Alan Simon, Songwriter, 2017

alan simon - songwriterIt never seizes to amaze me how much there is to learn about all the music out there. Here I was thinking I had never heard of Alan Simon before, and then it turns out he has been involved in a wealth of albums, rock operas and soundtracks! So maybe you know about the Excalibur releases? I didn’t to be honest, but if this compilation is anything to go by, the man is a songwriter indeed. And in capitals! No wonder he can have people from for instance Supertramp, Midnight Oil, Fairport Convention on board, as well as guests like Alan Parsons, Martin Barre, John Wetton and Justin Hayward, to name a few.

This 40 track double CD is divided in a world & symphonic side and a “British” side. For me, CD 1 is filled to the brim with wonderful music. Indeed a lot of folky melodies and instruments, as well as more classical sounding pieces. But all done with a great sense of atmosphere and emotion. Melancholy runs strong throughout the songs, but that makes it easy to connect. The second CD is more pop and rock oriented I guess. But the quality and melodies remain. All released between 1995 and 2017, but sounding fresh and vibrant.
Lots of details, perfectly produced and very varied. Rich in ideas and textures, with a plethora of different instruments, it is a pleasure the keep hitting the play button.

Very impressed by the wonderful collection of material and a trigger to go dig in his back catalogue, I have been missing out! And since Excalibur IV has just been released, again with an impressive cast, I get another chance of finding out more…


Pod Persin, Mind Craft, 2012

pod persin - mind craftOkay here we go! Soundtrack music for gamers, geeks and freaks that have nothing better to do. And you should take some of that quite literally as this album is obviously inspired by the mine craft game that is all the rage in the gaming community right now. And like on his first album, 16 year old (at the time of recording) Wil Grisack shows a keen sense of humour with his  song titles: Welcome To My Mind, And I Say To Myself What A Beautiful Cube, In Love With My Skins, Beats The Minecraft Soundtrack (month 3) or Carpal Tunnel Begins To Set In (year 4)…

Many songs on offer here could easily be used in the actual game (or any other for that matter) as they share that same, simple midi based sound and structure. Other efforts are more elaborate and again make clear Pod Persin is an inventive and musical person. He shares the hard working ethic with his father, kids rocker Mr. Billy (famous for a.o. his 12 cd´s in 12 months quest) since this new release comes hot on the heels of his first CD and rumour has it he has already started with work on CD 3. Well, his website is online now, so maybe somewhere in between he finds time to update that as well ;-). Remarkable quality for a guy of his age and something anyone into soundtracks, and ambient or new age should check into.