I got a shiny bright orange cd today. It looked pretty and it read 'the Montgolfier Brothers: Seventeen Stars', and I didn't know what to do with it.
"Try putting it in the cd player; then press play", Nick said and walked away.
"Hmm, very funny" I said and tried it. Then, I turned to my computer for better answers. As usual, it didn't walk away.
"Google, Google," I said, "who are these Montgolfier Brothers people"?
"Joseph and Etienne De Montgolfier were two french brothers", it said, "that dreamt of things that flew. It seems that they dreamt more than other people of their time because in 1873 they managed to send a duck, a sheep and a rooster on a succesful eight minute flight in a hot air balloon. Later on in the same year, they were responsible for a manned air balloon flight over Paris. It was the first ever flight of man".
I looked at my shiny cd in amazement. It didn't look nearly that old. Not to mention it said 2000 on it, and it couldn't fly.
"Google, Google" I said...
"I know what you're going to ask me!
The Montgolfier Brothers are also a band. They come from Manchester, where, according to their record label's website, Durutti Column and 'Unknown Pleasures' are always on the radio."
I don't know Durutti Column, and I am beggining to feel I should do. I don't know Unknown Pleasure either, but that's not very strange. I know what Manchester looks like from a train... It looks magical, but anywhere can look magical from a train. Just as everything can sound magical as described on a press release...
"Stop talking nonsense and listen to me! I can tell you about Durutti Column if you want, but you'll have to ask me."
I nodded no.
"Okay back to the Montgolfier Brothers then. There are two of them: Mark Tranmer and Roger Auigley. In 1997, the first one presented the seconf one with ten instrumentals... He added lyrics to six of them, and this, along with a succesful combination bet, is how the album you are holding was born."
Oh, so they dreamt more than other people too.
"I don't know, girl" it sighed. "I'm only a machine you know. Where did you draw that conclusion from, by the way?"
I'm not sure. I'm just a girl with an overactive imagination, you know. I just happen to find big, round, colourful things that fly dreamy, just as I do with people who name themselves after pioneers with evocative names...
Then again, it's probably the music.
It's slow, clear, quite simple and yet beautifully built, a perfect soundtrack for quiet times: spring nights when you lie in bed with the windows open, grey Sunday mornings spend in thought, the night of the party after everyone has left, afternoons spend avoiding work and stare at the sky changing colours instead. It's sad with a poetic sadness, mysterious, and very charming in that. It's been labelled 'cinematic pop' and I think I'll agree to that: cinematic for it's soundtrack quality and its evocativeness, pop because it makes me smile.
"Seventeeen Stars" might not be be big, round and colourful and you might not be able to get into it and fly, but it can make your mind feel as if it is given half a chance.