I still can’t get enough of Calling All Dawns and have only just realised Baba Yetu has an official music video! Completely computer generated, it’s great to see a visual backdrop placed over this magical song. I still can’t spread enough love about this album!
Well the year is out and so we leave 2009 with our top 10 most viewed artists and here they are:
01) Lisa Gerrard: With more posts getting more than 150+ views than any other artist, Lisa Gerrard topped our most viewed list and she looks to stay high in 2010. Her Balibo soundtrack was amazing, and we’re still waiting for her 2009 album “The Black Opal” to arrive to review. Well done Lisa
02) Vienna Teng: Vienna went under the radar for me and is a surprise second. Her fourth album Inland Territory is absolutely stunning and we got our hands on her live DVD from a while back and loved that too. Hears hoping to more in 2010!
03) Brendan Perry: The anticipation for Ark continues and Brendan continues to clock up hits while we wait. Ark looks like hitting early 2010 and rest assured, HPM will be buying it on release day!
04) OverClocked ReMix: Well the biggest game music remixing project chalked up several releases but it was the FF4 project that really exploded over here grabbing the most viewed interview in 2009 with the project managers. 2010 will no doubt see tons of remixes for all and I’ll drink to that *glug*.
05) Akira Yamaoka: Well HPM did a lot of reviewing of Silent Hill soundtracks in 09 and that’s because the reviews always seem popular. Now Akira has left Konami (although Shattered Memories is still composed by him) it remains to be seen when we’ll hear of him next. Not too soon we hope!
06) Imogen Heap: Imogen actually had the most viewed post of 2009 with over 700 views of bizarrely the tracklisting for Ellipse. Sadly not as many read the review so that’s why Immi is down in 7th. 2010 looks like a year of touring so expect Heap to appear in the live vault!
07) Utada: This Is the One was one of pop’s best albums and was the third most read music review of 2009 and top of the non-game music reviews. Utada’s groove is definately on and maybe we’ll hear some more Japanese work in 2010.
08) Tori Amos: Tori strangely didn’t feature highly on the most viewed threads lists but constantly propped up just outside the top 10 and so ended up 8th overall. Abnormally Attracted to Sin and Midwinter Graces were fantastic albums that deserve much love and so 2010 should see Tori enjoy a break for a few months!
09) Hiroki Kikuta: The most read review of 2009 belongs to Hiroki and the Secret of Mana + Review that clocked over 500 hits. Hiroki was kind enough to send over one of his more obscure soundtracks which will be reviewed in 2010. Thank you Kikuta-san!
10) Christopher Tin: Sneaking in by just 2 views over Sarah Slean, Christopher Tin’s Calling All Dawns is simply devine and snatched the final spot on our top 10. Chris is a genuinely nice guy and deserves all the credit the albums recieved.
Top 5 Game Reviews
01) Battle Tanks (PS3)
02) Trash Panic (PS3)
03) Numblast (PS3)
04) Shatter (PS3)
05) Magic Ball (PS3)
Well November was a bit of a wash out for new posts due to my house move, but that didn’t stop November being the fifth busiest month of all time for hits! It was primarily down to one lady, Lisa Gerrard, who’s new album more than tripled the hits of the second placed artist. We’ll be reviewing all three new releases of Lisa’s this month.
01) Lisa Gerrard (2 months)
02) Tori Amos (^)
03) Brendan Perry (^)
04) Christopher Tin (v)
05) Hiroki Kikuta (^)
06) Imogen Heap (v)
07) Akira Yamaoka (RE)
08) Sarah Slean (RE)
09) Anonymous 4 (v)
10) Utada (RE)
01) .detuned (PS3)
02) Battle Tanks (PS3)
03) Numblast (PS3)
04) Shatter (PS3)
05) GripShaft (PS3)
October saw HPM have three distinct leaders in the race for top spot and despite only being a listen-to-the-samples post, Lisa Gerrard topped the bill for October while we all wait in anticipation for “The Black Opal”. Christoper Tin and Winifred Phillips followed closely behind with their interviews and reviews while Anonymous 4 was quickly catching all three at the end of the month. The top 10 are listed below:
01) Lisa Gerrard (^)
02) Christopher Tin (v)
03) Winifred Phillips (RE)
04) Anonymous 4 (NE)
05) Brendan Perry (-)
06) Imogen Heap (v)
07) Tori Amos (RE)
08) Hiroki Kikuta (v)
09) OverClocked Remix (v)
10) Yasunori Mitsuda (RE)
01) Battle Tanks (PS3)
02) Shatter (PS3)
03) .detuned (PS3)
04) Trash Panic (PS3)
05) Numblast (PS3)
This week’s live vault is Christopher Tin with his fantastic “Baba Yetu” taken from his album “Calling All Dawns”. The sheer power of the track can be felt even in this amateur recording. Fantastic.
Well due to my holiday and getting back into the routine, September was a very quiet month for HPM in general but towards the end we had a massive influx of visitors for one man – Christopher Tin! He grabs this months most viewed award with the review of his debut album and his interview afterwards. Lisa Gerrard also popped up the order with audio samples from forthcoming album Black Opal. Here’s the top 10 artists:
01) Christopher Tin (NE)
02) Lisa Gerrard (^)
03) Imogen Heap (v)
04) Lisa Germano (^)
05) Brendan Perry (v)
06) Hikoki Kikuta (^)
07) Module (v)
08) OverClocked ReMix (v)
09) Utada (v)
10) Vienna Teng (RE)
In the gaming front, Battl Tanks was the top read review this month and actually the second highest hit post this month too! We will be going really into game reviews from all old consoles from October and they will feature more prominantly, as the site will now be taking a much more active approach due to a change in circumstances of myself!
01) Battle Tanks (NE)
02) Shatter (v)
03) Numblast (v)
Having absolutely devoured every sound in his debut solo album “Calling All Dawns”, HPM were dying to chat with Christopher Tin and lucky us, we were able to get a few questions to the musical maestro. Here’s what he had to say:
There are so many different conceptual sides to “Calling All Dawns”, where did they all come from such as the life/day cycle and the decision to use 12 different languages?
I’ve always been a fan of concept albums–I think it comes from growing up listening to bands like Pink Floyd and The Who. Albums like The Wall, Tommy, etc. demanded that the listener appreciate them in total, and not just by skipping around track to track. I wanted to create something like that. I can’t remember where the idea to do a song cycle about the life cycle came from, but the idea to do it in 12 languages certainly came out of an urge to do something unifying, that stretched across cultures. We’re really not so different as a people, are we? We may speak different languages and pray to different gods, but there are certain elements of the human condition that we all share. We all love. We all hate. We all live; and then we all die. And even though we’re in disagreement about the details about what happens next, we all live on in some way.
Why also did you choose religious scripts and lyrical poetry as lyrics for each piece?
It comes back to the idea of pointing out the similarities between cultures, and not dwelling on the differences. Half the songs are sacred; half are secular. Secularity is as much a part of this world as spirituality. Much of the world is not religious, yet has varying philosophies on what happens after death–why not give voice to them?
Were there any cultures or languages you’d have liked to have visited on the project?
Absolutely! I have ideas for a follow up album that I’d like to start working on after the dust settles on Calling All Dawns. There are certain ensembles out there that I would love to work with; for example, I’d love to work with Le Mystere De Voix Bulgares, the celebrated Bulgarian women’s chorus. I’d love to do some more with West African singers, Arabic singers… perhaps touch upon some more South African languages, like Zulu, Xhosa or Sotho. Oh, and maybe I’ll do a song in English, too. I hear that’s a popular language.
How did it feel to record in such a large scale at Abbey Road Studios which is steeped in such grand history?
Pretty grand, I would say! But I was actually only in Abbey Road for a little over a day. It may sound crazy, but we recorded the orchestra for the entire album in a single day. I booked the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for 7 hours, they came in, and recorded all 46:40 of the album, mostly on the 2nd or 3rd takes of each song–they’re that good! After the sessions were over, though, we took a little time to take a tour with one of the assistant engineers. I got to see the speakers that they mixed Dark Side Of The Moon on, got to play the Mrs. Mills piano, the tack piano that Paul plays on Lady Madonna and Ob-la-Di, Ob-la-Da… it was a blast.
There is a particular warmth to the album which is always joyous and uplifting. Was that a conscious decision and how did you go about achieving that?
I tend to go for warmth in my music, and to achieve that you make a series of decisions throughout the entire process to help achieve that goal. It starts right from the very beginning, when you’re choosing what notes you write. It carries through to the orchestration, when you choose what instruments to use to support the vocals–do you double the strings with trombones? Clarinets? How do you mark them dynamically, so that they support the strings without overshadowing them? Then you hire an orchestra. Which one do you want? Different orchestras have different sounds to them. The strings in London sound different than those in Los Angeles. Then you pick a studio and an engineer. That one was easy–John Kurlander, former head of Abbey Road, was my guy for recording at Abbey Road, which has a wonderfully warm sound. Then you mix and master. In that final step, mastering, we took an interesting route–we actually transferred all the digital mixes to analogue tape, and then re-digitized it. Tape actually imparts a certain warmth and glow to the recording, and I think you can really hear that in the final product.
So far the press have loved the album. How does it feel to have such wide acclaim for your work?
Great! This album took almost four years of my life to create, so it’s nice to know that people seem to like it.
Are there any particular moments on the album you feel most proud of?
There are 8 bars in track 10, “Hamsafar”, that I really like actually. It’s the second half of the second verse–I wrote a ton of counterpoint in the orchestra and backing vocals, and put a ton of detail into that passage. Most listeners probably won’t hear it, but it makes me smile to know it’s there.
Are there any other plans for Christopher Tin and/or “Calling All Dawns” in the near future?
After the album’s initial release, I plan on making some additional products available. I’ll be releasing the full score on my website, for example, for anyone who just wants to dig into the notes. And then I’m thinking of making remix packs available for some of the songs, for anyone who wants to do some remixing. I’m all about fan generated videos, remixes, mashups, art, etc. In fact, I hope to be featuring some fan-generated work on my site in the near future. [Ed - I may take you up on that!]
Christopher Tin’s album “Calling All Dawns” is available at his website: www.christophertin.com
Christopher Tin, well known VGM artist (“Baba Yetu” from Civ IV) and musical talent returns with his first solo album “Calling All Dawns” and its a cracker of a concept that you normally don’t come across unless you go into the alternative music world.
“Calling All Dawns” has 12 tracks in 12 languages and goes through a day cycle of day, night and dawn. The clever part which you might not notice is that each movement of songs flows straight into each other and when the final song finishes it actually serenades you straight into the opening track again if you play it on a loop. There’s a lot of hidden intricate details for you to discover with this album, but let’s get to the tracks!
“Baba Yetu” is a song any Civ IV fan will already be aware of although it’s been rerecorded and re-jigged. The Soweto Gospel Choir are simply magical with their tonal qualities and the way they can explode into joyous rapture only to give you a soft understated finale which really sets the mood for a new day. Coupled with the world music and track workings from Christopher Tin who builds the track up only to break it down gently again, for me personally its one of best examples of world music to have been made in years. Think Lion King and then some…
“Mado Kara Mieru” is adapted from haiku’s of the four seasons and is sung in Japanese. There is a certain richness to the string arrangements which is present throughout the whole album. There is something very familiar with the track that reminds me of what the film soundtrack of “Shawshank Redemption” would sound like Haiku’ed in Japanese! I love the grandness in this track, Christopher spares nothing for what is a track that almost has an impending doom to it.
“Doa Zai Dan Ye” is a delicate Mandarin piece that is as lyrical as it is operatic. Remember those British Airways ads? It has a similar feeling but with all the regal ladyship of the traditional Orient and holds a lot of graceful fragility to it. Jia Ruhan’s voice sounds so serene with Chris’ multitracking too.
“Se E Pra Vir Que Venha” is Portuguese and has a free flowing gallop to it. Christopher has a way of capturing different languages and their religious texts in a musical soundscape and although all the tracks are orchestrated each one has its own style and space.
“Rassemblons-Nous” is the French song and the first with a male lead and electronic percussion backing up the orchestra. This song features a lot of deep brass sounds and therefore reminds me a bit of Bjork’s “Selma Song’s” album. It’s very dramatic and filmic as it continues to its huge climax and with it ends the Day time section with a bang. Here you can really hear the 200 musicians put to their use with Tin’s magical scores.
Night time starts with “Lux Aeterna” which is of course Latin. This track is led by the harp and signals a pace change. Woodwind instruments float gracefully like night birds setting out for flight and this track which is largely instrumental really sweeps you off to another world. It also reminds me of “American Beauty” but I have no idea why!
“Caoineadh” harks back to old Irish language for a subtle string and vocal track that is almost like a eulogy for the day just gone. It’s downbeat and funeralesque in its tone even though the words talk of nobility. The string sections are particularly emotive in this track.
“Hymn Do Trojcy Swietej” is Polish and just like all the tracks, the words are from some kind of religious text of sorts. This track however is the most church styled track on the album. It almost sounds like you’re inside a huge Cathedral with atmosphere by the bucket load.
Dawn starts off with te Hebrew track “Hayom Kadosh” which sounds like something Lisa Gerrard would release with her otherworldly sound. The track is very short but packs its punch from the outset. It has a certain joy to it too and leads almost unnoticed into “Hamsafar” which is in Farsi and is in a similar vein – joyous and full of spirit and uplifting energy. I challenge you not to lift a smile for these types of songs.
“Sukla-Krsne” sung in Sanskrit is very much like waking up to a new sun rise. The warmth that comes through the speakers on these tracks is due to Christopher’s inspired decision to transfer the tracks from digital tapes to analogue tapes. It really pays off in the dawn section of tracks.
The closing track (or if you loop it the last of the dawn tracks before the day is back upon us again) is the Maori track “Kia Hora Te Marino” which is a traditional Maori blessing and its the perfect way to start a new day. The song is grand, the Maori chants and choirs go hand in hand and the world seems anew again and full of hope.
Quite frankly Christopher Tin’s album is a masterpiece. Every track is of such a high calibre and standard and there is so much unconditional love in each one for the cycle of life that you can’t help yourself but join the ride and the day through. It’s the first album for a while that works better played as an entirity than as individual tracks and the concept is both refreshing and fulfilled. Put simply “Calling All Dawns” is not just the best world music album of 2009, it’s one of the best world music albums of the decade. Pure and absolute musical hedonism.