• My DT Obsession

    23 Oct 2013, 16:53

    For a little over a year now, I have been obsessed with Dream Theater. I have always liked them... well, actually that's not true. The first time I heard them, I thought they were over-technical, show-off-ish, and I didn't really dig the metal sound they had. I am a huge fan of Rush, so this may come as a surprise that I didn't initially like DT. They were (and still are) influenced by Rush in many ways. Believe it or not, though, I have seen many a case where Rush fans have bashed DT. This is undeserving, and I still don't get the hate for DT. Yes, I didn't exactly love them at first, but after giving them a chance to grow on me, they now hold a spot as one of my favourite groups ever!

    My proper introduction to DT was through my very good friend, Jake. One day we were hanging out at his place, jamming (he plays drums, I guitar and keyboards) and then went upstairs to grab a bite and listen to some music that we both enjoyed (mostly things of the genre). I was quite intrigued by the works of Yes, Genesis, Rush, Camel, among other classic acts. Jake liked these groups too, but he enjoyed the stylings of more modern and bands even more. I knew he really dug this group called Dream Theater, and he told me that we should listen to their album Scenes From a Memory -- a concept album; something I was well-familiar with. I agreed, and we spun it.

    My initial reaction to Scenes was... mixed. I really didn't know what to think. There was a LOT that went on throughout the course of the album. Very intricate and complex songwriting. I didn't particularly enjoy it the first time listening to it, simply because it was overwhelming. However, I was intrigued. I wanted to find out more about this band, and why Jake liked them so much. I had told Jake that I hadn't really warmed up to the metal sound yet. He said to try Awake or Images and Words out, as they had a more sound. I did. I was blown away.

    Awake and Images were perfect albums to wet my palette. I couldn't stop listening to them. I warmed up to the technicality of it all. The compositions were very melodic, interesting and expressive. The rest is pretty much history. I eventually got all of their albums and have enjoyed them immensely. Jordan Rudess became my idol, and I was inspired to return to the piano. I had been playing guitar exclusively for about 3 or 4 years maybe, having given up piano. But now piano seems to be my dominant instrument.

    DT is awesome. With the release of their new self-titled album, I might provide a review. Stay tuned.
  • Just for Today

    25 Ago 2012, 2:03

    Today was my last day of work for my summer job. They let me go a couple hours early. My superiors really are nice people, and they all said they'd miss me, as I start my first year in university this September. It's nice to feel a part of something like that and have a good social component to accompany my work. We are a pretty close-knit organisation, though. Anyway, today was a really beautiful day, although it was real hot! Despite the heat, the sky was clear and blue. I came home to my family, and soon realised that I had but a week until I would move in to my new home. I wanted to do something that I kind of always wanted to do, but never did, before I left.

    I grabbed my bicycle out of the shed. The tires were flat, the seat was dusty, and the pedals were home to a spider's web. It was a neglected old friend. I hadn't ridden it in probably about three years. I wiped off the seat, swatted the spider and its web away with a broom, and hosed down the entire thing. That solved the cleanliness problem, but my tires were still deflated, rendering the bike extremely hard to ride efficiently, as anyone would have guessed. Great. I went in search of my old bicycle air pump. I know I last saw it in the garage with all of my sporting stuff, alas, it eluded me, even after I checked inside the house and out. Now what? I loaded my bicycle into the back of my car, and drove to the nearest gas station. There, I could utilize the pressurized air machine. Sure enough, it did the trick, albeit it did cost my an entire dollar! All right. I was set to go. I drove back to the house, took a quick gulp of water, and I was off.

    I knew exactly where I was going. Well, kind of. I knew the general area of where I was, but I hadn't been there in at least seven or eight years. I remember it vividly, though. It is a place that stuck in my mind since childhood, because of the locale, the look of it, but also the feeling or vibe it gave me. I felt it even back then, and I knew I would feel it now. The West Beach, tucked away behind the nuclear plant. There was a small playground, as I remember, and a small shoreline, with light sand that quickly was overcome by rocky terrain. These rocks were pretty smooth, though, so it was not a pain to walk on them with bare feet. The August air was cool on this evening, as the sun was setting; the western sky was aglow. It was quarter after seven. I glided down the short path to the beach, and laid my bicycle on a log -- the same log that I remember being there when I was last there. Strange that I would remember a detail such as this? Or just a sign that this place may be significant? I concluded that it was probably a bit of both.

    The only people there besides myself was a young girl, presumably my age, with her dog and her parents. I wandered down the stretch of shoreline, away from them. I wanted to be by myself. I stared at the water for a while before sitting down with my legs outstretched so that the water lapped at my feet and cradled my ankles. The ground was covered in seaweed, but I didn't care. The sky was a beautiful blue, and was a canvas to small wisps of clouds. I laid down and just listened to the waves. Peace. Serenity. Moments passed. I then pulled out my iPod, and put on the album that reminded me of everything beautiful in the world: Just for a Day, by Slowdive. It had to be that album. It is so nostalgic for me, and will always have a special place in my heart. Spanish Air came on, and a stared calmly out into the lake, watching the waves play about. Both Celia's Dream and Catch the Breeze were surreal. The moon was a half crescent, and shone boldly and brightly. When Ballad Of Sister Sue came on, I laid down and relaxed. By this time, the girl and her company had left. I was all alone. Breath in... Breathe out... Relax... Erik's Song made me cry, as did Waves. Hearing the waves while listening to both of these tracks was particularly euphoric. I was at peace with everything, it felt. Brighter has always been a favourite of mine, and I closed my eyes and drifted off through it and The Sadman. Finally, I turned and gazed into what I could see of the sunset, while Primal played. When the album was over, I felt so peaceful and emotionally stirred at the same time. It was quite the experience, and I'm glad that I had it. The bottom of my shorts were soaked, but I didn't care. I almost felt like I could die right then and there, and I would be content with it. Serenity.

    I made my way back to my bicycle, and rode back home. I was glad that I did that tonight. I felt it was a great way to relax and get in touch with my spiritual nature. This is something that I would definitely want to do again, given the chance. I do believe that music like that that Slowdive needs to be experienced. It certainly takes me to another place.

  • I love Air Formation!

    1 Oct 2011, 19:12

    Ah yes, so I have been into ever since June 2010 when I heard a Cocteau Twins track, "Summerhead", on a radio show that I listened to every Thursday before its end just recently in August 2011, called The Interdimensional Vortex. I started getting into Cocteau Twins, and then I heard "Catch the Breeze" by Slowdive on the show a couple weeks later. The rest is history. I have really been a fan of 90s shoegazers like Slowdive, Cocteau Twins, Chapterhouse, Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Cranes and the like. I didn't really go for a lot of the "newgaze" stuff that was out (basically 2000 and on).

    But then, along should come Air Formation.


    I really liked their sound. It was very melodic, which I adored, but also had that edge to it that kept it really... shoegaze-y. Their sense of composition was something that really struck me, too, as well as the bass playing by Ben Pierce. I don't normally notice the bass, especially in this kind of music, but I was impressed at how he served the songs. These musicians are really talented, and I enjoy listening to them, fully. All fans of / should check them out if you haven't already. You won't be disappointed!