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 blooms and realises flower power…
As the world gets increasingly machine-driven and automatic, one must occasionally "peace-out" and remind oneself of how it all started. In nature. Before a time when man realised that nature was a force to be reckoned with, and that - feeling the challenge - man would do its utmost to conquer and overthrow it. Luckily however, nature is unstoppable. The phrase "let nature take its course" conjures winding twine and vine grappling everything in its path, finding the shortest route to the finish line. Nothing will get in the way of this slender rope. I have recently finished watching the latest David Attenborough series: The Green Planet. Having adored almost everything he and his team have produced in the last 25 years, I was very much looking forward to this most recent wonder-series. For anyone unfamiliar with Attenborough (is there anyone?), he makes the natural world absolutely captivating and awe-inspiring to anyone who hasn’t the slightest inclination towards that kind of thing. Simply put, the target audience is everyone in the world. Attenborough really is Mother Nature’s Son. He has seemingly covered almost every existing living creature known to man - including some that he and his team have discovered for the first time. We have swum through seas and oceans. We have trekked through deserts and dunes. We have been scorched by the sun and drenched by the rain. We have travelled every corner of the globe (if the globe has corners). So what left was there to talk about…? Was there anything still uncovered…? Well it turned out there was. Plants.
The Green Planet promised to make use of the latest technology. This is a common theme with technology these days. Where we used to have a problem and invent technology to fix said problem, modern engineers tend to invent first, then work out what it could be used for after. Almost inventing for the sake of invention. Anyway: fade to green. This show looked to be a delight for the eyes. What could be more beautiful than a documentary about nature…? Well it turns out, quite a lot. Nature is slow. Plants move slowly. This is part of the peace and tranquillity of nature. The opposite of the fast-moving never-sleeping man-made city. If we zoom into a leaf at microscopic detail, it is no longer a leaf. If we sprint through a plant’s movements at breakneck speed, it is no longer, well, natural. It is however something that we have never seen, and so therefore is nevertheless a striking and captivating experience. For around two minutes. After this point, it becomes boring and actually a little nauseating. The very opposite of what nature intended (if nature has any intentions at all). I never thought I would say this, but Attenborough failed. In my eyes, the only way to enjoy nature is not on a screen, but in real life. To relish in its simplicity and its beauty. To bathe in its calm and allow it to soothe one’s temples.
Little is more beautiful than a humble flower. Why else would we attempt to capture them in paintings and photography? There is also so much scope in terms of variety. Take the humble daisy, for example. It gets such a bad rap for being a weed. But look at it! A sweet little innocent thing of beauty, with its circumference of blunt milky spears surrounding a yolky dome. Yet I mentioned variety… Would you believe there are 1,500 different kinds of daisy? If you were to believe that, you would be wrong. There are in fact, 1,500 families (genera) of daisy, with a total of 23,000 different species. Yes, this is just daisies, not flowers! So no one person can truly be a botanist. They can only really focus on one particular flower, or know a little about many. I sort of compare it to a doctor in their specified field versus a G.P. One will know everything about one area, whereas the other will know a large smattering of everything (and be of very little help to any of us).
Flowers have framed art and beauty forever. Each suggests something different, mainly due to how our culture has evolved. A rose is the flower of love. Blossom is the dawn of Spring. A tulip brings us the Easter bunny. A poppy might make us remember those who bravely died fighting for their country in the First World War. Or it might excite a heroin addict. Most flowers can also conjure a feeling. Take the heavy hanging of the wisteria tree with its stems of bright lilac. Its gentle sway in the light summer breeze will calm even the most nervous of dispositions. Some flowers have been named to portray what they look like. Bluebells spring to mind. Because they look like orange aeroplanes. No no, they look like blue bells. Our senses of sight and smell are satisfied with the beauty and scent of flowers. But do we ever think of sound in relation to blooms? Commonly not, but there is at least one exception. The Emmenanthe penduliflora dries to become light like paper. These fragile horns rustle in a gentle breeze, causing them to be given the more widely known name: Whispering Bells. Rather beautiful, no?
And so, with this in mind, I now bring your attention to my pick of the week. Speaking of flowers, young Oghamyst is much like the dandelion (yes, I know, it's not technically a flower). In not much more than a week's passing, he can spoil us with around 17 new releases, much like a dandelion sheds its seeds and watches them fly. He is the king releaser! Mr. Prolific! But as is often the case with his releases, he has teamed up with a few others, making sure to stay at the helm. He is the team's roots. Much water needed. And a lot of time and patience, no doubt. Plus a bucket-load of talent. Bucket seems to be my new favourite word (read last week's review if you raise a quizzical eyebrow)... This time, Oghamyst’s musical family consists of himself, Alyssa Rose Hunt, Saturamas and Smoothsaylin, all of whom being members of the New Artist Spotlight. Oghamyst being the producer/choreographer, Alyssa penning the song and singing, Saturamas plays the parts and co-produces, while Smoothsaylin sails smoothly with her gorgeous voice. Together, they have managed to create what I genuinely think is one of the greatest songs I have heard on the NAS. Frankly, it goes way beyond and has become one of my favourite songs of the year so far, not just from the NAS. This is Whispering Bells.
Slinking once again into the world of James Bond, let us be shaken and not stirred. The genre of Bond seems to permeate most artists' subconscious, to the point where this has arisen a multitude of times in my reviews. In fact, even I have written a “Bond” song. This is because it’s just so damned cool. Thank you, John Barry, for all that you have given us. Among the cards, it deals sophistication, intrigue, cool, tension, sex, cheek, and all capped with a sly smile. Whispering Bells particularly reminded me of Sheryl Crow’s official Bond song, Tomorrow Never Dies - a truly underrated song - but there is a newness to this collaboration that brings forth Mark Ronson, the man who makes retro sound current. The song has graceful dynamics ranging from a soft therapeutic organ, all the way to the punch of that 70s soul we all know and love. It has a live vibe about it, creating natural excitement. It’s the subtleties in the arrangement that make this a magnificent production. Despite there being four artists involved in this song, there is no standout star, because the star is the song. The whole piece. This proves that ego has not been a part of this project, and that these particular artists simply work so well together. Don’t ya just love it when that happens? The jigsaw of collaboration that only has success if the end result becomes a flawless picture with no missing pieces.
Snippets of songs on Instagram don't often get me excited, but occasionally there's a rare exception. This was one of those exceptions. I listened to the snippet on repeat for about 10 minutes. WHO DOES THAT??! I could not WAIT until its day of release on Thursday last week. Thankfully, I was not remotely disappointed. Whispering Bells was everything I had hoped. Well, almost. Everyone knows how much of a picky bugger I am. And if you didn’t, you do now. There is a total of two bass notes that I personally would not have chosen to play. Yes, this is how picky I am. But this is also therefore how honest I am. And what with me having such high standards, this really is a testament to how good this song really is. Whispering Bells is basically flawless. You would not believe the amount of times I have listened to it. The gnarly guitars, the silky bass, the peppy drums, the seductive voices of Smoothsaylin and Alyssa on her utterly brilliantly written song. Oghamyst has brought it all together to form the greatest of what in the world is becoming a long line of fabulous unofficial Bond songs. The harmony in terms of vocals and song structure is supoyb. There is a seamlessness to the sectional transitions, making it timeless, like it was never actually written and had always existed. As if formed by nature itself.
If you haven’t yet heard it, wake up and smell the roses!
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