It is indeed obvious that Mike is trying to reproduce his true masterpieces. Just listen to "Crystal Clear" and compare it to the genuine "Tubular Bells" to be convinced. Still, three stars for this good work. Based in an Arthur C. Clarke novel, this album really makes you dream, travel through the stars and imagine this weird and diverse history.
The production is just incredible, you will need a lot of listenings to apreciate the amount of details this album hides. The album is low paced, except some epic fragments wich will make you goose bumps The dominat key are the keyboard and electronic elemnts, except the omnipresent Oldfield's guitars. The typical 90's new age is mixed with some original Oldfield's element and etnic influences, making a really stimulant and fresh mixture.
Just marvellous! Best songs: Let There be Light good guitars , Magellan great ullean pipes! Conclusion: great Oldfield's album, and one of the best new age works I've heard And of course, this album shows another Oldfield's face, and his incredible ability to work with synthethisers, keyboards and all kind of sound effects. Really recommended.
However, the programmed drums that runs through much of this album gets boring after a while I just don't like this type of drums!
Is this New-Age music? Well, not really but you could probably call it New-Age-with-electric-guitars. Favourite moments are the bag pipes in Magellan and the guitar work in Ascension. This is a good album, and one of Oldfield's better ones, but hardly a masterpiece of progressive rock. Maybe a masterpiece of New-Age-with-electric-guitars, though, if that was a genre. The music shows the same cloying sweetness, the same numbing over-reliance on blissful synthetic strings and bland electronic rhythms, the same soporific arrangements designed as if to facilitate a beginner's class in yoga stress management , and the same trite thematic embrace of pseudo-scientific cosmology.
The album was inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's novel of the same name, but despite a glowing endorsement by the author himself it's a long way from what anyone would call hardcore science fiction, not with softball New Age track titles such as "Lament For Atlantis", "Prayer For the Earth", and "Oceania" the latter complete with meditative surf-and seagull sound effects.
Clarke's original book had an intergalactic narrative set in the distant future, but Oldfield's interpretation can be heard as a soundtrack to the embryonic formation of the Earth, musically tracing the untold early ages of our planet from creation to civilization. It's an ambitious concept to be sure, but hardly an original one: keyboardist JAN HAMMER followed the exact same thematic path, in less time and with more effective results, on his debut solo album "The First Seven Days", released twenty years earlier.
Oldfield's album even begins with a similar reference to the biblical creation, borrowing from NASA the famous Christmas Eve broadcast of Apollo 8 in lunar orbit, a reading from the book of Genesis. And it ends with an African tribal chant, meant to presumably represent the ultimate arrive of hominids in Olduvai Gorge. This last track is titled "A New Beginning", but its placement at the climax of the album suggests that the advent of humankind was the glorious apex of a 5-billion year evolutionary process: a particularly vile ethnocentric conceit in perfect harmony with shallow New Age thinking.
Heck, the dinosaurs were around for tens of millions of years longer than we can ever hope to be, and if not for a stray comet striking the Yucatan Peninsula they might still be the dominant species on Earth. Oldfield's music likewise offers nothing new, being too often reminiscent if not downright derivative of something VANGELIS might have written a full decade beforehand: listen to "Lament For Atlantis", or the song "Magellan", for proof.
The music itself is often pretty, and sometimes effectively grandiose, but most of it is completely smothered under a too-lush and generic production job, for the most part erasing every trace of the human hands actually playing each instrument.
Mike Oldfield is clearly a gifted musician and composer he typically plays the majority of instruments himself on all his albums , but you might never know it from music this sterile. If there was ever an album that could really be called 'new age' from Mike Oldfield, then it's probably this one - and in that regard it has its merits, for sure, but as a prog album stacked up against his classic work, this one's got nothing on the crowd.
It's a song cycle of sorts, harking back to the days when he would write one song per album, but of course, being in the days of cd, each song section is split up from the rest and given its own title.
Make no mistake though, this may be one hour long suite, but it's boring This is the kind of album that you put on to make yourself fall asleep at night, and while it does have some of the most beautiful melodies and soundscapes around the repetition of them and the pointless meandering of the songs makes you want to reach for the skip button, only to realize that the next song is exactly the same. This is not like the Oldfield of old. Back in the days of Ommadawn the guy was actually able to hold an audience's attention with a minute long song, and even Amarok was able to do the same with a minute suite.
This one is more atmospheric and, well, new age than those ones. Kind of like elevator music for a science museum, or the kind of thing you get stoned to and wonder about the answer of life, the universe and everything.
It's background music, not the kind of thing that will grab you by the throat and demand that you listen to it. Still, with all the bashing, there are some classic moments on the album.
In the sections where Oldfield actually shows his talented chops there are some of the most hauntingly beautiful moments that he's ever recorded. The There Be Light is an amazing start to the album as Oldfield uses the soundscapes to his advantage and from the blue beyond plays some of the most gorgeous and tear jerking riffs imaginable.
It's difficult to actually describe the beauty of this song. Tubular World also catches attention nearing the end of the disc, it's almost electronic in a sense, but manages to reprieve the Tubular Bells theme once more over the mystical soundscapes.
In the end, this is the disc you want to buy if you want to zone out for just over and hour. It's not demanding minus two tracks and it's highly repetitive. Definitely not Oldfield's best by any stretch of the imagination, but still an interesting experiment in terms of the construction of sound. Ultimately it's only recommended to the fans, as others would probably rather use it as a coaster. Here we have the perfect soundtrack for a film about drifting through space on a ship.
Or perhaps for shots taken by the Hubble telescope. Or perhaps just relaxing in your home with some background music. Clarke, whose work has inspired Mike greatly. It also marks perhaps his closest successful embrace of new age music to date. With a flowing suite of songs that sound exactly like the album cover makes you think it will--either cover, there are two different ones--tSoDE is a soft and serene journey to the great blue expanse of space.
Titles like "In the beginning," "Supernova," "First Landing," and "Ascension" all give you the correct idea of where you are heading. Gentle keyboard and effects-laden guitar textures aplenty wash over you and float you away, to the low key programmed beats in the background. The melodies are dreamy and spacelike, with Mike's expressive guitar playing as good as it always is, if significantly toned down in aggression content.
Mostly his playing is just pleasant and calming and "ice-blue" if one wants to describe sound with color.
Various vocals provide similarly calming, meditative chants and wordless heavenly choirs along with sampled extracts from Apollo 8 and self-hypnosis tape. Children's voices and adult spoken words can be heard from time to time, as if they are calling one from afar. The whole experience is one that is fairly unique.
I love some of the simple piano leads that drop here and there, which to me represents simple humanity in the sea of stars and space themes. From a "prog-rock" standpoint the album could be pretty disappointing to old time Mike fans, as mentioned this is a much different album than those from the 70s.
It does not quite reach the emotional and interesting heights of the superb TB3 which came a few years later, but it is good for the subset of fans who appreciate new age music. For the consistency and obvious effort Mike put into the project, for the beautiful vocals and guitar, I can give this 3 stars.
But it is not a title I turn to often and mainly only when looking for something very relaxing to play in the background. I was attracted by "new age" music somewhere in eighties for a very short time, and very soon realized that this formula is endless boring soundtrack for elevators. But to tell true, Oldfield is professional musician, so even in this field he can produce quality product. In many places this album reminds me music of "Enigma"or "Deep Forest", but Oldfield is always a step ahead of them both.
If you like "new age" music, this album is "must have" for you. If you are not fan of pop- meditation, just take any other album of more alive music. It's not completely essential, being anyway worth checking out at least, especially for your pretty and sometimes beautiful moments of "soul tranquillity" The concept is inspired to a novel by Arthur C.
Clark Space Odyssey, The City and the Stars, Rama just to mention some titles , and this omonimous novel is one of his best. So let's follow the story: Our sun is unexpectedly turning to a Nova when the generational starship Magellan is launched to another stellar system with hybernated people who should make the human race survive. Monday 5 October Tuesday 6 October Wednesday 7 October Thursday 8 October Friday 9 October Saturday 10 October Sunday 11 October Monday 12 October Tuesday 13 October Wednesday 14 October Thursday 15 October Friday 16 October Saturday 17 October Sunday 18 October Monday 19 October Tuesday 20 October Wednesday 21 October Thursday 22 October Friday 23 October Saturday 24 October Sunday 25 October Monday 26 October Tuesday 27 October Wednesday 28 October Thursday 29 October Monday 2 November Tuesday 3 November Wednesday 4 November Thursday 5 November Friday 6 November Saturday 7 November Sunday 8 November Monday 9 November Tuesday 10 November Wednesday 11 November Thursday 12 November Friday 13 November Saturday 14 November Sunday 15 November Monday 16 November Tuesday 17 November Wednesday 18 November Thursday 19 November Friday 20 November Saturday 21 November Sunday 22 November Monday 23 November Tuesday 24 November Wednesday 25 November Thursday 26 November Friday 27 November Saturday 28 November Sunday 29 November Monday 30 November Tuesday 1 December Wednesday 2 December Thursday 3 December Friday 4 December Saturday 5 December Sunday 6 December Monday 7 December Tuesday 8 December Wednesday 9 December Thursday 10 December Friday 11 December Saturday 12 December Sunday 13 December Monday 14 December Tuesday 15 December Wednesday 16 December Thursday 17 December Retrieved 4 February Sound on Sound.
Clarke Warner Music UK Ltd. November Retrieved 21 May Retrieved 8 February Retrieved 20 June British Phonographic Industry.
Retrieved 2 May Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Discography Singles Concert Tours. Book Category. Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious Universe Arthur C. Authority control MBRG : 1d8cae6ab-3daca92d Hidden categories: CS1 Spanish-language sources es EngvarB from September Use dmy dates from September Articles with short description Short description is different from Wikidata Articles with hAudio microformats Album articles lacking alt text for covers Certification Table Entry usages for Spain Pages using certification Table Entry with shipments figures Certification Table Entry usages for United Kingdom Certification Table Entry usages for unsupported region Pages using certification Table Entry without certification Pages using certification Table Entry with shipments footnote Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz release group identifiers.
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