Where Shadows Lie by Jim Kirkwood

Jim Kirkwood

Where Shadows Lie

2 tracks

Running time: 1:12:18
Released: 05/2007

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  01   Where Shadows Lie Part1 - 43:10
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  02   Where Shadows Lie Part2 - 29:08
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The books of J.R.R.Tolkien have been a rich source of inspiration for me over the years. I have done 5 Cd's to date on the subject of Middle-Earth, two of which are currently available on this website, the others are forthcoming. Although there are only two tracks, each track is sub-divided in the following manner.

Track 1
The Black Gate Opens 2.51
Elven Smiths
part 1 Nenya 9.29
part 2 Vilya 3.01
part 3 Narya 7.05
The Enchanted Stream 5.13
Helms Deep 8.43
The White Rider 5.37

Track 2
Morgoth 1.27
The Ruin of Gondolin 7.33
Wild Wargs 8.00
The Lonely Mountain 8.01
Smaug 4.02

The music on this CD is a re-write of a cassette I released nearly 18 years ago. I used none of the original sound or midi files but chose to Write the music from the ground up trying to stay as true to the original as possible. Nevertheless, this CD is still some 30 mins longer and the production is infinitely better my having access to much better equipment now than I had then. I am rather fond of this music as it was my first attempt at writing Electronic Music after a twenty year career in Heavy Rock/Metal. I wanted to keep the dynamics and mood of that cassette release and I think I have succeeded. I hope you enjoy it.

A review by S.M.D.

To me it seems as though Jim has been struggling with the issue of what to do about his early cassette releases for some time. His fans have been trying to get him to re-releases them for years. Jim however is as critical of his own work as anyone and simply didn't think they were up to it. But instead of disappointing his fans he decided to completely rerecord this historic release from 1990. This is no simple remix or overdub of the original however. Instead he takes the basic themes and sequence ideas and replays / reinterprets them, with better sounds. He then greatly expands on the resulting ideas so that this album has a running time of almost twice that of the original cassette. He has also utilised his vastly superior production skills acquired over the last seventeen years. I believe that he intends to do the same for all his early cassettes- a task that will surely take him many years!

'Where Shadows Lie' is one of a number of albums inspired by JRR Tolkien. A very low ominous rumbling drone acts as backing to a shimmering tone then all sorts of eerie effects and rolling drums. Sinister organ creates quite a dark foreboding setting. A little delicate melody can just be heard amongst the shadows. A most wonderful, almost playful sequence emerges accompanied by an extremely moody and somewhat mysterious lead, rising and falling amongst the pulsations. Staccato stabs of energy increase the excitement in classic Kirkwood fashion. The balance between tenderness and pent up aggression is pure perfection. A further high register sequence and sighing melody add yet another dimension. All then dies away to a moody landscape with just that delicate little melody calling out in isolation. A ball breaking sequence then surges forth, developing even more oomph as it goes, assisted by a sympathetic rhythm. Anvil sounds and sawing strings herald the beginning of the next section. A triumphant theme cries out and becomes even more awe inspiring as new rhythms enter. Things build and build reaching epic proportions then fade back to lovely tranquil sounds of running water and birds. A little tinkling, almost musical box type melody hangs in the air. More vast strings swell then subside leaving a much moodier atmosphere, ethereal wordless vocal pads and surging strings giving an ominous edge. Without warning more mean rhythms and sequences appear, as if an army has suddenly materialised from nowhere. They sweep through leaving lonely desolation behind them, wind blowing over a ravaged landscape. All Hell then breaks through once more as another triumphant surge of blistering lead lines and rhythms herald an answering army lead by 'The White Rider', breaking on their unexpecting foe. A quite awesome way to finish this forty-three minute classic.

Startled birds launch themselves into the air at the beginning of the second and final track. Manic laughing scatters the crows still further. The fastest and most devastating sequence on the album so far spews notes at one hundred miles an hour. Lead flourishes are hurled into the sky, issuing a challenge to all that can hear whilst thunderous pulsations make the ground shake. This just has to be played loud! What is more, it keeps building and building, each element becoming increasingly more intense, each high must surely be the limit, we must reach some sort of meltdown soon, but no, it keeps building. Surely something has to give. Then without warning, in the ninth minute everything just stops, leaving an atmospheric backdrop. I take a few deep breaths to recover then ominously, drum flourishes beat out. A lovely tinkling sequence settles the nerves then a wonderfully thick analogue sounding melody playfully weaves around the pulsations. Searing lead stabs act like distorting explosions of pure energy whilst euphoric pads flow over the top. A laser sharp lead line completes a captivating but also devastating picture. Yet another fresh sequence emerges, standing in isolation, only for the previous mayhem to return just as suddenly as it departed. Eerie atmospherics then take over, like a nighttime fog descending over a battlefield. A repeated melodic motif heralds a renewed optimism which is heightened still further as a lovely lead comes to join it. There is just time left for one more manic flourish so Jim obliges. Yet another rumbling bass sequence leads the way, rapid lead lines darting this way and that like a flashing sabre wielded by a master swordsman. What Jim has done with this early recording is quite incredible and I can't wait to hear the results of his breathing fresh life into other early works. (DL)