Elegant, diverse and distinct, the arctic vitality of Thomas Ragsdale’s ‘Bait’ - whose origins arose as the soundtrack to the Dominic Brunt film of the same name - tells a solemn and in places disquieting tale that stands well on its own, riddled with delicate nuance and a hyperborean conviction. With tracks such as ‘Who Holds The Devil, Hold Him Well’ acting as a somewhat blissful introduction to the inevitably weighty and emotive chronicle that is to follow, immediately from the launch of this sonic anthology we are met with an intricacy and persuasion inclined towards that of rapturous energy. We are enticed deeper into the mellifluous warrens of Ragsdale’s dulcet environment as ‘Warning Mass’ seeks to lock our attentiveness with denser noisescapes and lacunar chords of pensive sureness, thus demonstrating the perfection of temper held throughout the album’s entirety.
Lights and Motion – Save Your Heart
This is a beautifully optimistic album, the first track Heartbeats starts gradually with the light of new hope. It shines warmly on the soul and melts the last shadows of depression. The tempo picks up and takes us running through sunlit fields, to a place where a new beginning can be found. It sets the tone for the transcending experience of the whole album. For me it stands out in the genres of Post-rock and Cinematic music, it has something more to offer. Lights and Motion are comparable with Two Steps from Hell, AudioMachine and Keith Kenniff to give the listener an idea of what to expect.
Ultraviolet and Sparks carry us forward in a rush of elation and almost unbearable joy. Shimmer gives us a welcome moment to pause and catch our breath. The tone deepens and seems to contemplate the clouds above in darkening winter skies, and the cycle of life which dictates that everything must come to a natural end. We are taken on an emotional journey, a journey that we will never forget and which can only leave us changed. Snow is one of the most memorable songs for me, it sounds like the sparkle of snow on the ground and captures the childlike excitement of the first snowfall in winter. It invites us to dance with the children in the snow and follow their white footprints as they lead the way.
The first track to feature vocals is Bright Eyes, the voice smoothly glides in between the piano and drums and beckons a girl, a woman, a lover to follow him on a journey of wonder and discovery through places as yet unimagined in this world. We travel with them and see through their eyes as the girl experiences an almost spiritual awakening. The soulful piano of Crystalline is melancholic and symbolises coming to the end of something spectacular; a point in time or the loss of a dream perhaps. The sadness is punctuated by strong fatalistic minor notes on the piano. Just when the darkness begins to descend and hope is faint, the strings add their voice and lift us higher, ending in a crescendo of joy. All is not lost. Orbit is a departure from what we have experienced so far, it speaks of the universe and spreads the stars out one by one across a black velvet sky leaving us to marvel in disbelief at life, at the magnificence of it all. Atlas is a hearty celebration with solid depth and substance, music that holds us securely; a safe place for the spirit to rest.
The whole album is a spiritual tonic with power enough to restore the most weary of body and soul. We end with the title track which takes us along at high speed and catapults us into a bright open pool of sheer joy. The heart jumps in and is immersed in the cool whispers of vocals which could be echoes of voices from the past. Gently the music ebbs away and sets us on our feet back to where we started.
Written by Sharon Meiring-Jones