I have always been a fan of the ethereal. Music of the kind to transport you to different realms, all while sounding very gentle and pleasing to the ear, or something I reserve a particular spot for in my mind. From artists like Ruelle on Empire and Genesis, there has been a wave of cinematically inspired ethereal music in the new age. Julian Tran, as he transports you to dimensions anew on “Fantasy Unlimited, Part IV”, rekindles that love for this style of music in me. Keep reading for my thoughts on this 2-track EP!
From the lilt of the mellow piano to the entry of the vocals, the first song, “Strange Times”, invokes a sense of deep spirituality and introspection within me. As Julian takes you through the lyrics that are meticulously crafted throughout the song, you feel a sense of awakening, a sense of energy– that overcomes you, encompasses you, and just about makes you ready to get transported to the worlds beyond.
With the entry of the synths, which are delightfully done, by the way, the charm of the song finds itself going up even more. Over the course of the three minutes that the song runs, there was a constant flurry of new elements that I got to experience throughout. From the pizzicato violin to the gentle intertwining of the piano melody with the synthesizers and the vocals, this was quite something to listen to. The violins rise in a crescendo as they build towards a beautiful climax at the end; quite something to listen to for yourself. In my opinion, the violin part at the end completes the song rather beautifully.
As the song draws to a close, you have the piano bidding a gentle farewell to you, as we transition into the next song, “Here They Come”.
A little bit of a more energetic, more sung number, “Here They Come” is much more melodically centred to the vocals and the presentation that goes on throughout. The lyrics are well written, thoughtful and set beautifully well with the pianos playing in the background– as well as the nylon stringed guitar that keeps the listener’s attention rather fluidly. Over the course of the 6 1/2 minutes that the song runs for, Julian’s affinity to introduce new elements and make them play with each other throughout the playing of the song makes itself evident, as we are constantly introduced to new variations, new melodies, and new vocal styles, all while remaining gently centred around the theme of the album.
“Here They Come” also incorporates interesting concepts, like the long refrain in the middle, almost so as to give the listener some time to grasp the symphony of art going on around them, and as the energy builds back up, sucking the listener right back into the zone. The song draws to a close with a beautiful woodwind solo and leaves you almost wanting more such music.
“Fantasy Unlimited”‘s mixing and mastering is intimate and personal, and the production is warm and inviting, with the synths shining through where they need to, and gently stepping aside for the pianos, the violins, the guitars, and not to forget, Julian’s vocals. There was a pleasant balance in the staging and the production that I quite came to enjoy, and I’d say this is a job well done indeed!
Check out “Fantasy Unlimited, Part IV” by Julian Tran here!
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