This is the opening statement from my classmate and friend Mason Bayne when I asked him about how he got into music. It’s pleasantly fitting for his good-natured and often comedic personality. Mason is a rising senior currently studying broadcast media at university in South Carolina.
Most of Mason’s friends know of his love and dedication for music production. Mason has composed and produced the scores for many short films and even a full length cinematic documentary produced this year by North Greenville University. Mason’s goal is to one day work on film score projects, and with the steps he’s taken, I definitely think he’s on the right track. Mason and I have a common love and appreciation for epic instrumental scores. I truly believe that the music can make or break a film, but in truth, Mason knows it better.
Two months ago, Mason released his premiere album titled “Flight”. This has been a large project that has encompassed all the skills and experience Mason has collected over the years. When I asked him his process for writing music he replied, “There is no process in making music. I sit down at a guitar, piano, or some other instrument I feel like writing with, and I just play it for hours. I play until I stumble upon something that sounds cool. I record the ideas I like and then continue playing a lot of bad ones for a couple of more hours.” Mason repeats this process for days on end, discovering sounds he considers both good, and more often ones he considers bad. Yet, at the end of the process, all those good sounds when compiled together have the opportunity to be transformed into something quite beautiful. For Mason, things never seem to happen the same way twice in this. He explained to me that a lot of his composing process happens in his mind, like a second language that only he can decipher.
Thus, through this process, “Flight” was born. When reflecting on the path leading up to the release of the album Mason said, “There is nothing cooler than looking at a finished song and flinging it out into the world. I don't really make much money with music, but that’s okay because it isn't about me.” Mason turns all his talent and success with music over to the one who gave him the gift and passion for it… God. “I think that all Christians, when it comes to creating, should pursue after excellence in art. I don't see my work as excellent by any stretch, but I do my best to reflect the MOST creative being in all of existence. I feel that the people of God, this creative being, should embrace our own capacity to be creative and engineer something new and original…” It is because of God and his presence in our life that we find ourselves undeservingly able tap into that original source of creativity and passion in order proclaim his name through all our achievements. God is the ultimate giver of creativity and even more so of success.
All of this is an inspiring and beautiful thought to me. That the God of the universe who created everything out of nothing... has given any one of his creature this ability and desire to create. We live in a fallen and lost world, but it is so heartening to see a young, dedicated Christian acting in service and worship to Creator God by seeking to produce a unique and breathtaking God inspired handiwork. All the while, we are blessed with the inspiration that is Mason’s (but even more so God’s) music. I have so much admiration for Mason's dedication to his craft and to honor and point back to God with the skills and talents he has been given. It would be for each of our own benefit to pray, seek, and find where God is calling us to honor and glorify him through the talents and gifts he has given us.
Please pray for Mason as he continues to walk in faith while completing his education and producing music. You can listen to "Flight" for FREE (don’t you love that word? haha) on SoundCloud, but you can also buy a hardcopy for $10.00 from the man himself. Let’s be honest the hardcopy is totally worth getting if only to have an autographed copy to make millions off one day. Right, Mason? Haha. BUT SERIOUSLY. It seems to me that it is far too fitting that Mason's debut album is titled "Flight", because I know that this is a flight just taking off… just the beginning of the many wonderful things that God has planned for this committed and talented young man.
If you are interested, you can also read my personal review of Mason's album below.
1 Peter 4:10
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace”
MY MUSIC REVIEW of "Flight"
When I listened to the first track on the album titled "Difference II" the first word that came to mind is nostalgia. This song comes in softly, but builds up to give you this grand and hopeful feeling.
The second track, "Edge of the Cliff" may be one of my favorite. It's haunting and foreboding, but I have this thing for vocal undertones in a song. It's the shortest on the album, but I love the fact that the song builds you up to this sort of question... my complaint would be that it then somewhat leaves you hanging, but perhaps that’s part of the magic of the song. When it ends you’re left wanting more.
"Rising Sun" is almost tragically beautiful. I love the drumming beat throughout the song that seems to remind me of a prowling enemy waiting outside perfect moments of contentment.
"Forgetting Yesterday", track 4 claims you quickly. It is an insistent number that propels you into a world of duty and epic responsibility. I would definitely label this one the superhero track. This song's partner as I would call it, "Remember Tomorrow" is much more satisfied, accomplished, and complete. The strings in this piece truly do give a sense of flight and remind the listener of the freedom found in a new unblemished tomorrow.
Espionage and secrecy is found at the forefront of "Dusk", followed by the threatening darkness of "Night Sky". Needless to say, this album is blowing me away by this time. I don't know if music creates emotion or emotion creates music... but either way, when it's done right... the two walk hand in hand. "Dawn" feels like a challenge. It is the throwing down of gauntlet, daring the listener to face whatever the new day has to offer. It forces you to take on the unknown with confidence, and I am once again sad when this track is over too quickly.
When I started listening to "The Storm" I planned on lumping it in with the moodiness of "Dusk" and "Night Sky", but in the middle of the song I changed my mind. "The Storm" surprises you with a sudden, mysterious stillness that dares you to think whatever metaphorical storm was going on is gone... that the 'hypothetical' you is safe for a moment... before building back up into the pressing and unrelenting danger.
The third to last track, "Broken Wings" was featured at the end of a short film titled "Soon". You should absolutely watch it here. I can't listen to the song without seeing the wonderfully heartbreaking story told there.
Lastly, Track 11, "Rebirth" is probably the song I struggle the most to connect with. Its title, "Rebirth" obviously could symbolize a lot here, but I struggle to find where in the song the sense of rebirth is established. It builds up to this large crescendo toward the end, but then dies down again. All the same, it features some very charming piano playing I really enjoyed.
"Rebirth" transitions into a similar sounding final piece titled "Vigilance". Vigilance is the action or state of keeping careful watch. In closure, I can tell you all that I will be keeping a vigilant watch for Mason's next big album. I cannot wait to see how God is going to use his passion and talent for music to change the world!