May 22, 2015
The Amazing Work of Phil Dragash
Everyone processes information in different ways. Some people are more visual, some are more auditory. Some are "right-brained" while others are "left-brained". Personally, while I enjoy reading I also love to sit down with or fall asleep to a good audiobook. If you're wired the same way you'll have to listen to a bit of this unabridged Lord of the Rings audiobook I discovered a few months ago.
To call it an audiobook isn't giving it enough credit though. With unique character voices, sound effects and bits of Howard Shore's score to the films, the effect is fully immersive. "Audio drama" would be more fitting. You can practically close your eyes and see the history of Middle-earth unfold before your eyes. With such a professionally sounding rendition of Tolkien's masterpiece you'd expect to find a long list of credits somewhere. But no, all 62 chapters (plus some of the Appendices) were performed and produced by one fan, Phil Dragash.
It's an amazing testimony to Mr. Dragash's dedication, perseverance, and skills as a storyteller and audio producer. However, there are still a few flaws throughout the work. Most likely due to the fact that it was recorded over several years, many of the character voices seem to slowly morph over the progression of the story. His female voices are also a little weak. If I were to be really picky I would say the sound effects are a little too strong in some "action" passages. But despite these minor flaws it is an extremely impressive piece of art and one that more Middle-earth fans should be aware of and have the pleasure of listening to.
Because the audiobook is a "fan-work", Phil Dragash has made all 62 chapters available to stream or download for free. You can find links to each volume on his website at http://phildragash.com/ I will warn you though, once you listen to a little it's hard to stop!
All artwork by Phil Dragash