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New York Cool - Music

Scott Hardkiss' New Album
Technicolor Dreamer

Reviewed by Elizabeth Murphy

Technicolor Dreamer, Scott Hardkiss' long awaited debut album is one album that was, arguably, well worth the wait. On the album’s intro, the listener is invited by a woman’s soft echoey voice, inviting us into a “technicolor dream”. This invitation, though one of the first things the listener hears, isn’t the first encounters we have alluring us to discover what Hardkiss’ album is all about, for his album cover speaks louder volumes than the combined sounds of synthesizers, drums, and the guitar he plays on this CD. The cover, a white room, a white couch, Hardkiss in black, and a mermaid at his feet, is definitely something fascinating to look at. Yet what does it all mean?

Scott Hardkiss is found in the crook of the couch’s curvy arm with his eyes closed. On the floor to his right, rest a mermaid. Her back’s facing the viewer, her long dark hair cascades down her back, and her golden tail is folded beneath her. And while Hardkiss sits closed-eyed, (perhaps dreaming a “technicolor dream” like the CD’s intro encourages us to step into) the mermaid leans toward Hardkiss with her right hand bent, index finger curved inward seducing him, urging him to come.
And come we will, as the image of the mermaid and her index finger is a direct reflection of what happens to the listener. To drive the point home further, the album’s official first track’s title, “Come On, Come On”, is another invite. On this track, we are introduced with about a minute and a half worth of soothing beats before the lyrics kick in. During this time, the mixture of drums and synthesizers keep the listener occupied at how the sounds complicate, yet compliment each other. Once the singer joins this array, you’ll be blown away by the pleasing sounds the singer’s voice produces.

The album’s second track, “Beat Freaks”, is an engaging, futuristic sounding techno song that starts off slow, but increases in rhythm as the song progresses. The song’s simple yet catchy lyrics call out that this song is for the, “White folks, black folks, brown folks [and] yellow folks…” Unlike the first track, the synthesizers take over and are first to great the listener’s ears. Slowly, other instruments come in at different paces, making it an explosion of great sounding music. This song’s rapid beats will make you get the urge to move your body; it’s a club banger, something you’d want the DJ to play at a party to get the crowd going.

The following track, “Underwater Ball”, is an electronic sounding record complimented by a wide range of voices somehow produced in a way to get the high cartoony and the low and deep sounding voices heard throughout the song. The lyrics tell of the story of a crew member on deck that’s hypnotized by a mermaid he sees at sea. If this sounds familiar, it should. Hardkiss borrowed this popular story line from Greek Mythology. You’ve heard of it. Sailor becomes enchanted by the singing of a mermaid who is trying to seduce him to his death by shipwreck. In Hardkiss’ case, all happens except the latter; the narrator is able to escape and tells his story through song. As if this wasn’t amazingly clever already, Hardkiss adds funky tunes that may even give some people a flash back of the artist formerly known as Prince’s earlier albums.

The album’s entire first half is upbeat and club-popping minutes of entertainment, filled with fun, fast and energetic rhythmic melodies. As we near the 2nd half of Technicolor Dreamer, tracks like, “The Revolution” and “It comes from above”, although good, are slower in tempo, and are more on the Pop sounding side than the funky, rapid tunes we get in the earlier half of the CD. However, what’s fascinating about the difference in each half of the album is how great the versatility is, and how Hardkiss is able to pull this off.

The album’s last track, “You and I”, is slowed down in tempo and brings the listener down a few notches from the roller coaster ride of killer beats, and enticing lyrics. And almost as if coming full circle, “You and I”, compares to the first track, “Come on, Come, on”, in that both songs let the beats ride before the singer comes on with the lyrics. Whereas the first song rides in slow in an effort to prepare the listener for what lies ahead of them, this last song rides out slow in order to get the listener to wind-down, and help recuperate from the body jerking music they experienced . Technicolor Dreamer, overall, is an album carefully created delivering great sounding music with wonderfully planted transitions that just make the music seem to glide into each other perfectly, delighting the listener.

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