Summer, 1986. During a family dinner, my grandfather told us how fascists captured and sent him to Germany in 1941. After four years in a concentration camp on the outskirts of Berlin, he escaped, days before the Allies stormed in. After crossing Europe, he came back home.
Obsessed by a feeling of impending doom, I grew up during the Cold War. In 1991, I took my first trip to Berlin and watched a divided city as it still was. Didn’t dare to visit the camp.
2017. I’m on the S-Bahn train to Oranienburg, this time to finally see the konzentrationslager. I think about the connection between my grandfather’s experience and the menacing fragile world that died on the 9th of November 1989.
When I finally cross the steel gate of Sachsenhausen, I realize how this story is about being a prisoner. Whether in a concentration camp, behind a wall, caught within propaganda or fearing a nuclear holocaust.
The project is very impressive both in conception and execution. I love the way you’ve chosen to tell the story, the visuals, and the juxtaposition of the two Berlin experiences. It definitely reminds me a bit of Pink Floyd—both in the scope of the concept album but also the blues-influence that runs through the music and informs the whole thing stylistically. Congratulations on creating a work that tackles an immense subject and brings a great deal of emotional depth and insight into it.
The direct and immersive narrative allows history to speak for itself without being preachy or forced. The artist gives us a unique perspective of an outsider who manages to observe a great deal of pain without being directly subjected to it. Its themes are timely and human, and effortlessly connect with a modern audience. After 1989 is an immersive and interesting experiment in storytelling that will leave listeners meditating on its heavy themes.
Minutes to Midnight’s album is magical and haunting, giving the listener a way to both experience and reconcile the horrors and joys of the past. A journey of choices and consequences, a path of emotional growth. It is at once rock opera, gothic melancholy, family legend, and historical account, all blending together to create an album unlike any other.
Skinny Kid is a tender delicate number as Simone expresses emotional and harrowing themes through a bitter, icy piano and tense progressive soundscapes. With a steady beat pounding through weaving guitars and ominous rumble on bass, the track projects images of isolation and loneliness by means of sinister chilling twinkles and tender vocals. The haunting backing vocals and lamenting pines on guitar have a chilling element as Simone portrays this harsh experience with sublime instrumentation and vivid musicianship.
Deep and viscerally touching, Skinny Kid is a dark-colored narration where lyrics and music form a full-bodied and delicate sound balance, through which Minutes to Midnight makes us perceive, with mastery and in all its entirety, the bitter harshness, despair and oppression of the album theme. One of the most beautiful discoveries of this early 2020.
Love Field is the new single from the After 1989: A Trip To Freedom concept album. Beautiful classic rock sounds with clear and expressive vocals and a video that takes us through the arrival of JFK and his wife Jackie in Dallas before he’s been shot. We see the change of people feelings from joy to sadness.
13 Days exists between two worlds. The inner and the outer. It starts in the outer world where the spoken samples and the lyrics get us in the mood and captures the tense of crisis from an external point of view. Then the song transfers us into the inner world, we are no longer an outsider but on the contrary, we are in the heart of the scene, where ”Helen stares at the window”. This change does not only happen through the lyrics. It is the chord progression, the melodies, the whole song itself, that moves between these two parallel worlds.
Track after track, Minutes to Midnight takes us to a journey that is both personal and part of the shared history that shaped our lives and the current affairs. Each song is a unique blend of beautifully crafted sounds and samples from crucial historical events, delivered with the help of incredibly talented collaborators.
What a ride! The album is definitely a trip, and a very satisfying one to boot. Listened to it three times in a row. Flows perfectly, loved the unique voice of it all – and the Pink Floyd vibes here and there (the bass in Love Field, the “Waters-esque” feeling in Sachsenhausen)! Also, The Logic just sends shivers along my spine all the times and makes my forearm hair rise when the sax kicks in. That would be enough for a five stars cum laude, methinks. Bravo!