Toni Castells is creating something wonderful. You probably haven’t heard anything like it before. You probably never entertained the notion of liking anything like this before. But, rest assured, you will like it. And, if you put down your preconceptions for a moment, if you can find a way to put away your assumptions about what you think you do and do not like…you just might make yourself available to be inspired.
With a vast and tenured resume, which includes 2016’s Famous Jack, & Live From Kings Place, 2015’s Slaves Of Time, 2013’s Life From Light, and so much more, Toni’s path has—literally—always been about the music. Saturated with both the pain and bliss of spiritual exploration, and the whirling dervish of a ride that it can be to unearth one’s own consciousness, Toni has come back to music, time and time again, to express both his torments and his revelations.
His latest body of work, 2045, has been called one of five of the best classical concerts by The Guardian. A concept album of sorts, its central theme is the human animal’s pursuit of immortality through technology. Always the collaborator (see credits for 2045 just below), during the creation of this album, Toni used everything from spoken word to orchestral arrangements, operatic vocal atmosphere to electronica. The experience is an adventure—in every sense of the word.
Ruth Rogers – violin
Katherine Jenkinson – cello
Martin Cousin – piano
Olivia Duque – cor anglais
Martin Stephens – electric bass
Toni Castells – electronics, keyboards, voice
Here’s what we dug most…
A beautiful, lone, vocal sequence spans the opening minute (also sprinkled thematically throughout the remainder of the album) of the first track, Overture. Eventually joined by rolling piano, violin, and more, this opening arrangement has a primal appeal. Toni has set the table for everyone.
Our Favorite Track:
Slaves Of Time blends an operatic production with a down-tempo, electronica-style beat. As the song’s title implies, the subject matter is dense. We don’t get challenged by music like this very often. We don’t get challenged by anything like this very often…
“I’ll tell you a secret, something they don’t teach you in your temple:
The gods envy us. They envy us because we are mortal,
Because any moment may be our last.
Everything is more beautiful because we are doomed.
But I thought that our love was eternal, that we were no slaves of time.
I’ll tell you a secret, something they don’t teach you in your temple: We are gods.”
“Sometimes I have doubts, through my mistakes I’ve lost things I loved.
Did I chose that path for me? Or you guide all my steps tenderly?”
—Pour 4 Personnes, 2045
In the intriguing composition, Saule, Castells includes spoken word from Ray Kurzweil (The Singularity is Near, 2005). An industrial rhythm, strings, and a choir’s harmony all ask—and hope to answer—the questions: What are we? Why are we here? The whole thing is close to perfect.
Born Kings is another showing of electro-operatic wonder…
“I dream of you in colors that don’t exist.
In them you take my hand, rescuing me from the abyss.”
A few naked piano chords set amidst a cold, winter wind in, Diva, serve as an epilogue to Born Kings and a prelude to Capsule 99—a track that reminded me immediately of 90’s pop-new-agers, Enigma.
Love Overcomes All Things sees the words of one Dr. Cosmo Lang ring true as we find ourselves nearing the end of this wonderful, sonic journey…
“And I say to you, there is only one way in which the world can be saved from itself
And that is by the realization that love overcometh all things.”
I was emotionally moved on a number of occasions while taking in all of 2045. Toni’s vision as a musician, composer, and artist are unlike anything I’ve encountered musically. I applaud his courageous spirit for not only the music which he chooses to create and release, but also for the way he chooses to share his heart and mind with the world. But perhaps more inspiring for me, (from the perspective a fellow-musician), is Toni’s willingness to entrust so much of his creation to other artists, faithfully allowing them their voice, allowing them to affect the work, trusting that the process would turn out as it did…in breathtaking fashion.
I hope that you will take some time and listen to this album. I hope that you will open yourself up to the possibility of being affected, being changed. For, those are the reasons that the art exists in the first place. Especially art like this.
Enigma with a strong twist of opera…
BELOW, you can listen to Toni Castells’ epic album, 2045, check out our interview with him, connect with his website and social media platforms, and watch his music video. Please support Toni Castells by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music. And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!