Monday, January 26, 2009

David Deal - Transformation

Hear The Track Here

It seems like only a few years ago that almost anything you listened to from the internet was - how can I put this tactfully? - complete crap as far as sound fidelity went. Thank God the days of 8 bit files, 22k sound rendering and the ensuing 'popcorn' sounds it engendered are finally over. Pretty much all the sites I visit these days have even moved away from the old 128kbps standard and 192k streams and downloads are common. If sound fidelity means precisely nothing to you, its probably best you stop reading now and go and watch some reality TV. Sound fidelity is - to me anyway - a part of the MARKETING of your particular musical endeavours and one that is gaining more and more significance as time goes on. For example, if I had a choice between a standard 128k download or one at 192k or even 320k there is absolutely no question what I would go for. It is, of course, a double edged sword because the higher you render your sound, the more slight flaws are magnified to the point of noticability by your average music listener. The reason I am yapping on in such a nerdy fashion is because Transformation is a 192k download of 10+MB, and that triggered me thinking about how things change.

If you are now thinking that Transformation is subject to the flaws I mentioned above then you would be dead wrong. David Deal (also known as songdoc) is an accomplished musician and a fine producer so finding flaws in his tracks isn't something you would find easy or rewarding. Nope, about the only question of divergence of opinion on David's work has to be on a purely personal basis so let me get the bad stuff out of the way first. I hate show tunes (ie Andrew Lloyd Webber et al), and I despise prog-rock with an undying hatred and - unfortunately - Transformation manages to be both these things. It also manages to be a peerless peice of musical art that had me mesmerised and transfixed by just how good something I hated could sound. Don't be thinking either that a small touch of this won't do you any harm because there is no such thing as a small touch. Topping out at seven and a half minutes, Transformation is a lot of track to get through once, let alone enough times to really do the work justice. On arrangement alone, I could wax lyrical for reams - IF I liked the prog rock it is couched in.

No matter what I do though, the philistine in me comes to the fore sneering at the smugness and pretension inherent in the genre. On paper I understand and relish such comments as 'Sometimes, in the midst of a perfectly ordinary day, one is unexpectedly flooded by the magnificence of “what is”. Perhaps that moment of awareness and clarity arrives while watching a storm or absorbing a piece of art or while kneeling with intention in a church' but put all that to music and I'd be cringing before you could blink. Massive overexposure to this genre back in the day ruined me forever, even when I know for a fact that David Deal is one of the most un-smug and un-pretentious guys you are ever likely to meet. Tell you what, if you liked Yes (in particular) you are absolutely going to love this track to bits because - as I've pointed out - there is nothing whatsoever wrong in the way this track is composed and performed and everything that is right. Like all music however, it will always come down to personal preference and this is not mine. Nonetheless, it doesn't stop me admiring the work and insight it takes to make a track as detailed, complex and yes beautiful as this or recommending it to those with less biased ears.

Top class Prog-rock. Highly Recommended.

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