The Flashbulb
Soundtrack to a Vacant Life


4.5
superb

Review

by Adam Downer STAFF
August 5th, 2008 | 226 replies | 30,776 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Flashbulb is giving away this album for free, meaning you really have no excuse if you haven’t heard this album yet. Soundtrack to a Vacant Life is essential for anyone who likes music.

Hello listener…downloader…pirate…pseudo-criminal…

Benn Jordan knows how to get your attention. Both musically and professionally, Jordan (aka “The Flashbulb”) has demonstrated his deft skill at snatching our deteriorating attention spans by the balls and not releasing them until everything he wants you to hear has been said. And Mr. Jordan has a lot to say. I knew this before I discovered quite how pioneering Jordan’s attitude was towards music distribution and how pissed he was at the tyranny of industry, but that’s all kind of superfluous when it comes to the music. Take three minutes out of your day to start Soundtrack to a Vacant Life, and you’ll know why. Three minutes is how long it takes for the infantile piano lick in “Prelude” to evolve into the blazing incarnation that propels “Kirlian Voyager.” A mammoth of a song, “Kirlian Voyager” is a two and a half minute tour de force that blends the aforementioned piano theme with swirling power chords and driving percussion to engulf the listener completely in the world of Soundtrack to a Vacant Life. Consider your balls grabbed. Oh, and get comfortable too, because there are twenty-nine more tracks to go, and Jordan’s not letting up.

As the title so aptly suggests, Soundtrack to a Vacant Life is an immense collection of songs meant to tackle the broad spectrum of human emotion. This means thirty-one tracks of music that include styles such as power-chord-drenched hard rock, abrasive drill-n-bass, heart-breaking piano ballads, and Spanish guitar suites (and that’s only counting the first ten tracks). This should mean cohesion hell, and yet despite the musical schizophrenia, Soundtrack to a Vacant Life never once feels disjointed or choppy; on the contrary, in Vacant Life, Jordan has crafted one of the year’s most fluid records. Transitions in musical styles and emotional auras are virtually seamless throughout Vacant Life’s seventy-minute plus duration, which is quite a feat considering how drastic those transitions can be. In the blink of an eye, poppy techno can give way to melancholy piano can give way to a furious drum solo (as is the case of the “Someone”-“That Missing Week” stretch), yet there’s no feeling of strain. It’s natural. If Soundtrack to a Vacant Life is meant as an autobiography (Jordan suffers from bi-polar disorder), then The Flashbulb deserves credit for so artfully translating his life to music. Jordan brings the listener on an emotional rollercoaster, literally orchestrating the vacant life referred to in the album’s title. Even if it’s not autobiographical, Jordan’s expertise in composing for what feels like twenty different moods is the whole reason Soundtrack to a Vacant Life is such an important release in the first place.

Now, while The Flashbulb’s songs have enough weight to carry Soundtrack to a Vacant Life through it’s intimidating length, it’s Jordan’s attention to detail that truly makes the album so monumental. Jordan leaves no rock unturned when making his album. No song is purposeless, nor is any textual decision arbitrary. Take Vacant Life’s numerous piano ballads, for example. When considered separately, each one sounds more or less the same as all the others, yet this is precisely the point. The similar emotional responses they cause give the album a center, a foundation for which Jordan can always return to. For example, after the post rock euphoria of “That Final Week” and the childlike naivety of “Returning Flight Theme,” “Floating Through Time” realigns the record, serving as a reminder of where bottom is. Similarly, “Leaving Georgia” marks the album’s turning point, the proverbial coming of age moment for the record. This kind of careful construction makes Soundtrack to a Vacant Life such a pinnacle for Jordan. He’s created a record that even after numerous listens still packs surprises, which should keep any listener coming back for more.

This brings me to my final point on Soundtrack to a Vacant Life: its relevance. In an era of apathy and listlessness, Soundtrack to a Vacant Life provides, well, the soundtrack to our vacant lives. One can superimpose oneself into any song off the album; find the track that speaks to him/her most in his/her current state. Feeling frustrated? Turn on “Vicious Circle.” Small? “Suspended in a Sunbeam.” Soundtrack to a Vacant Life has something for everyone, which is its greatest strength. Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Jordan is giving this album away for free, meaning that you really have no excuse if you haven’t heard this album yet. I mean, with songs for every mood that caters to every taste, what’s stopping you? Soundtrack to a Vacant Life is essential for anyone who likes music.



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user ratings (328)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 5th 2008



15693 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

http://indiecorner.wordpress.com/2008/02/01/idm-artist-the-flashbulb-leaks-his-new-album-on-torrent-site/
Here's Jordan's message to his fans, it's a good read if you're into that. Review was crazy difficult to write. If I get inspired to write more, I might add more. enjoy

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins [AMDISCS]

Eliminator
August 5th 2008



2067 Comments


awesome!

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 5th 2008



15693 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

idk what thats about

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
August 5th 2008



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yah album rules

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 5th 2008



15693 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

read the review, twat

jk ilu babeThis Message Edited On 08.05.08

SpinLightTwo
August 5th 2008



1011 Comments


I read that little article, and it was pretty cool to see his perspective I guess.

I'm gonna hopefully fit this album in before I head to sleep.

Doppelganger
August 5th 2008



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

my #1 for the year so far

SHOOTME
August 5th 2008



2393 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

'bout god damn time someone reviewed this, good review.

delder1989
August 5th 2008



44 Comments


This is a good album.

brandtweathers
August 6th 2008



2009 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this may be my #1 as well. just too good

Iai
Emeritus
August 6th 2008



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think this album starts amazingly and then really fizzles out. I know it's the obvious criticism but it really is way too long.

robin
Emeritus
August 6th 2008



4221 Comments


finally got this. piano/acoustic tracks are really good.

MrKite
August 6th 2008



5020 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i love the little excerpt from waking life in kirlian voyager. i wish it went in a different direction after the vocals finish instead of that like aggressive hard riffage.
floating through time is probably my favorite because i love the piano on this album

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
August 6th 2008



3752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I sort of agree with Iai, like, it's good, but its really... disparate and not a very coherent album. And long to compound it all. Sometimes a mess of styles and influences works really well, but here i'm not so sure. Some of the ideas and individual songs are done really well though.

Digging: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Days Of Abandon

duckies
August 6th 2008



143 Comments


I hope you're wrong Iai because I'm 9 songs in and it's pretty impressive =(

Iai
Emeritus
August 6th 2008



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It started to tire me out a little at about track 15 or something.

chickenfish
August 6th 2008



1008 Comments


Where do you download it for free?


Oblivioncry
August 6th 2008



601 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

from any torrentsite or just google the album name along with rapidshare, you are allowed to share it as long as the text data given in the first post is put along.

so far i like it but i only have heard like 10 tracks

Acre
August 7th 2008



847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Man, I just started listening to this, and I have no idea what to think about this...

natey
August 7th 2008



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really enjoy some of it and some of it not so much.
not to say that i disagree that it all is tied artfully together, there are just songs I want to skipThis Message Edited On 08.07.08



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