Every once in a while the Music Enthusiast likes to get out of the past and back to the future. He semi-randomly does New Music Revues featuring a bunch of new artists and every once in a great while does a Song of the Week. This tune came my way and I dug it so I thought I’d feature it.
From his bio: William Jacobsen is a 22-year old guitarist and composer, studying musicology in Oslo. Norway. He’s done a lot of session work, mostly for unknown bands, but also some moderately known like Decarlo and Neptune Blue.
This is his debut single and it’s been written over many years by piecing together different ideas (the earliest of which was written when he was 13). His main inspirations are Steven Wilson, Opeth, Dream Theater, Avenged Sevenfold, and film composers like John Williams and Howard Shore. (Shore has done, among other things, the scores for Lord of the Rings.)
The band is a mix of highly acclaimed session musicians (Wojtek Deregowski on drums, Yoed Nir on cello, Nathaniel Wolkstein on violin), and some of his friends. Everything was composed, arranged, and produced by William, and he then sent highly specific parts for each musician to play (with some improvisation from the drummer and cellist, and improvised fills from the others now and again). Pretty much everything was recorded at home with each musician sending over tracks from their personal home studios.
The song was mixed by Dennis Koehne (Sodom, Exumer) and mastered by Leon Zervos (Dream Theater, Maroon 5, Muse, and many more). He was particularly thrilled to get Leon because he mixed Dream Theater’s A Nightmare to Remember).
He says that “The reason why I called the song ‘Escapism’ is that I feel that the song triggers the imagination of the listener, and very much feels like a story. It reminds me of the feeling I get from my favorite escapist stories like Lord of The Rings, Star Wars, and Narnia.”
He goes on to say it is a “truly progressive piece and it explores sounds and arrangements that are not commonly heard in modern prog, such as letting the cello play riffs instead of guitar for a large section of the song, using percussion to elevate the rhythm section, and the occasional trumpet solo. The goal of the song is to stir the imagination and take the listener on a vivid and satisfying journey, as all good escapist art should.”
I thought this song was pretty cool. It’s not traditional prog like Genesis or Yes but perhaps dreamier, maybe more orchestral and as William says, symphonic. It starts big then gets kind of a funky feel. And then at about 2:00, it does a really cool left turn into a jazzy feel for a bit. Then back to dreamland. It’s a cool, challenging piece. Hope you enjoy it.
Credits: Ragnhild Hasselgård Morland for the portrait, and Yana Dhyana for the cover art.