Sunday, December 8, 2013

REVIEW: John Malvey - "Silent Night" and "Noel"

"Silent Night" and "Noel" 

Electronic keyboard/guitarist artist John Malvey has two holiday carols on his soundclick page that are worth hearing as they represent unique spins on two traditional holiday songs. First is a synth-pop/electronica take on "Silent Night" that manages to sound contemporary and upbeat but not at the expense of the basic allure of this beloved carol. It opens with a wonderful sweeping synth wash, set alight with twinkling bell tones, before settling into a midtempo rhythm backdrop for the carol's melody, which by turns is played by the duo of synth-bass and keyboard. The second verse is played by flute with a backdrop of a bass/alto male choir. The bridge is quite lovely with a gentle improvisation on a piano-like keyboard surrounded by glistening and flowing textures and a lovely flute line, before the final verse ignites the sky with some snazzy electric guitar, well-mixed so as to not overpower the carol's spiritual aspect. The other carol is "Noel" which begins in a much more restrained style, with piano and subtle bell and chime tones, as well as subdued strings. Acoustic guitar takes over the lead melody at about the midpoint, and then once again, Malvey introduces electric guitar (this time with the added "oomph" of snare drums) for a brief injection of fire, before bringing the song to a gentler close. While traditionalists might bristle at the chill-out take on "Silent Night" or the brief flurry of stinging guitar on "Noel," I admire the artist's attempt to put a new, modern wrinkle on the two carols. Even rockers celebrate the holidays, don’t they? The two tracks can be heard (along with the artist's other works) at this link

No comments: