The Upward Turn

Composed By: Rod Abernethy

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Have you ever listened to an album, believed you knew just what it was all about and then been floored to find out that you had no clue?  Such was the case when I listened to The Upward Turn, what I believed was a video game soundtrack.  Little did I know that this album was something else entirely.

                The music of The Upward Turn is created by American composer, performer and producer Rod Abernethy.  Graduating with a degree in music from the University of North Carolina, Rod Abernethy maintains a cutting-edge recording studio filled with vintage amps, guitars and mics, but, more than anything, Abernethy enjoys turning everyday objects into musical instruments.  According to Abernethy, "I love recording found objects, creating unexpected tones and rhythms from everyday items that aren’t normally considered ‘musical.’"  An award-winning composer and musician, Rod Abernethy has created musical scores for advertising and television, but is best known for his scores for video games like The Hobbit, Rage, Dead Space, Alpha Protocol and more.

                The Upward Turn sounds like a soundtrack for a video game.  It has that action adventure feel and the music advances as if it is telling a story.  The first track, A Clean Break, feels like the intro music and is followed by The Upward Turn, which seems to be a more in depth look at the story.  Things progress rapidly from there and you have the feeling of action and intrigue leading up to the dramatic piano solo found in Later That Night

                As I listened to the incredibly enjoyable and unique musical tones and sounds on this album, I began to question my belief that this was a score created for a video game, especially when I looked at the track titles.  After all, the titles of each track sounded more like those created for a movie score.  And yet, there was an electronic sound closely associated with video game scores.  So, you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that this album was not a score for a video game or movie.  Instead, according to Rod Abernethy, "Many of these tracks started as a simple idea of recording a single sound of a found object and manipulating, time stretching and pitch shifting it.  Then I layer these sounds with acoustic and virtual software instruments."

                When you listen to an album, believing that it was created for an action adventure featuring dramatic moments...when the music tells you a's hard to believe that the composer of said music never had any intention of the sort.  The Upward Turn is an enormously enjoyable musical composition that will tell each listener a different story, but in the end is a unique composition created by an incredibly innovative composer.  This is an album well-worth the listen for any music aficionado looking for something different to enjoy.


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