So—Here we are at the last three songs I’ve saved from my first album, Another Breeze, and if you missed my previous write-ups on my narrative with this project, then you can catch them right here~!
Hopefully, these last songs can still capture my vision for my album good enough! And even without my ramblings at the end, I hope it’ll be quite enough for us… hehe (^^)
A cold wind…
As the opening track of my album, it’s only appropriate that this is also our title track, yeah~?
To this day, I still think Another Breeze is one of my best songs—and given it was my third ever track, I think it’s one heck of a personal feat! *\(^o^)/*
It’s by far my most popular song too, so if you could add to my views and get it to 200… heehee~ I’d appreciate that!
Going back on track though—yep, once again, most of the song is Autoplayed… Except for the drums!
This was my first time adding percussion to a song, and I thought, “why not try to perform it myself?”
So while I loop the exact same beat for the whole song, I personally think it fits the mood of it all, doesn’t it?
This was also my first attempt at layering synths, and by the final climax anyways, I feel like I really captured a rich-but-tranquil atmosphere that I’ve hardly replicated since!
And the best part?
Another Breeze is basically built on just five chords!
Sorry for jumping straight into technical stuff but-
The initial melody is a progression I don’t think is all too common-?
It basically goes I – vi – ♭VII – IV, so in our key of C Major, this progression involves our chords C – Am – B♭- F… but there’s one more catch~
I don’t actually play A Minor in the melody, I only use that chord in our left hand bass, so really it’s still playing below a C!
For the climax, this changes slightly to IV – vi – ii – ♭VII, with our ii chord being D Minor, and with the A Minor bass remaining the same~
When I first played this progression, a friend of mine told me it sounded like a funeral march of sorts, and from there, I took it as a challenge to make the most relaxing song I could with those same chords…
so whether or not I succeeded, that’s for you to decide too~! *\(^o^)/*
Plot-wise, Another Breeze is what I imagine to be our calmest moment: no glaciers melting, no temperatures rising, no radiation spreading—just a cute little scene of a cold, windy forest!
I mentioned in my previous post that the chord progression I used here became a motif for nature as the album went on, and here we can hear it in its purest, most consonant form… long before it begins to get windier, dustier, and quieter.
Another Breeze isn’t the only upbeat song in our album in terms of sound, but thematically… our next one is definitely more misleading in that regard!
Images of a commoner’s desire…
Following my next four songs in the album (Floe; Last Night at the Fjord; Lo, a Ripple; Relic) is one track that… definitely seems out of place.
Blombrück (~name from an island in one of my books~) is probably still one of my grandest orchestral songs, even if it’s all autoplayed—and honestly I think that says more about the quality of GarageBand’s autoplay than about any of my input here!
If I’m not mistaken, I arranged a total of fifteen string instruments for this song: 6 violins, 3 violas, 3 cellos, and 3 double basses, but I did mess up the climax a bit… feels too dense for anyways (^^)
Narrative-wise, Blombrück continues just after Relic: with a good chunk of our world becoming uninhabitable, those with funds begin constructing shelters just about anywhere… so as things fall apart for most of us, these “lucky” few get to continue holding parties and celebrations!
What is there to celebrate? Honestly, I didn’t think of that— *\(^o^)/*
…but I do imagine that Blombrück here depicts one of these parties; just like Lo, a Ripple, we see here another glimpse of what remaining humans could be doing, except without much melancholy and more just… ironic liveliness.
Blombrück also serves as our transition from the first side of the album to the second, which is what I like to call the Introspective side, featuring songs like The Ballroom, Upon the Stair, and Face to Face, all minimalistic, piano-led pieces that focus more on inner thoughts and conflict than… welp, our planet’s death!
Until, at the very end, these two sides meld into one, final ode…
What we do not preserve…
I honestly still love writing ominous descriptions, and maybe I’m a bit too overconfident, but my description for Eastward is probably one of my most foreboding:
If it is human nature that brought about the dawn of mankind, then it shall be human nature that spells the end of mankind.
Nothing lasts forever, especially what we do not preserve.
The event horizon has been crossed.
For me, Eastward’s opening is probably the best example in this album of how dire things have become.
But first… why “Eastward”?
I’m honestly nowhere near qualified to talk about this, but back in 2011, when the Fukushima disaster occurred, I vaguely remember being told that most of the country was spared from radioactive devastation because of the wind’s direction that day.
It blew eastward, sending most of that fallout over the sea and away from… well, the rest of the destruction from the tsunami (¬_¬)
I’m honestly unsure how accurate the wind’s direction was that day, but that stuck around in my mind, and when it came to this song, I went with that title, since for me, it was already associated with potential nuclear fallout…
So yep, by the time Eastward is taking place in Another Breeze’s narrative, you can add “radioactive wasteland” to your descriptions for this world!
Was it nuclear war? An accident? Alien intervention?
honestly, it’s probably best that isn’t answered…
To me and my friends at least, these first few minutes of Eastward make up the loneliest moment in this whole album.
Leading it all once again is the Èrhú (二胡)!
…but instead of that lively solo it played in Relic, its sound now is more of this slow wail, all the while the Nature Motif from Another Breeze plays behind it: windy, grainy, and distant.
Around the middle of Eastward, the second “verse” from The Ballroom kicks in, played on nothing but soft, rusty bells—even that titular ballroom, and perhaps the ghost in it, couldn’t withstand what happened now.
Then… things change.
I play a section with full drums and a Zhēng (筝) solo, and with a break after that, the Nature Motif returns with a ringing, rich sound, beginning our final climax of Another Breeze!
As weird as it sounds, I still wanted to include a bit of genuine hope for my world here—it’s the other half of why I chose the name “Eastward”, because that direction was apparently what saved Japan from a much-worse outcome!
These last four minutes or so are our first reprieve after the wailing before it, and in the final seconds after all these instruments fade out, there’s one more sound: a whirling, helicopter-like drone that seems to be heading somewhere.
In this world, humanity still exists, even if by all reason, it no longer should.
Though I honestly fear whether or not we’ll be able to say the same for our reality…
Our event horizon…
Everyday, I find so many articles and papers on climate change and its effects that panic over it has become… almost muted for me.
Things are worse than ever before, that much I’m kinda sure of from what I’ve been reading, but after years of worrying, I’ve honestly grown somewhat apathetic… and that scares me.
Why do I no longer have a reaction to hearing about how bad things are…?
I live in a country world-infamous for earthquakes, storms, and floods, and I’ve experienced all of these firsthand to some degree—I can see and feel how bad our situation is, so why do I react with nothing nowadays?
I kind of want to call it acceptance, but that sounds too grim even for me, so perhaps optimism is a better word?
I’m optimistic that most of our world’s countries will be able to put our planet first in due time, and the rapid progress in this regard from here in Asia to over there in Europe gives me a lot of hope!
But should the worst come… is there much I could personally do?
Corporate lies aside, I honestly don’t feel there is, and it’s weird for me to make peace with that when I’m someone with that youthful zeal of always wanting more… but perhaps it’s the scale of it all?
Maybe the scale of our problems is so big that I can’t fully-comprehend it anymore?
Whatever the case, my outlook changed at some point last year…
Whilst I still do whatever I can to help mitigate climate change, mentally-speaking, I’ve begun appreciating more what we have now than worrying about how we’ll lose it all…
When the time comes for me to talk about my 4th and 5th albums, I’d love to tell you all about how my new mindset has changed my music, for better or for worse! (*⁰▿⁰*)
And in the end, I think I speak for all of us when I say that I can only hope for the best for our futures.
I hope you’ve found some enjoyment or insight in my rants about Another Breeze—despite all its flaws, it’s an album that I will honestly always hold dear, even if my tone got very grim towards the end (＞人＜;)
Moving forward, I’ll ditch the ranking idea and just present my music like this: in context and in order, so we don’t end up confused by the constant flip-flopping—which I apologise for here!
So while we’re in the present, all the more love to all of ‘ya! Σ੧(❛□❛✿)