The Story Behind the Crowded Moon CD
by Kevin Atwood
There is a ton of information on the Internet.
Some of it is actually true. Problem is ... what is true and what isn't?
The inspiration for the music on my new CD Crowded Moon came my own Internet quest for truth. I found that many of the concepts and theories that I came across during my search were very strange and peaked my fertile musical imagination. I was so inspired with musical ideas, I felt like I just had to make this CD.
Ultimately you may believe in whatever you choose to (of course) and in no way am I'm trying influence you or change your belief structure in any way whatsoever.
What I do want to do is entertain you with my original and unique music.
Like all my CDs, I crafted this one to be an uplifting, positive and inspirational listening experience. The great thing about instrumental music is that it is wide open to your interpretation and imagination. No one is trying to tell you a story with words or focus your thinking towards anything in particular.
I love creating positive music and when it resonates with other people in an emotionally positive way, it is a huge bonus for me as the creator and motivates me to do more of the same! My hope is that I can create a positive auditory and visualizing experience for you through my music. I think in a lot of cases I achive this because I get feedback from people that tell things like when they listen to my music they see themselves lying in a field looking at the stars or flying over the ocean or some other pleasant, calming imaginary experience.
One thing that makes the Crowded Moon CD so unique is me. I did everything on this CD myself. I wrote, produced, performed and designed the art work and everything you see and hear on this CD and this web site. Does that take a lot of time and work? Yes it sure does! But it’s definitely worth it, especially when it all comes together and gels into a great CD project like this one!
Click on the song titles to hear samples of the songs in another window
Kevin Atwood (born September 13, 1957) is a Canadian multi-instrumentalist and composer working in a style that blends progressive rock, folk, ethnic or world music, classical music, electronic music and new age.
Atwood has been interested in music, guitars and synthesizers since his early teen years. In the mid-seventies he and two other high school friends put together a music group called Paralandra which started out as an avant-garde ensemble and later morphed into the only progressive art rock band in Nova Scotia, Canada. Over the past 37 years, he has worked with literally hundreds of bands either as a performing musician or audio engineer. Atwood has also written music for a variety of modern dance choreographers in Canada.
Crowded Moon, written recorded and produced by Atwood in his digital home studio, is Atwood’s latest and fifth CD to date. Inspired by UFO lore on the Internet the tracks on Crowded Moon feature Atwood’s unique stylistic guitar performances cast against opulent, symphonic backdrop of electronic and ethnic sound textures. While the inspiration for his new music may be considered a little inaccessible and out-of-this-world by some, the music itself is not. Atwood says he designed the music on his CD for the enjoyment of a wide range of listeners that resign right here on planet Earth.
All the music on Crowded Moon
with the exception of the guitars were generated
in the digital domain on a
Mac Pro using LOGIC Studio DAW software.
Other Software (plug-ins) used includes the following:
Native Instruments KOMPLETE 8 ULTIMATE
EASTWEST Composers Collection
Arturia V Collection plus Oberheim SEM V soft synths
IK Multimedia SampleTron and AmpliTube 3
Softube Bass Room
uHe Zebra2 soft synth
Garritan Instant Orchestra
Fab Filter Twin2 soft synth
Green Oak Software Crystal soft synth
KV331 Audio SynthMaster soft synth
Synthmagic Polychrome soft synth
QuikQuak Glass Viper soft synth
Assorted Other Things
Line 6 POD 2.0
Mama Bear Preamp
Quick guide to the instrumental music tracks on Crowded Moon
Review By G. W. Hill
Artist: Kevin Atwood
Crowded Moon finds Kevin Atwood making his way through a number of instrumental pieces. Overall, the basic musical style fits well under the heading of “progressive rock,” but it’s got music that’s closer to fusion and a lot of it isn’t that far removed from the electronic sounds of acts like Vangelis. It’s an entertaining release that never feels redundant or tired. Atwood has the chops and musical creativity to pull it all off well.
Atwood opens the set with the title track. It has a fairly high energy arrangement at the onset with a rather fusion-like sound. It drops down after a time, though, to a playful, bouncy arrangement. When the guitar powers back up later it really feels a lot like something from Asia (the band, not the continent). Further down the musical road there are some world music elements at play.
“Amnesty for Black Hats” comes in slower and while it’s still basically electronic music, there is a definite symphonic vibe in place. When it drops down for some guitar soloing, it’s really along the lines of mellow fusion. The tune is both melodic and powerful. A more classic rock oriented section is added later. Some world music sounds show up as this carries forward. When “Triangles in the Sky” starts, it feels very much like the same kind of electronic music that has dominated the first two tracks. Then it shifts to almost a surf music kind of vibe, though. The two sounds are merged as the piece continues. There is definitely a real retro rock and roll vibe to this number. Some of the tastiest keyboard work of the whole set is heard later in the piece.
A bouncy, mellower sound opens “Fifth Density.” Sound effects are heard fairly regularly on the piece and overall it feels a bit like something from a movie soundtrack or even something from Kraftwerk particularly early. It’s not as strong as the first few pieces, but still works. Some non-lyrical vocals later really make the whole thing feel a bit like Clannad. Although in some ways “Star Angels in Africa” doesn’t feel a lot different, there are some guitar bits in the piece that have a definite Steve Howe-kind of vibe to them. That makes it another number that resembles Asia quite a bit.
Coming in tentatively, “Victims of Themselves” is mellower and more electronic. The guitar, though, brings more of a fusion kind of vibe, but melodic fusion rather than the fiery variety. Pat Metheny might be a valid reference point alongside Vangelis.
“Strangely Familiar” starts with something akin to Native American or world music sounds. It works out from there to more of the same kind of melodic electronic meets fusion and prog music as we’ve heard to this point. There are some more bits of Native American sounds mid-track and some real percussive moments. “The Landings” is very much a psychedelic rock meets electronic progressive rock song. It has some bits of melody here and there that seem quite familiar. It’s one of the most accessible and effective moments of the whole set.
“See You in Cydonia” is one of the hardest rocking cuts on show, with a lot more developed guitar presence. In a lot of ways it calls to mind Yes. That said there are some drop backs to more world and electronica driven sounds. It’s also one of the most dynamic pieces on the set. It has melodic instrumental progressive rock that feels like it could fit on a Steve Howe album. That said, there is a mellow and quite pretty keyboard oriented interlude and part of the track feel like Hawkwind-style space rock. The piece is certainly one of the highlights. “Earth Mother Divine” is a mellow tune that’s bouncy and a bit like a lullaby. It’s basically just keyboards and quite playful.
While this album is quite strong, it’s instrumental only nature will limit the audience. In addition, while there are no real flaws in the production, it doesn’t really feel vibrant or alive. There’s sort of a flat texture to the mix. Still, this should surely appeal to fans of instrumental progressive rock. It’s a solid set that’s both original and full of nods to the greats.
Review by G. W. Hill