Longing for Orpheus
Longing for Orpheus


Bill Binkelman review at the New Age Reporter.
RJ Lannan's review at the New Age Reporter.
Brian Douthit's review at CD Baby (previously at Perfectly Said).

Informal review from the Enigma Message Board by Jay Rivera of Black Ether:

There's a lot of music these days that people refer to as New Age, mostly because they can't get their arms around it to firmly categorize what they are hearing. The result is that a lot of so-called "new age" is not new age at all, but progressive electronica in disguise. But there is a sound that most old time purists like myself, those of us that came through the school of Tangerine Dream, that represents what New Age is really all about. A post electrionica, neo classical sound that feeds on texture and emotion.

Over the past week Ive had the pleasure of immersing myself in a CD that captures this sound with such stunning precision that it's gotten exclusive play on my car CD player (i do most listening in my car). Lush, bold, epic, perfectly orchestrated and full of feeling. Inspiring as hell and easily the best New Age CD I've heard in a very long time. A MUST listen for anybody who professes to love the genre and those who aren't quite certain what new age is. This is it, in all its glory, as good as it gets and on a par with the old masters who created the genre.


Track list:

1) To Feel the Rain
2) Reflect
3) Rise (for Cristina)
4) Candle
5) Valinor
6) A Moment of Clarity
    Sonata for Night
        7) Movement 1 - Twilight of the Mind
        8) Movement 2 - Dreams of Glory
        9) Movement 3 - Edge of Dawn
10) Drift
11) Departure
12) Athar
13) October Sleeps
14) Legacy
15) Release

                          Total run time: 1:02:36



Not only is this the first Longing for Orpheus song, it is the first song I ever finished writing. I made many attempts over the years - I even mapped out a concept album (which I still hope to write), but finding that balance of repetition and variation that makes music what it is eluded me for a long time.

Rise came to be on a night when I couldn't find sleep, and had wandered down to the school's music building to find a piano. As usual, I was just playing and listening to different chords, but I got stuck alternating between Cmaj7 and a7. Soon, a melody emerged, connecting the two. I didn't think much of it, and didn't write anything down, but the hands have a way of remembering such a simple thing repeated so many times.

Sleepless nights are no stranger to a college student, and over the course of a few weeks, a kind of a chorus emerged to compliment the original verse, and there was Rise. The whole thing was really nothing more than an ornamented chord progression, but I that's the foundation of any song.

Even if you've listened to Skye, you haven't really heard Rise. It exists within the song of the same name - all the notes are there, and played on the piano - but the synthesizers, strings and drums grew up around it and created a new song.

I had intended to include the original piano solo on the album, but I just couldn't get the recording to sound right. In its place is October Sleeps, which has a very similar sound, and which I was able to "get right." I suppose Rise has become more in my mind than it actually is. Perhaps I should be content with that.

Reflect and Legacy

Echo what you want to See
Echo what you want to Feel

To live with Passion
Is to live Without Regret
So live with Passion
And in peace, you may Reflect

It is not by chance that Reflect and Legacy occupy the places they do in Skye's track list. They are the prologue and epilogue to Skye, and two expressions of the purpose of Skye (and of Longing for Orpheus as a whole). This purpose, this underlying theme that I frequently refer to as "Passion," is a lust for life, a burning desire to really live. It is my stand against Nihilism. I believe that we have nothing to lose and everything to gain by creating and experiencing all that we can, while we can. This concept of Passion is both the message of Skye, and my motivation for creating it.

Don't let your Passion burn away
Don't let your vibrance Fade to Gray
If the world would incite you to Fear and Rage
Reach inside, act out
There is always Time for Change

Never regret that you found Your Voice
Never step back from Your Choice
When you look back on the Price you have paid
Look Inside, Speak out
This is the Legacy you have made

Athar and Release

These two songs are tied directly to my long-term girlfriend, Becca. I wrote Athar for Valentine's Day of 2005, and the melody instrument is an Irish Whistle (Susato's Low D) that she had previously given me as a birthday gift. She has an affinity for Celtic music (particularly Celtic Punk, but her tastes are diverse), and I hope this song's triplet time signature and instrument selection clearly convey my Celtic intent. If you were wondering, "Athar" is Gaelic for "sky."

Release was among the earlier songs conceived for Skye, and is my favorite of the album's tracks. It began when Becca demanded that I "play something." Fortuitously, I hit the Record button before improvising for a bit on my synth's Piano+Strings setting. As you can hear, the instrumentation hasn't changed. I spent many hours revising and programming the details of the final arrangement, but the basic chord progressions and structure are the same as I initially recorded. This experience taught me a lot about simplicity and elegance. This is the single piece of music of which I am most proud, and while I rearranged Skye's song order many times, I don't think I ever considered ending the album any other way.


CD copies of Skye are now available at CDBaby.

MP3 versions are available for download on iTunes and Soundclick.

Longing for Orpheus | After Enigma
Copyright 2006-2009 Derek Smootz