Monday, December 18, 2006

A Nu-View Of Christmas ...

Back in highschool when I was more into folk music and classical and before I started discovering folk and classical influenced metal, I would browse new age/classical sections looking for unique music and cheap. One of the albums I found was both unique and cheap AND Christmasy too! I loved the song "Greensleeves" and was eating up any rendition of it including "What Child Is This?" which is the same tune, just different lyrics. But I bet you all figured that out already.

The album is Tom Stacy's "A Nu-View Christmas" featuring the English horn. This was before the listening stations and such at record stores, so I wasn't sure what I'd be getting. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. All the music is arranged by Rob Mathes and Tom provides the melodies with the English horn. Though the accompanied music seems somewhat "programmed" at times, Tom Stacy brings soul to the music using the English horn to carry the melody and create a playful feel, while at the same time almost haunting.

The album starts off with a new age jazz sound on "First Noel". A touch of Tangerine Dream and a little Jean Michel Jarre. It's sweetly enchanting with stand out percussions. "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Jingle Bells" continue the jazziness both playful yet faithfully done. And the album closes with a magically new agey jazz high-lighted rendition of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas"

Funk plays into some of the songs thanks to a driving bass and drums accompaniment. "Deck The Halls" is Funkily melodic and passionately soulful with its melody lines ending with some wonderful sustaining notes that crescendo in a powerful outro. "Good King Wenceslas" is bass driven back beatin' funk tune that's ... well ... funky! Very good tune and very nicely done here with touches of progressive rock and new age.

The album is intermixed with some nice somber pieces to which shows off Tom Stacy's abilities. The first of these is "O Holy Night" which is a haunting somber piece. "O Christmas Tree" gets a little darker, but the two tracks that shine for me are "Silent Night" and "What Child Is This?". "Silent Night" is dark and brooding with bass end piano and Tom's haunting melody. The song builds to a majestic ending. And my favourite track (of course) "What Child Is This?" which has a chilling new agey intro and Tom's moving and haunting English horn melody. However, what I like too about this track is that Tom holds back on the horn and let's Rob mathes take a bit of the spotlight. Rob's arrangement here is brooding and full, with strong new age influence. I also like the dual horn melody that has the horns playing the melody with one following just behind the first. It adds a chill that sticks with you.

This is an album that is just a little different than most Christmas music and that really appeals to me. This is not brilliant per say, but it makes for a fun Yuletide listen around the holidays. If you want especially unique Christmas music than come on back for a review of Trans-Siberian Orchestra's first of the Christmas Trilogy ...


OpenID mmmrhubarb said...

"First Noel" off this CD is my favorite Christmas track.

4:57 AM  

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