Fantasy is a genre that has of recent years yielded a valuable cash crop for the entertainment industry, mainly in the medium of motion picture. Audiences clamor by the millions all over the world to watch captivating stories of mystical beings embarking upon journeys of magic and wonder while simultaneously meandering through the mysteries of life as we know it. Though these stories are mainly from literature, many of them have been adapted into film, as most of us knew from watching the comeuppance of the phenomena of Harry Potter, the Twilight Saga and, most recently, The Hunger Games trilogy. However, in the midst of the marketing and merchandising that said phenomena often brings, the magic and wonder of these fantastical stories is often lost in the iron-clad “real” world of materialism. Singer/songwriter Lisa Sniderman seeks to bring back that magic in her new album What Dreams Are Made Of.
Released in September, Sniderman’s storybook album possesses just about every aspect of a tale of fantasy; the protagonist Aoede (named for the first muse of song in Greek mythology) travels through the realms of light and darkness after having a bad dream (called a nyxmare) about a white witch and stolen children. While the storyline sounds unlike what most adults would consider entertaining, it possesses a rather provocative theme that everyone from psychoanalysts and philosophers to artists have regularly explored: dreams. Aoede explores the realms of the above-world as well as the underworld, with a colorful cast of characters, from goblins and fairies, to gods of dreams, to find out what her nyxmare means. In the midst of her fantastical adventure, her often emotional conflict throughout inspires the listener to consider for themselves what dreams can mean and whether or not they carry significance. It is here through music that Sniderman explores this edgy subject matter. Two songs in particular, “The Dark Side” and “Into the Deep”, though short in length, reflect this deep soul-searching path to which our dreams often lead us. The vibrant imagery our dreams yield is often interpreted as symbols that help interpret the messages of our subconscious. Sniderman’s vocals are very light and angelic and capture Aoede’s innocent and charming persona as she unravels the mystery of her nyxmare. As a someone who is often interested in dream interpretation, her (Sniderman’s) vocal performance in these two songs remind me of the exact mental process that takes place after one wakes up from a resonating nightmare; we are often revisited with only bits and pieces of what we dreamed, yet those little bits are what we remember most and tend to ponder over. If powerful enough, these images evoke deep emotions within us, but later lead us to draw our own conclusions about what we’ve seen and eventually to a sort of spiritual clarity about our lives.
Beautifully narrated with a charming theatricality, What Are Dreams Made Of becomes more than just simple children’s audio literature; it is an emotional and musical journey that Ms. Sniderman has crafted in an effort to explore the realms of the unexplained and fantastical. Her whimsical story is able to capture the minds of both children and deep thinking adults who enjoy tales of fantasy and mythology as tools for conveying emotion and metaphysical exploration. Sniderman’s songwriting adds a maturity that does not seek to age but rather to impart wisdom on young listeners in the midst of a wonderful tale. In short, this album has something for everyone; for the child that loves the fantastical adventure and the adult who loves beautiful songwriting that provokes the imagination to think beyond what is considered the “real”.
Aoede on the web:
— Simone Brown