Often, life events are a source of inspiration for music releases. “Departures” was actually not planned and came about as a diversion from another project due to recent events in Mr Brennan’s personal life … it’s about loss. Thom elaborates: our lives are spent accruing friends, relationships and material things but eventually our life becomes about losing those things, slowly but surely over time.
Sonically, focus was on a melodic structure and to be relatively minimalistic on all four tracks while trying to install conflicting emotions into a single track simultaneously. Regarding composition, the album has some connections to Thom’s earliest work, being built around simple pattern sequences that establish a framework for melody. In this respect Mr Brennan mentioned it does take a couple of left turns though where the pattern sequences suddenly stop, giving way to pure textural, often gentle soaring dronescapes. “Part 1” reflects a deep sadness that the composer was experiencing at the time as a result of personal loss, whereas the last track actually is more upbeat because there is truth in the saying “only after you have lost everything are you truly free”, and life must go on regardless.
Despite the emotive thread, the music’s slow evolving character and repetitive form combined with the duration of each track (ranging between 17 and 20 minutes) made my attention slip away quite a few of times. Exceptions though are the biggest section of “Part 1” and “Part 3”. So while still pleasant, the 73-minute “Departures” turned out a tad weaker than Brennan’s normal output.
You can see what reviews I have done of this artist on the Thom Brennan artist page
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