Jude Gwynaire takes the name for his single, “Heliopolis – City of the Gods,” from an actual ancient Egyptian city. This city was the capital of the 13th or Heliopolite Nome of Lower Egypt. It was also an essential religious hub. This 3:28 track has no lyrics or singing, however, so the listener must use his/her imagination to interpret the track.
The song opens with an enjoyable jangling electric guitar intro, and once a stuttering drumbeat steps in, the overall feel is very psychedelic Sixties. Think the Byrds, without Roger McGuinn’s distinctive vocal stylings. Melodically, though, the recording’s guitar part also has a Middle Eastern vibe running through it. The song doesn’t apply traditional Middle Eastern instrumentation, but it does kinda sound like what an Egyptian folk-rock band might sound like.
Gwynaire was born in the UK and lives in Suffolk, and describes his music as a mixture of electronica, ambient, new age, and rock. However, this song is most decidedly a rock tune. It doesn’t thump like dance music, nor does it get all spacey, the way ambient and new age recordings can sometimes do.
In addition to being a musician, and a self-taught one at that, Gwynaire is also a writer. His first published novel was Aliens In My Garden, which is a 12+ children’s sci-fi/fantasy novel set in ‘The Garden,’ which is described as “a micro-universe of magic and wonder, hidden in an ordinary suburban garden.” Perhaps Gwynaire’s proclivity for writing about science fiction and fantasy might provide clues about what this new piece is all about. But then again, it may not.
One of the best attributes of this recording is the fact that it sounds like a song. In other words, it’s not just the noodling of a musician that is showing off his/her instrumental skills. Rather, it sounds like an honest to goodness song, albeit without any words or singing. And yet, it allows the listener to make up a unique story. Perhaps it’s intended to express the wonderment experienced when entering into an ancient city for the first time. Everything there would be new and exotic. It just might be an intoxicating experience. The track’s pace is relatively slow, which suggests walking measuredly into a new realm. Eyes would be wide open, and all senses would be open to receive the strange messages from this foreign place. Maybe that isn’t your story. And that’s okay. Gwynaire suggests, rather than tells a story with his new recording.
In our dumbed down contemporary society, we love to have stories told and explained to us. Some of us are even too lazy to actually read books – we’d rather have someone read one to us in an audio book. Jude Gwynaire is challenging listeners to become reacquainted with their imaginations. Let the music take you on a journey, while your mind fills in the details. It’s a nice break to get away from the linear and the literal for a spell. Perhaps Gwynaire writes children’s books because these young ones still know how to let their imaginations run wild. So, what are you waiting for? Let your imagination run wild!