- Mon, 2012-12-17 10:08
Bonjour. Tom Rosenthal is my name. I write songs of all shapes and sizes. I've just released a little Xmas song because I thought that would be fun and I'm working on my 2nd studio album.
I've never written about other people's music before so apologies if I'm terrible at it. That said, I think it's always fun to do things you're not good at. Less pressure that way. So what's going to happen now is that I’m going to write about a song, an album and a music video of interest to me and then once that is done we can all have a nice cup of tea. Firstly though , here is a playlist of songs that I enjoy or did enjoy at some point in my life. They are all quite relaxed because I like relaxed things.
Click the play button below to launch the pop-out player and stream Tom's playlist, then scroll down to read his recommended Track, Album and Video and find out more about his music...
I was in a quiet Cafe in South London on a lazy afternoon when this song came on and instantly dominated the room. It was mildly reminiscent of that bit in Shawshank Redemption when the main bloke gets into the control room and puts on some opera that he likes and plays it to the prisoners in the yard. The song just seemed to soar above its surroundings and make everything and all around it completely still. When it had finished I asked the waitress who was singing and she told me it was Alfred Deller.
Deller was a countertenor which, put in layman's terms, means he sounded quite a lot like a lady and a man combined. It’s an unusual but mesmerising cocktail of sound. At first the song bounces around like you would imagine fairies bouncing on some gentle pastoral morning but then it subtly descends into something darker, more profound and that's how it gets you.
Most people know Cat Stevens, now Yusuf Islam, as the man who sang Father and Son once with himself and then again (some years later) with Ronan Keating with his conversion to Islam coming somewhere in between. But the brutal reality is that Cat Stevens wrote countless brilliant songs. Actually, not countless, probably about 24 of the most inventive, varied, and moving songs that you will hear. A number of these can be found on his first album - ‘Matthew and Son’- which became a firm favourite of mine when I discovered it in my mothers LP collection aged around 12/13. It went on to accompany my journeys into school and the many twists and jives of the teenage mind. I challenge you to walk along the road whilst listening to ‘I found a love’ (it's on the above playlist) and not quicken your step when the chorus comes.
The writer, artist and critic John Ruskin once said, "when love and skill come together expect a masterpiece." Well that's what happens when Chad VanGaalen goes about his business.
The trouble with most music videos is that, on the whole, they demonstrate a lack of love. Most are shot in a day or two and carry with them a general air of whimsy and narrowness. The images we see in front of us are, more often than not, merely the interpretation of the director rather than those who birthed the music. The interpreter of the music can and will never carry the same amount of consideration for the music as the music maker himself/herself and this is where the love is lost - in the gap between music and image. Chad Van Gaalen can bridge that gap because he is control of the entire process. He makes the music and then takes months painstakingly animating the music. It is love and skill all tangled up and what a fine, fine tangle. His videos/animations (like the one above) are wild, full of surprises, full of life, colour, and vigour.
Singer-songwriter Tom Rosenthal creates beautiful, beguiling folk music. Rich musical textures blossom with his delicate, poetic sentiments which typically translate the world around us into an array of odd, delightful musings. His 2011 album Keep a Private Room Behind the Shop won the hearts of BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio 2, with Radio 2's Paul Gambaccini naming Tom "A refreshing and captivating sound sculptor."
Listen to the record and other music by Tom at www.tomrosenthal.co.uk