Music Mondays: The Cast In Bronze Edition

Today was the quintessential shitty Monday. Everything that could have gone wrong…well, the rest is pretty obvious, I think. That’s why I picked a musician for today I’m extremely fond of, that I haven’t listened to nearly enough of in recent months.

Cast In Bronze is all about the musician’s instrument of choice: the carillon. I had never heard of Cast In Bronze, nor did I have any idea of what a carillon was, until I met one of the only people on this planet who might be as evil as me. For those of you not sprinting to Google, a carillon is an instrument made up of twenty-three bells connected to a large keyboard of sorts that is operated by the hands and feet. They are typically built into structures, as they are understandably both massive and quite heavy (an understatement, as I believe these instruments often weight upwards of one ton).

Cast In Bronze is the world’s only traveling carillon. You read that right. It’s a several-ton instrument that goes on tour. I actually had the distinct pleasure of seeing Cast In Bronze perform at a Renaissance festival, and I loved every second of it. Hearing the music in person–actually feeling every note fill the air around me–was probably one of the most fantastic experiences of my adult life. No hyperbole or irony there, folks.

Before I dive into what I love about the music of Cast In Bronze, it’s worth noting that the actual musician is pretty amazing. Frank Della Penna acts as the spirit of the bells, wearing a mask and making the performance all about the carillon and the beautiful music made possible by this instrument. Without his dream, however, this wouldn’t be a reality, and so spirit of the bells or not Frank Della Penna has done something amazing.

Onto the actual music. Cast In Bronze has music with accompaniment from other instruments as well as tracks that are just the bells (hardly a “just” there, as those are some of the best tracks). CD-wise, I would recommend Bells Only and Spirit of the Bells as an introduction to the carillon’s music. “Leaving St Amand” may be one of my favorite tracks of all. It has a certain frenzied energy to it that makes for excellent driving music. “Drunken Sailor” is a delight (another carillon-only track), and I imagine it would be great fun to enjoy with a round or two of drinks. Naturally, I couldn’t talk about music that predominantly features bells without mentioning how Cast In Bronze’s take on “Carol of the Bells” is really beautiful stuff.

I would go so far as to say my words aren’t sufficient to convey how amazing Cast In Bronze’s music is, and so I’ve managed to find “Leaving St Amand”, a song that has inspired some of the best fight scenes I’ve ever written (and some I’ve only mapped out), on YouTube.

If you enjoyed that, I’d strongly recommend heading over to the Cast In Bronze store and picking up a CD or two. 

To risk sounding overly fanboy-ish, I refuse to assign an arbitrary rating to Cast In Bronze’s music. I am not worthy (I’m only joking a little there).

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