Review: Record Production Month 2018

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I would like to preface this review by writing a little bit about my musical background, because I think that it is important for you to understand before you read a review about music written by me. Perhaps you have a specific taste in music, totally different from mine. Or perhaps you too love to listen to anything from ABBA Gold to John Cage’s “4’33”.” What I’m trying to get at is that there is very little I refuse to listen to and country pop music is really the only thing that I undoubtedly hate. It’s also worth mentioning that I play a bunch of musical instruments, so later on when I mention how magical the sound of the clarinet is I hope you understand that the comment is rooted in a love for the technical side of the music as well as the aesthetics. I appreciate all of the little things that make music happen and furthermore enjoyed listening to all the lovely tracks that have been created as a result of Record Production Month.

For those of you reading that may not be familiar with what exactly Record Production Month is, don’t fret. It’s a creative challenge that happens annually, with Trent Radio inviting musicians to record an entire album in just one month. It is no simple task to produce an album in a month. At the beginning of February I tried it myself, and got so far as one song where I rhymed “sea” with “Wayne Gretzky.” So before I officially begin this review, let me say all of the work that went into these twenty-three albums was great work, and that it made me love our little community even more.

Something I noticed while listening was the magnitude of experimental artists in Peterborough; it was much larger than I thought. There were some really alternative approaches as to what you could do with an instrument – or lack thereof – and the sounds some of these artists produced were incredible. Notably, Charleigh Chomko’s Spring Stream in which the sound of water was apparent throughout the album, as well as “The Sound of Bowling” by Mean Mr. Jarvis and Son (which is literally what it sounds like it is). All of these sounds are things the average person is familiar with but possibly never stopped to really listen to or try to see the musicality in.

I adored many of the album titles. Pest Sounds by Myrus and Cyrus mimicked The Beach Boys Pet Sounds. Although the album itself had nothing to do with The Beach Boys, the title was accurate. Instead of music you are left to listen to the opinions and mishaps of Myrus and Cyrus. My favourite thing about this album was their coverage of the Olympics, where Cyrus accidentally travels to North Korea and describes it as a “hell version of a Wes Anderson movie.” Before I move on from these fellas I have to disagree with their opinion that Tobey Maguire is the best Spiderman – Tom Holland is obviously the best Spiderman.

Another cool album title was Water under the Fridge by Emmet Owl, presumably making reference to the Adele song, “Water under the Bridge,” or simply alluding to a problem we all know too well. This album was so mellow, and the combination of the clarinet and flute on one of their tracks sounded majestic.

An aspect I particularly enjoyed was the two albums that were created by children. Rock & Roll Princesses was an album filled with the work of two young sisters. Right from listening to the first track it’s revealed that they have a three-year age gap, just like my little sister and I. It made me feel nostalgic and miss all the things my sister and I would create growing up. But it also made me really happy to listen to these two making songs about whatever they liked. The second album came from the students of Queen Mary Public School, and featured music contributed by children from various grades. It was really cool to listen to how the voice changes as you grow up. The music was again about what they wanted it to be about, and I think that it’s great to see kids participating in making music.

Finally, I would like to write a little bit about my favourite trend that I noticed in these albums. There seemed to have been a space theme going on, with the most obvious being Martian Broadcloak’s Seedling of Mars, which was incredible. It had a space name and album art depicting a classic Martian, which I did not mind at all. Harbinger Talisman’s album Spectrum also had a similar vibe. This ambient, spacey sound is something I find really inspiring. Music like this makes me envision scenes from some of my favourite sci-fi novels, furthering that sense of wonder. There was also the album The Surface by Olias that evoked a similar feeling with the delightful sounds of a synthesizer. It simply sounds out of this world.

I could go on and on about what I found cool about each and every album. These are merely a few highlights according to me. All twenty-three albums were great and I am blown away at some of the talent here in Peterborough. I definitely recommend that you give them a listen!

You can check them all out at rpm.robhailman.com.