Artist: Tuomas Holopainen
Title: Music Inspired by the Life and Times of Scrooge
Genre: Soundtrack/ Other
Release Date: 11th April 2014
Label: Nuclear Blast
Tuomas Holopainen is of course known mainly from NIGHTWISH, though he has been part of other projects/ bands. After being a long-time fan of Don Rosa’s comic book ‘The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck’ he has decided to put a soundtrack to animate these adventures as his solo enterprise. The album also contains Don Rosa’s artwork as Holopainen managed to get him on board. Some of this artwork is rare so it’s bound to please fans of Don Rosa in that aspect.
Let’s get done with criticisms first. As the album follows Scrooge’s journeys around the globe, Holopainen had chosen to include elements of World Music; problem is that the folkloric elements are not truly well absorbed and seem to be so obvious especially when it comes to the Celtic vibe that considering Holopainen’s scope of a talent it’s the biggest let down. Why go for musical crutches when it’s within you to create something amazing? Take PETER GABRIEL’s soundtrack to ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ and what he does with Middle Eastern music influences – you don’t feel you’ve heard that many times before, they’re well incorporated within the musical ideas that it just blends perfectly together and it sounds fresh. The opening song ‘Glasgow 1877’ suffers from it the most, as well as from being far too long to bash this tediously clichéd idea of Scotland.
‘Into The West’ the pounding, trotting horse effect is yet another, and painful, cliché. The inclusion of banjo and harmonica sounds like this: someone’s cooking a meal, looks at the spice rack and randomly chooses spices to put in rather than choosing what goes best for the taste; the enigmatic harmonica ending is really not enigmatic and labours on Morricone impression. On the plus side, there’s a sense of charming naiveté in going Westwards into the ‘Land of the Opportunity’ within that song. ‘Dreamtime’ demonstrates that Holopainen could have done better as that song is on a more authentic and original ground. ‘Cold Heart of Klondike’ has magnificent orchestral arrangements, sense of expectation built into it, evoking powerful surges of emotions. Here comes a criticism where I have mixed feelings: originally Holopainen wanted it to be an ambient and instrumental soundtrack, but later on he decided to bring vocals into it. Whilst the story-telling and the vocalists are truly good, at the same time it pushes the details and smothers them out and at times it adds cheesier glint.
Holopainen thinks of McDuck as a "relentless, honest and complex character" – if he had hoped to transcribe them into his music here, I think that what came into it is more the fun and adventurous spirit aspect. The three abovementioned qualities are missing though it doesn’t matter all that much, it’s enjoyable enough. It’s not as great as it could have been or maybe I expect too much out of Holopainen, I don’t know, but what is for sure, it’s not something I’ll be compelled to come back to time and time again and I’m not really charmed by it.
01. Glasgow 1877 - 6:27
02. Into The West - 5:01
03. Duel & Cloudscapes - 4:49
04. Dreamtime - 4:47
05. Cold Heart Of The Klondike - 6:52
06. The Last Sled - 5:40
07. Goodbye, Papa - 6:26
08. To Be Rich - 3:22
09. A Lifetime Of Adventure - 6:15
10. Go Slowly Now, Sands Of Time - 4:35
Tuomas Holopainen – vocals, keyboards
Troy Donockley – Uilleann pipes, Low Whistles, Bodhran
Mikko Iivanainen – Guitars, Banjo
Dermot Crehan – Violin
Teho Majamäki – Didgeridoo
Jon Burr – Harmonica
Johanna – Kurkela (“Glittering” Goldie O’Gilt)
Johanna Iivanainen (Narrator and Downy O’Drake)
Alan Reid (Scrooge McDuck)
Tony Kakko (Storyteller)
& London Philharmonic Orchestra and Metro Voices – arranged, orchestrated and directed by Pip Williams
http://www.tuomas-holopainen.com/ / https://www.facebook.com/Tuomas.L.J.Holopainen
Total: 7.5 / 10