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Tom Kelly - 2018 - "Spinning Through Eternity"

(43:03; 19:35 Productions)


TRACK LIST:                  

1. Remains of Childhood Lost 5:50
2. Ma & Pa Kettle Go to Hell 1:57
3. Cows Appear out of Nowhere 2:10
4. Catherine 10:04
5. A Book Wife's Dream of Her Own Imposter (Dedication) 7:12
6. Forward 2:51
7. Chapter One: A Book Wife 3:28
8. A Book Wife's Dream 1:28
9. Spinning Through Eternity 8:03


Tom Kelly - all instruments

Prolusion. US composer and musician Tom KELLY had been involved with bands, playing music and creating music since the 1960's, but without ever becoming a well known entity. As I understand it he hadn't been in an active band environment for quite some time when he sadly passed away in 2017. Nickie Harte Kelly and David Hurst then decided to cater for the material Tom had recorded for himself over the years, and subsequently released this on three CD's. "Spinning Through Eternity" is the third of those three albums, and was officially released in 2018.

Analysis. When releasing three albums at the same time, there's always a chance of those albums being a bit too much of the same thing. Circumstance obviously dictated the choice of releasing the three Tom Kelly albums in this manner, and thankfully all of them have their own identities as well. The differences may be ever so slightly subtle, but they are still very much present. At least according to what I think I can hear. As a composer, Kelly was obviously inspired quite a bit by classical music. That is a recurring theme on all three albums. Often showcased by way of piano motifs and sometimes by way of textures. On this particular album my impression is that the arrangements themselves as well as the structures contain the strongest focus towards this form of music, and to a greater extent than on the previous two albums in this series. Keyboards as well as guitars are used as textures to a stronger degree, mimicking a classic symphony orchestra in general and the string sections of it in particular, and fairly often throughout this production in more of a dramatic vein and manner at that. With associations going towards the likes of Wagner and, at least to some extent, Mussorgsky. With the rock music overall context, a name like ELP is perhaps begging to be name-dropped at this point as well. The other side of this CD are compositions of a more careful and gentle nature, that for me at least invokes the spirit of artists such as Mike Oldfield. Delicate and frail arrangements, often with a firmer subtle backbone, that hones in on mood and atmosphere with a stronger dreamlike general nature to them. What both sets of compositions shares between them is a stronger and more distinct focus on atmosphere of course, and be it gentle or dramatic those flairs is the main identity mark for this literally final album of Tom Kelly's material. The downside to this album, as well as the others in this series, is the recording quality. There is more of a demo quality to the recordings, and the material gives an impression of not really being the finished, recorded in a quality studio type of music most listeners are accustomed to. Hence the listener needs to fill in some blanks, as well as accept artifacts, noise distortions and instrument levels not being in perfect balance or even maintaining the same loudness throughout. On a side note, it would be interesting if some of the feinschmeckers of the progressive rock universe had a go with some of the compositions from this album, or the previous two productions of Kelly's Music. An artist such as Rob Reed would be my top pick as far as such endeavors is concerned. Perhaps as a single or EP, seeing how far the ideas and material of Kelly could be taken when explored by the hands and the minds of someone who really knows how to get the very best out of any composition presented to them. Perhaps a notion I'm alone in having, but still a thought that struck me a few times when going through this album as well as the previous ones.

Conclusion. I will conclude about this album in just about the exact manner as I concluded the previous albums of this series: The very nature of the recordings on this album is one that will limit the overall reach somewhat. This isn't a polished creation given a stellar shining in a top notch recording studio, but recordings by a passionate composer and musician recording material at home or in a home studio. But those who can wrap their minds around this aspect of the album, as well as the material perhaps not always being perfected or completely developed, should find this album to be an interesting experience. And then in particular among those with a strong passion atmospheric laden progressive rock, in this case spanning from the delicate landscapes of artists such as Mike Oldfield to the more Wagnerian, classical music oriented soundscapes produced by artists such as ELP.

Progmessor: December 15th 2019
The Rating Room

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Tom Kelly


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