Album evokes changing moods

Haney and Heltz worked on 'Transitory Symphony' during the long 2014 winter.
Haney and Heltz worked on ‘Transitory Symphony’ during the long 2014 winter.

By Matt Sutkoski
Observer Correspondent

There’s a sense of tension throughout Transitory Symphony’s new CD, recorded partly in Williston. Even the humorous songs have a bit of dark emotion.
Sometimes it’s obvious, like in “Harshness,” an instrumental track that more than defines the title of the piece. “Searching For A Melody” at first listen sounds like a mess of unworkable sounds, but is a brilliant study of a songwriter searching for just the right tune for a song.
The cathartic tension in the self-titled album is the creation and partnership of two filmmakers, Tom Haney of North Hyde Park and Jim Heltz of Williston. The CD was mostly recorded in Hyde Park, and partly in Williston.
“A lot of it was improvised,” Haney said.
The new CD was born from a film, “Alone In A Room” by Haney. He needed help with the soundtrack, and he turned to fellow filmmaker Heltz, who is also a musician.
The work on the film soundtrack went well, both Haney and Heltz said. So the pair decided to keep going, taking advantage of the long, hard Vermont winter of 2014 to write songs, develop tracks and hire musicians and singers.
Many of them are longtime friends and relatives of Heltz and Haney.
“We’ve got great people on it,” Heltz said.
The resulting debut Transitory Symphony CD, released earlier this month, explores a wide variety of tension.
“Everybody brings their own something to it,” Haney said.
“Serengeti” invokes the sense of being prey. “Let’s Be Friends” is a study in social awkwardness. “No More Sad Songs” tells of a failed effort to get over a bad breakup.
The different takes on what at first glance is the same emotion, but really isn’t, is reflected in the music. The pair experiments with a variety of genres.
Neither Haney nor Heltz know quite what to call their style of music. On their website, they ask: “Is it jazz, folk-rock, avant-garde, blues, world or fusion?” They provide a one-word answer: Yes.
That’s how the name “Transitory Symphony” came about, both musicians said. Their CD consists of a lot of ideas and emotions that play out the way they do in real life, in a sense. We all transition between moods throughout the day, sometimes through the span of an hour or less.
Transitory Symphony extends the concept of having a variety of moods into one song. The pair took a risk when they included three versions of the same song on the CD, called “Come Home,” but the mood, the tone and the aim of each version is different. Heltz lends his voice to many of the songs on the CD. Haney said Heltz was sometimes a reluctant singer.
“Jim always complains about his voice, but I said ‘No, it’s great,’” Haney said.
Transitory Symphony is available on a variety of websites, including Amazon and Spotify. Heltz said he plans to place the CD in a few retail stores in and near Williston, but as of about a week ago, hadn’t done so yet.
Haney and Heltz are already working on a follow-up CD that has a 1970s vibe to it, Haney said. He said he’s particularly drawn to one track that’s in the works called “Platform Shoes.” Maybe that’s what the next CD will be named, he said.

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