Title: The Light Side of The Blue
Release Date: 2015 Jan 19
Genre: Electronic / Downtempo
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Label: Southern City’s Lab
The Light Side of the Blue is a companion release to Wordless, the first collaboration by Hank Hobson and Southern City’s Lab. This release takes quite a different form, however, as it is designed to provide a musical narrative / story.
The Light Side of The Blue
To summarize the story: we are introduced to a character in the first track during his standard day, where through quirky motions we are given the idea that a feeling of dis-satisfaction is growing in the protagonist, possibly leading to a breakdown. Enter the PK Jazz Collective track “Feel The Sorrow (Of Tomorrow)” and we understand the protagonist is confronting his inner turmoil, the feeling of sorrow and sadness, and the need to be isolated.
From here we start on a journey with the protagonist. Traveling across many miles, seeking the solitude that he needs. Some of the tracks depict the difficulties of this flight, while others depict the beauty of the surroundings. Finally, the last two tracks depict the protagonist in seclusion and isolation.
To be honest, I am not so certain about the concept behind the narrative – some parts don’t quite make sense. (Like the idea that there is a trip on a spaceship, and there is a trip in an automobile). However, if we don’t look at it as a narrative, but instead as a series of thematically linked pieces, it works much better.
The key ideas here, to me, are in the idea of a person facing strife and struggle. The idea that the daily grind can bring on a form of depression or the blues, for which the best remedy is to make a change. In order to find that change, travel, solitude and isolation are frequently the manner in which we can be on a journey of discovery. It’s in this isolation that we can learn things about the world around us, and about the feelings and needs we have on our own.
This is the level on which this release works. We are taken on a series of journeys that have different aspects. These different aspects are represented through different styles of music, such as the Berlin School synthesizer music of ‘Far Away’ by Lost Radiance. Or the drum-n-bass style of ‘Respawn’ by Hobotek.
But even this fancy framework isn’t needed for this release. It’s a set of tracks that are well selected, and well sequenced. There’s a lot of variation between the tracks, and yet they work well together. You do get the feeling that you are on a journey, and possibly that is all you need to know, just let the journey happen.
This is a release of really excellent, and highly varied material. Hank Hobson has done an excellent job in producing The Light Side of the Blue. There is a bit of a stretch in trying to link the tracks into a narrative, I found it better to think of the work as a thematic work instead. However, even thinking of it as a thematic work isn’t necessary to enjoy the musical selections. It works as a journey on it’s own, without any other fancy framework.
An extra shout-out for the track ‘J-Rhodes’ by Sobrio. This is a great acid jazz style track that is often missing from works like this. This is a track to give a couple of extra listens, the sax and Rhodes Piano work are really cool.