Martin Lucassen’s songwriting is the sort that shines brightly of its own accord – the strength of each song on his album The Night Turns To Morning Light comes through in his storytelling, his use of melody, and his beautifully smooth leading voice. The remaining element when it comes to great songwriting is the precise manner in which you choose to present the songs – the instrumentation, the structure, the mix. The artist’s recent release The Night Turns To Morning Light (Remix) offers up his own unique approach to music production, and though it showcases the same songs, the same sentiments, the overall sound lays out a different kind of mood. The arena within which you receive the songs is completely fresh.
There’s something of an organic indie aura to the music throughout this remix project. The music contains a strong presence of rhythm guitar, occasionally taking inspiration from reggae or ska, but most prominently holding close to that indie-rock energy that just oozes present tense – the songs sound as if they’re being performed live. Beauty All Around is gentler here, more intimate perhaps. These Are The Times has a similar level of space, but the sound is fuller, warm yet crisp, infectious in the energy it presents. You can really pick up on each and every lyric throughout this collection, and that works wonders for the heart of the songwriting and in portraying those ideas and underlying messages.
This idea of space is something that shows itself throughout the newly released versions. Occasionally it’s a subtle difference, Heart On Fire for example, but the closer you feel to those lyrics and that voice, the more the songs are likely to affect you. Break The Glass utilises the importance of space in creating a desirable ambiance superbly. The simple wash of a synth, the crisp edge of an acoustic guitar, the intense strike of the drum, the stylish flicker of the electric guitar. The mix in this case comes through as supremely professional and incredibly effective in creating and maintaining a certain mood, as well as capturing and holding onto your attention. Every instrumental moment shines with beautiful brightness due to powerful placement and an overall skillful and considerate mix.
The realness is gripping, and that’s what gives the songs genuine humanity and passion. There’s no question as to whether or not Martin Lucassen can write, he categorically can, and his songs hit you in a unique and wonderful way. This latest presentation though brings about an additional aura of heartfelt honesty; the real, organic, free-flowing sound of music for music’s sake. Do You Want Some Love is the perfect example, a smooth and mellow song, portrayed with just enough of an edge to bring out the true character and feeling of the voice and the instrumental performances.
Happy Travelers sounds fantastic, the raw energy of the acoustic guitar is the sort that requires a flawless take during production in order to really let that natural musicality flourish. It comes through with impeccable brightness, the sound hits as if it’s right there in the room with you, and thus, as mentioned, the song itself connects much more prominently. Come To Me is a stylistically different kind of song, opening with a reverb soaked, ambient soundscape, teetering more towards indie or prog-rock than folk-rock. Therefore a different approach to production is required, and the task has been met brilliantly. There’s a smoothness here, as is required by such a laid back melody, yet that crisp finish is still there to maintain the thread of authenticity that connects all of the songs; however different they each may be.
I Love You More is another acoustic offering that requires a certain level of skill when finishing up the recording, in order to maintain and let glow that organic essence and energy. It’s a stunning version, the classic air of the songwriting shines beautifully, yet the whole thing sounds as if it were written and recorded just this morning. The acoustic guitar sounds sublime, the electronic elements surrounding it create a dreamlike atmosphere, and Martin’s voice comes through with sublime intimacy and honesty. At the other end of the spectrum, Love You From Scratch hits with the warmth and swagger of any great rock and roll track. The contrast is well executed, the thread remains, yet the alternative power of this moment stands as tall as possible. The indie-rock warmth continues with What You Mean To Me, and then the mellow and sublime, satisfying hit of How Will It Be comes through with absolute style and rhythm. The bass-line rides along beautifully and those guitars sound sensational.
The remixed album concludes with the full and boisterous sound of Love Me Right Now. Again, it’s difficult to take something so full, instrumentally, with such a wall of audio surrounding the leading voice, and make it sound accessible and real and captivating – without losing the original sentiment of the writing. Martin Lucassen has mastered this art well, and this final track is the perfect example of how effective a well crafted mix can be in showcasing the beautiful intricacies of a well written song. Nothing is lost in the chaos of audio, everything has its moment, and it works brilliantly.