Tuesday 11 December 2012

Symphony of Science – Critical Review

Symphony of Science


    “We are all stardust.” One of the many memorable quotes from this album. The theme of the album is science. The title gives that away pretty quickly. Symphony of Science is a compilation of various speeches from lectures/ documentaries where notable people (I believe all to be scientists, if not a high percentage) have their  voices auto-tuned. This to many might seem like an annoying tactic, but it’s not to alter a singer’s voice this time. It’s used to turn regular speech into lyrics and flow with a melody. The artist does this quite well, hence the name Melodysheep. The themes of the songs change based on different fields of study within science -- different topics that science tries to address and several arguments which are often held against scientists. The songs take an approach to such themes by using very good quotes made by extremely intellectual and thoughtful individuals. Some of these themes include the brain, DNA, dinosaurs, Mars, along with multiple other significant topics which play an important role in society and life. There are 17 songs on the album in total. The album is updated whenever Melodysheep decides to produce another song relevant to science. This happens every few months, at least. Updates on the album don’t cost a thing (unless desired, but that will be explained later on). It can be bought at Melodysheep’s bandcamp page, along with another album called Remixes for the Soul, songs made in a similar style but without one all encompassing theme around them. Almost every song released also has a great music video composed by Melodysheep as well. They can be checked out on his YouTube channel

    Wait, there’s more! Melodysheep is John D. Boswell, creator of the Symphony of Science series ( or album) and various other music videos which he has bundled up as an album titled the Remixes for the Soul. He posts his work on his YouTube channel and promotes it on his Twitter account. Some of his works are amusing, remixing moments such as the They're Out There, Man! UFO Guy remixed” song which takes advantage of some laughable lines from an interview. Melodysheep takes clips of movies or different sources and creates music from what is not normally expected. For example, he adds in melodies very well to make the music he makes (along with the videos) in a way that seems to always flow. The structure seems very natural, meaning the connection between the different elements seems to be very well woven together. 

    It’s better than any deal you’ll find at a Wal-Mart Christmas sale. Purchasing the music is convenient in every aspect. First, you can pay what you want. If that doesn’t excite you, maybe I should make that a bit more clear. From a starting price of nothing ($0), you can own your very own copy of the Symphony of Science (and or his other album Remixes for the Soul). After listening to the songs on his website or watching the music videos on YouTube and seeing if you enjoy the music for no fee, you can purchase the album with whatever value you decide it’s worth. If you felt that you only liked some songs and don’t care for others, do not fret. You can simply purchase the album for the individual songs you find valuable. Since updates occur every so often, you can just purchase the album again for no added fee. Though if you feel the new song is worthy of some additional support to the artist for his work, you are more than welcome to contribute. The album comes on various formats as indicated by the Bandcamp (the service he uses to distribute his music) FAQ “MP3 320, FLAC, MP3 VBR (V0), AAC, Ogg Vorbis or ALAC format.” This is perfect for anyone who wants very compressed music for ringtones or people who want decently compressed files that fit nicely on a music player/ phone, and even if you want to listen to these in full clarity in their bulky but gorgeous FLAC versions, you may. Take out the digital record player and give it a spin. However, the options don’t end there. It’s also possible to get a single format vinyl of “A Glorious Dawn.” This record is distributed through the Third Man Records online store. It’s available for the low price of 6 US dollars. If there’s a vinyl collector out there or just someone who loves some high quality music, then this is a great product to consider. The record comes in a small cover which displays a beautiful pair of galaxies colliding together -- “The Antennae Galaxies/NGC 4038-4039” (downloads and information available) is the cover art for this record. The record itself comes with an interesting design on the back face of the record. It’s engraved with markings which resemble that of those which were found on the Golden Voyager Record.

    Skillful editing is evident. The composition of the different voices that are used had an interesting contrast throughout the songs. The fusion of voice and sounds flow very well. Through auto-tune, the voices of the different people become more digital sounding, which makes the addition of the music blend well together. Often people complain that the use of auto-tune is annoying because it’s abused to try and alter the poor range of some singers who can't hit certain notes. This becomes painfully obvious and hard to enjoy. Here, the technology is not used to fix the incompetence of singers but to develop an illusion of singing because the words spoken are just speeches. The transformation of speech to music is soothing. It intertwines the melodies with the words from the various individuals to make hearing their brilliant insights even more enjoyable. The electronic beats which seem to come from audio editing software have a very subtle transition between the different sounds. These are used well to build up a new verse, or weave themselves along with the lyrics to again emphasise the illusion that the words being spoken are authentically part of a song. The songs have a lack of instruments.This is due to the fact that the songs are digitally orchestrated as mentioned before. Sometimes it can be very impressive to see what a band can do with various instruments. But, it can be equally impressive when hearing the work of one person and one machine. The formation of music through the methods Melodysheep has chosen don’t fail to deliver in quality. Video editing is also superb. The music video editing creates visual additions to whatever is being said and showing off those who speak the lyrics. This allows the video to be insightful and visually attractive. Using diagrams and video footage of the different speeches or documentaries, the videos have a well constructed presentation that keeps your eyes peeled. 

    Explosions are a blast! Nothing beats the Big Bang in that regard, which is one of the many important themes used in this album. Who needs science class? What makes this album useful is the educational lyrics taken from documentaries, speeches, and discussions spotlighting intelligent people. When listening, there are many poetic verses which arise due to the explication of the world through science. I mean, it’s pretty hard to describe something more deeply than on a quantum level. The profundity of the lyrics in these songs comes from the amazing truths mentioned in the detailed verses which act as a catchy way to learn new information. The title of one of the songs is even called “The Poetry of Reality” which is about expressing the prodigious wonders the world has to offer while expressing the need for appreciation toward science since it acts as our tool to understand the world we live in. Important topics such as these are addressed through the diverse collection of songs in this album. I’m of course only speaking in jest when I say “who needs science class” but the point is that there are things to learn and enjoy at the same time from these songs. They serve more than one use. It’s a very unique approach to take these important quotes/ people, and then present them in this fashion where they merge with a melody. It takes away the stressful part of learning by making it quite pleasing to listen to the speeches. Various topics are addressed -- dinosaurs, the magnificence of the universe, evolution, climate change, and more. In any science class, there are several topics worth examining. It's diverse ability to educate and interest the listener really broadens the range of its value. 

    Dynamic and intertwined with the different speakers ( pseudo-singers) and melodies. The video editing is also stellar, enticing all the dynamic and synchronized video clips with the audio.  The usefulness of this album is evident. It touches on many valuable discussion topics and shows no signs of stopping this growth. Educational and fluid, this album is a great representation of what good mixing with digital means can accomplish. The appreciation for a brass band can still exist but the potential and possibilities of how music is being made is clearly increasing.
Melodysheep’s Youtube channel
Youtube playlist of Symphony of Science
Download the videos, songs, remixes, and more
Purchase Melodysheep’s Symphony of Science
Melodysheep’s website
Third Man Records “A Glorious Dawn” 7” Vinyl
Melodysheep on Twitter

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