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Gary Dranow - Jane (self-released)

20 February 2024

Well, if you want to know precisely what we music scribblers mean when we talk about the dynamics of a song, then “Jane” should be regarded as a masterclass in its application. It is the perfect example of how you can make music rise and fall, not only between volume and velocity but mood and melodics. The great thing, amongst many great things, here is that Gary Dranow does in four minutes dead what some proggers or symphonic metal-heads feel the need to spread over whole albums.

Starting in an intricately picked cascade of acoustica, he uses a folk-infused and spacious place as his point of departure. But of course, if you start from such low sonic altitudes, the only place to go is up. And up he does indeed go.

Using crunching and sky-searing guitars to broaden the sound, you can almost hear these sonic rocket boosters propel him into orbit. Eloquent and adventurous lead guitar lines accompany the journey as the beat drives us ever higher. And then, unexpectedly, we are allowed a brief moment of piano-led tranquillity before euphoric energy and razor-wire guitars, thunderous beats and propulsive bass lines take us to a place where we lose sight of the world we have just left.

The song travels a long way in just those 240 seconds; it changes shape from the understated to the truly anthemic, from the worldly to the cosmic, from the simple and seductive to the explosive and incendiary.

Man, if NASA ever reconvenes its mission to visit the moon, I know what they can use as rocket fuel!

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