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Mid Air CD

90 customer reviews

Price: £9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Mid Air + Hats + High
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Product details

  • Audio CD (21 May 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Newsroom Records
  • ASIN: B007K0M1TG
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,977 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Mid Air
2. Half The World
3. Cars In The Garden
4. Newsroom
5. I Remember You
6. Buy A Motor Car
7. Wedding Party
8. Two Children
9. Summers s On Its Way
10. My True Country
11. A Movie Magazine
12. Tuesday
13. Fin De SiÃ..cle
14. After Dark

Product Description

Product Description

Mid Air is an extraordinarily intimate record, its spare piano and vocal-based arrangements unfurling at a meditative pace. Thirteen of its fourteen tracks are less than three minutes long, but rest assured all life is here. Buchanan's beautifully bruised voice remains a faithful conduit of all things emotive, and Mid Air was written from a place of humility and wee-small-hours contemplation. Says Paul: "I think if I'd tried to make a record that sounds like the band I'd be quite nervous, but this is more of a record-ette. It's quite small in stature and the songs are very brief, but don't get me wrong - it kept me awake at night." Buchanan also concedes that, in some ways, he is "continually re-writing the same song", chipping away at the themes that have absorbed him from day one. 'Far above the chimney tops / Take me where the bus don't stop" he sings here on My True Country. Naturally, such starry-eyed sentiments will chime with fans of the Blue Nile's charmed 1983 debut, A Walk Across The Rooftops. At root, these beautifully smudged miniatures represent a still more potent distillation of all that has made Buchanan's past work so special. Mid Air - his little "record-ette" as he calls it - is wonderfully big of heart.

BBC Review

The Blue Nile never sold lorry-loads of albums, but for converts to their unique fusion of romantic melancholy and robust hope they remain one of the finest, most quietly righteous bands of all time. The Glasgow trio who floated effacingly onto no scene in particular in the mid-80s have parted, and singer Paul Buchanan, now 56, releases his solo debut. It’s unconscionably beautiful, and may be the most moving, precious record of 2012.

Sparse in texture, it yields an almost overwhelming emotional kick, best received in the wee small hours. Buchanan carries the torch of Sinatra’s sensitive-masculine phrasing like no other. His wilfully imperfect vocals defy pat resolutions, hanging in the air like smoke plumes. It’s about the notes he leaves out, the spaces between, which, regarding loss, heartbreak and the yearning for beauty, say it all.

It’s mostly just voice and piano, with simple, effective melodies knowingly offering glimpses and echoes of earlier peaks. On My True Country, he sings "far above the chimney tops / take me where the bus don’t stop," channelling the essence of his former band’s A Walk Across the Rooftops. The lyrics throughout breathe fresh life into time-honoured imagery: snow, starlight, sky. "I want to live forever," he sings on the title-track, "and watch you dancing in the air."

Part eulogy (for a friend who died), part celebration of peripheral moments which inform the everyday with flecks of epiphany, the songs (titles like Half the World, Wedding Party and Summer’s on Its Way are as evocative as the work of Edward Hopper) bleed into a poised, tingling whole. Fin de Siecle is a gorgeous Nyman-esque instrumental, but this voice can sing "the cars are in the garden now" over and over and leave you marvelling at its poetic accuracy. On the closing After Dark he offers, "Life goes by and you learn / How to watch your bridges burn," and gently brooks no argument.

Louis MacNeice famously used the phrase "time was away and somewhere else" to describe the feeling of love. It equally well describes the 36 minutes of Mid Air, a masterpiece.

--Chris Roberts

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Martin Fielding on 3 Jun. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I notice that this is the first 4 star review of this album when people seem to either love or hate it. Like many other people I know, I consider The Blue Nile's "Hats" is one of the top albums of all time (though extraordinarily it is not in Rolling Stone's recent Top 500 albums - but then again there is no Kate Bush album in those 500 either!) and I approached this album thinking that it would be in the same mould. What you have here however is very sparse - on many tracks it is just voice and solo piano and it got me thinking what would "Hats" have sounded like "unplugged" and I think the answer is - very similar. This impression is reinforced by the one (gorgeous) track "Fin De Siecle" that has full orchestration and sounds very old-style Blue Nile - but then it is also the one track on which (intentionally?) ironically Buchanan does not sing! If you can accept the spartan arrangements, the quality of Buchanan's songwriting remains very high and I particularly disagree with one previous reviewer who complained of repetitive lyrics - this has always been one of his strengths as a lyric writer and only adds to the power of many of his songs. In summary if you are a Blue Nile fan please give this album time - if you are not - don't start here - buy "Hats" today!
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By D. Izod on 22 Jun. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The interesting thing about reading these reviews is that the one star and the five star reviews both make comments about this album that it is difficult to deny: it is slow and one paced, it doesn't really ever break its emotional or musical stride and a lot of the tracks do blend into one another.

But that is also its remarkable strength. I think the only real problem with this album is that it needs much, much longer silences between each track so that the listener can effectively absorb what has just been heard. And what has just been heard is always, always, gorgeous. Paul's voice is, as ever, a suberb instrument that he holds on to here, never letting go as he did on some 'Peace at Last' tracks and to a certain extent elsewhere in the Blue Nile cannon. Here he holds on to the emotion in a 'Family Life'esque kind of way which, yes, does sometimes make you want to shout at him 'Let go, Paul, just let go', but you also know him well enough to know that really he can't and that is what makes his voice so powerful and his music so very engaging.

This is an intimate parlour record best listened to on your own, with headphones, late at night with a glass of Scotch and the family asleep upstairs. You can indulge yourself and remember that despite it all, despite the quotidian tedium of getting up and going to work, despite the housework and the cooking, the cleaning and the washing, it is all worthwhile because you are in love.

This is a lovely, lovely record. It is slow, it is one paced. It doesn't break out of the perametres it sets itself. But within them, it is a thing of great beauty.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Fender32 on 9 Dec. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It breaks my heart to have to write anything negative, which is in any way associated with this stellar album, but I must ... and believe me, I LOVE the Blue Nile (and the modest genius of Paul Buchanan).

The fact is, I have ripped this CD into .MP3, .M4A, .WAV, .AIFF and Apple 'Lossless' formats and each one suffers from exactly the same issue - the sudden burst of volume on the leading edge of the piano strokes on songs like, "Half the World" and "Two Children" (as well as on other tracks, to a lesser extent), carry with them an ugly and frankly, toe-curling 'distortion' sound!?

At first, I assumed that my amplifier or cables may be at fault, but when playing the CD itself (through a CD/DVD player), this distortion was completely absent. I even went to a hi-fi shop and tried my iPod (into which the various music files had been recorded) through a DAC and higher quality cables - the distortion was still very evident.

No matter how far I 'upgraded' the sample rates, going as far as .WAV and Apple's .AIFF format, I could not get rid of this annoying sound artifact. As a last resort, I went to Amazon's Cloud Player function and downloaded the (free) .MP3 files, which anyone who buys a CD from Amazon is entitled to. To my horror, the distortion was equally bad on their own recordings/rippings :-( !!!

Right now, I'm at my wits end with this album. It is, in my opinion, without a shadow of a doubt, the most beautiful and enigmatic series of songs that I have heard since the release of the Blue Nile album, 'Hats', in 1989 - yet I can't find any way to access the intended level of sound quality, aside from putting the disc itself into my DVD player (and having the silent parts ruined by the sound of the disc spinning round)!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. 880 on 11 Jun. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Paul Buchanan has written an album for which the words brooding, heartfelt and melancholia were surely invented. Offering little more than a few piano refrains on almost all tracks to accompany the melodies largely derived from Mr. Buchanan's aching voice, it's safe to say that this is not driving music to be cranked up in the car. Or maybe it is. Many's the time I listened to the Blue Nile's High late at night on lonely motorways driving back from some engagement, lost in the patterns of words and music, as the neon lights glided by.

Mid-Air is therefore both recognisable for that quality, but also quite a long way away from the atmosphere of Blue Nile records. Sure, a song like From a Late Night Train off Hats would suit the mood of this album well enough, but I always felt that even amongst the slow, angst-ridden contemplation of certain tracks - Because of Toledo say off High - there was an optimism and way out of the gloom; a possibility of things to come. Here, regret, loss, the past, decisions made, and hearts unnaturally broken, pervade throughout. I'm not saying it's bad or anything and if you're sitting there in your comfiest chair, alone in the early hours, listening to this on a hi-fi system that can project the sound of whiskey tumblers being clinked in the studio, then it's got its atmosphere earmarked for you from the off.

And yet when the strings eventually entered on Fin de Siècle it brought me out of the trance I was starting to enter and made me think the world wasn't that bad after all. That I'd entered such a state at all would be a good sign for most, but here the delicacy of the whole affair almost made me think I was intruding on private grief. That said, only Mr.
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