Scottish Composer Tim McGowan

"Kingdom" Review By

R.J. Lannan - New Age Reporter

Kingdom Tracks
1. Kingdom  6. The Wishing Well
2. Morning Glory 7. Whispering Wind
3. Distant Shores 8. The Sands of Time
4. Fountain of Youth 9. Ancient Echoes
5. Old Days, Old Friends 10. The Long Journey Home

Tim McGowan is a skilled soundscape artist. On his auspicious album Kingdom he uses synthesizer and imagination to sculpt a series of vibrant musical objects that blend medieval themes with ambient textures. He offers us the best of both worlds. The neat thing about McGowan’s album(s) is that he allows the listener to create their own version of events as his music unfolds.

So without further ado…

On Kingdom the journey is one of great discovery as the characters leave home and hearth and venture into lands unknown in search of a great prize. What happens on the journey and their return home is the story and the music tells it all.

In ancient Caledonia, from the ocean you travel north over the craggy cliffs and inland past the Clyde toward Ben Nevis. There you will find the Kingdom. Brave warriors with true hearts and beautiful women with red hair and green eyes that have the power of magik. The title track Kingdom is the starting point for your incredible journey. A pronounced rhythm and a strong piano/calliope-like score is the guide for this introduction.

The voyage is begun as you travel to distant shores on the king’s quest. You can feel the angry touch of the sea as your little ship jounces toward the north east. You have great fear and yet your hope remains firm. Distant Shores is a strong, energetic tune with a powerful piano lead and potent percussion.

On the track Old Days, Old Friends, unexpectedly as you make for shore you see your old comrade, shipwrecked these ten long years, waving to you like a crazy man. He asks of home and kin and you have nothing but good news for him. Greater still he announces he will join you on your mission.

On Whispering Wind there is a sense of despair as you lose the battle. You stand defeated but not yet vanquished. The wind carries a reminder of the green-eyed beauty you left behind and you are renewed. Sad and dramatic sounds on this one as a blowing wind and a sophisticated synthesizer breathe life into McGowan’s elaborate composition. This is one of my favorite cuts on Kingdom.

Your old friend reminds you of a strategy used by your ancestors. A plan begins to form and you know that you can conquer the enemy and bring about success for the mission. Ancient Echoes is the memories that will set you free. This is a gentle tune with a medium tempo and a optimistic feel. The hero will succeed.

The Long Journey Home, the best cut on the album is a triumphant theme. Bright, cheerful and again, dramatic as you find your way home again. This is pomp and circumstance, medieval style. Currents of bright sound flow like waves on the ocean. The journey has come full circle.

Tim McGowan grew up in Scotland in a family of musicians. He wrote his first song at the age of six while the rest of us were still in kindergarten. After college he found the “magik” in the synthesizer and enjoyed a bit of success with his band Jeopardy. His years in the theatre might be responsible for the dramatic influence in his music.
Tim has written film scores, scripts and of course New Age soundscapes.

McGowan’s music is the perfect soundtrack for a Lawhead novel or just an adventure of the mind. He could be easily compared to David Arkenstone or Chris Spheeris, but retains his own unique method. Using simple song titles he permits us the pleasure as well as the challenge of writing our own stories. I like that.

Rating: Very Good  

Tim McGowan


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