Good music features greatly in my exploration of the YA genre. There’s a lot of tripe too, but sometimes you’ve got to bear stench to find treasure. There have been numerous books, films and TV shows that have introduced me to some epic tunes. In fact, I still own most of the movie soundtracks I was into in my teens. Between Pulp Fiction, Interview with the Vampire, Austin Powers and bloody Armageddon, it’s quite an eclectic collection. I even rediscovered de Bussey just a few years back when reading Twilight.
I’ve always enjoyed classical music. It has the ability to spark my imagination and carry me away to places in my mind. I definitely prefer classical and instrumental music when reading or writing; interchanging styles depending on what I’m doing. Saying that, it seems I favour classical music which tends towards the melancholic. Not sure what it says about me? Probably that I’m a miserable old witch. Yeah, in fact that sounds perfect.
FORKS: "Music for the forests and abandoned
places in the world" - Jamie Ball
For Forks' Sake
You need only visit the Discover Forks Washington website to see how deeply ingrained Twilight has become in the town's culture. They host a variety of events, including a celebration of fictional character Bella Swan's birthday(!). It seems that it's went from a quiet town surrounded by breathtaking wilderness, to a bustling tourist attraction. Is this a good thing? I suppose that depends on your perspective.
For Jamie Ball, creator of FORKS, this transformation was seminal in his aspiration to release a "classical" style album. I asked Jamie why it was such an inspiration.
"I find the idea of the place a paradox... It has gone from being a very sleepy, empty loggers pit-stop to a town crammed all year round with die hard Twilight fans looking to force every aspect of this once quiet place through instagram filters." True enough. That's the thing about natural beauty; everyone wants a bit of it, usually at the cost of losing all that's "natural" about it.
On the other hand, images of Forks and the Olympic Peninsula depict the kind of place that would be well worth visiting. What I've seen of the town's surrounding landscape is a mossy, ethereal rain forest and towering, indomitable mountains. That definitely appeals to my adventurous side. I have to admit, if I visited I'd probably even dabble in a little Twilight tourism too. However, I do sympathise with the idea of losing something this precious to franchise. No doubt this is something that splits opinion amongst those aware of the situation and familiar with the Twilight Saga.
The dichotomy is that FORKS music appeals to both camps. Jamie agrees. "Being as it's music, and instrumental music at that, the conventional idea of 'lyrics' telling the story and setting the scene doesn't really apply. I get really particular about concepts and emotional correlation between different pieces of sound...Ultimately, for the listener, Forks can be about whatever they want it to be about. I have a few key concepts behind things, but these are never highlighted in the release."
You only need to listen to the album to hear how well it would fit into a movie score. The grand, sweeping strings of the first track immediately take you to a Forks of fantasy. In the following track, appropriately titled La Push, the Native American influence is apparent without being clichéd. In 13 mins this album perfectly encapsulates my perception of Forks. There's just no denying the links to Twilight. They're inescapable. It's simply the case that the reality seems to be moving consistently further from the ideal.
While observing the irony of the situation, Jamie doesn't deny the appeal of fantasy fiction: "I find fantasy books interesting, as the world created in your head is forever your own. However, though the Twilight books are clearly fantasy, and many of the locations do not exist in reality, the fans still flock to Forks."
Incidentally, one aspect of this very point was inspiration for the track The Lodge. Jamie informs me that it is "intentionally more 'human' sounding." For those who don't know, The Lodge is a fictional restaurant in Twilight. The track differs to the rest of the album without sounding out of place. It features a sleazy, rattling saxophone that strip-teases over a rolling drum beat. It puts me in mind of a tawdry, smoke-choked house of ill repute. Funnily enough, there's a reason for this. Jamie goes on to explain "[The Lodge] now stands as brick and mortar in the real town. I can only imagine custom has gone up but presumably at the cost of the charm, warmth and individuality of the original place it re-branded." Trading character for cash; The more money that's made only serves to cheapen that which is being sold.
Either way, the situation does nothing to cheapen the quality of this album. In some respect, the elegant, classical approach of FORKS gives something original, individual and charming back to the whole area. It is a lament for that which is lost, but also celebration of the magnificence of Forks. It is an excellent production. It has all the ingredients to please classical music lovers, fantasy fans and Twihards alike. My only issue with it is that it's too short! Nevertheless, I highly recommend it.
Getting Hold of FORKS
After hearing the previews I knew had to buy this album. I am the proud owner of the limited release, which comes with loads of goodies. There's not that many of them either, so if you're interested in buying a copy, best act fast. Visit http://forksmusic.bandcamp.com/ to have a listen and get your own. You're not getting mine!
As for what the future holds for Jamie Ball as Forks Music? It appears some new direction is on the cards. "I intend to do a lot more of this style of release in future, not necessarily musically similar but definitely in terms of deluxe packaging/limited editions. The next thing I'm working on is very different but I'm really enjoying the shape it's taking so far."
Well, if this album is anything to go by, that's something to look forward to. Still, if you fancy doing something musically similar again, Jamie, you'll get no objections here.
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You'll also find Jamie Ball as Forks Music on Twitter and Facebook. For information of forthcoming releases, Like the Jamie Ball artists page too.