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Tom Kelly's Music Factory

Desperation In Paradise (November 09, 2016)
A few thoughts regarding the Album „Desperation in Paradise“

This new album by Tom Kelly’s Music Factory was published whithin a year since the launch of the last one. It turned out rather lyrical. In contrast to „Dawn till Dusk“ it reveals pensive and melancholic sounds. The title tells its own tale and is to be understood literally.
The compositions and recordings were made between December 2015 and April 2016 – with the exception of „The Last Dance of a Clown“ which was recorded in October 2008 and is partly out of the sessions for the fourth album „Pictures of Nature“.
„Dawn till Dusk“ offered bright sounds, supposed to cheer you up – the musician’s very fierce intention. This all got different though in „Desperation in Paradise“:

„The signs of our time are not really positive and it makes me sad and angry to see the way human beings treat each other. It possibly never was any different but it seems to be high time to realize and change this fact. A dream, I know, but one that I had for many many years an that I won’t give up.“

There’s a thread through „Turquoise (Into the Sea), „Wherever You Dream“ and „Spin Around“ till „Desperation in Paradise“. Sometimes loud, at other times somewhat restrained – but throughout it all there’s this melancholy, this thoughtfulness but also firm decisions that hang over certain issues like the sword of Damocles:

„In actual fact we live on a paradisiac planet – the only island in the universe known to us so far but nevertheless we keep on giving each other a hard time. „Mistreated in Paradise“ is the proper expression for it. The „Overture“ into the year 2016 already wasn’t really encouraging.„

All chosen titles are indications of the athmosphere of the tunes. Small hints about the direction, the thoughts and sentiments of the composer took during his creative phase:

„You can only talk about attempts – all else would be presumptuous even if the tunes had texts. Music is obviously a universal language which however has to be felt and understood in a subjective way. Therein lies part of our freedom.“

This music is made over endless wings, most beautiful streets, shining clouds and clowns performing for the very last time – and then gets lost in the universe of Edgar Alan Poe. No one needs to be led or hear the ever repeated phrases to understand – the music speaks for itself.

„This here could be considered a message. But in the end it’s dubious whether words can transmit exactly what it means. Much more, I think that it’s the sensations and feelings that determine if it was just that.. Therefore for me, music makes all the sense .“

This 9th album again is a real enjoyment. Maybe though you need a bit more patience and leisure for this one to feel the full impact of the 12 tunes. So we do hope that all listeners get a lot of joy hearing it.

P.S. „Out of Trash (Bonus Track)“ is an extract from the recording from July 2005

Dawn 'Til Dusk (January, 31, 2016)

At the beginning of producing a new album, there’s always the question of how I would like it to sound, considering what the last albums were like. I never want it to be a reproduction of my former work, but a development to something more interesting, more valuable. The songs should be cohesive, in harmony with each other. Producing my first three albums («Sciopadroxiu», «Nights & Pearls» und «Leaving the Past»), I haven’t always succeeded with this concept, even though they all had a totally different tonality from the others. The fourth album «Pictures of Nature» is a different matter. This album is influenced by Country Music, so it’s not astounding, that it is my most successful one in the US American market so far.

With «Dawn 'Til Dusk», I took a further step ahead and worked even more meticulously on it. It was my aim to put a lot of effort on minor details and let it sound natural all the same. This took a clear concept. So, I was happy to find something philosophical that seemed just the right thing to work with. The cover was to be as simple and clear as possible but nevertheless impressive.

Possibly it’s the small things in life, seemingly inconspicuous that have a big impact. Maybe, it’s the fact that we cant hold on to these moments. Often they are just a breeze of an instant, that runs through your fingers and evaporates before you realize it, that leaves nothing but a faint feeling, a vague memory. The strongest influence for me, were the words of Czech author Franz Kafka, when describing the «small literatures». Because when stripped down to its core, music is nothing else but little stories, told through different sounds, which can touch us emotionally, or make us remember long gone memories. For me, that’s what «Dawn 'Til Dusk» is all about. And at last, there’s this dash of melancholy, a feeling which has acted as my inspiration and engine during the creation of many a song and sound pattern.

Nonetheless, I actively tried for «Dusk 'Til Dawn» to not only be defined by these nostalgic feelings, but also have light and uplifting characteristics.

Silent Majority (January, 20, 2015)

The intention had been to create a double album with «Mysterious Times», the predecessor of «Silent Majority». But the amount and the variety of the compositions didn't allow a common sound denominator. Nevertheless, 15 of the 28 songs found their place on «Mysterious Times». It would have been a double album, but not a homogeneous album. Therefore, it was a good decision to make two independent albums. One might assume, frivolously, that this is irrelevant with instrumental music; yet, that's not the case, as we have known for centuries, for instance considering classical music.

Reading the title names – allowedly the only apparent evidence of a concept album in the instrumental sector – the attentive reader will notice immediately that there is more than just a string of tones and songs behind it. The rest is provided by the well arranged soundscapes which always include (as it is habitual with Tom Kelly's Music Factory) a view on something new.

But in a time in which distraction and excessive demand have got a permanent job it has become difficult to really listen. Yet instrumental music is the perfect medium to countersteer: You normally don't get «outdoor pavilion popular music», and it's not really the case to vacuum clean while listening to this music. Instrumental music speaks for itself and therefore has the advantage not to be right nor wrong. You will never have a Babylonian confusion as it can be the case with music with song texts.

I think it's a great advantage to be able to compose free from constrictions. This way, the music can encourage international understanding. Pat Metheny makes music without words, Ken Navarro, Kitaro, Vangelis, sometimes Pink Floyd, Santana and even rock bands are without words, as thousands others more. In the end, music is a matter of taste. And it's good this way. Nevertheless I wish many musicians would show more quality and assiduity – and the listeners more «listening», or better, «careful listening»! The latter is not just a question of respect, and it doesn't concern only music, but also the many mute cries for help in our daily living together that sometimes are ignored with levity. The title «Silent Majority» stands in this context and it was, no wonder, chosen deliberately. This applies also for the opener «Happiness Can Be Easy». If only they would let us sometimes!

Mysterious Times (March, 22, 2014)

Tom Kelly’s Music Factory’s sixth album was created in 2013, and it stands for hope on one side – and on the other side it's an expression of our times, in which money and power seem to be the only important things. But yet, or maybe because of this, more humane values are cropping up here and there.

The wreck on the front cover-art of the album is documenting the tragedy and the seeming hopeless­ness of the present, but at the same time the bizarre consciousness and living of today's humankind. It's odd how we are perceiving our world!

Like all the previous albums of Tom Kelly's Music Factory, «Mysterious Times» only speaks through its music, and in its characteristics of an instrumental album it doesn't have to explain itself with words. Maybe in the end, the universal language of music is preciser than words could be.

«Mysterious Times» was produced, recorded, mixed and mastered single-handedly by Tom Kelly, reason for the completely new musical stream the album has created. It's the first album of Tom Kelly's Music Factory on which «Battered Old Rainbow» Pascal Huber is responsible for the organ solo, and Athanasios Hatzigeorgiou is creating an extraordinary spheric tuning with his guitar collages on «Trash Bag for Hire».

The 15 songs on “Mysterious Times» are small jewels – and the product of a further development of Tom Kelly's Music Factory's musical creativity. The artist, once more, is surprising with his great abundance of ideas.

True Color City (March, 02, 2013)

Tom Kelly’s Music Factory’s last album «True Color City» is the first album after four years. Tom Kelly and Armand Volker have taken their time to embark, once again, on a new direction in their musical work. «Repetitions are not a desirable goal and are, from the artist’s point of view, rather counterproductive» - this seems to be Tom Kelly’s Music Factory’s approved maxim. Music, and art in general, has to develop and cannot be geared to a formula that has formerly been successful.

Therefore, the new album is a further – and risky - development and a consequent continuation of Tom Kelly’s Music Factory’s former albums, somewhat harder than the four predecessors, but with a fantastic sound that seems to be three-dimensional here and there and is full of drive. Like all of the band’s musical productions this album testifies of the high standard both in its compositions and in its arrangements.

Each of Tom Kelly’s Music Factory’s albums, from «Sciopadroxiu» to «Nights & Pearls», «Leaving the Past», «Pictures of Nature», and «True Color City», have got their unique and personal sound. This attests to a concept, and not to a accidental development, and it’s the precondition for creating a total work of art, and not just single hits or hit albums. - Though it wouldn’t be honest to affirm that a possible success shouldn’t be welcome… Nevertheless, the latter shouldn’t have the biggest priority in musical terms.

From the cover to the booklet (which in some stores can be downloaded), «True Color City» is available only in a digital version and, like its predecessors, cannot be bought on a physical sound carrier.

Pictures of Nature (April, 11, 2009)

With «Pictures of Nature» Tom Kelly’s Music Factory is taking a completely new and yet another experimental path in his creative work. Already in the first track, «The Story from the Golden Eagle», one senses that with this album Tom Kelly’s Music Factory has undergone an extensive musical development. Compared to its predecessors – «Sciopadroxiu», «Nights & Pearls» and «Leaving the Past» – «Pictures of Nature» is more traditional, influenced by West-Coast, Southern Rock and Country Music, entwined with elements of Chill-out and Electro-Music of modern musical trends. An interesting mixture of music that is – once again – difficult to classify.

But, considering the whole opera, «Pictures of Nature» is clearly to identify as a review on the late sixties and early seventies: Tracks such as «Windmill Road» recall, in its basic tenor, songs from Barry White or Stevie Wonder, others, such as «Into the Box» are clearly influenced by the works of country musicians and Singer-Songwriters. Furthermore, the musical range in this album, as in all the preceding albums, is enormous. Hardly any of the songs can really be classified or be put into one clearly defined genre, not even the ballads «Dancing Dolphins», «7 Steps from the Coast», «Encourage» and «Proud & Beautiful»; the last of which shows an explicit Latin influence. «Encourage» is dedicated to Mata Hari and commemorates another woman’s life drama – as on the last album the doom of Anna Göldi –, the murderer of the presumably biggest female spy ever. On the whole, this album, in its spirit and in the choice of the track titles, has an even more political impact than its predecessors.

«Song from the Elder» reclines on the rustic but great simplicity of songs of «The Band», and «Land of Nowhere» connects good back to the roots blues rock with modern music elements, which is also true for the last official song of the album, «Mustang ’67». «Pictures of Nature» should be, after «Leaving the Past», a synonym of the good and the beauty in our world, and it reflects in a almost classical way the sound and the colorful music variety that characterizes the whole opera of Tom Kelly’s Music Factory.

Last but not least there’s «Children’s Anthem», which should not be taken as a bonus track but which is meant as a admonishment to the fact that we’ve only just borrowed this world from our children and from their offspring.

Leaving the Past (February, 11, 2008) - Nights & Pearls (January, 31, 2007) - Sciopadroxiu (August, 20, 2005)

Little more than a year after «Nights & Pearls» Tom Kelly’s Music Factory’s third album – «Leaving the Past» – is now being released. It contains more elements of pop and chillout; musically it’s more coltish than its predecessors. In fact its title («Leaving the Past») meets the content of this autobiographically influenced work very well, much more than the other albums. While «Sciopadroxiu» was the beginning of an idea originating around the millennium on the island of Lefkada in Greece, «Nights & Pearls» was a concept album basically influenced by moods and impressions Tom Kelly had experienced during his travelling in Southern Europe. It took him more than five years however, until his firstling finally appeared – exclusively in the iTunes Music Store – in August of 2005.

With «Sciopadroxiu» Tom Kelly had adopted a completely new creative route, shaking off his musical past. In the 1980’s, known as the front man and singer of the rock group, «Tom Kelly Band», and in the 1990’s, as a member of «Liars Dance», he consequently followed his own personal and unmistakable sound.

It’s still difficult to classify Tom Kelly’s Music Factory’s music in a single unique style, as its sounds range from rock and pop to funk and chill out. Songs such as «Painting Grace», «Blue Night and City Lights», and the perhaps somewhat more obscure «In the Desert», are evidence of an interesting mix of rock and chillout. Kelly’s rock origins are clearly heard in these songs. However the musicality and the sentiments aren’t limited to these specific genres, and in fact the songs could easily pass for non-electronic music.

What became apparent in the first album – «Sciopadroxiu» – was brought to perfection with the arrival of «Nights & Pearls» in 2007, another exclusive iTunes Store release. «Tom Kelly’s Music Factory» had obviously developed in the meantime and was now using all resources at its disposal. Tom Kelly redefined himself in a new way. «Nights & Pearls» was full of new ideas and peerless sound mixes. The sound was warmer, the CD had a clear concept, was much more compact than «Sciopadroxiu», and the songs were somewhat mellower than the first CD. The songs lead the listener into different worlds and mystical spheres. The album realized substantial success in the iTunes Store: «Crimson Tide», «Theme from P.A. Part 1», «Perfumed Avenue, Part 2», «Illusions In Neon», «I Suppose We Could…» and «Autumn Lake» were some of the songs listed for weeks in the Top 20 and Top 10 internationally, in different countries and iTunes Charts.

«Leaving the Past» is exceeding the expectations aroused by the first two albums from «Tom Kelly’s Music Factory». From the beginning, the album is a firework of ideas and variety. The sound is accessible and direct while enfolding and embracing. The album as well as the song titles are autobiographical; all song titles were chosen carefully to match the emotion of each song.

It’s even more difficult to define the musical genre of «Leaving the Past» than it was with the first two albums: from the opener «Live in Obsession» to «Walkabout On Wood» the music surprises with classic, chillout, rock, metal and rock n’ roll elements. The drums are very lively and playful; the spherical sounds converge skillfully into the arrangement. The sound of the album is earthy and natural, due especially to the acoustic- and electric guitars parts arranged throughout. «Appearance», «Autumn Lake», «The Girl from Torre Guaceto» and «I Suppose We Could…» convey the necessary sereneness to the album, without losing suspense. Despite the variety of the music styles – or perhaps thanks to this variety – «Leaving the Past» is a complete piece. Tom Kelly and Armand Volker consciously take a step into an exciting and promising future, without making compromises.

With «Leaving the Past» Tom Kelly has succeeded in forming an elegant balancing act using many different music styles. The style is unmistakably «Tom Kelly’s Music Factory». He boldly rocks in the songs «Jump B-four», «Over the Mountain Range» or «Bounce of Metal» (the last of which tends toward Trash Metal). For sensitive ears he has «The Mentor Song», «Back from Silly Valley» or «Beautiful Skin (In Memory of Anna Göldi)», a homage to Anna Göldi who was murdered in the last European witch trial of 1782. With «Walkabout On Wood» the album ends in the same way it begins: groundbreaking and with a great amount of musicality.