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Archive for the ‘Swords’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: MAGIC SWORD-Endless (2020).

Not long after the release of the Awakening EP, Magic Sword is back to conclude the story arc that the previous albums have created.

The Keeper (red, keyboard, audio-visual), The Seer (blue, guitar), and The Weaver (yellow, drums) are Immortal and they have seen a story like this one unfold many times.  So they are not surprised by the direction it goes in.

“Depths of Power” opens this chapter with a slow pulsing matched with occasional power chords.  “Invincible” adds a new sound palette to the band’s music.  This song sounds a bit more like Tangerine Dream but with some more contemporary techno type sounds.

“Aftermath” adds some swirling uneasy sounds to the album.  It contains curlicues of sound that wiggle around and segue into “Empress” which has a low rumble underneath the propulsive synths.

“Shores of Oblivion” is a more eerie soundscape of wind and slow pulsing waves of emptiness. When the fast melody comes from out of the waves it feels like something sinister heading right for you.

“rophecy” adds some light to the proceedings with an uplifting melody which is eventually corrupted by “Corruption” and turns into a more threatening tone.

“Ritual” introduces a fairly heavy bassline and some more modern sounding synths.  Then “A New Quest” returns to the pulsing sound of old.  “Hope” starts quietly but brings am uplifting melody that continues throughout the song.

“Endless” ends the disc with strings–ominous at first but which move into a more stately melody that fades out slowly over a long time–continuing endlessly

The band also released a single of “Invincible” with a remix by Waveshaper.  I don’t typically like remixes, because mostly they just dump a new drum beat over an old melody, but this one plays around with the song in interesting ways.  It turns it into something different without losing the original.  I rather like the new bass line they add to the song.

In the comic book, Magic Sword says that this ends the cycle.  Does that mean the end of Magic Sword … or the beginning of a new cycle?

[READ: October 29, 2020] Magic Sword Volume 2, Chapter 3

Chapter 3 concludes this cycle somewhat unexpectedly for me (although it makes perfect sense once it is explained).

When Chapter 2 ended, Nayia came face to face (or more like face to big toe) with The Colossus.  It was the size of a mountain and seemed to be covered in bark.  It quickly grabbed hold of her with its tendrils, trying to burrow into her orifices.

But the power of the Magic Sword was still within her and it fought back where she couldn’t.  With its help she was easily able to best this beast.

But the story doesn’t end there. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MAGIC SWORD-Awakening EP (2019).

It took three years for Magic Sword, the instrumental band from Boise Idaho, to release chapter two of the second volume of their saga.  In that time, they had released individual songs, but for this entire seven song EP (and comic book), the year of the sword took much longer than expected.

The Keeper (red, keyboard, audio-visual), The Seer (blue, guitar), and The Weaver (yellow, drums) have continued the saga but have expanded their sound a bit.  They still sound like a 1980s movie soundtrack, but it’s a bigger budget movie.

“Herald” opens the EP with a deep-voiced narration of the opening page of volume one, the paragraph that sets up the story of the Magic Sword.  It segues into “Awakening” which sounds bigger than anything they’ve done while still retaining the recognizable retro Magic Sword sound.  Midway through the guitar comes in with a quiet solo that introduces a funky element to the song–there’s even the a kind of bass guitar element.  It is a slow opening that sets the tone of the album as we await “The Harbinger.”

“The Harbinger” is under three minutes and projects an ominous low tone as a distant, distorted voice recites a passage that I can’t make out.  It segues into “Lady of Light” which follows a pretty synth melody that mutates into a middle with a distinctly funky/disco bass.  “Reborn” bursts forth like a big 1980’s synth anthem.  But it quickly changes tone with a pulsing soundtrack and a ripping guitar solo.  It all resolves into the anthemic conclusion.

“Shadow” introduces a more sinister sound–both the harsh higher notes and the menacing low growling synth that works as a perfect segue to the album ending “Colossus.”  It continues like the rest of the album with just a hint more menace in the crashing drums and delays of the loud synths and an absolutely roaring guitar solo to close out the disc.

Magic Sword still sounds like the same trio, but they sound even more assured.

[READ: October 29, 2020] Magic Sword Volume 2, Chapter 2

Chapter 1 introduced us to Tayia, the chosen one.  She is pure of heart and is therefore eligible to wield the Magic Sword and restore balance.

But as The Keeper explained, the Magic Sword will take control of her body–she will become death.

As Chapter 1 ended, The Keeper stopped time and Tayia grabbed the Magic Sword.  As Chapter 2 opens, time resumes and the creature who was about to attack her, a member of the Kihlhi tribe, realizes she is no longer where she was (time did not stop for her).

He crashes to the ground.

Continuing with the parallels between this story and present reality, the Kihlhi was

Spouting vile hatred through slurred speech.

One can only hope that in reality the vile creatures also

had no idea of the mighty change that had overtaken and transformed his prey.

Tayia’s power and will merged with the will of the sword creating beautiful arcs of pink.  She fights effortlessly, including a full page scene of her dance/kick. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MAGIC SWORD-Legend EP (2016).

Magic Sword, the instrumental band from Boise Idaho, is back, following their epic Volume 1 with a 15 minute EP and a new angle to their story.

The three members of the band remain: The Keeper (red, keyboard, audio-visual), The Seer (blue, guitar), and The Weaver (yellow, drums).

This EP has three songs.

“Legend of the Keeper” begins slowly, like something building from primordial ooze.  Steam escapes as the music builds and turns into a kind of 1980’s montage soundtrack introducing the hero.  There were guitars on the first album, but they are more prominent here with a lengthy solo.

“Uprising” begins with a menacing pulse that resolves into a tense series of overlapping melodies.  It continues into some laser-sounding pulses that set the tone for the uprising to come.    “The Curse” has a simple keyboard melody, but underneath it, the low distorted notes sound like an animal, a demon, whispering words into your head.  But a soaring guitar solo pushes through the distortion.

There is a Deluxe Edition of the EP with three remixes: “Legend Of The Keeper (F.O.O.L. Remix),” “Uprising (The Indicator Remix)” and “The Curse (The Toxic Avenger Remix).”  I’m not keen on remixes so these don’t do much for me.

[READ: October 29, 2020] Magic Sword Volume 2, Chapter 1

Volume 1 set up the origins of the Magic Sword.  In Volume 2, we see it come to the aid of the desperate.

The Nierhi Valley people were a peaceful tribe, who knew no threats.

But the neighboring Kihlhi tribe had recently crossed the mountain that separated them.  The Kihlhi has been overtaken by a mysterious stranger who slowly sucked their humanity from them.  They soon thought only of murder and defilement.

The Niehri were easily overwhelmed until a thunderous crack on the top of the mountain meant only one thing: the arrival of the Magic Sword. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MAGIC SWORD-Vol. 1 (2015).

Magic Sword is an instrumental band from Boise Idaho.

There are three members of the band: The Keeper (red, keyboard, audio-visual), The Seer (blue, guitar), and The Weaver (yellow, drums).

Magic Sword makes 1980’s-sounding sci-fi movie soundscapes.  Meaning there are a lot of synths, a lot of retro sound effects, and a lot of pulsing music.

The music feels like a soundtrack and that’s because it actually is. Magic Sword includes a comic book with each release (read about it below).

“The Beginning” sets the stage with a catchy synth melody before the intensity of “Sword Of Truth.”  After setting the stage, the lighter (but with a still menacing underbelly) “The Way Home” propels the story forward.

“Kill Them All” has words.  A quiet, whispered voice states

They came in the night
They killed everyone
I hid in the shadows
And then it came to me
The Magic Sword
And I killed them all

Dramatic chords rise as the music swells.  “In The Face Of Evil” presents a sinister bass melody as a lead melody wanders along it until it turns into a lengthy solo.

“Only Way In” is slower and more intense with a looping synth keeping the tension high as what sounds like birds echo in the background.  After a build up of intensity (can you see a hero making their way through a small passage) the tempo picks up.  This song has the most modern sounding music (almost an EDM kind of distorted beat) letting you know its not all retro.

“Reflection” allows for a moment to rest as gentle music falls down. But an ominous undertone is always present.  “Retrogram” feels like an opportunity to start anew as “Discover” ups the intensity with a far more retro pulsing synth sound.

“Memories In Shadow” slows things down as sprinklings of notes poke out of the ominous lower chords that sustain the song until it begins to rebuild as it heads toward the “Battlefield.”  “Battlefield” does not feel violent as expected–it’s more passionate but not scary.  There’s even a slow, quiet middle for a moment of reckoning.

“Infinite” feels uplifting, but there’s no time for rest as the abyss stares back at out hero.  “Journey’s End” feels solitary.  There is still work to do as our hero soars into the distant sky.

[READ: October 29, 2020] Magic Sword Volume 1

Volume 1 is the first graphic novel from the band Magic Sword.  There are presently four books in the series. The story follows The Keeper (red, keyboard, audio-visual), The Seer (blue, guitar), and The Weaver (yellow, drums) as they prepare for the necessary return of the Magic Sword.

This first book opens

In the beginning there was light

and Darkness.

But soon evil spread over the land like a plague.  [sounds familiar]. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: CLAIRO-“Bags” (2019).

It seems like 2019 is the year of lo-fi women.  There’s a lot of great songs but great artists mining the same field of guitar-based, quietly sung catchy songs.

Clairo’s “Bags” is the latest of this style of song.

There’s a shoegaze vibe to the song both in the woozy guitars and Clairo’s distant vocals.  The melody is catchy but the big hook comes from what I assumed was a whispery, vibratoed synth line, but which a live video tells me is actually a guitar line.  It’s 11 notes long and meanders in a rather compelling way.

I’m curious what the rest of the album will sound like.

[READ: August 2019] The Fifty Year Sword

I’ve really enjoyed Mark Z. Danielewski’s meta fictional books. He makes the book itself, not just the words, part of the story.

This book is a novella.  Even though it’s nearly 300 pages, most of the right pages are blank and the left pages are mostly written in a poem-fashion with lots of white space.

(It’s a huge waste of paper, because the book would still work of text was on left and right, but whatever).

Neverthless, the design is really pretty.

This story has a design element that means there are a lot of colors in the book.

The conceit is that there are five orphans telling this story. Each is designated by a different colored quotation mark.  The orphans interrupt each other constantly (which is what gives the pages the look of poetry). (more…)

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