Dustin O’Halloran – Lumiere
Stream – ‘We move lightly’
There’s a certain air of reflection, magic and fear of the unknown in this place. If we could only have a chance to express our deepest fears. I need a message of hope, just to know that everything will be alright.
Feelings fill the air I breathe while Dustin O’Halloran’s music goes round and round into my ears. I must admit he’s the owner of an out-of-this-world skill to convey the message just right, to get you in the landscape he has built.
There’s magic in tempos, completion and direction of chords, showing transitions with a piano forte like the sound of heavy wind that would mark the end of our time. I’m talking about the first track from O’Halloran‘s Lumiere album, ‘A great divide.’
Music has really found its way to evolve to contemporaneous times based on classic instruments by excellence such as violins, cellos, piano, and it really makes me reaffirm the belief that this art is a language: it’s alive and changing at the same rate as our minds. This alternative comes with flexible rules, irregular structures and the intervention of instruments that would cause on listeners a spontaneous and flowing sensation coming from every opus, inventing or bringing up to the conversation new elements and paths to let ourselves loose.
After the quiet introduction of the first track I can describe the second, ‘Opus 44’, as stepping for the second time into a cold river, a soliloquy achieved through the chords of piano, who pronounces a sad and nostalgic statement, a nostalgia that would give away through its transitions a feeling of memories flowing like slides in our mind. The second structure of the melody would continue with this slide show being the happy of this moment, giving a good Andante several and practical uses, then offering a new path for exploring emotions just to fade away.
‘We Move Lightly’, the sound of wind through empty spaces. A highlight of this opus is the new resources it integrates to the composition, which turn out to be digital sounds marching with piano and chords; the piano is the basis, a constant line that is met by incidental violins that, as the opus unfolds, couple with the statement of the piano and the conversation becomes a chorus that evokes the physical charge of a past – present focused scenario, like coming back to our parents’ home and see every corner carefully. We realize then every wall contains a bit of the essence making our very own memories.
‘Quarter No. 2’ finally leaves the pod and takes off. As the name would suggest, it’s an ensemble of chords of the most classic style. The motif is an immediate question that triggers a faint light over our previous cloudy landscape. An exploration through two ideas interlaced like the flight of two birds ascending to the sky, and then coming back to the home key.
The previous opus was our sky, and ‘Opus 43’ is our Earth in this parallel universe. It’s again the piano, a strong metal structure, yet a more passionate ascending / descending mixture and is later complemented by the sky the author gives to his listeners: chords. The cello marks the solemnity of this piece. A part II is introduced by a doubtful piano, like questioning the answers the sky provided before, an explanation landed through a firm and nostalgic cello comes forth and melts for seconds. Violins come again and provide the expected and momentary takeoff from these ruins. As the dream is over, we return to the initial and lonely phrase of the piano to close this opus.
‘Quintett No. 2’ is a perfect display and memory of the Baroque times of music going downwards, where the river gives a steady flow when the piano talks over its self-secure answer to the violin. Again, this earth – heaven combo. The evolution of this one is quite interesting: now the piano and chords melt without arguing and form a female – male voice, and the female voice finishes the sentence this time.
‘Fragile No. 4’ gives now a merry note, as if the previous track was the start of a second chance: new eyes, new voice, and this time the voice is sharper and chords provide an approval tone to the piano. I love the composition here; I would name it the sunrise of this Lumiere, as the rainbow we all expect after hardship.
At this point we have earth, the sky, light, then water. The piano continues with its flowing sentence of happiness and now gives an inspirational turn; it becomes the flowing idea we all experience when our muses decide it is time to give us a break and stop the writers’ block. Circumstances are explained in the second part of this opus, then a phrase to support the idea. A single note will be the preposition that will make of this phrase a sentence. A darker third part is not there this time to evoke a sad memory, but to represent wisdom to refrain the spirit that was just reborn. It fills the last minutes of this world, which almost completes the natural elements gathered in sounds.
The storyteller waives goodbye with ‘Snow and Light’, which turns into a quiet farewell, almost like stealth. The piano takes the lead and the background is a set of obscure sounds, then again chords will illuminate the dark room of our minds. A hint of hope that turns its head discretely and progressively, until it completely shows in front of the gloomy mood of the piano, transmitting such light into it, filling the atmosphere with a crescendo to symbolize the final determination to leave the complete dark part of the forest. It’s not about completely dark or lightened, it’s just a balance we learn to distinguish in our lifetime, and then the rain.
This is indeed a clear story for me: Dustin O’Halloran becomes a contemporaneous storyteller that speaks through classic sounds and compositions and would even include a moral to his story. His music becomes a bridge that brings the best of yesterday and covers as far as the present; a struggle between the dark and the light in our worlds that will eventually fill our souls with the balance we forget to practice and look forward to in our own lives.