Travis Pike has recently received retrospective acclaim for the music he made in the Sixties, with great reissues appearing on both State Records and Mousetrap Music. But he continued to develop and write music for a long time after that original period (you can check details in my interview with him, elsewhere on this website.) One such project was Changeling', originally envisioned as a rock opera' but later transformed into a screenplay.
A book of this was published in 2017, alongside a CD of songs intended for the project, but a screenplay isn't the best way to tell a story, so Travis has now published a novel based on the story (check my book reviews for further details) and, in addition, a new album featuring updated versions of the original songs and a few brand new tracks.
I will say that these recordings are probably more of an indication of how the soundtrack could sound, rather than a finished product, simply because these are songs that deserve a huge production, but regardless, this album has some really great music and plenty to keep you thinking. The mood and atmosphere recalls albums like Alice Cooper's Welcome to my Nightmare', with esoteric themes and, at times, an almost baroque tone.
The album works best in conjunction with the novel, but many of the songs stand alone in their own right. Similarly, the lyrics reveal plenty of ideas that are valid even aside from the novel / screenplay. It's intriguing and adventurous, mixing rock, psychedelia, folk and prog at different points. It may not be immediately accessible, but give this album a chance and it will win you over. There are plenty of good songs, intriguing lyrics and an intent that can't be faulted. It might not be the kind of thing that you'd usually listen to, but check it out because there's a lot of it that you may well appreciate.
Indie Spotlight: November 30, 2020
Changeling's Return, a novel musical concept
Otherworld Cottage Industries, 2019, 18 trks, 53 min CD
Changeling's Return, a novel approach to the music
Otherworld Cottage Industries, 2019, 257pp, pbk
Musician, composer, storyteller and author Travis Edward Pike is easily akin to a renaissance man, an artist whose series of fantasy adventures and cerebral soundtracks have made him a one man cottage industry. At this point in his career, Pike's consistency and creativity are established and each new entry in his similarly themed albums and adventures contribute to the sprawling epic that his imagination has spawned over the course of his remarkably prolific career. With his latest epic, Changeling's Return, the newest installment of the ongoing adventure yarn, Pike continues to convey his magical tales through a symphonic surge and a cinematic sweep which fully convey the drama and drive to a dazzling degree. Conceived and conveyed as a rock opera of sorts, it has the various characters singing their roles while filling in the arc of the storyline in picturesque detail. The imaginative flourishes and arched expression of the singers and musicians involved make for an audio extravaganza, one that relays the action in vivid detail. To be sure, these aren't meant as stand-alone songs, but rather part of a continuing thematic arc. Those enthralled by earlier landmark rock operas such as Tommy and Jesus Christ Superstar will find much to admire here, a comparison that ought to position Pike as Andrew Lloyd Weber's heir apparent in terms of both talent and triumph.
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