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  • Bryon Harris

Epikus - 'Tears in Paradise'

Reviewed by Aaron Cloutier & Staff

Distant, incandescent, and spatial are the words and images that immediately came to my mind within the first few seconds after pushing play on “Tears In Paradise” from orchestral composer Epikus. It is the soundtrack to the pain of progress and the acknowledgement of signs telling you it’s time to break free and pursuit of something better.

Epikus expertly sets the mood as delicate strikes of distant piano keys set up the piece’s main theme evincing the overall theme of breaking away. It’s a griping feeling that can be felt throughout.

About a minute in, the inclusion of bowed cellos are introduced to the forefront. Providing an almost lyrical-like tenderness and tonal warm to the “colder” more distant arrangements. Soon after, string sections complete with viola and violin along with traditional orchestral percussion join the fray to kick things into gear bringing an epic tribal feel to the music. As the piece progresses, the strings shift to a higher register as choir vocals are introduced along with an increased emotional intensity

Things get heavy at the 3:39 mark as horns are introduced and the rhythms become increasingly more involved as an infectious ostinato melody repeats on top of it all. The mood at this point is brooding and incredibly emotional. Everything builds up to an epic crescendo before returning to the subdued theme that started it all. As if the music has just left orbit, symbolically moving forward with strength and conviction.

I get images of a space shuttle leaving orbit and the detachment of pieces that no longer serve any purpose as the rocket speeds into space. This feeling of detachment is personified in the returning of the quiet, subdued theme presented in the beginning of the piece. It’s as if the music is communicating some type of moving on. The transition of the crescendo into the main theme brings up feelings of shedding one’s skin, breaking free of dead weight. Saying goodbye.

If Epikus’ work isn’t being featured in movies yet, it should be and hopefully soon will be. It’s an amazing listen, and I think you will be blown away by the emotion in this piece.

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About Epikus In 2004, Aaron Woodhouse started his musical journey. Born in New Mexico, USA and raised in southern California, his first exposure to music was in the high school choir. He began to learn the basics of music composition, then enrolled in more advanced musical studies at the university level. In his junior year, he left the university to begin professional voice development, competing in several national voice competitions. While in university, he collaborated to produce his first professional music recording, an instrumental entitled "The Journey", soon followed by the new age solo piano compilation, "Soulace". In the following years, his skills in composition and voice development improved, resulting in the creation of multiple classical crossover singles and albums. These included the fourteen-track album entitled "Catharsis" (2016), an emotional and dramatic classical crossover. Soon followed by the hard-hitting ten-track album "Cataclysm" (2017), which includes the popular track "How the Mighty Have Fallen". Aaron's versatility saw the creation of the ten-track, new age piano: "Parks and Seasons: A Tribute to the National Parks" (2017) inspired by the many trips and hours spent in the National Parks as a youth. In 2018, Aaron created the music for "Voice of Thunder", a classical crossover story album where Aaron composed and sang, and where his nom de plume was finally established. The album goes hand-in-hand with a novel authored by Aaron, in the genre of fantasy for young adults, with the same title. Aaron has also arranged epic orchestral and vocal covers of songs such as "Legends Never Die" from League of Legends", "O Fortuna" by Carl Orff, and a personal favorite, "Silent Noon" by Ralph Vaughan Williams, featuring the full range of Aaron's vocal abilities. "Voice of Thunder", in addition to winning the W.A.M. Awards for Best Concept and Story Album of 2020, has seen great success on many other music platforms with the fan favorite, "Otar the Foul" reaching ten million views on YouTube and five hundred thousand streams on Spotify.

For more information on Epikus, please visit his website.

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