Johnny Labelle Dreams of Looking Back on the Current Crisis From 20,000 Years In the Future on “Beginning of the End”

Johnny Labelle, Virus Positions compilation cover

An air of yesteryear floats through Johnny Labelle’s song “Beginning of the End.” Labelle’s croon is reminiscent of Scott Walker with the song’s vibe recalling that of some old Lee Hazlewood songs. The way both of those artists seem to come to us from a long time ago and probably seemed so then. A certain timelessness and the channeling of the hyper reality of a lucid dream. But the seemingly programmed drums place the song in the present even as the string synths and distorted melody cast your mind into a nostalgic and even romantic frame of mind for a world that may never come back and was it so great to begin with? Glittering chimes, Mellotron-esque tones and ethereal drones serve as the backdrop of Labelle talking about having a dream in which he wakes up in 20,000 years and in that framing Labelle explores that head space with a contemplative grandeur. Listen to “Beginning of the End” on Spotify and connect with the Greek songwriter at the links provided.

Mazeppa’s “Storm” Evokes the Grandeur of Maurice Jarre’s 1960s Soundtracks

Mazeppa, photo courtesy the artist

From the opening strains of “Storm” by Mazeppa you can tell you’re in for something different from the realm of modern psychedelic rock. The instrumentation and sweeping dynamics is cinematic in a way reminiscent of Scott Walker’s solo albums Maurice Jarre’s soundtrack work for Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago. It is not in that long form but the creative vision behind the track is aiming for something more than just a four minute fifty-six second psych rock song. The rich emotional colorings and the impression that you’re getting a glimpse into more mythical human experiences. Side note: Maurice Jarre is the father of synth pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre. The Israeli band named itself after a Lord Byron poem about the Seventeenth Century Ukrainian leader Ivan Mazepa so there’s bound to be a bit of myth making and grander than average storytelling. That and the fact that singer/musician Michal Perez Noy started the group to write songs by Rainer Maria Rilke. None of these details and speculations are necessary to appreciate the lush gorgeousness of the song that seems to sound timeless in a period when there is a lot of imitation in psychedelic and modern progressive rock and few as orchestral as Mazeppa. The group is planning for a debut album release in September 2019 but for now you can sit back and let your imagination engage with “Storm” below. Links to follow the band its goings on below the song embed.