Review – Gordon Midgley – The Vanished Age – by Emma Roebuck

Vanished Age

“From Classical tales of Jason and Odysseus to cinema blockbusters via Norse sagas, Hesse and Tolkien, the ‘Hero’s Quest’ is a staple of mythology and literature.
A voyage of self-discovery
A Rite of Passage.”

So says the bandcamp page of Gordon Midgely’s  solo project. He and Nathan Tillet form Napiers Bone’s whose two albums ‘The Wistman Tales’ and ‘Tregeagles Choice’ are also freely available on bandcamp. The pros and cons of an artist giving their music away is not what we are here to discuss but I must say it is a brave strategy for two aspiring talents.

To the Album then; a truly ambitious  project in its intent to capture in one album the essentials of the classical rite of passage story in music.  Wagner’s ‘Ring Cycle’ spans 15 hours yet this album condenses the mythological  concept of the heroes quest in under 45 minutes. I tried listening to this album piece meal in the car and also as a single chunk, giving it the attention any music reviewer should give to an album.

It plays like a film sound track and its very hard to disconnect the individual sections of music. In the main, it is instrumental with vocals, as and when required, for accompaniment. Weaknesses, in the main, are not in the actual composition but in the delivery and production.

The drums sit high in Like Circe’s Feast and Out of the Wilderness and fill the rest of the soundscape out, making it difficult to really listen to the actually excellent guitar and retro keyboard work on show (yes, Mellotron). I am assuming this is a technological issue rather than anything else.

The music, without actually sounding anything like it, makes me think of Bo Hanssen’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ album in the textures and feelings it emotes.

There are bits I really enjoy, like Ronin, which I can only assume to be a nod to Japanese free fighters who are only loyal to any cause they choose. In this case, the companion to our hero. The track exudes the potential for violence constantly restrained but sometimes out of control. We follow the journey of our hero, his dalliances with love, and the inevitable Nemesis as it comes to the final battle and resolution (no spoilers).

The music comes from all sorts of influences, I hear 60s psychedelia ‘Berlin School Electronica Prog’ from all eras and some cracking rock music.

The final track The End of the Beginning is by far the best piece of the album and showcases the real potential waiting to burst free from this guy’s mind. My only criticism really, apart from what I said earlier, is that there is not enough here. I would have liked to have heard all the sections explored in the same way as Ronin and the End Of the Beginning.

As a freebie you cannot turn this down. Gordon, I think you missed a trick by not doing a pay what you want tag on the album. I reckon you should download this, light a couple of candles, put the head phones on, with a glass of whatever your fancy and let the music wash over you! A 45 minute cleansing of the soul. While you are at it, look for the Napier’s Bones material!!!

Released 31st October 2015

Free download from the artist’s bandcamp page