Emotive, personal and downright magnificent are just a few words that you could use to describe the latest offering from The Last Dinosaur. Wholeness is the third album from Jamie Cameron under this moniker; an incredibly immersive piece of art, and a real testament to the power of his musical creativity. With some work on this release having been started in 2012, it is by all means a long time coming, but something about that makes each note sound more refined. Every little bit counts towards something important, each element standing out in a different way with every listen.
In Cameron’s own words, Wholeness “symbolises a personal journey, after years spent in a creative wilderness undermined by fear and doubt, to rediscover and reconnect with a pureness of creativity and creative autonomy”. Though it may be born through some somber tones, there is a sure sense of hope running throughout the album.
Take the soaring orchestral open of Wholeness And The Implicate Order – piano and strings start to rise in energy before brass takes over with triumphant power. It builds a sense of someone coming out on the other side of sadness – not so much moving on, but taking it forward in to their new self with strength. Like other tracks on the album, it has the magic of music with the recordings of everyday elements, showcasing the “relentless and overwhelming order of nature” and the world around us. Almost pointing towards remaining grounded through all the mystical escapism we indulge in at times of need.
The imagery in this album is second to none, particularly in the poetic outlook on the everyday moments in life that are perhaps sometimes for granted, as depicted In The Belly Of A Whale. Spoken word takes us through literal lines interspersed with imagery; “You turn the tap and I’ll cup my hands”//We’ll eat the vegetarian chicken”. There is a strong feel of romanticising the feelings of the “mundane” – which really begs the question of what that even means. It seems to speak of enjoying the simpler moments, and holding the memories of them close to your heart.
Shower Song is calm and soothing, with whispering vocals that warm towards the chorus, creating a real sense of immersing oneself in the running water. Letting life sink in and taking a moment for some form of mental refresh before stepping out to the sounds of life. Then in Spirit of the Staircase a soft jazz electro chill spirals in to a rising crescendo, journeying onwards and upwards, to an air of peace, akin to taking a breath after reaching the top of the stairs.
Untitled Piece For Piano and Viola opens with pretty much what you would expect; piano keys and strings working at an emotive instrumental, not unlike the opening track, though this time with a little more tenderness. Still it goes on to grasp more intensity with a flurry of warm energy, as if embracing something – perhaps that newfound sense of peace? Errant Child returns once again to spoken word, softly on top of a simple piano pattern. This is somewhat more stripped back with emphasis on the break in vocals, like a frog in the throat, “I’ll be there when I can”. It is probably the most raw and open moment of the album and enters delicately in to closing track The Wheelbarrow. It is a peaceful end to the album, both in literal tone and the scene it sets.
While Cameron may play the music and elements at odds with one another, the profound truth of this album is that they seem to be as one. While the music may refer to the escape and the elements to the – at times, rude – reminder of the real world out there, there is a real sense of balance between the two as some of those elements, such as the distant dialogue, point to some level of comfort. It is a wonderful testament to Cameron’s own relationship with music, the feeling of a “heady, exciting rush of euphoria and adrenaline at the sudden realisation that right this second, you’re alive, and anything is possible”.
I don’t always go in with a mention of every track but with this album, I just could not help myself. Wholeness is really quite remarkable and at risk of sounding super cheesy, so much more than an album. It truly is a piece of art, with a deeply personal story laid out for all to hear and feel. The album is out tomorrow via Phases. Make sure you check it out!