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Said Fantasy "Chariot of God" Discussion Thread

Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:05 pm
by seedsower

Who's had a chance to give the new Said Fantasy album a few listens yet?



Re: Said Fantasy "Chariot of God" Discussion Thread

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:22 am
by raybobindustries
First, let me just say how wonderful it is to hear new music from Ronnie. Truly a delight to the ears, simply no matter what.

The overall style seems reminiscent of the JE track "The Envelopes Brigade" and I must admit I was a bit shocked at just how minimalist of an approach he took on this album... it may very well rank as the purest form of minimalism he's ever achieved. This dedication towards absolute melodic simplicity is something I admire but, having heard some of the early demos, I can't help but feel like too much was sacrificed in the process. Squeezing each song through this minimalist framework has resulted in either purifying some tracks to their glory, but others to shredded degradation.

Horse of Faded Grandeur:
Being the third version of this song now released, I was very surprised to find this ended up more like the original "version 1" on the EP, but it still holds up quite well. I'm not certain dropping his vocals an octave lower on all of these tracks was the best of moves either, but there does seem to be some kind of vocal layering going on – though mixed in so incredibly faint... can't decide if that's part of its charm or not.

Ice Blankets the Landscape:
I think I'm most disappointed with this track. The original demo on the EP held a lot of promise, and it has truly suffered the most through its conversion. The effects for "ICE" and the amount of presence it is given across the track is puzzling at best. The original used it sparingly, and with a much subtler, icy vibe. And the ending "our hearts will melt together" lyrics could really benefit from being more of a background element than with the same amount of prominence as a verse. I feel this could have benefited with utilizing the same style of vocoder/effects used on "Her Solitary Migration" and "Creatures of All Tongues" instead.

When Roman Columns Fell:
Really enjoy this one. Simple and pure. I only wish the moment leading into each chorus wasn't so empty... The little random noise that hits right beforehand is so oddly placed... it just makes me smile at this point. It interesting what Ronnie chooses to leave in despite cutting so, so much out.

Her Solitary Migration
An excellent track that really uses the album style to its advantage by continually building in elements before hitting the finale with an absolutely delicious synth line. He really transformed this track into something special. Cool stuff, and such a vast improvement on the original – listening to the demo version just feels like a mistake now.

Creatures of All Tongues
Absolutely amazing. Easily the best song on the album, and worth the price of admission – without question. Haunting lyrics, ultra-catchy melody, a perfectly balanced drive throughout the song, great supporting synths on the chorus, really snazzy effects used on that first chorus... I honestly consider this a perfect song.

The Hours Unfolding
It's almost too simple for its own good, but it has been growing on me. Those constant bass notes feel a bit too aggressive and overpowering for this otherwise light and floaty tune. Reminds me a bit of the same lovable qualities as "The Confectionary," but lacks its sense of gentleness and naivety. There's some really interesting atmospheric sounds starting at 2:14, but it is completely buried in the background of the mix. And that random screaming noise... what's the deal?!

The Chariot of God
I am still somewhat nervous that this may be the final song R. Martin ever releases, so I really focused on treasuring my first listen of this song... closed eyes and took it all in... good stuff. Incredibly powerful for being so minimal – the style and format really works here. And clocking in at 8:28? What is this, Roolundria? It's longer than it really needs to be, but then again do I ever actually want it to end?

Despite my overall misgivings, I am so thankful for this new release, and it is such a pleasure to find myself singing these tunes in the back of my mind throughout the day. The question is... what's next for Joy Electric & Said Fantasy?

– Ray

Demo versions, for reference:
Horse of Faded Grandeur:
Ice Blankets the Landscape:
When Roman Columns Fell:
Her Solitary Migration:
The Hours Unfolding:

Re: Said Fantasy "Chariot of God" Discussion Thread

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:23 pm
by seedsower
Raybob, you pretty much summed up my thoughts on this release.

I was also disappointed/saddened with how the first two songs almost "regressed" from their previous sound.

I will say that I love the return to imaginative and abstract lyrics! This was one thing I disliked about DMA. Almost all the verses in nearly every song started with the word "You.."
You this, You that....
It's just my opinion, but it came off a little "preachy".
So, Said Fantasy was a much welcomed return!

I will also say that there isn't really a "bad" song on the record. Even if some of the production leaves something to be desired.

After a few listens, I was able to get over Ronnie's different vocal style. It was jarring at first, but it's okay now. Not my favorite, but not bad.

The album gets better as it goes along, with the exception of "The Hours Unfolding" in my opinion.

I would say "Creatures of All Tongues" is probably my favorite of this release.

Re: Said Fantasy "Chariot of God" Discussion Thread

Posted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:34 pm
by Jono
It's very hard, perhaps even impossible, not to judge this release against the live versions we've gotten to digest for seven years. I don't think the album is too bad, but I think it would've been much better if the songs had been recorded closer to how they were originally conceived. Luckily, that live recording isn't going anywhere. :)

Re: Said Fantasy "Chariot of God" Discussion Thread

Posted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:51 am
by IanTheBlueMan
So far I can say that I prefer the original versions of the first two songs, especially Ice Blankets the Landscape. Hearing Ronnie sing much lower than he usually does works in the more mellow songs like Creatures of All Tongues and Her Solitary Migration but feels awkward for the rest of them. It'll take some getting used to as I listen more, but I guess since Said Fantasy is supposed to be distinct from JE it kinda makes sense? Anyway, the record as a whole feels most like Curiosities & Such EP and the darker, "spookier" tracks from Cubist.

Her Solitary Migration is probably my favorite song on the whole record. I like the progression of it, while still being an excellent head-bopper, and the subtle vocoder in the chorus. I only wish he had different lyrics for the second and third verses; in this way the song still feels like a demo, but it's a classic Ronnie song to me.

Creatures of All Tongues is pretty good too. Has kind of that May All Saints anthemic quality, and I agree that the effect in the first chorus sounds cool. I wonder how he did it.

Hours Unfolding...I just can't get into. That screamy sound just takes me out of the song, but his lower-pitched vocals do work pretty well here.

Chariot of God kinda takes me back to Ronnie's cover of Say It Right, though it's not as icy cold. I like the sequencer jamming that alludes to Ushering in of the Magical Era from Otherly Opus, but I wish it didn't fade out in the last couple choruses. And the way that the echoes go on for so long and die like that...I wanted something more uplifting to end the record with. It feels like Ronnie is leaving his musical career to die rather than going out with a bang and having fun. That being said, it is good to hear some new music from him, music that isn't afraid to experiment and take risks. I hope Ronnie keeps writing and recording more in the future, even if we have to wait a few years like we do for most artists.