Sean Patrick Hannifin | Voyage of the Dream Maker

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Hannifin Records

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United States - Virginia

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Classical: Virtual Orchestra Classical: Film Music Moods: Type: Soundtrack
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Voyage of the Dream Maker

by Sean Patrick Hannifin

Journey to floating castles on the wings of a dragon with this new magical orchestral fantasy score.
Genre: Classical: Virtual Orchestra
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Across the Kingdom
5:04 $0.99
2. I Will Not Go Home Again
2:15 $0.99
3. Voyage of the Dream Maker
6:37 $0.99
4. The Secret Lullaby
4:04 $0.99
5. Awaken
1:31 $0.99
6. White Castle Waltz
5:44 $0.99
7. The Dragon King
5:42 $0.99
8. On the Edge of a Dream
5:31 $0.99
9. Clockwork
2:14 $0.99
10. Seeing Infinity
6:58 $0.99
11. Castle Sky
13:08 $0.99
12. A New Journey Begins
4:49 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
With his debut album, Sean Patrick Hannifin brings an epic fantasy world to life. With soaring and epic melodies worthy of the big screen, Hannifin attempts to reestablish the orchestral soundtrack as music's most powerful medium. Whether you'd like to fly with dragons over mountains and valleys, waltz through castles you can only see in dreams, or relax to the sound of a secret lullaby, the magic of a symphony orchestra will make it possible.

When you join the dream maker on his magical voyages across the kingdoms, you may never want to go home again.

It's not just an album, it's a journey.



to write a review

Luke Anthony Sawczak

You should buy it, even though it's not the best it can be: 87%
Prepare for a long, detailed review. Before I start, here's the *Rundown:* Should you buy it? *Yes.* Is it as good as it can be? *No.* What rating would you give it? *87%,* but that's a vague estimate.

So, Sean Patrick Hannifin has "officially" entered the world of music. The word is in quotes because anyone with an interest in amateur composers ought to know Hannifin: his Youtube videos and self-designed website have had thousands and thousands of views, and I don't think I've read one unfavourable comment on anything he's done. There have even been covers of his work done by his ever-loyal fans and posted on Youtube. I myself have been following his music for almost two years, and eventually got in touch with him. There are a few things you need to know about Hannifin: he's young; his education is largely in programming; he needs the revenue from this project; he's self-taught; and he's probably the best amateur composer producing today.

So when I received my review copy of Hannifin's first foray into what fits the bill of "professional production," I was understandably thrilled and my hopes were high. I have listened to the entire album 4 or 5 times -- on two sets of speakers, through good soundstage headphones, and by a full surround-sound set-up -- and I still feel like I have only a cursory knowledge of the track list, let alone the contents. That's not to say it's totally unfamiliar. I recognize each song and each part of it when I hear it. But there's a bit of a disconnect between the words you're going to read and the music you're going to hear. Hannifin is a brilliant composer; he is an adequate wordsmith. But I suppose that's almost the norm among young musicians these days (check the song names of Yiruma's catalogue if you don't believe me).

To speak very generally of the album, the first thing you'll notice is the theme. It's a grand theme, and it can be summed up in the words, "Voyage with the Dream Maker." Did I say "with"? Yes, yes I did. I don't know why Hannifin felt the story these songs told of was that of the armoured, dragon-riding figure on the front. Songs (and with titles) like "Seeing Infinity", "Awaken", and "I Will Not Go Home Again" tell the story of a person transported to this land, introduced by the track list to a series of wonders, carried on the opportunity to witness the Dream Maker's voyage, not that of a resident. There are also a couple of tracks where the theme is betrayed in the slightest degree... But, er, this is what you get with a review from a writer. The concepts behind albums are almost always vague, and to most people it only matters that the music is beautiful. So let me get to the point.

Is the music beautiful? Heavens, yes! Not a single track fails to deliver at least one (somehow) catchy melody you can whistle. Oh, except "Clockwork" and "Seeing Infinity", the weakest songs on the album, but I'll get to individual tracks in a moment. I'll state it again because it's the album's strongest virtue: the melodies are exquisite. And they grow on you.
I want to get the bad stuff out of the way because it is ugly, and I hope I don't ruin anyone's experience by pointing it out. The melodies are good, but a song isn't just melody, and, contrary to Hannifin's idea, it shouldn't just be melody embellished with backing, either. For one thing, the song "Clockwork" is your standard rhythm-monger: a beat begins, is accompanied by another instrument with another rhythm, a tune comes in at very regular intervals, and so forth; but the song fits a bit too naturally into Hannifin's catalogue. About half the songs could be subtitled "Clockwork," and even though he reserves it for climaxes, just about every line of music could be plausibly accompanied by a never-ending, predictable snare drum. Many songs have a rigid time signature these days in pop, but of those that do, not even all of them betray it so obviously as every track on this album. There is one waltz; it's justified there. But unless you're marching or want it to double as a stopwatch, the rhythm gets a bit tedious. The other fault is that it never stops. Never. Yes, there are quiet moments and loud moments, and yes, there are brief moments where only the (marching!) bassline goes on; but from start to end you have not a moment to rest or reflect on what just passed. You are being driven from place to place and if you want somewhere to pause, you're gonna wait till the end of the song (if then!). Of course, the places you get pushed to are great. They're beautiful. But my feet are tired.

Thankfully, that's about everything negative I can say about the album, and really, you don't need to notice it, especially if you are an amateur listener in correspondance to an amateur composer. The songs are nearly all moving, they are meaningful, and they are endlessly listenable. I mean it. I could go for another listen now, even though I've heard it so much in the past week -- at least of the songs I particularly like. Speaking of which, let's take a look at the track list, at each song in brief. Since we live in such a modern age, you can download individual songs if you don't want to shell out for an album; the absolutely essential ones are marked *Must Hear.*

*Across the Kingdom:* Hmmm. I like the middle 3 minutes, you know. The brass is very strong. The bass is pretty well buried for most of it. But the bridge is the most fun, actually, and you wouldn't expect it to be on first listen. Why is this the opening track, though? *Must Hear.*

*I Will Not Go Home Again:* Oh, certainly you won’t -- you’d have to cross the kingdom first. I’m joking. This song has a single message to convey, and sure, the melody approximates it. As with most of them, it has no gaping flaws. I won't say it's my favourite, but it works well where it is.

*Voyage of the Dream Maker:* Now HERE's an opening track for you! This song, at least the first minute of it, I would be proud to show to any of my colleagues who lack the taste for classical music. Did you say you liked the “Band of Brothers” theme? *Must Hear.*

*The Secret Lullaby:* It's alright, I guess. Honestly, I can't say anything more about it than Hannifin already has in detailing it on his composing blog, linked from It didn't engross me as much as the others. It's also very ambient, which is unusual for a song that claims to be a lullaby. But, hey. I'm glad it's on the album.

*Awaken:* It appears to be a conceptual piece, and is the shortest song here. The orchestration is very simple, and is backed by a harp throughout. Actually, the cathartic effect it has after the Lullaby is probably what Hannifin intended, and that's the function it serves.

*White Castle Waltz:* YES! YES, this is what I buy albums for, is tracks like this. The melody isn't just pleasant to listen to: it's engaging. And for once the name is perfect. I imagine a grand 19th century ball on a perfect marble dance floor whenever I listen to it. My only complaint is that it goes on too long after its main climax. However: *Must Hear.*

*The Dragon King:* The melody I whistle the most after the above one. The piece begins slowly, but it takes you by surprise. It's not the best piece on the album, but it's the only one that suddenly made me catch my breath with the sudden flash of sorrowful joy, precisely when one transitional theme comes in, at 1:45 or so. I wish Hannifin had expanded on that theme, but perhaps he sensed that it wasn't the right emotion for a "Dragon King," and afterwards it goes on its merry, and acceptable, way. *Must Hear.*

*On the Edge of a Dream:* And on the edge of the best half of the CD. The album may be named after another song, but this is the best song on it, by far. It feels finished, it feels full, it feels needed to the world's music. I wish I could exaggerate. There's a bit of a clunky midsection, with a wannabe key change, but really, it's long forgotten by the time you hear the climax. Nevermind best song -- the climax, starting at 3:00 and going on for a minute, is the best passage on the CD. The end is nice, too. I taught myself this one on the piano because I can't get the melody out of my head. *Must Hear. Best Song Award.*

*Clockwork:* I described one fault in Hannifin's music above, and this song epitomizes it. The main melody does an interesting twist at the end, quite uncommon in Hannifin's usual work, which acts as quite an effective hook. But it lasts a couple of seconds and recurs only a few times, and the rest of the song I would not pay for individually. Sorry, Sean.

*Seeing Infinity:* This is the one exception to the rule of Hannifin's excellent melodies. I listened to this song no less than six times in an attempt to divine its purpose, and I couldn't find one. It's fine ambience, I guess, but it epitomizes the other fault of Hannifin's music: the song feels entirely like filler. Filler for "infinity". Is there a whisteable melody? Maybe. An aesthetic one? Not in sight. *Worst Song Award.*

*Castle Sky:* Ah, here we are at Hannifin's trademark behemoth song, which he's pulled off a couple of times before. However, for a behemoth, it reels in only a little more enjoyment than its shorter counterparts (some of which share its central theme), and always manages to lose me between minutes 7 and 11. But for all that, the variety is astonishing and it's a monumental effort. *Must Hear. Most Interesting Song Award.*

*A New Journey Begins:* Ah, here you have a little mashup of the previous melodies in new ways that often makes them each other's harmonies. It also brings something of its own but I can't really remember what it is, or distinguish when it's not pulling something that might be a harmony buried in another song. It's a good send-off, certainly the best candidate for last track. If you want to get a sense of the whole album in as short a time as possible, get this song. Must Hear if you don't hear anything else.

And a moment of conclusion is necessary. The album is wonderful. I love most of it. Some of it rivals my favourite songs from Hannifin's previous work, which you should definitely check out. For anyone interested in Contemporary Classical, in amateur composers, or filmmakers looking for new talent, the CD is well, well worth it. The ideas he works with, he does well, but he has also done them quite a lot. Buy this -- but for his next release (God willing!) I hope Sean Patrick Hannifin will really try something new. We've held this pattern long enough -- although if you've never experienced it, you definitely should.