Posts made in September, 2013

Ten most important albums in my life so far

Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

Ten most important albums in my life so far

Everyone who enjoys music has at least one album that is THE album for them. I have ten of them–at least. One of the side effects of having too many interests and an intense love for music makes this the case for me. Rather than trying to just say “I like a bunch of stuff”, I’ve embraced my diverse tastes.  The ten albums in this list are important to me in some way. They might not be my favourite albums necessarily or even albums that I deem are the best for the artist, but they may have helped me through a difficult time in my life, or may remind me of a happy time. It may even define an entire era of my life for me. Music has a deep impact on how I live my life–it always has.  With each album on the list I have included either my favourite song on the album, or the song that got me interested in the album in the first place. I tried to rank this but it was very difficult, other than the top three.  So, here you are. 10. The Days of Grays – Sonata Arctica I don’t really have a reason for this one in particular. I preferred Unia as an album on the whole, but this album in particular reminds me of cool autumn mornings, gaming before dawn and taking long walks through fallen leaves while sipping coffee. I love this album and there’s something really magical about it that I can’t put my finger on. While Flag in the Ground may be the single from the album that initially got my attention, Deathaura really sets the tone and prepares you for a mysterious journey. When I listen to this album, I want to write. Or go on an adventure. Or… both. 9. Hot Show – Prozzäk When I was 13, I couldn’t get this album out of my head. It was the first time I’d ever really listened to an album and thought “this is what I want out of music”. While it was often blown off as silly pop, something about it made me see more. I saw past the cartoon pair of Simon and Milo and felt like I understood what Jason and James, the real musicians behind it all, we’re trying to say. My prepubescent fawning over the Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls aside, Prozzäk was my first foray into the world of following bands. I still regret that I never got to see them live. My fondest memory is having one of their questions answered enthusiastically by them on a live chat. For the record, I asked them if they were influenced in any way by the Buggles’ Video Killed the Radio Star. They were. 8. The Sticks – Mother Mother At the end of last summer, this album appeared. I was already a Mother Mother fan, particularly of their masterful O My Heart. I’d seen them live twice. I still wasn’t expecting the haunting surprise that awaited me with The Sticks. This is one of the few albums that I can listen to the lyrics and really get them. It’s all about packing up your stuff, getting away from all the crap in the world and moving out to the boonies–the sticks, if you will–with the animals. Wow, is that ever something I can get behind. 7. Oceanborn – NightwishI’ve mentioned my love for Nightwish before–in fact, it can be hard to get me to shut up about my love for Nightwish. I first heard of them upon stumbling across Sacrament of Wilderness before their music was even available on North American shores over ten years ago, and I’ve been happily hooked ever since. Oceanborn was the first metal album I ever listened to in full. Kind of like a gateway drug. I found myself instantly wanting more. 6. Discovery – Daft PunkEver heard a commercial and had an urge to know what the song playing in the background was? That happened to me when I was 15. I’m sitting...

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When Kamelot went to Montreal, and I went to Kamelot

Posted by on Sep 16, 2013 in Life in Writing | 2 comments

When Kamelot went to Montreal, and I went to Kamelot

The year is 2000. A 14-year old me is scouring the internet for news about the new Zelda game, which was up until recently known as “Zelda Gaiden”, set to release later this year. The game, now titled Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask promises to be an darker, deeper sequel to Ocarina of Time. I stumble across a site called Hyrule: The Land of Zelda. The splash page loads a flash video of the Skull Kid wearing Majora’s Mask. Suddenly, the most mesmerizing piece of music I’ve ever heard plays in the background. It’s the first 26 seconds of this song. And all I see is “Music by Nightwish” at the bottom.   And this is what got me interested in symphonic metal. Weirdest, stupidest way to get interested in a type of music, but it’s the truth. To be honest, a very similar event occurred to get me interested in Daft Punk: a clip of Digital Love on a GAP commercial. I had no idea what the song was called, only that the first 26 seconds had pulled me into an obsession. I had to know what that song was. And instead of doing the obvious thing and emailing the webmaster, I decided my best course of action would be to download songs until I found the right one. I underestimated Nightwish’s discography.  It took me about a full year to find the song, but in the meantime, I fell in love with the band. It hadn’t been long after Wishmaster had released, and the first full song I heard had been Sleepwalker, the bonus song from that album.  Years later, after their album Once had released in late 2004, I discovered they were playing a show in Montreal and knew I would have to go see it. I took a 13 hour train ride with a friend who wasn’t even remotely interested in this kind of music and went to see them live. As the first notes of Dark Chest of Wonders swept across the crowd in the Metropolis, I knew. This is my favourite band.  Years still later, I managed to see them live–in Montreal and Quebec City, because few good bands come to New Brunswick–three times with their new singer, Anette. The first show, I even brought the band a small doll I had made based on the character Eva from one of their songs. I was floored when Anette brought it onstage during the encore. Anette told me after the show that she was planning to bring it for other performances as well, and she was true to her word–she brought it onstage in Toronto the same week. Again, Nightwish was cemented firmly as my favourite band.  Slowly but surly, a contender appeared. Kamelot, at first, was unassuming to me. Seeing their video for March of Mephisto on MuchMusic in 2005 got me interested, but it wasn’t until I sat down and listened to the Black Halo as a whole that I truly understood what a fine band they are. I spent the entire summer of 2009 listening to that album on repeat. I couldn’t stop. “All right,” I told myself, “this is your favourite album. But Nightwish is still your favourite band.” Then, disaster struck. Last October, just a day before I was due to make a trip to Montreal for work, I discovered that Anette was no longer a part of Nightwish. I was heartbroken to hear that yet another of the band’s prolific, talented singers was gone. I’m not ashamed to admit I shed tears at both Tarja and Anette’s respective departures. Both times, the future was uncertain. The second time, though, I was starting to develop trust issues. I don’t like to take sides when I don’t know the full story, but I couldn’t help but feel a little bitter. Floor Jansen joined Nightwish to promote their Imaginaerum album and, from what I’ve heard from the live videos uploaded to YouTube, has done a magnificent job singing in the interim. Since the summer of the Black Halo, I had fully...

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Moncton life

Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 in Life in Writing | 2 comments

Moncton life

I grew up in a small rural community surrounded by trees and gorgeous vistas. Our house was a 2-minute drive from the the Bay of Fundy, which boasts the highest tides in the world. If I wanted to be alone, I could easily go find a place where no one would be able to find me. Fog drifted in and out like a familiar friend, and the salt scent of bay air met your nose the moment you opened a window. Naturally, moving to a city proved to be a bit of a challenge for me at first. Though not a particularly big city by any means, Moncton still had an unsettling tree-to-person ratio. I had grown accustomed to the quiet solitude that came from walking in the woods or watching the tide roll in. That was something that was now missing for me. Rest area at the Tankville School trail. My first year of university, I would sit in my dorm alone. That part wasn’t so bad–but what I didn’t like was the sound of ambulance sirens blaring at all hours of the day. Université de Moncton’s Lafrance dormitory was where I stayed, and it loomed above the Georges Dumont hospital. During the week I didn’t take many opportunities to go anywhere other than my room or class, but on the weekends I would go home and that would give me the chance to go on those long beautiful walks I craved. In the summer, I would also go home to work from May until the end of August, when school would start again. One of the highlights of the apartment we rented just off Elmwood was the little duck pond and walking trail down the road. The wildlife made me feel at home, and seeing people walking their dogs made me even happier. There was a small patch of woods right by the Université de Moncton campus that I used to take a shortcut through, despite the sign that barred pedestrians from passing through. I wasn’t the only rule-breaker and often found other students doing the same thing. That one little strip of forest was enough to reconnect me to the place that I wanted to be: the forest. As much as I hate the term, calling me a tree-hugger wouldn’t be far from the truth. Five years ago, in October 2008, Brad and I moved to Moncton permanently. I got a job downtown, we got a new apartment and adopted our cat, Lady Pansy. All of a sudden, life was much different for me. Having no specific days off, I found visiting home much more difficult. In addition, Brad and I would often have separate days off. I would get to visit home very rarely and found myself exhausted from being on my feet all day anyway.  We weren’t anywhere near any kind of walking trail or park. The best we had was the little area in front of the cultural centre across the road.  Gradually I found out about various places to go in town. First it was the Irishtown Nature Park just off Elmwood Drive. Next was Mapleton Park off the Gorge Road. Both places provided scenic, woodsy walks that put me at ease. We often saw many other people there, but for some reason I didn’t mind. Those places are like communities in themselves; many people smile and say hello as they pass, even if you’ve never met.  After walking on those paths for some time, we started to locate smaller, less travelled paths. A recurring favourite became the Tankville School trail, just down the road from the Irishtown Nature Park. It seems the Tankville trail hooks onto the back end of another trail, because we found that one, too. The first time, we found it by walking over the frozen lake at Tankville School. The second time, we took the real entrance–just a short drive down the road. Now we’ve taken to other sorts of adventures, whether it’s through Centennial Park or through visiting outlying villages, cities or towns. One thing that...

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