Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Why Didn't I Think of That?

I think it's pretty safe to assume that pretty much every music writer out there today longs for the opportunity to coin a term for a "new" sub-genre of music when s/he hears it for the first time. Among some of my favorites are psycho-billy and nouveau punk polka. It really doesn't matter if the music is good or not; the opportunity to name it gives us a thrill, plain and simple.

I suppose it was my love of these definitions that first attracted me to The Balustrade Ensemble. Steampunk-ambient was the description given by their PR flaks. What the hell is that, thought I, and that was enough to get me listening.

From our good friends over at Wikipedia:

Steampunk is a subgenre of fantasy and speculative fiction that denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often set in Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date.

Well, it turns out steampunk-ambient is kind of weird (but in a good way) background instrumental music. It would probably make a great soundtrack to movies like Howl's Moving Castle or anything else by Hayao Miyazaki, for that matter. It's a bit spacey, but somehow conveys a turn-of-the-20th-century feel, as well. It's the kind of music that might be perfect for deep, intellectual discussions on the nature of man struggling to maintain his humanity in an ever changing world of increasing technological advances, focusing on at what point does Man become Machine and vice versa. Or maybe if you just wanted something to listen to while visiting another mind state. Whichever works.

The Drowning Calm



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