Release Date: October 28, 2022
The definition of Melancholia is severe depression characterized especially by profound sadness and despair. This is the title of Doug Hammer's latest release. Don't let that definition give you the wrong idea about what you will hear; there is more to that.
Doug has released many recordings over the years (14), and I have enjoyed my share dating back to the 2015 release Christmas Lights. I have never heard anything like this artist's 13 tracks on Melancholia.
The title is very descriptive, and the cover depiction is interesting. Looking at the lilies bursting out, the two wilted against the backdrop of a clock indicates the message transmitted. Does this suggest that your happiness can fade like a flower without water (as a matter of reference) over time? Or are we subject to reacting to the events that surround us daily, which include our personal lives and the influx of communications from various electronic means, whether you ask for them or not? I like to think all of the above apply, but that is a personal interpretation.
Doug Hammer's thoughts and feelings regarding this subject matter relating to being melancholy come through the keys of his piano. When you look at the track titles, they also tell a story. The opener, "Darkness Falls," is more than the disappearance of light; it purposefully sets the right tone going forward. There are two other tracks concerning the night as well. "Missing You," "Empty Chair," and "Farewell" also have a significant meaning and impact on the perception of a prospective listener. And that is the way this is intended. Although life has its beautiful times and memories that we can relive in our minds, we all fall upon darkness more than once in this life.
I don't think the intent here is not to depress anyone; it is about feelings I am sure we all have felt over the last three years due to the pandemic, inflation, and an ongoing war in Ukraine. Some, I am sure, have been overwhelmed and distraught. We all feel it in different ways.
This music is simplistic yet effective in gently asking you to reflect, look inward at your soul, and be honest with how you feel. Once you take that step forward, the process begins. That process can vary, again, depending on who you are. For me, any of this kind of process is like healing. The music beckons me to listen, letting it take me away. That is as simple as it gets, for me, anyway.
Let me put this into perspective from where I sit. When you are "Winding Down," and it's "Almost Midnight," it is time to say "Farewell." My point here is that words and music, used correctly, can be so powerful and have meaning for so many people. In the case of Doug Hammer and his contemporary instrumental tracks from Melancholia, that very idea and journey are lived through each of us. This is soothing and thoughtful music to listen to at any time. That fact alone should tell you how sound this recording is.
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
October 24, 2022
01. Darkness Falls 4:08
02. The Long Night 3:17
03. Long Ago 2:29
04. Just A Memory 3:14
05. Laika 2:29
06. Monsieur Barre’s Carousel 1:58
07. Empty Chair 2:32
08. Missing You 2:53
09. Dancing Alone 3:01
10. Letting Go 4:10
11. Winding Down 2:23
12. Almost Midnight 2:56
13. Farewell 2:41