3D music and soundtrack escapism – enter the Empty World..

Close your eyes, leave reality behind and escape into a fantasy world of your choosing.. with Empty World – the atmospheric new soundtrack album by Kevin Kerrigan (or KK to his friends).

It’s an epic experience – The Steampunk Orchestra (backed by a full choir) perform a rich, cinematic work which journeys from grand flights of fantasy to the intimate, reflective, and dreamlike.

KK’s music is as ever, a melting pot of influences – a diverse background, working with the likes of Brian Eno, Bjork, and Hollywood’s James Newton Howard is evident – together with a subtle range of colour drawn from the worlds of film, classical, and electronic (Eno, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Wagner, Demdike Stare, Korngold and Faure to name but a few).  It’s a postmodern sound which is unclassifiable – part ambient, part filmscore, part something else entirely..

“There’s too much music now. Too much stuff. We live in a time of information overload, so there’s something luxurious and liberating about turning out the lights and escaping, completely immersing yourself in a soundscaped dreamworld”

Kevin Kerrigan - Empty World soundtrack album (2011)

Paradoxically, Empty World is a soundtrack to a film which exists solely in the mind.   “Maybe there should be a new genre called ISM – Imaginary Soundtrack Music”, says KK, “many of us love a good soundtrack, but it’s not always ideal to listen to, as it’s made to fit a specific picture or story. There’s too much association burdening the music. This is designed to be experienced with the ears alone. To spark the imagination and dream to. I’ve had messages from writers saying they play my music to help put them in a creative headspace – what an honour!  But, yes that exactly where it works best.”

composer Kevin Kerrigan

What’s on the bonus disk (special edition)?

“It’s a DVD – a 5:1 surround sound version.  The DVD contains no pictures just music, which you play in “3D” through your home cinema system. I love the completely immersive experience, though some people prefer the good old stereo CD/ipod on headphones – it’s entirely personal.

Empty World is designed to help escape the dull burdens of the real world and just holiday for 45 minutes.   Films and gaming are powerful portals to escape dull reality.  This is less didactic though, and doesn’t require spoonfed imagery or ‘story’.  Our ‘mind movies’ are more incredible than any film could ever be – that’s why reading a great book can be such a surprisingly powerful experience, and waking up from a particularly special (or lurid) dream can be such a disappointment!”

“Empty World” is out now to download from iTunes, Amazon and on Special Edition Two Disk (CD + Surround DVD) at KK’s website – www.KKTheMusic.com

The Rainbow Collections Vol 2 : Toybox

Have kids? Tired of hearing the usual irritating cheesy keyboard arrangements by the likes of tweenies, postman pat etc?.. Is the soundtrack to your kids playtime becoming unbearable?…

Enough is enough, throw away the junkfood kids musak and put on our new childrens’ album, “Toybox” !

The album was created by myself and Sophie Barker (of Zero 7) as the second
part of our Rainbow Collections series of quality music for children. Volume 1
‘Lullaby’ was released a few years ago and has become a word of mouth success amongst children & grownups alike (I even heard of an old couple who play it nightly to their dogs)

If you’re familiar with Lullaby, you’ll get the idea.. Again we tried to re-imagine these classic songs which have been ‘lost’ over the years, spoiled by countless awful arrangements, and for once make music of quality for children (and the grown ups around them).

It’s a record for daytime, a soundtrack for playtime, featuring all the classic fun kids songs from Grand Old Duke Of York to Humpty Dumpty.. And as they’re the traditional nursery rhymes and childrens songs, here’s also some history, english language and all round education your kids (and you!) might pick up along the way..

Find out more and hear clips etc at : www.therainbowcollections.com

KKx

KK Telescopes – music reviews

Some recent reviews of KK’s new album ‘Telescopes’ :

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It’s not often you get to listen to an album you just don’t want to end… well, this is the case with KK’s new album “Telescopes,” which is as cosmic and lyrical album as I’ve heard in a long time.KK has worked with the likes of Eno and Bjork, so he brings us his music from high up. Pianos flicker, synthesizers rustle, percussion tinkles, strings swell, and over all this KK himself speaks and sings, sounding remarkably like Green of Scritti Politti.

Many of these songs drift and sigh like The Beloved in interstellar space. The story is of the vast number of planets, stars and galaxies in our universe, a tale told with a real sense of melody and emotive underlying chords. Wonderful stuff.

Some songs (for example “Pale Blue Dot” and the swoonsome “Dust”) feature female vocals also. Mixed into one too-short album, this work deserves real success. So, I didn’t want this one to end. So I played it once again…

Terrascopic

Terrascopic.co.uk

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Clearly not one to sell himself short, KK proclaims himself a “21st Century Genius” and although the name may not be familiar to many his CV boasts work with such diverse artists as Bjork, Eno and Britney Spears. ‘Telescopes’ is very much his own work though and it’s a journey through space, time and continents, largely based on electronic music.

Dispensing astrological wisdom, KK also knows how to write music that is attractive and listenable. ‘Magic Spell’ and ‘Voyager’ are made up of serene instrumental parts whilst ‘Pale Blue Dot’ takes the dreamlike state one step further with a beautiful sequence of synth melodies. Here, the journey of space exploration makes perfect sense.

Further on in the album, ‘Codebreaker’ mixes Eastern mysticism with beats and KK’s own Green Gartside-like singing. KK comes unstuck the more inflated his ego seems to get; ‘Ancestor Simulation’, for example, begins with the noirish atmosphere of a detective story before collapsing into a bombastic arrangement which wouldn’t sound out of place on ‘Riverdance’.

KK has created a concept album which flows nicely; capturing the ideas of an artist who has clearly learned from the vast range of talent he has collaborated with in the past.

Leonards Lair

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The press release says that he’s a technical wizard who has worked with master technical geeks Brian Eno and Bjork. Press releases are sometimes dubious, but after hearing the album, it’s pretty clear that this guy is a technical geek first-class.The mixing, instrumentals and sound effects are some of the most dazzling displays I’ve heard.

This a sci-fi concept album with plenty of geeky lyrics, and it sounds a lot like David Bowie’s 21st century masterpiece Heathen. (Apologies to anyone who wanted to know what the concept is about. I’m not that interested in deciphering it… I haven’t even gotten around to trying to figure out what Thick as a Brick was about.) There are so many colorful ideas and instrumental developments jam-packed in relatively short tracks that it’s insane. Amazingly so, these wild, unpredictable developments are so well-done that most of these tracks hold together very well.

Take “Dust” for instance. It’s just four minutes long, and it’s as though he worked pretty extensively on exploring different atmospheres and textures to fit in there. It’s really fun to listen to. “Magic Spell” is a masterpiece! If you’re a sucker for dream-pop/shoegazing stuff, it’s worth going out of your way to hear it. It’s one of the album’s most wild examples of this scatter-brained instrumental development, plus I adore that intoxicating, sort of atonal groove that pops up every once in awhile. Really nice stuff!

“Andromeda” is a fun, cinematic instrumental that sounds like a Starship Troopers battle piece. “Ancestor Simulation” is also a sort of cinematic song, with an obvious Asian influence. The ties to world music gives it a cool, exotic flavor. We can also pick up on some Indian influences in a pair of back-to-back songs “Infinity” and “Codebreaker.”

KK brought his head out of the fishbowl, briefly, to deliver a relatively normal song called “Paradise Found.”, a very pleasant ballad with a rather gorgeous, earthly atmosphere. The repetitive melody is fine, and has enough staying power to keep it sounding fresh for the whole five minutes. The first 30 seconds of “Pale Blue Dot” is excellent and earns second-place to “Magic Spell.” It’s based on four chords, which really raises a sort of mystical atmosphere… and of course, the highly developed instrumentation standards intensifies that emotion.

It’s really exciting for me to get an early look at this talent with a fresh debut album, and there’s a lot of promise. The geeky lyrics are definitely cool and cheesy (the way they were meant to be), and I was really dazzled by a lot of this.

Track by track highlights:

Dewdrop

This is a one-minute instrumental (although there is some vocalizations … though they were seemingly altered by a computer). A mid-range twinkly piano plays some scales while some synthesizer orchestrations pick up dramatically. It was designed to give us that outer space feel, which I think it did rather well. It makes an impression despite the short running length.

Dust

Listen to that technology! This guy really knows how to work those computers! This is a sort of spaced-out extravaganza with so many instrumental ideas packed into such a small amount of space that it’s almost jarring. I don’t dare count how many different sorts of instruments that can be heard throughout this… it’s like counting dust, I guess. Amazingly, these instrumental sections come in and out almost at random, and it doesn’t sound so incredibly awkward. You’re walking a dangerous line when you want to clutter up your songs with music, because usually it just sounds cluttered. But this is pretty fun to listen to.

Magic Spell

This is definitely worth listening to! It’s a lot like “Dust” except the ideas are even more extravagant, and the technology is about as dazzling as it gets. What’s more, the harmonies pass the test this time with flying colors. When the song first plays, we’re treated to an intoxicating, sort of atonal groove… and what ensues can only be described as “some really weird stuff.” It’s fun to listen to, also. Once again, there’s so many instruments and ideas that it’s impossible to count them…

Andromeda

I guess this would be a space military march, or something. Once again, this really sounds great. It’s not quite as busy as “Dust” or “Magic Spell” (and therefore, I guess, not as dizzying). But it’s still quite impressive in the technological front. We have a typical militaristic drum beat, and slow build-ups of different instruments. Notably, some Medieval-sounding vocals. This is fairly typical for something in any movie soundtrack, except I really like that wildly bending operatic soprano and I suppose that cool, sci-fi bass-line. Paradise Found
Hey, this is almost a normal song. And he’s even pretty good when he decides to go down this route. This is mostly a piano pop tune with a few guitars and light synthesizers added to the mix. The sound effects are brought to a surprising minimum! The melody isn’t so much hooky, but earthly. Nicely done!

Pale Blue Dot

The beginning is really mystical, thanks in part to a simple but effective harmonies, which raises the alien feeling of it. The sound effects, of course, are the whole point of the song. Those radio voices at the beginning were really cool, coupled with the atmospheric instrumentation. Crunch This is another one of those weird spacey songs that consists of cheesy spoken dialogue and funny synthesizers. It’s a little more “out-there” than “Sol 3,” not to mention longer. Bringing in those synthesized choir in the middle was great. This is the sort of thing you’d probably get at a planetarium show. (The final third is a dead-ringer for that.)

Michael Lawrence

Don Ignacio’s Music Reviews

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to buy or find out more about KK’s Telescopes visit www.kktelescopes.com

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New KK album : ‘Telescopes’

I suppose here is as good a place as any to tell you about my new album.  It’s called ‘Telescopes’, and is also the first to bear my name (ok well, my initials) on the front (I am transcending my shyness at last, haha).  The whole thing was kind of an accident really – all the music on it was made purely for the love/hell of it (with the exception of one track, “Andromeda”, which I originally wrote for Hans Zimmer for the opening scene of the “Da Vinci Code” movie, though it was rejected for the final score at the last minute), all in a kind of existential haze (from which I’ve only recently emerged) 

KK looks to the stars..

As it was created this way, it’s quite a personal journey (though the books of Carl Sagan, the music of Ennio Morricone, Danny Elfmann, Pink Floyd were all great influences at the time of writing.  I’d also been incredibly lucky in having the experience and encouraging words of some fantastic artists, most notably Bjork and Brian Eno, both heroes of mine, giving me the confidence that it’s quite okay to go do something really different, and not fear the dumb rejection this can involve from some people)


And different it is.. As a ‘concept album’ (though I don’t much like the term), it’s quite unfashionable (in the current album-less world) in commercial terms – but then, since when was all music have to be focused on commerciality and viability as commercial ‘product’ (or the rather creepy new term “content”) ?   Yes sure your average person does like James Blunt, Scissor Sisters or whatever, but why should ALL music be aimed at your ‘average person’, why is the primary (and often, sadly, only) driving force behind art the aquisition of more money?anyway, the point is,  what an album in this format can offer (which individual mp3s can’t) is a complete sense of identity – I didn’t so much create a few disparate pieces and throw them together in this format, but rather worked on the album as one whole ‘opus’.
 
Not everyone will ‘get’ this record,  and that is absolutely fine with me. Like I say, few people actually have any real taste beyond the obvious. What I do may not always fit with the current fashion (though sometimes co-incidentally it does), but I’m never willing to compromise on Vision (either my own or a collaborators),  this kind of integrity is not only important for my sanity(!), but for the quality of the music.  
Anyway, the point here was to think about where we came from and where, ultimately, we’re going.. I tried to cover this rather vast subject in a way which is both touching and dramatic – ie human.  It’s a fleeting glimpse at it all,  but then so is life!

It’s about many things, most of which I can’t fully explain as they came to me in dreams, or simply from the ether.   I’ve been told it’s quite ‘grand’ and ‘epic’ in nature, (other interesting quotes – “Stephen Hawking/Vangelis on acid”(!), “Riverdance in space suits(!)”, “great to chill out to, gets you thinking..”, “the bastard child of Pink Floyd and Neutral Milk Hotel”..  things like that (which I think are generally complimentary but can’t be sure).. anyway I’m glad a handful people (of the few people that have a copy) enjoy it already, and clearly ‘get it’ despite it’s weirdness..(not something which – despite words to the contrary – most people are cool with these days)


Click the space rocket(!) on my site (spot the Tintin fan), or visit www.KKTelescopes.com to find out more..   CD is available to buy now at my online store (click the shop in the clouds), and also on Amazon (US & UK).. The digital version will be available from April 8th on iTunes and all the others (though this one works better as a full CD, retro huh?)

KK