Grant Michael Allport hails from Whyalla, South Australia. Growing up, he had a strong desire to work with pop music and perform. As he grew into his musical career, he ended up gravitating toward the New Age spectrum. Combining a moderate tempo, synthesized sound, vocal impressions, acoustic guitar and other techniques in a mosaic of sound, Allport has created some unique effects with his approach to New Age music. Fully composed in his home studio, Sweet Nature is Allport’s 2011 release.
“Blue Mist” begins the journey into Allport’s musical soundscape. Ambient sounds swirl around you and promptly spiral up and out into joyful flute and keyboard harmonies. A blue bird floating and joyfully dancing on the air is the image that comes to mind. Just as you get comfortable with the flute and keyboard, some childlike vocals enter in. You can hear some similarities to Mythos and Delirium with this piece. The use of vocal elements, flute, ambient and synthesized sound is used to create a lovely audible vision.
“Sweet Nature” begins with trickling steams, synthesized keyboards, twittering sounds and whisper like voices morphing into a singular experience. While it didn’t make me think of nature on the whole, it was a pleasant collage of audible imagery that almost felt like a fairy festival by the side of a bubbling brook. The childlike voices and repeating sounds of twinkling percussion gave the impression of other worldly beings frolicking through the trees in joyful abandon.
“Plastic Hats” is a unique piece that doesn’t really fit in with the theme of nature that you find with the majority of tracks on this album. Starting off with a light and airy approach, you are greeted with wind instruments and a whimsical percussion that shifts into what sounds like intermittent electric guitar and some hard banging on the piano keys. The rhythmic pulse of the song takes you into the surprising presence of a shrill whistle blowing and the sounds of whips cracking and someone saying “ow.” Then a whistle is blown again and someone cracks the whip to the tune of “ye haw.” I was not expecting to hear bondage sounds in the middle of a New Age nature themed album. It quite frankly had me laughing so hard; I had to play it a couple more times to make sure I was hearing it right. Whips cracking. Check. Cowboy noises. Check. Someone saying “ow.” Check. Yup. That sounds like an episode from The Taming of Sleeping Beauty or 50 Shades of Gray. I have nothing against adventurous music with a bondage theme, just not in the middle of a nice New Age album when I was REALLY not expecting it.
Overall, with possible exception of the pop up bondage on “Plastic Hats,” Sweet Nature is a pretty decent album. It fits with the mild tempo that constitutes your average New Age genre. Using synthesized keyboards, childlike laughter, light percussion, wind instruments and nature sounds, Allport does a good job of taking you into a relaxed state of mind. From the wispy imagery of “Blue Mist” to the bubbling brook of “Sweet Nature,” I will be interested to see what this artist will come up with next.
Key Tracks- Blue Mist, Sweet Nature, Plastic Hats
April 3, 2012