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Midnight Airship - Intro Album Review by George Miler

posted Dec 1, 2014, 12:31 PM by Ron Charron   [ updated Jan 24, 2015, 9:39 AM ]
<< A refreshing reinterpretation with the sound of a 21st-century production>>

 George Miler, December 1, 2014

  A couple of months ago I came across an old comment thread in the news feed between two blokes who had collaborated on a track with the intention of sounding like Pink Floyd. Since, like Ravel, I believe that music ought to be emotional first and intellectual second, I let my subconscious mind decide. Then, among the self-doubts and the sparring, I chimed in with “Heck, yeah, this sounds like Pink Floyd.” I’m not in the habit of swooping down unannounced and having an emotional outburst (unless it’s about politics, but I have been exercising restraint recently) so I thought that this first time would be the only time.
I rarely watch The Simpsons either because, for all the clever lines, I hate anything associated with Rupert Murdoch and I think Matt Groening sold out. But one line that stuck with me from one episode was something like: “I’m tired of listening to the old oldies. How about some new oldies?” “Yeah!”
I can’t describe the effect Pink Floyd had on me, especially The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. Floyd provided the background score for my young adult struggle for love and glory and the warmth and goodness of life. There is a vast literature on the subject of human striving, but this is as intellectual and academic as I am going to get today.
What I’m venturing to say is that Midnight Airship sounds like Pink Floyd. (Heck, yeah.) Pink Floyd with an upgrade that creates a fresh style, like a new oldie. Kuutana has emerged as a mighty interesting producer in multifarious milieus, and has entered upon the field of psychedelic prog rock with commendable brio. This album could be the 21st-century version of Pink Floyd. And it has a message! (Along with compelling cover art.)

The Floyd vibe is very strong in the first track, “A River Once Flowed Here,” which possesses the skaldic saga manner of panegyric that prog shares with my favorite New Age ambient. The synth effects and their hopeful mood – including the airflow around the airship as it goes on its mission of mercy – segues seamlessly into the 21st century, complete with vocals, but ends with the trademark Gilmour riffs.

Money for Your Soul,” track 2, is quintessential Floyd, reminiscent of course of
Dark Side’s track “Money,” which makes this track a classic theme in both senses of the word. The long dissonant tone with the soft, subtle guitar, along with the crisp, remorseless phrases bring a judgmental and nearly tragic sense of life to this track. The maniacal synth effects in the spaces between are like the sound of consciences being twisted in the act of selling out. There is more than a hint of Sixties experimental composition in this part, a lot of anguished dislocation which was felt much more acutely in that decade than in the Eighties. The cost in lost souls is the same. In the case of the merry yupsters, this loss was probably only as inconvenient as having an appendix removed. But there are still a lot of sensitive beings out there.
The third track, “Midnight Airdrop" breathes the atmosphere of tech-noir cyberpunk, the reaction to the Eighties, yet affords ample scope to guitar and piano which ably support the theme of the majestic airship making its midnight airdrops and providing succor. The heavy, rapid rhythm adds a note of getting down to serious business, unlike the old ladies from social welfare. Good meets despair head-on and strikes a balance, gives birth to a new synthesis…

…and “Making It Right” (track 4) – which really sounds like Rick and David
and Nick are jamming in the studio with Roger. Even Dick Perry seems to come into this slow rocker to support the track’s ambient texture. Serious without being world-weary, it’s more about loyalty, courage, and justice.

Finishing up with track 5, “A Glimmer of Hope” is a departure with its low sonorous chords from which a cautiously triumphant theme rises like a craft on an upwardly arcing trajectory. This piece bears Kuutana’s unmistakable signature. The Floyd vibe is still there, of course, blended faultlessly together, along with a wavering, suspenseful Jeff Waynesque organ base which serves as a foundation for the soaring, optimistic parts.
Just the right mix of new and old, Kuutana has struck the right note with this update, a refreshing reinterpretation with the sound of a 21st-century production. Since centuries don’t really start until their fourteenth years, the 21st may yet be the “century of recovery” kicking off a few future histories.

 George Miler, December 1, 2014

Album released  December 2014
This album was composed, performed, recorded and produced by Borders Edge Music. BEM produces also Sequential Dreams, Sundown Cafe, Kuutana, The Roboter. 
Album cover Image CC BY-SA 3.0 Alex Kwok 
Final composed cover artwork by Jean-Luc Charron