Jesse Carsten, better known by his stage as ‘Half Shadow,’ a Portland-based singer-songwriter, has produced an incredible album called ‘ At Home With My Candles’ that is made with a full heart and patience. Every aspect of the performance, whether it’s the wonderful story or the outstanding arrangements that complement the lyrics, is given even more significance by the narrator’s passion and participation. The New album has ten wonderful tunes, each of which is a journey in and of itself. The writing is unfiltered and direct from the heart. It’s pure, and it was inspired by the richness in our surroundings, which is always intriguing to see. Curiosity and attention to detail provide depth to the clarity in communicating the intended emotions and make the writing more perceptive.
The emotions are so nuanced that it’s complicated for ears to perceive at the very first listen. However, the clever use of analogies and parallels made it easier to see the world through his eyes. The turbulence, the agony, and the hazy ideas are conveyed with clarity and a sprinkling of great poetic language, making it even more intriguing and engaging for listeners to delve deeper. Each of our experiences may have different meanings and levels of relatability. The record would be more interesting to listen if it is enjoyed with more involvement of the personal experiences. Another experimental component of the songs is the structure of the songs, which I think works well. The wordplay and parallelism does help to streamline the complicated emotions that would evolve gradually as the story unfolds.
It’s lovely to hear Jesse Carsten’s music come from his heart. His trust in his voice and thoughts, which he conveyed so wonderfully, is very inspiring. The album has a constant tone that may have been structured in more traditional ways. But it’s inspiring to hear some incredible work being done to establish a character with sound, which becomes such an important element of the whole arrangement. Unique textures formed from the sounds of violin, brass, vocals, guitars, and plucked instruments in songs like Moonless (Unmoored), In My Room (A Creature Approaches), Flame (Flower in the Air), to name a few. The album’s highlight is the collaborative sound of each of these instruments.
The arrangement also includes some stunning solos. In the tune ‘I Practice Dying (In the Spare Room),’ we get to experience a thrilling Key solo. With the string instruments and creative use of percussion, ‘Song for the Garden‘ transports us to the sounds of the Middle East. ‘Abracadabra Snares #1‘ has an interlude that, for me, served as a fantastic continuation of the words’ emotion. Overall, the arrangement for these songs is written in such a way that it closely follows the tale. The genre blending is so fluid that the music emerges as a new colour. With these instruments, the emotions are properly represented. For music fans and students, the album will undoubtedly become very engaging and entertaining.
Enjoy Listening to “At Home With My Candles” by Half Shadow on Spotify!
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