22 Oct 2019
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Justin 'Firefly' Clarke - Single Review: Astral Tumbleweed

14 Sep 2018 // A review by Corinne Rutherford

Justin Firefly is a Master's Graduate of the New Zealand School of Music and seasoned guitarist based in Wellington. He has traversed the globe performing with such acts as The Woolshed Sessions, Fly My Pretties, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Jess Chambers and the Firefly Orchestra. He is a passionate composer and orchestrator who has not only won awards in festivals in Europe, but also has appeared with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Justin has just released his fifth single Astral Tumbleweed. This single is a nod to his childhood hero David Bowie who passed away during the song’s creation.

As soon as I saw the words Astral Tumbleweed by Justin Firefly float in front of eyes, I was pulled in. What a wondrously magic title for a song. Visions of giant tumbleweeds floating around in space came immediately to mind. It turns out that wasn’t a far cry from the song's intention. Written and produced by Justin and co-produced by the Congress of Animals; “an elusive consortium of studio musicians and performers. Conjuring visions of a galactic road trip, zooming through starry skies”.

This is a single of thoughtful reflection and ponderings, musings about the recklessness and greed of humanity and how moving to Mars is perhaps a slightly whimsical notion. The lyrics are clever, and Justin has an almost ethereal quality to his voice which delivered them perfectly.

Astral Tumbleweed starts out gracefully with a “new age” feel. This is an extensive single at 7 minutes. I felt like I had been on an extraordinary musical journey by the end of it. Around the 3.40 mark something remarkable happens, you are no longer tumbling fluently through space; you have changed tact and are catapulted into the stratosphere in a rocket ship with big fuel propelled engines “It’s a change of scene”. A big energetic sound brought on by incredible sounding electric guitars and cleverly placed sound sampling, which then culminates into soft folky vocals. Justin’s diversity in his range of guitar styles is evident here.

The interesting and beautiful composition of Astral Tumbleweed makes the entire seven minutes an absolute pleasure to listen to.


Review written by Corinne Rutherford
Image credit to Gina Kiel.

 

About Justin 'Firefly' Clarke

Justin has travelled the world with music and lived mostly in Berlin and Wellington. His musical interests are very varied, performing a diverse range of guitar styles, especially jazz, cross-cultural and folk musics. Justin is also a serious composer and orchestrator and enjoys writing songs. Passionate about permaculture, yoga and meditation, as well as education and mindfulness, Justin has a classical Masters in Musical Composition and a Performance Degree in Jazz Guitar.




Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Justin 'Firefly' Clarke

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