The X-Files recently, having missed it the first time around. Such an underrated show. So many believe in little green men in spaceships, that it goes far beyond a cult. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if belief in aliens these days supersedes belief in one’s god of choice…! Even the U.S. Government has admitted the existence of aliens. For some reason, no one cared. Perhaps because they actually prefer it to be a fantasy rather than a reality. My god of choice is The Beatles, but that’s not quite what I mean. Science fiction and fantasy are probably the most popular genres of film these days. It could be considered almost proof that people are bored of this world and emotionally stunted from the wonders of technology, that we maybe just want to get out. So let’s leave.
Having waved goodbye to our not so much green planet, as the fiery inferno we once called home, tinnitus sets in. The eternal, infernal hiss. The ringing that only pure silence can bring. We are in space. No regrets…? Did you forget to put the bins out? Did you double lock the front door? Too late now. Much too late. It just doesn’t matter anymore. Let’s see what we can find.
The ringing subsides to zero and the hiss fades to black. A slow musical sunrise commands the soul and takes control. It is hypnotic and total. As if John Williams has brought Pink Floyd to filmic heights. In the distance, the stars spell out the name “Urania Fantasia” (let us call this the fictional orchestra). It is a welcome from outer space. A little green man in a top hat conducts the strings and sensitively places each note of the piano melody just so. It is sad yet striving for elevation. Melancholy is probably the most appropriate way to describe it, but not of the limp and weedy, pointless kind. This man wears a sash over one shoulder. It says “William”. He welcomes us to LovAnaverse with spindly fingers and a close resemblance to Jools Holland as he wafts the airless air while stepping backwards and bowing obsequiously, making way for the music. There is courage and strength in this sound, as if William (aka Lovanaverse) is the leader of a government that actually knows what it’s doing (for a change).
Several shooting stars later, a feminine man appears, with a silver wand. His name is Pete Rawcliffe. Although seeming to have the voice of a tenor, he is a male soprano - a rarity, even in space. Little after a minute into this fantastic (literally) piece, Pete grips the wand with his third and final finger and uses it as a microphone. It is here that his soprano range takes hold and the lady once within, steps out. The orchestra swells and its brassy tendencies gush all over Pete with a controlled warmth that suggests this is not their first concert. If so far could be called an intro, then this is the greatest intro on the New Artist Spotlight.
But it is at 1:35 that the piece truly gets underway. An enticing minimalist piano melody lures us like Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells. It is like Christmas in space! Seconds later, the planets collide, and Mars gets furious, as we are thrown headfirst into a pit of prog-metal. Silver snakes slither and roll chaotically like mercury (the element, not the planet), as LovAnaverse tips the balance and awakens us with a slap! These tight cross-rhythms are cross, with time signatures questioning the meaning of time. It makes me think of an Australian band called Karnivool. And it is here, beyond the crashing drums and ebullient guitars, that Pete turns into the true Arcane Muse! The man is left behind and the lady shines, with the bombast and boastful rudeness of a Baz Luhrmann film. This pomp can rarely be done by anyone but Freddie Mercury, yet Rawcliffe succeeds. For those who know the great Andres Guazzelli and his musical tastes, this is a song for him. When neo-classicism meets Muse-like metal, they clash in the great old Battle of Prog. Close your eyes and it’s a spectacle to envision. It is quite astonishing to believe that this voice comes from a man. Pete really does give Blues Trainer’s Virginia Kay a run for her money.
At around halfway through this spectacular planetary eclipse, a black hole opens up and time slows down. It actually quarters in tempo…! To say the wind has picked up, would be an understatement. The blacks of the nothing somehow darken, the guitars deepen, and an ominous choir guides us closer to the hole, as if Satan exists even in space. A rephrased version of our piano melody joins in to enjoy the chaos, and all in the brand new time of 6/8 - it’s so thoroughly satisfying, that tight swing! Thick and heavy riffs strike in tandem while the eyes of our arcane muse start to glow ruby red as he is owned by satanic verse.
After a brief breath from the music and a sustain from Pete, LovAnaverse brings influence from Ennio Morricone at 4:32, and gives the piece grounding. The final minute or so - complete with opening piano motif - solidifies the whole and really shapes the song as an epic masterpiece that will leave you gasping. Released just five days ago, The Arcane Muse is a whirlwind to experience.
England’s LovAnaverse (William J. Rogers) has only been a member of the New Artist Spotlight community for exactly one month. Consider this your introduction to William and his work, if you aren’t already familiar. You can thank me later. Oh, and yes - aside from Pete’s incredible virtuosic skill, William does everything himself from writing to production, and finally mixing and mastering. A man after my own heart.
As to our dear little planet, we are capable of so much. We must not give up. We have far more chance than ever before of saving it and making it thrive once again. We just have to cross our fingers and hope that the big boys make the right decisions. Let’s hope that space stays many galaxies away, at least for now.
The truth may or may not be out there.
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