Bethan Leadley working on seven-cycle jazz-prog symphony
She’s been quiet ever since the release of last year’s Inside Her Head, but the word from the studio is out — YouTuber Bethan Mary Leadley, aka MusicalBethan, has been steadily recording an operatic jazz-prog symphony set for release in the second quarter of 2017.
Actual music from the project is scarce, but Bethan was happy to sit down with Annotations Off! and speak candidly about the themes behind the hugely-anticipated seven-disc venture.
“I’m trying to explore some thoughts and emotions that perhaps hadn’t come across so much in my previous releases — sorrow, grace, wonder.” Bethan declared. “The narrative largely revolves around a behemoth being of near-celestial power known as Grandax who gets caught up in an intergalactic conflict involving mining costs in the region of F’Jauu. Despite the seers warning him against interference, he falls deeply in love with a sultan’s daughter and is forced to serve as part of the planetary congress to broker peace between the leaders of the different species.”
Bethan admits the prospect was initially daunting, but as she began writing found there was no way to trim down the story. “The problem is, once you begin losing some of the intricacies of the drilling tax debates, it completely affects the subtext of the later scenes between Grandax and his uncles, not to mention every single hidden theme in the Festival of Kreez.” she offered, 55 seconds into a four-minute explanation.
Rather than work with a traditional orchestra, Leadley has drafted in musicians from all over the world to collaborate on the piece, including Yo-Yo Ma, Jose Cortijo, Thundercat, and the ghost of Louis Armstrong. “I admit, at first I was a little skeptical, plus terrified of suddenly reappearing in the material world after 45 years.” Armstrong explained. “But once Bethan explained the link between the promise Grandax makes to his infant son and the passing of the legislation on carbon quarries, I was completely on board. It’s amazing how labyrinthine these galactic discourses can get. I’ve mostly been playing these panpipes I found instead of the trumpet, but there’s a nine-minute solo in Act IV that I finally perfected.”
Wow! Sounds like Beth-heads will be getting a lot more from their favourite artist next year!