Radagast the Brown-The More They Tell Me About You, The Less I Believe Them | In an ocean of sound
The power of dominating your dreams can be transcendental. It is not that it is impossible, but the subconscious takes the oars when it comes to dreams. Radagast the Brown enters this liminal space of thought and searches for music that imply and affect. His latest album is called The More They Tell Me About You, The Less I Believe Them. A collection of varying soundscapes that try to capture extended moments and experiences. Let’s dive in.
Choir voices and a soft, resounding piano sound is the opener. It is the title track, and similar to Enya’s experimentation in the early 80’s, the synths speak words. Gentler melodies share the soundscape, a sound of frolicking, engaged instruments all in even flow with each other. It is extraordinary to pick apart the layers and realise what each one does for the song.
Writing beautiful music scores and instrumental pieces, what do you consider the most important aspect helping your composition?
I think having a wide range of musical exposure is helpful in recalling sounds or moods that provide inspiration. The most important aspect of composing to me is being able to translate the sound, or at least the feeling and emotion of what you feel inside, into something that is audible and that can be experienced. The freedom of not being bound by genre expectations is key to letting intuition run wild.
The art and the artist
This is where Radagast the Brown shines with respect to his soul for music. The track tells him where to go, not the other way around. Your Presence in Fractals phases between your left and right ear, so make sure you’ve got stereo sound turned on. The tickle is felt, you understand that each instrument or layer has a definite role to play. Using ambient textures in Buoy Blues, this artist tries to bring the landscape and imagery to you. Personified by his efforts to contain the landscape in a soundscape, he tries to break a long standing mold of ambient music.
Certain timeframes inspire sounds to bleed into one another quite often. How do you decide when you want to morph the effect within the track? Is there really a time to it?
My #1 goal with this project is to be 100% intuitively driven. I don’t usually question anything—any decision made is in the moment and it’s refreshing to create without limits, expectations, and constructs. It feels a lot more organic and honest.
Erosion Mechanisms Precipitate the Decline uses an uncommon progression to create a tense yet flowing melody. The transition into synths and delicate synth sounds is almost lucid and organic, each moment belongs to the other for a moment as well.
Delicate deviations and alterations
Like tracks Erosion Mechanisms…, you dominate the soundscape with keys that move on to strings and narrate with this new language. How does this process come about?
I love the idea of songs taking listeners on a journey or telling a story. With instrumental music, transitions and the introduction of new instrumentation are usually the indicators of moving from one chapter to the next. Post-rock groups, such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, along with American minimalist composers like Steve Reich and Terry Riley, influenced me to push for telling a musical story beyond a structurally predictable song in 4 minutes.
I’ll usually hear the transition in my head at the moment and will scramble to find right the textures, tones, and atmosphere to properly translate it. Sometimes, I’ll hear the ideas from my dreams and will use that as a cornerstone to a new song.
It’s not a process anyone and everyone can boast about. The penultimate track is a visual for the same. There is a matrix that dominates the sound, a principal effect after which the other follows. I hear it as a foreground and background, and at most times they work in tandem with the other. Gentle chimes help in a mild distraction, creating another funnel of sound to enter. These cinematic pieces are a picture, you must experience each as a protagonist in that story.
Treating dreams with inspirations
You’ve released albums similar to film scores since 2018. Do you feel this is now your mother tongue, or would you like to explore more styles?
I love so many different kinds of music, I wish I could dedicate full-time projects to all of them. As of now, I also have a dream pop project called “Skylight Motion Picture” and a hip-hop project made in collaboration with several well-respected and successful underground emcees that will likely come out in late 2023/early 2024. I hope to make one-off EPs in the genres of country, Christmas, folk, and dabble into various sub-genres of rock, pop, and electronica at some point.
With Radagast the Brown, the structure remains similar across all albums, but I think there are nuanced distinctions. For instance, almost every song on my next release features the kalimba instrument in some form or another, which I acquired last year. I’ve already started working on 2023’s release as well which will be much more minimalistic and neoclassical with the focus mostly on violin, cello, and guitar.
This project will always be my great love and I feel that its instrumental nature allows for a much stronger connection to the deep listeners because there are no intrusions with lyrics dictating the meaning of the song. It can mean whatever the listener determines it to be. It will probably always be the project I am most confident in and most expressive of who I am.
Repurposing art for art’s sake
Evasive Coda to the False Construct uses an organ sound to propagate the theme. Like whale sounds, the echoes linger in these transitory waters for long. Each melody takes its time to be understood and read, and each listener will have their own story to form.
Tell me about these collaborations with Robert Rich and Skylight. Have these had any role in your new album?
I’m a big fan of recycling my own music to use for other projects. I used one section of a song from my first widely available Radagast the Brown album in 2018 to build off a pop song called “Undressed” for Skylight Motion Picture. My upcoming release on July 29th will feature two songs that were built around vocal samples from the last Skylight Motion Picture release. If I can get more value and efficiency by using past creations to help form something new, then I will absolutely do it.
Chihei Hatakeyama mastered “The More They Me About You, The Less I Believe Them” and Robert Rich mastered the upcoming “Another Plane Beyond Empiricism.” I’ve been such a fan of their music for close to two decades that I can’t help but smile knowing that they’ve applied their master touch to finessing my compositions with an understanding of the genre.
They are stalwarts of the genre and so to be associated with them and hear their enthusiasm for what I’m creating is quite an encouragement.
Radagast the Brown has formed his own simple structure and sound signature as well. This project has featured great recordings and efforts are translated well. Dream-like sounds dominate your ears and your thoughts turn wary. As you transition, you have another story on the way. For a music lover and audiophile like me, this was truly enriching as an experience.
Promotional Disclaimer: The content in this post has been sponsored by the artist, label, or PR representative to help promote their work.Promotional Disclaimer: The content in this post has been sponsored by the artist, label, or PR representative to help promote their work.