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Progressive Rock Album Review: "Other Worlds and Golden Ages" by Flight Mechanic

Author:

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.

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Initial Impressions

Flight Mechanic’s Other Worlds and Golden Ages is a progressive synth and guitar journey through strong sonic imagery and multi-layered instrumental textures. The album has a great deal of flowing, airy atmosphere along with striking moments of beautiful melody and intricate guitar playing. Flight Mechanic uses this album as a canvas on which to paint with music.

Attractive aspects of Other Worlds and Golden Ages are the soundscapes and atmospheres that Flight Mechanic builds up on the album. There are lush textures woven by the interaction of guitars, synths and drums, beds of cloudy sound that glide smoothly by, and synth lines that swirl and ripple. The deep bass wells support the music as the drums give it direction.

Another strong element of this album is the melodic skill that Flight Mechanic demonstrates. His melodies are ear-grabbing and intense, often contrasting more easy-going feelings with a sense of melancholy that gives them emotional resonance. I am a sucker for a good melody and I felt drawn to this album for that reason.

I also enjoy the instrumental abilities that Other Worlds and Golden Ages showcases. Flight Mechanic shows himself to be an able guitarist with clean, sharp and intricate playing. He also does a creditable job on keys and percussion. The level of instrumental skill only adds to the quality of the album.

My Favourite Tracks Analyzed

“Other Worlds and Golden Ages”

“Other Worlds and Golden Ages” comes to life with the soft sounds of nature and rustling wind. This organic soundscape is joined by warm waves of swelling synth and Dr. Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes’ distorted voice narrating in poetic verse. The guitar calls out extended notes, full of warmth and an echoing feeling. The guitar drifts across the rippling bed of synth in a passionate howl that weaves bluesy notes with the synth sounds. I enjoy the hopeful quality to the guitar as the distorting, twisting vocals cut in and a steady beat pulsates.

The guitar calls out in quick, rapid lines that shine with sunlight as they leap out over the drums and Dr Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes’ narration. The drums anchor the track as the guitar cascades out in a round voice, rich with emotive expression as the synths swirl around it. A more angular, shadowed guitar part comes in and the beat picks up energy as long washes of rough-edged notes move underneath. The drums also grow more energetic as synth howls and the guitar rapidly falls in quick cascades.

A spaced-out synth rises in a lambent line and the track breaks into a more stuttering beat as the guitar’s passionate intertwining line flickers and wriggles. The main melody returns in a dreaming line before becoming quick flashes of guitar over the drums. A gliding section moves in now as the drums rattle lightly and the guitar interacts with a bubbling synth that flows out and we grow ever gentler as the vocal section arrives.

“Yukon Skies”

A resonant, energetic pattern of guitar creates textural background to an easy-going, lush melody as “Yukon Skies” begins. High, wriggling synth winds through the track in long lines before breaking off into a throb. I am drawn to the way in which the textural guitar pattern moves as a dynamic, angular synth pattern adds a sharper quality to the music.

Tension grows before the drums beat faster again and the guitar pattern winds up and writhes through. The impression of tension keeps building over the texture under it as the endless, nervous feeling synth shifts in rapid waves. There is something unsettling here, despite the laid back guitar melody.

“UFOs in the Desert”

“UFOs in the Desert” starts as a loose, sliding feeling imbues the drums along with a deep, full guitar tone. A medium-high synth sweeps through in long lines and the slightly distorted guitar carries a sailing melody over the intertwined bass line. The melody glides out, slipping along, as the airy synths sweep and the drum pulse shapes the track. Pizzicato string sounds ring out into the track in flashes that drift into open space along with a descending line of guitar notes

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Ripples of medium-high synth flicker through the track and reverberate while fragile piano notes shift over the trembling of the synth in the background. A light, brushing piano melody touches the track as the guitar moves and the beat keeps adding form. I enjoy the way that the main melodic motif evokes flight and something ethereal and otherworldly. The track ends on falling, shimmering guitar and synth pulses.

“Lydian Sun VII”

The guitar groans and grits as the drums break in to open “Lydian Sun VII.” The guitar, as it comes in fully, has a rich tone that echoes out over the solidity of the drums. The melody has a feeling of thoughtfulness to it as the lead synth calls out in a glittering flow. There’s something wistful in the melody as it rises over the drums that break and fade. A high chime pierces through and the wave of bass flows.

I am enamoured of how the guitar’s rough-edged voice winds out the dreaming melody, imbued with sensations of light. The guitar leaps and whirls in intricate, intertwining notes while the drums charge below. Long waves of synth sound wash out and the reaching guitar floats away on a gentle tide of sound. The track reaches a conclusion with a steady synth pulse and swirl.

“Psychonautica”

“Psychonautica” breathes into being as an airy flow of wind sweeps through the track along with a gently pulsing bass throb. The drums add their beat and the aching, wandering lead synth skims through the track. The drums are slow but strong and they add a real drive to the music. Now a jazzy line of synth piano comes in before there’s a slow, cloudy sonic drift through which an elevated synth glimmers.

A repeating, mechanistic sound shifts steadily under the slowly swirling sounds around it. I enjoy the sense of being carried on a journey through a land in which insubstantial light contrasts with a palpable flow of energy buoying it up. The drums, guitar and synth sounds all interlock, creating a dynamic pattern while more wandering sounds make their way through the track.

The piano carries a melody that is full of a sense of propulsion, while still tinged with melancholy. The elevated synth keeps shimmering before the piano slides away and out into silence as the track ends.

“Dream Signals”

A gritty, slightly jagged bass line and rising, distorted string sounds are joined by a solid drum beat, the kick drum thudding under the writhing synth that grates into the track to start off “Dream Signals.” The lush voice of the guitar carries a reverberant melodic line while the synth flows along languidly.

The guitar takes on an angular quality while the drums batter and a quick trickle of high sound repeats. I am intrigued by the way the guitar creates whorls of sound that are punctuated by a sitar that rings out over them. The drums thunder while the floating melodic pattern glides out in a bright line while quick, brittle pulses of sound move along with it.

"Cerulean”

"Cerulean” kicks off with shaker percussion and a densely woven bass line below an ethereal, drifting lead synth along with reverent vocal sounds. The drums add their steady time-keeping and a scudding bass pulse moves along with them, creating a surging sensation as the elevated synth trembles through. I am compelled by the long flow of round synth sound that cries out over the depths, bright and intense.

The steady guitar pulse also goes on while the bass moves in a throbbing line as the trumpeting, flowing synth shimmers and adds some ache to the music. The cascading guitar line moves again and the track returns to the flaring lead guitar and a howl of synth over the urging of the beat. There is a flying sensation here as the long, expressive voice of the synth calls, pained over the solid drums.

Conclusion

Other Worlds and Golden Ages is an album that is layered, intricate and engaging. The way in which Flight Mechanic combines all of the sonic textures and emotional sensations creates an album that takes the listener on an auditory journey.

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