As many of you know, this is a year in which I am writing a lot of new music, stories, along with a few other endeavors that are starting to get off the ground. In the process, I have been discovering some great new musical artists, many of whom are independent. One such artist that I had the pleasure of meeting on the wonderful world that is the internet is The Darkeyed Musician.
Being a musician myself, I of course enjoy coming across new music and artists, especially ones that are within the vein of the music and stories that I create myself. Regina (The Darkeyed Musician) and I had been following each other on social media for a while. In listening to the clips from her album Illumina on her Instagram, I knew she was definitely a musical kindred soul.
Back in early June, I had her on as a guest in my Tavern Livestream and the conversation was fun, lighthearted, and also very insightful. Between talking to her on my livestream and hearing previews of her songs, the next step was in buying her album (always supporting my fellow artists!) from her website and sharing my own thoughts.
First I will say that at a first glance, the cover art is absolutely gorgeous and immediately prepares the listener for the journey they are about to take in listening to Illumina.
The first song on the album is Myth & Lore and this first track offers a beautiful and enticing intro. It is quite reminiscent of a film score and has some great Lord of the Rings vibes (definitely a plus with me). To me, this was THE song to begin the album with as its lyrics and pace of the composition act almost as opening credits, priming the listener for a venture into the ancient world.
The song sequence on the album is as follows:
1.) Myth & Lore
2.) Wolf Dream
4.) Song of a Shieldmaiden
5.) Call of the Sea
6.) The Faerie Ring
7.) The Dryads
8.) Ghosts of the Fallen
9.) Edge of a Spear
10.) Lignum Vitae
Personal highlights for me on the Illumina album are Myth & Lore, Song of a Shieldmaiden, Faerie Ring, and Wolf Cry.
Myth & Lore – As I said, this is the first track on the album and for me, it really sets the tone for the rest of the album. It also demonstrates the brilliance of her producer Timo of Grimwater Music when it comes to musical arrangements with a beautiful blend of percussion and woodwind to really accentuate the overall mood and excitement of this first track.
Wolf Cry – As the second song on the album, this offers a more primitive and tribal sound and is a wonderful contrast to the more polished film score sound of Myth & Lore. In listening to it, one does get the sensation of uncertainty that comes with being in the unknown that is the wilderness, be it a pack of wolves, Scottish or Irish clan, or a group of wandering Saxons, Vikings, Visigoths, etc.
Song of a Shieldmaiden – Recently, I’ve been studying more on influencial women of the medieval and Renaissance eras. In these studies, the shieldmaidens always come forth at some point. As for The Darkeyed Musician’s song to these amazing women, there is just not enough good things to say about it, and for me, it is a song of honest and real female empowerment (in fact, I actually will be adding this one to my gym playlists!).
Faerie Ring- This one sounds pretty much like how one might expect when happening upon the faerie ring, making fighting to stay out and not become trapped in it quite difficult!
When it comes to other artists that The Darkeyed Musician is reminiscent of, I definitely get the Loreena McKennitt and Enya influences, though there are times when her voice reminds me a little of Tarja Turunen. I also get some Dead Can Dance vibes in some of the tracks (Wolf Cry being one of them).
The songs on the album are all perfectly placed, setting a wonderful pace to both stimulate and relax the listener (in addition to my gym playlist, this album is also among those that I will be listening to while writing my stories). By the time the album is done, there is a sense of completion, like story and ride through the ancient world has come to an end and you are now returned to the present.
To conclude, Illumina is nothing short of a magical experience. The brilliant songwriting of The Darkeyed Musician and the intricate production of Timo Paakkonen of Grimwater Music offer a fantastic escape and ancient adventure.
Illumina is available for download and streaming at The Darkeyed Musician’s website, along with other major online retailers.
The Darkeyed Musician Facebook
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Fans are describing her music and stories as a much welcome escape into another world. Drawing inspiration from the works of fantasy writers like JRR Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Diana Gabaldon, and George R.R. Martin, along with historical events, mythology, ancient texts, and lore, Tiffany aims to take you into a world of bonfires, castles, dragons, and of course, time travel!
From ethereal gothic ballads to folk-tales inspired by the Celts and Viking sea adventures, symphonic world instrumentation and operatic blast beats that invoke passion and mystery, her voice and style has been described as being truly unique.