“sitting calmly atop a hill, with birds singing their evening chorus. you look over the vibrant city and rolling hills that stretch far into the distance. the sun is setting gently over the horizon and you take it all in, as the comet enters. leaving a trail of flame that scatters across the evening sky. nothing matters but the last few moments. you gaze, at a loss for words, as it hurtles towards the earth. such a perfect, beautiful moment. the last one there will be. this is it.”
“The Wellington, NZ based artist has created a piece of ambient bliss with the track. Mournful pads are met with an even more mournful guitar line that seems to hang in the air like the last rays of sun once it’s set behind a hill. Beautiful music for watching the earth in it’s final few seconds before destruction.”
THE TERRITORIES WEST is one of the latest in a long line of releases from felix danilo. This prolific singer/songwriter is churning out lengthy records left, right, and center. That’s always a good sign to me. It tells me that a musician is bursting with creativity. And that’s abundantly clear on THE TERRITORIES WEST.
“a time of change (intro)” is an ultra-dreamy opener that sets the tone for what proves to be a beautiful and soothing album. Spectacular guitar-work. That only improves on the second track, “nowhere left to run.” I adore the western style of the riff on this one. There’s a cool, blues vibe to the melody, but there’s still something ethereal and otherworldly about the sound, especially when the synths kick in during the second half of the song.
“bang bang (my baby shot me down)” is a fantastic cover, featuring spectacular vocals from a talented singer. The original song is iconic, and felix danilo. definitely does it justice here. No complications. Beautiful guitar guitar, synths, and reverberating vocals in an intimate setting. What a track. I don’t know whether it’s Nicole Obren or Kayla McGee* singing, but the singer definitely deserves high praise for this performance.
“heartlands” is driven by stunning, plinky guitar notes. The tone on the guitar is gorgeous on this one. Another dreamy, beautiful work of art. Again, I’m not sure whether it’s Obren or McGee* singing, but there’s such beauty in each tender note sung; these singers know how to perfectly match the dreamy aesthetics of these songs. In an unexpected twist, a sudden, muted, distant drum beat bursts into view. This added a little bit of variety to an album dominated mostly by guitars and synths (admittedly beautiful guitars and synths). I think the lead guitar melody in the last section of this track is mesmerizing, too.
“the territories” is a recording of what seems to be some sort of western town, and it leads into the fittingly-western “by his father’s grave.” The bluesy riff, pounding beat, and deep, powerful singing* merge to form a dark, groovy masterpiece. This tune is definitely one of my favorites on the record. “national park (14.04)” certainly deserves a shout-out for its alien synth warbles and dreamy, folky guitar passages and “shaman (interlude)” features a hauntingly spectacular synthetic noise. “southeast of ballard, utah” is certainly the most sinister-sounding track on the record, though. The guitar-work is truly note-worthy on this one; that has to be said.
“a memory, an escape” has a saddening essence. It’s wonderful and heart-breaking in one fell swoop. The guitar, as always, is absolutely superb. It was “someplace/else” that really impressed me, however. I thought I’d heard everything that felix danilo. had to offer, but the production on this track is sublime. The synths and songwriting blew me away. And the guitar-work, later on, is as hypnotic as always. Great track. Brilliant, in fact. “end credits” closes out the album on a somber note with a beautiful but melancholic chord progression. That being said, there is something epic about the swelling strings and layered guitar-work. It sounds like it could be the outro track to a western film. The whole album, actually, feels perfect for a western. Wonderful work.
bang bang (my baby shot me down) | vocals by Nicole Obren | lyrics by Sonny Bono
heartlands | lyrics and vocals by Kayla McGee
by his father’s grave | lyrics and vocals by Nicole Obren
sitting calmly atop a hill, with birds singing their evening chorus. you look over the vibrant city and rolling hills that stretch far into the distance. the sun is setting gently over the horizon and you take it all in, as the comet enters. leaving a trail of flame that scatters across the evening sky. nothing matters but the last few moments. you gaze, at a loss for words, as it hurtles towards the earth. such a perfect, beautiful moment. the last one there will be. this is it.
With new, 12-track album, THE TERRITORIES WEST, the listener is invited on a journey through the wide, evocative landscapes of the Midwest. The guitar is the primary instrument, and the mood switches from wistful melancholy to pure joy and back again. The haunting ‘Heartlands’ tells a story of a lover left behind. A rhythmic thrum in ‘Nowhere Left to Run’ recalls the gallop of horses across the desert, and the defiant amble of ‘By His Father’s Grave’ becomes the stroll of an outlaw down a main street, telling a tale of revenge. Other soundscapes evoke arid plains and sweeping ranges where wolves roam, where lonely cowboys ride under a stream of bright stars, where spells are cast over crackling campfires, and where nothing is quite as it seems.
In ‘Heartlands’, ‘By His Father’s Grave’ and ‘Bang Bang’ (a cover of the original by Sonny Bono and Cher), vocalists Nicole Obren and Kayla McGee weave stories through the album to elevate and enhance the western theme.
A 12-track album evoking arid plains and sweeping ranges where wolves roam, where lonely cowboys ride under a stream of bright stars, where spells are cast over crackling campfires, and where nothing is quite as it seems.
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