Friday, January 8, 2016

The Man From RavCon "Everything Is Golden" CD review

Review by Noel Squitieri, taken from
Mike Brown is The Man From RavCon. Formerly lead singer and guitarist for the Charlotte, North Carolina, rock band The Ravelers, Mike has been writing and recording as The Man From RavCon for many years. His first album, Zombie Pimp Cowboys From Outer Space!, was released in January, 2010. Everything Is Golden, his second record, released in August 2010, is the subject of this review. My review of Skyscraper, the most recent album by The Man From RavCon, is here.
Mike has said his goal is to create music that evokes emotional and visual imagery, something like for a film score to scenes from unmade motion pictures. As such, his music is on the thoughtful and contemplative side, maybe not so much music to dance to at parties. I don’t mean this is “contemplate your navel” music; it isn’t. There’s purpose and intent to each song, as Mike tries to take the listener to the scene he imagines the music accompanies. It helps to be familiar with the film genres Mike has in mind, because the musical languages associated with those films are well represented. But a vivid, visual imagination is handier. This is music to imagine to. Daydreamers are especially welcome.

This not to say all these songs aren’t danceable. “The Furguson” and especially “Flip Flop” have catchy beats and are fun to dance to. Trust me when I say, if something makes me want to dance, it’s definitely fun to dance to. Listen to “Flip Flop” and you’ll know just what I mean.

I’ve been playing Everything Is Golden all day. I’m not bored in the least. There’s a wide variety of listening experiences here. Yet as I listen, I find myself drawn to certain songs. I haven’t started skipping over anything. None of these songs are worth missing, but I anticipate some songs more, almost longing for them to play again. So I think I’ll share my thoughts about those songs that I keep coming back to, the songs that have created the strongest impressions, or make the best daydreams, if you like.

Moonlight Mountain
I live in the mountains of Northeast Pennsylvania. It’s been moon-bright and snow-covered up here this week. Maybe these aren’t the Rockies or Sierras, but this music just fits perfectly with what I see and feel outside, at night under the trees and stars, lit bright by moonlight. I’ll be the first to admit the title, “Moonlight Mountain”, helps me see imagery in the music in a way naming it “Second Song” wouldn’t. Yet, the mood the music creates with its’ beautiful, slightly melancholy melody, fits so well with how I’ve felt outside these past several nights. Slightly too fast-paced to be sad, it’s still lovely.

Listening to this, I find myself strolling along a sunset-lit beach on the Baja coast. I imagine the girl’s name is Atalaya, or alternatively maybe the beach is named Atalaya. And I’m listening to this song playing somewhere in the dark, through the open window of a nearby house of which only the dim light from inside reveals its’ exact location in the growing night. It’s very calm and peaceful, just the way this song makes me feel. What will happen next? I play the song again and again, hoping to make the daydream last until I can create the happy ending I want. But there’s an air of living for just this brief moment in the song that leaves that ending always out of reach. It tells me to enjoy the moment for what it is and not to ask more from it than it can give. So I play the song again.

Flip Flop
Yep! It’s a good old-fashioned instro-dance song. Just go ahead and dance. You’ll be glad you did.

Dead Man’s Cove
The guitar tone draws me in like gold draws a pirate, and the melody keeps me there. Mystery and an old danger compel me to seek what lies unseen ahead. I’ve done this before, explored dark and mysterious places. I find them irresistible. The song ends before I find what I’m looking for, so I keep going, searching…

Beyond The Dunes
That guitar tone again. The melody is darker, more foreboding. I’ve got to keep going. Turning back isn’t an option. There’s only what’s ahead, for good fortune or bad.
Mosie. So simple. So lovely. Such a lilting melody. Romantic, happy, charming, sweet. Peaceful. This song brings a smile to my face every time I hear it.

Once Upon A Time In The West
I’ve seen the movie. You’ve seen the movie. Which scenes will you see when you hear this wonderful version? I see Jason Robards saying goodbye to Claudia Cardinale, I see Henry Fonda’s shocking cold blue eyes framed under his black hat, I see the closing of the West as the railroad is completed, represented by the famous tracking shot of the hundreds and hundreds of railroad workers busily uniting the halves of a nation.

There are no throw-away songs on this album. I hope you give Everything Is Golden a fair listen, away from noise, distractions and deadlines, somewhere and sometime when you can just sit and listen, and let the songs take you wherever they and your imagination will you to go. I believe you’ll really enjoy the experience.

Everything Is Golden
My favorite song on the album. A perfect evening on the beach at sunset. Lapping waves and some shore birds softly heard just over there. All is calm, all is at peace. All is well. The melody is beautiful, the orchestration is exquisite, even delicate, the performance is perfect. I’m in a wonderful mood in a wonderful place. Nothing can be better than right here, right now, and I want to stay here forever. The sun sets to the sound of lapping waves and some shore birds softly heard just over there. Everything IS golden.

The Man From Ravcon is on Surf Guitar 101 here.

On Facebook here.

The Man From RavCon is at CDBaby here.

The Man From Ravcon is available at Deep Eddy Records here.

Everything is Golden is also available here.

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