Tom Kelly’s Music Factory’s sixth album was created in 2013, and it stands for hope on one side – and on the other side it's an expression of our times, in which money and power seem to be the only important things. But yet, or maybe because of this, more humane values are cropping up here and there.
The wreck on the front cover-art of the album is documenting the tragedy and the seeming hopelessness of the present, but at the same time the bizarre consciousness and living of today's humankind. It's odd how we are perceiving our world!
Like all the previous albums of Tom Kelly's Music Factory, “Mysterious Times” only speaks through its music, and in its characteristics of an instrumental album it doesn't have to explain itself with words. Maybe in the end, the universal language of music is preciser than words could be.
„Mysterious Times“ was produced, recorded, mixed and mastered single-handedly by Tom Kelly, reason for the completely new musical stream the album has created. It's the first album of Tom Kelly's Music Factory on which two guest musicians are showing their musicianship: On the song „Battered Old Rainbow“ Pascal Huber is responsible for the organ solo, and Athanasios Hatzigeorgiou is creating an extra–ordinary spheric tuning with his guitar collages on „Trash Bag for Hire“.
The 15 songs on “Mysterious Times“ are small juwels – and the product of a further development of Tom Kelly's Music Factory's musical creativity. The artist, once more, is surprising with his great abundance of ideas.
True Color City
Tom Kelly's Music Factory's new album „True Color City“ is the first album after four years. Tom Kelly and Armand Volker have taken their time to embark, once again, on a new direction in their musical work. „Repetitions are not a desirable goal and are, from the artist's point of view, rather counterproductive“ - this seems to be Tom Kelly's Music Factory's approved maxim. Music, and art in general, has to develop and cannot be geared to a formula that has formerly been successful.
Therefore, the new album is a further – and risky - development and a consequent continuation of Tom Kelly's Music Factory's former albums, somewhat harder than the four predecessors, but with a fantastic sound that seems to be three-dimensional here and there and is full of drive. Like all of the band's musical productions this album testifies of the high standard both in its compositions and in its arrangements.
Each of Tom Kelly's Music Factory's albums, from „Sciopadroxiu“ to „Nights & Pearls“,„Leaving the Past“, „Pictures of Nature“, and „True Color City“, have got their unique and personal sound. This attests to a concept, and not to a accidental development, and it's the precondition for creating a total work of art, and not just single hits or hit albums. - Though it wouldn't be honest to affirm that a possible success shouldn't be welcome… Nevertheless, the latter shouldn't have the biggest priority in musical terms.
From the cover to the booklet (which in some stores can be downloaded), „True Color City“ is available only in a digital version and, like its predecessors, cannot be bought on a physical sound carrier.
Pictures of Nature
«Pictures of Nature» Tom Kelly's Music Factory is taking a completely new and yet another experimental path in his creative work. Already in the first track, «The Story from the Golden Eagle», one senses that with this album Tom Kelly's Music Factory has undergone an extensive musical development. Compared to its predecessors – «Sciopadroxiu», «Nights & Pearls» and «Leaving the Past» – «Pictures of Nature» is more traditional, influenced by West-Coast, Southern Rock and Country Music, entwined with elements of Chill-out and Electro-Music of modern musical trends. An interesting mixture of music that is – once again – difficult to classify.
But, considering the whole opera, «Pictures of Nature» is clearly to identify as a review on the late sixties and early seventies: Tracks such as «Windmill Road» recall, in its basic tenor, songs from Barry White or Stevie Wonder, others, such as «Into the Box» are clearly influenced by the works of country musicians and Singer-Songwriters. Furthermore, the musical range in this album, as in all the preceding albums, is enormous. Hardly any of the songs can really be classified or be put into one clearly defined genre, not even the ballads «Dancing Dolphins», «7 Steps from the Coast», «Encourage» and «Proud & Beautiful»; the last of which shows an explicit Latin influence. «Encourage» is dedicated to Mata Hari and commemorates another woman’s life drama – as on the last album the doom of Anna Göldi –, the murderer of the presumably biggest female spy ever. On the whole, this album, in its spirit and in the choice of the track titles, has an even more political impact than its predecessors.
«Song from the Elder» reclines on the rustic but great simplicity of songs of «The Band», and «Land of Nowhere» connects good back to the roots blues rock with modern music elements, which is also true for the last official song of the album, «Mustang ’67». «Pictures of Nature» should be, after «Leaving the Past», a synonym of the good and the beauty in our world, and it reflects in a almost classical way the sound and the colorful music variety that characterizes the whole opera of Tom Kelly’s Music Factory.
Last but not least there’s «Children’s Anthem», which should not be taken as a bonus track but which is meant as a admonishment to the fact that we’ve only just borrowed this world from our children and from their offspring.
Leaving the Past - Nights & Pearls & Sciopadroxiu
Little more than a year after «Nights & Pearls» Tom Kelly's Music Factory's third album – «Leaving the Past» – is now being released. It contains more elements of pop and chillout; musically it's more coltish than its predecessors. In fact its title («Leaving the Past») meets the content of this autobiographically influenced work very well, much more than the other albums. While «Sciopadroxiu» was the beginning of an idea originating around the millenium on the island of Lefkada in Greece, «Nights & Pearls» was a concept album basically influenced by moods and impressions Tom Kelly had experienced during his travelling in Southern Europe. It took him more than five years however, until his firstling finally appeared – exclusively in the iTunes Music Store – in August of 2005.
With «Sciopadroxiu» Tom Kelly had adopted a completely new creative route, shaking off his musical past. In the 1980's, known as the front man and singer of the rock group, «Tom Kelly Band», and in the 1990's, as a member of «Liars Dance», he consequently followed his own personal and unmistakable sound.
It's still difficult to classify Tom Kelly's Music Factory's music in a single unique style, as its sounds range from rock and pop to funk and chill out. Songs such as «Painting Grace», «Blue Night and City Lights», and the perhaps somewhat more obscure «In the Desert», are evidence of an interesting mix of rock and chillout. Kelly's rock origins are clearly heard in these songs. However the musicality and the sentiments aren't limited to these specific genres, and in fact the songs could easily pass for non-electronic music.
What became apparent in the first album – «Sciopadroxiu» – was brought to perfection with the arrival of «Nights & Pearls» in 2007, another exclusive iTunes Store release. «Tom Kelly's Music Factory» had obviously developed in the meantime and was now using all resources at its disposal. Tom Kelly redefined himself in a new way. «Nights & Pearls» was full of new ideas and peerless sound mixes. The sound was warmer, the CD had a clear concept, was much more compact than «Sciopadroxiu», and the songs were somewhat mellower than the first CD. The songs lead the listener into different worlds and mystical spheres. The album realized substantial success in the iTunes Store: «Crimson Tide», «Theme from P.A. Part 1», «Perfumed Avenue, Part 2», «Illusions In Neon», «I Suppose We Could…» and «Autumn Lake» were some of the songs listed for weeks in the Top 20 and Top 10 internationally, in different countries and iTunes Charts.
«Leaving the Past» is exceeding the expectations aroused by the first two albums from «Tom Kelly's Music Factory». From the beginning, the album is a firework of ideas and variety. The sound is accessible and direct while enfolding and embracing. The album as well as the song titles are autobiographical; all song titles were chosen carefully to match the emotion of each song.
It's even more difficult to define the musical genre of «Leaving the Past» than it was with the first two albums: from the opener «Live in Obsession» to «Walkabout On Wood» the music surprises with classic, chillout, rock, metal and rock n' roll elements. The drums are very lively and playful; the spherical sounds converge skillfully into the arrangement. The sound of the album is earthy and natural, due especially to the acoustic- and electric guitars parts arranged throughout. «Appearance», «Autumn Lake», «The Girl from Torre Guaceto» and «I Suppose We Could…» convey the necessary sereneness to the album, without losing suspense. Despite the variety of the music styles – or perhaps thanks to this variety – «Leaving the Past» is a complete piece. Tom Kelly and Armand Volker consciously take a step into an exciting and promising future, without making compromises.
With «Leaving the Past» Tom Kelly has succeeded in forming an elegant balancing act using many different music styles. The style is unmistakably «Tom Kelly's Music Factory». He boldly rocks in the songs «Jump B-four», «Over the Mountain Range» or «Bounce of Metal» (the last of which tends toward Trash Metal). For sensitive ears he has «The Mentor Song», «Back from Silly Valley» or «Beautiful Skin (In Memory of Anna Göldi)», a hommage to Anna Göldi who was murdered in the last European witch trial of 1782. With «Walkabout On Wood» the album ends in the same way it begins: groundbreaking and with a great amount of musicality.
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