Best Music Spotlight

VIA VITAE – Lee Michael Walton

Photograph of the blog post author, Jonathan Robinson

Jonathan Robinson

20.8.2020

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Carefully articulated piano work and youthful soprano vocals. Cuts of recorded speech and coloured melodies layer over and around the track. VIA VITAE dives into its intense and encompassing world without hesitation.

VIA VITAE

On introduction, the track introduces each element of its arrangement in turn. The lo-fi found speech overlaps and creates a bed of vocal sound. The grit found in the frequencies immediately creates a textural underlayer. 

The entrance of dramatic piano qualities brings with it a weighty sense of melancholy, with a touch of wonder. Pad sounds swell up from the mix and fill the gaps between every keyed note. The dry hand percussion contrasts notably with the ‘wetter’ sounds around it. This dichotomy adds an intriguing complexity to the mix.

Immersive as the arrangement is, this dryness conjures a separation between the sonic world and the listening world. As if witnessing another’s experience in reception to the work.

The vocal lead has a characteristically young essence. Recognising this creates preconceptions of innocence, or naivety. Again, this exists on a different plain to its content. An almost joyful delivery of a weighted melody and equally heavy lyrical content. This presents an uncanny notion of clashing objects. Though they clash so slowly and elegantly that is becomes something beautifully open-ended, and without confrontation.

There is a structural back and forth between song-based vocalisation and instrumentation, and the recorded monologues. This presents the same draw in two different but equally expressive ways. 

Where one is a traditional inclusion of musical output, the more familiar section of vocal performance with music is a poetic and carefully articulated series of statements. It very much embodies the commonality of narrative through musical expression. However, the sections of individual discussion on their own experiential profundity across their lives has a genuine sense of humanity. The lack of prose, of lyricism, heightens the impact and effect of the words.

VIA VITAE is a ride for a listener to take. It very much belongs in the categories of art from a traditional musician’s hand. Paired with the powerful imagery in the video, the work could very well be received as a multidisciplinary art piece. 

  • Overall rating: 7/10
  • Pairs well with: Gymnopédies & Gnossiennes – Erik Satie 

Stream ‘VIA VITAE’ on YouTube:

Follow Lee Michael Walton on:

Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Spotify | Website

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