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Spotlight Album: ‘Little Tales’ – Aviram Spies

jtpao 04/28/2024

Folk N Rock
Spotlight Album: ‘Little Tales’ – Aviram Spies

Music for me is all about variety. When it comes to background jams, I throw everything in the mix – classical, smooth jazz, even some atmospheric black metal. Today, I’m diving into an album that perfectly fits that diverse playlist: “Little Tales” by Aviram Spies, a composer and pianist.

This album draws inspiration from short stories, poems, and real-life events, making each track a little sonic story itself. What’s even cooler is that Aviram himself blends genres, with jazz being his first love. This guy’s got a background in scoring for film, television, video games – and you know I’m a sucker for good video game soundtracks (everything from the classic Mega Man tunes to the recent addition of the Mortal Kombat 1 soundtrack to my vinyl collection).

With that said, let us now commence a deep exploration of “Little Tales.”

The album kicks off with “The Next To Last Time I Was Shot Out Of A Cannon,” a track that draws clear inspiration from the work of Israeli author Etgar Keret. Keret’s short story of the same name explores the possibility of transformation and recognition, even within the most rock-bottom moments in life. The song itself reflects this theme through the very act of being shot from a cannon – a metaphor for a potentially transformative experience that could propel one towards an unexpected future.

The opening strains are filled with mournful strings, a sonic representation of the despair that comes from feeling completely lost and trapped within a dead-end, physically demanding job, perhaps one akin to the back-breaking labor found at a circus. The forceful, immediate entry of percussion around the 20-second mark disrupts this initial mood, signaling a change on the horizon.

Shortly after the halfway point, the rhythm accelerates, suggesting a shift towards a more hopeful, though not entirely cheerful, state of mind. The song incorporates a steady, almost military-like snare beat, fluctuating in intensity and punctuated by the occasional chime of wind instruments. These wind instruments add a really nice layer of complexity here to the sound, hinting at the lingering doubts and uncertainties that may coexist with the emerging sense of hope.

“The Broken Pearl Necklace” opens with a solemn, harmonized melody played on strings, immediately conveying a sense of depth and seriousness. A low hum gradually builds beneath the surface tension, its intensity mirroring my own growing internal struggle. This complexity takes over around the 20-second mark, with a skittering sound introducing a sense of unease accompanied by intermittent, deep bass thumps.

A welcome change arrives as the song shifts into a breezier, more atmospheric space. I feel a sense of release, a break in the mounting tension. The tone shifts once more, allowing space for a lone string melody to rise to prominence. The instrumentation then subtly recedes, emphasizing the plaintive notes before fading away completely.

What stands out most for me in this track is the series of tonal shifts. The opening establishes a sense of worry or internal conflict, which then gives way to a brief period of carefree release. This creates a powerful sense of contrast, making the song feel like an emotional rollercoaster. It’s a story that takes you from feeling trapped and tense to a place of temporary freedom. The way the music mirrors this emotional arc is very cool.

We Met On A Frozen Lake (String Miniature Quartet No.1) starts with these heavy strings that weigh you down, and then suddenly you get this lighter, more carefree section that feels like a breath of fresh air. The song eventually circles back to that initial feeling of melancholy, leaving you with a complex mix of emotions.

The instruments intertwine, creating a unique musical atmosphere that’s both intense and oddly beautiful. It opens with a hushed, almost buzzing quality, then introduces an unsettling melody that ultimately resolves into something strangely comforting. The way the strings dance around each other is particularly engaging.

There’s a sense of conflicting emotions – a hint of happiness intertwined with an urgent tension, created by the way the strings are plucked. This push and pull continues throughout the latter half of the song, really holding my attention and keeping me engaged. The versatility of the strings are on full display here.

The musicians shift between moods, and it really felt like I was on this journey. The constant ebb and flow between contrasting emotions was so nicely done here. And in my minds eye, I just kept thinking back to my old World of Warcraft days. The music makes me think of my old character venturing into a dangerous, unknown frozen wasteland, but also carries a undercurrent of hope and determination. It’s just the perfect showcase of how music to evoke such a range of emotions and imagery without relying on lyrics.

“The Sleeping Giant” unfolds with a whimsical charm, the opening melody played by wind instruments that playfully mimic a ticking clock. This creates a pleasant, almost childlike atmosphere. An interesting key change occurs at some point, transforming the ticking into a more intense, almost foreboding sound. Despite this shift, the overall mood remains pleasant, thanks to the soothing delivery.

The song throws in several tempo and mood changes throughout, which kept me engaged and prevents the melody from becoming repetitive. The arrangements effectively showcase the instrumentation, with one particular instrument taking center stage for a while. As the song progresses, the ticking sound slows and fades in sync with the instrumentation, creating this sense of peaceful resolution.

Clocking in at just over a minute and a half, “The Sleeping Giant” is one of the shortest song on the album, yet it packs a powerful punch. The playful melody, the unexpected shift in intensity, and the calming resolution all contribute to a truly nice listening experience.

“Inside Voices (Woodwind Miniature Quartet No.1)” is a really fun track. The woodwind instruments create a sound that feels like the culmination of a journey. The main melody is engaging and intense, with subtle shifts in dynamics that add depth and keep it interesting throughout. And with a run time, clocking in at just over two minutes, the track leaves a satisfying impression.

The melody carries a sense of reflection – as if summarizing the emotional journey that has unfolded over the course of the album. The choice of woodwind instruments enhances this feeling, giving the song a warm, almost hushed quality. It feels almost like a sigh of relief after an arduous journey, or maybe even the quiet contemplation following a period of intense emotion.

“Little Tales” is a truly wonderful album. It felt like a brief but nice glimpse into the vast musical universe Aviram has crafted. These concise tracks act as short stories, each one offering a unique glimpse into a different facet of his creative world. And now I got a glimpse of those little tales, I’m ready for the novel.

The Album delivers a quick but powerful punch, its diverse soundscapes and emotional journeys ensuring a place on repeat in my background music playlists for a long time to come. This is an album that begs to be revisited, each listen revealing new details and nuances that enrich the overall experience. The intricate craftsmanship by the instrumentation, the unexpected twists and turns in the melodies, and the subtle shifts in mood all contribute to the album’s richness and depth. This is now going to be my go to background play form this point on.

The post Spotlight Album: ‘Little Tales’ – Aviram Spies appeared first on Folk N Rock.

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