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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Day 23 - "Carol Of The Bells" by Mannheim Steamroller - 25 Days of Christmas Angst

Okay, they aren't silver, but they are bells.
Running through the snow is not how I wanted to spend Christmas this year. 

I have to keep running though.  Left, right, left, right.  Just focus on staying upright and ahead of the Recovery Craft.

As they pursue me through the forest, the descending glissando of their plasma engines sends animals scurrying out ahead of the rumbling vehicle.

The distinctive tonal hums of scanners sweeping fills the forest as their targeting system chimes in with a repeated "no-lock" signal.  Safe for now.

I put as much speed as I can into my legs.  I have a slight advantage because their craft is large, which means it cannot go full speed in this forest. 

The ground rumbles from their propulsion engines.  Snow is shaken off of every tree within 100 feet of their craft.  If not for the trees, they would have caught me already.

I lose myself in the running for a moment.  The cool air, the beauty of the world in winter.  It is a good day to be alive.

Then they unleash their audio-neural weapon:
Hark how the bells,
Sweet silver bells,
All seem to say,
Throw care away.
The human voices throw me for a minute; the Mannians have no vocal cords.  Have they synthesized these or are they using some poor soul as a puppet.  Or are they projecting these thoughts directly into my brain.  It works; I start to slow down.
Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
Well, they are seasonally aware.  But definitely synthesized.  Their computer glitches on the word "merry." 
Ding dong, ding dong.
The last "dong" jars me out of my stupor, it is so ominous. 

Run!  My life does depend on it.  I fly by the trees, duck under branches, and jump fallen logs.  

I can see the curving dome wall of New Phoenix ahead.  A 100 yard dash across an opening and I'll be there.  

I fumble in my coat for my access fob as I sprint across the open field.  I can make it.  I'm almost there.

Only 20 yards away, I hear the bell chime of a target lock, "ding-ding-ding-ding."  The weaponized acoustic wave hits me and I drop to the ground.  

On the brink of unconsciousness, I hear the low rumble of the automated defense systems of New Phoenix coming to life; this is my last hope.
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Preview the remaining days of angst or review the previous days here:   

The above was inspired by Mannheim Steamroller's take on "The Carol of the Bells."  You can hear the version I am refering to here:  http://youtu.be/NVftSkNgJTA

I really like this song, not just this version.  Throughout the year I find myself listening to different versions depending on my mood.  There are many instrumental versions of the work originally composed by Mykola Leontovych, which was based on a traditional Ukraine folk chant. 

Mannheim Steamroller also does a version they call "Carol of the Birds" with instrumentation consisting of woodwinds and guitar; this is on the same Christmas Celebration album as "The Carol of the Bells."

I like the music, not the lyrics.  There are many instrumental only versions of this song that I like.  This is the only instrumental piece on my list; it does contain sampled human voices to "sing" one verse and a few other lines from the lyrics written by Peter J. Wilhousky.

Chip Davis uses stereo sound to create an unsettling mood by having beats from the same instrument and/or within the same musical phrase rhythmically alternate between left and right.  This uncomfortable mood is balanced by being paired with beautiful "wall of sound" moments and a driving rhythm.

I love what Davis has done with this song.  His arrangement works well and taps into both the highs and lows of the season. 

Or, with an active imagination, you can let it take you to a time when human kind is living on the fringes of an alien civilization. 

Carol Of The Bells
lyrics by Peter J. Wilhousky

Hark how the bells,
Sweet silver bells,
All seem to say,
Throw cares away

Christmas is here,
Bringing good cheer,
To young and old,
Meek and the bold,

Oh how they pound,
Raising the sound,
O'er hill and dale,
Telling their tale,

Gaily they ring
While people sing
Songs of good cheer,
Christmas is here,

Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas,
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas,
On on they send ,
On without end,
Their joyful tone to every home
Dong Ding dong ding, dong Bong


"Carol of the Bells"


25 Days Of Christmas Angst
Day Song Download/Purchase Info
23 "Carol Of The Bells" by Mannheim Steamroller Buy the full album:

Buy the song:
Read my blog post for more about this song.
Chip Davis brings a driving and slightly ominous feel to a standard Christmas carol.
22 "Christmas" by The Who (from Tommy) Buy the full album:
Buy the song:
Buy the DVD:

Buy the Blu-Ray:

Amazon Instant Streaming:
Read my blog post for more about this song.
Tommy contains a very disturbing Christmas scene with an equally disturbing song to go with it.
21 "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" by Fred Astaire (from the stop motion classic Santa Claus is Coming to Town)
Buy the DVD:

Amazon Instant Streaming:
Read my blog post for more about this song.
Who is this "Claus" and why is he coming to my town? Did TSA check him out?

Click this link to preview the remaining days of angst or review the previous days:  http://www.carneylentz.com/p/25-days-of-christmas- angst.html

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