In between touring and writing for Nightwish, Tuomas Holopainen hasn’t been taking things easy. Instead he’s been working on his solo album, Music inspired by The life and times of Scrooge. Your first thought would usually be of the famous literary character created by Charles Dickens, but if you’ve seen the album cover then you realise its not that simple – instead the album was inspired by the adventures of Scrooge McDuck. Tuomas was inspired to write the album as a soundtrack to the story told by the Disney comic book “The life and times of Scrooge McDuck” by Don Rosa. The book tells the story of Scrooge McDuck from his origin in 19th century Scotland through his life. I would suggest you read the story as I’m sure it would help fans see more of what insipred Tuomas Holopainen but it’s out of print and is now fetching stupidly high sums online. Hopefully Disney will see the chance and re-print it to coincide with the release of this album.
The cover of the album shows Scrooge McDuck at the top of a mountain looking into the distance and it’s been drawn by the artist who created the comic – Don Rosa.
The title of the album gives a clue that this isn’t a typical album – the words “Music inspired by” are accurate as this album is largely instrumental with some songs being purely instrumental, some having full vocals and some using choral parts as well as the music. The whole album really does feel like a soundtrack rather than a typical album. Pip Williams who worked with Tuomas on the “Imaginaerum – The score” album (the soundtrack to the movie Imaginaerum) has again worked with him on this album for the orchestrations. As with the recent Nightwish albums, Troy Donockley is also involved adding his pipes to the sound.
Brief comments on a few tracks…
The album opens with “Glasgow 1877” featuring a spoken narration at the start with Troy Donockley’s Uillean pipes giving a Celtic flavour. This gives way to some female vocals. The beutiful orchestrations will feel familiar to Nightwish fans as will the use of Troy’s pipes. The track ends with a piano section.
“Into the west” opens with some soft female vocals. There’s a section that reminds me of “Journey of the Sorceror” by The Eagles (better known to many people as the theme music for The Hitchhikers Guide to the galaxy” – it’s that same guitar sound and for a short period the tune is also reminiscent of it. Elsewhere the track features piano, a choir and an orchestra – there’s a lot going on during this track but everything works perfectly together.
“Duels and cloudscapes” is an instrumental track and starts strongly with the orchestra performing some lovely symphonic music with lots of power, but then part way through the whole feel changes, things slow down, the orchestra fades out and its percussion and horns that take over with some soft choral vocals in the background. It has quite a quirky feel and you can certainly imagine it accompanying a funny part of the story. After a while the orchestra comes back in and the song returns to it’s powerful symphonic beginning.
“The last sled” reminds me of Enya but with more of a symphonic element giving it a more powerful feel.
The penultimate track on the album is the one that was released as the first single, “A lifetime of adventure”. It’s a beautiful track and is one of the tracks with vocals all the way through. Watch the video below to hear the song for yorself.
The final track is “Go slowly now, sands of time”, and is a track that features male lead vocals, female backing vocals, Uilleann pipes and a number of other instruments. It’s got quite a slow pace and has a folk music feel to it.
There is another track on the album, a bonus track which is an alternate version on “A lifetime of adventure”
This really is a fantastic album with a real movie soundtrack feel to it (all we need now is a movie to go with it). Beautiful orchestrations, lovely vocals and great tunes, all tied together with a single concept. It’s definitely not another Nightwish album, but Nightwish fans who enjoyed the Imaginaerum score are going to love this album as it’s got a similar feel with it’s largely instrumental sound. Tuomas Holopainen has done it again – a superb album.
“Music inspired by The life and times of Scrooge” will be released on 11th April 2014 via Nuclear Blast records
1. Glasgow 1877
2. Into The West
3. Duel and Cloudscapes
5. Cold Heart of The Klondike
6. The Last Sled
7. Goodbye, Papa
8. To Be Rich
9. A Lifetime Of Adventure
10. Go Slowly Now, Sands of Time
11. A Lifetime Of Adventure (alternate version)