Michael Whalen – Imaginary Trains
Michael Whalen, two-time Emmy award winner, the name behind numerous TV, videogame and film scores, is back again with album № 39 – “Imaginary Trains”. Prepare to dive into a world of futuristic dreamy soundscapes.
Like with “Future Shock”, I find the cover art disappointing. It is just a stock photo with a hardly readable basic text slapped onto it. It looks like it belongs to cheap royalty free music from Soundcloud. I refrained from turning my previous review into a lecture about the importance of art from a bitter semi-professional young artist, but can’t brush it off twice.
The artwork supporting a certain music work should give you a momentary glimpse into the world of that said work. It should do its best to represent the artist and its craft and ignite interest in the potential listener, so the more effort and thought put into it, the better. Especially in this day and age of constant stream of information, where one needs to grab the attention of the viewer in a matter of seconds or risk getting lost in the ever-growing flood of content. That’s why some artists invest hundreds in their band’s image. Even if one is on a budget, it’s worth investing in a decent looking artwork and supporting a smaller artist rather than doing something mediocre on your own, just because you can.
It pisses me off so much, because the music is good, but most of you that are unfamiliar with Whalen’s work probably won’t even check it out because of the unimpressive visual representation. This collage doesn’t indicate an Emmy-winning composer in any way.
Once I’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about the music itself. “Imaginary Trains” is the high-quality production I expected once being exposed to Michael Whalen’s distinctive and polished sound before.
The journey starts very pleasantly right away with the title track, where the listener indulges in the soft futuristic atmosphere. Each track feels like a different “station” of that train journey, where to the dreamy synth melody are added different elements, each adding different flavors – like the world music additions to ‘Across the World to Be With You (feat. Ricky Kej)’. From the beautiful romantic feeling of ‘My Immortal Beloved’, to the vibrant and exciting ‘Vox Humana’ and the straight out of an epic movie ‘Journey to Lights Edge’, the album has a lot of nuancing. The album closes off with ‘Distance’, a collaboration with Donna Lewis, who couldn’t fit the calm and nostalgic nature of the album more.
Nowadays we’re always in a rush, forgetting to take time and enjoy simple things in life. That’s why I suggest taking a break from reality, putting on “Imaginary Trains” and taking an hour or two to drive to some random new place. The pure, nostalgic feeling of the album will keep you company and turn your little journey into a peaceful getaway.
- Imaginary Trains
- Against the Sky
- Across the World to Be With You (feat. Ricky Kej)
- My Immortal Beloved
- The Wayward Sun
- Vox Humana
- The Ribbon of Time
- Journey to Lights Edge
- Dream Together
- Until the Night Is Over
- Distance (feat. Donna Lewis)