Art History Radio: 30×30 by Joel Goodman

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 For those wondering, a lot of my albums I have reviewed for my Art History Radio section, they come from the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia.  Also, these albums consisted mostly of classical songs (barring the Romare Beardan tribute) that revolve around an artist or an era.  For this review, I am looking at an album of recent and original material for a museum itself.  In 30×30, composer Joel Goodman created songs that commemorated the Getty Museum.  In other words, what would building a museum sound like when turned into music?  Triumph and accomplishment, of course.  A concept album from beginning to end, various songs repeat musical motifs from beginning to end.

In short, this CD makes for a very relaxing and even heady experience.  Something to listen to while working.  The first track Building the Getty has this triumphant mood thanks to combining synthesizers and traditional orchestral instruments.  You can practically see people building the museum as you listen to this song.  As it ends, it smoothly transitions into the second track, Acropolis.  Not a particularly outstanding track, and the vocals (South Asian, I think) feels very forced.

Similar to the first song, At The Site creates this wonderful sense of triumphThe midtempo beat lets us know that something wonderful will come out of the Getty’s construction.  Stone Select gives me images in my head of workers trying to decide what kind of material they would use when creating a building.  Also, the song creates this sense of drama out of making choices that will affect something in the long run.  Pouring Concrete slows down the mood but still keeps up the sense of drama started in the previous tracks.  Not to mention the trumpet used gives this feeling of cheerfulness.

Architect’s Studio acts as a reprise to Acropolis with its composition.  The song itself exudes this nice intimate feel.  Silk Road changes direction with its percussive heavy atmosphere.  The Getty exudes a contemplative atmosphere with a minimal bit of electronic beats and orchestral leads that builds up to a nice crescendo.  Again, the feeling of triumph comes out of this one.  Spiral takes on a relaxed air similar to Silk Road.  Red Line contrasts this with a rich orchestra of cellos.  Another extremely short playful song, Azalea Rings ratchets up the song’s tension with more cellos.  Quarry II gives the feeling of importance with orchestra and electronic beats.  However, when it builds up to a crescendo, it stops suddenly.  However, it does act as a reprise to At the Site.  Prayer takes on a slower tempo with synthesizers and gongs, giving this song an Asian tinge to it.

Another extremely short song, Fixing the Model, has its own playful tempo to it.  Tivoli Quarry ends up the weakest track in the whole album.  I did not find it engaging and it stops abruptly.  However, Clearing Grading thankfully picks up the pace with this feeling of anticipation for the finale track Finale.  A short song, Finale ties everything up with this mood of accomplishment.  However, in my opinion it should have gone a little longer with a little more grandeur.

Goodman does an amazing job with his song titles.  When I read the title and hear the music, a clear image comes together.  If you like music that relaxes you while you work, I recommend picking this one up.

ETA: Tweaked some sentences and added another link.

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