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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love on the lonely airwaves
This is truly something else, the title track is a piece of music theatre that is haunting beyond measure. Paddy McAloon has created a unique soundscape and a musical language of yearning emotion, it is quite unlike anything else you’ll have heard. Prefab Sprout fans will recognise the lushness and melodic sweep but the timescale has been stretched to encompass a...
Published on 10 Mar 2004 by Timothy Hooper

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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good idea that's never quite realised.
There are some stunning songs on this record, but also some painfully, cringeworthy bad ones. It is a very hit and miss.
I feel that the main fault is in the orchestration. On some it seems as if it was recorded on the cheapest and nastiest of the lower end of Casio keyboards. The rhythmn section could not be made any more sterile, especially when it and not much...
Published on 5 July 2004 by Caballero


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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love on the lonely airwaves, 10 Mar 2004
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This review is from: I Trawl The Megahertz (Audio CD)
This is truly something else, the title track is a piece of music theatre that is haunting beyond measure. Paddy McAloon has created a unique soundscape and a musical language of yearning emotion, it is quite unlike anything else you’ll have heard. Prefab Sprout fans will recognise the lushness and melodic sweep but the timescale has been stretched to encompass a 22 minute spoken drama detailing one woman's roller-coaster ride through loss, new found love, and further loss leading towards an uncertain resolution. Narrated by the mellifluous tones of Yvonne Connor, the sweeping, highly romantic backing conveys an enormous emotional weight.
The project began when McAloon – forced by illness induced insomnia – found himself drawn into the twilight world of late night phone-in shows. His writers ear began picking out stories and patterns of lost love and loneliness. Interpolating snippets of dialogue, he has woven a loosely-themed concept album around the tales of broken hearts that drift through the airwaves.
The remaining tracks form a loose suite, meditating on every aspect of loss and poverty (it's not as dour as that might sound) indeed, 'Esprit de Corps' is positively perky, a feast of thrilling pizzicato strings and sun-bright trumpet. The split bookends of 'We Were Poor…But We Were Happy' have a nostalgic pull, not dissimilar to the soundtracks for such 1960s classics like 'Cathy, Come Home'.
'I'm 49' features real quotes from phone-in shows and is simply heartbreaking without ever being prurient. McAloon brilliantly uses the shifting whistles of radio interference to create unearthly howls in the background.
Prefab fans will latch onto 'Sleeping Rough', the only track to feature Paddy singing, but it's all the more worthwhile waiting for as he intones an upbeat hymn to the benefits of withdrawing from society to 'sleep among the trees' 'away from duty's call'.
I cannot praise the beauty and profound emotional depth of this CD – a must for anyone with half a heart.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The strength of Strings, 10 Jan 2004
By 
russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Trawl The Megahertz (Audio CD)
Crickey!...Where did this come from?...Well actually it came from Amazon, what i mean is, what inspired this...something this fascinating,inspired,mellifluous and well so damm moving. "Trawling the Megahertz" is Gavin Bryars vs The Blue Nile vs Ennio Morricone or something.and it,s ended up a score draw.
Prefab Sprout were a band i could take or leave. "Steve McQueen" is a good album but they were far too fey and winsome for consistent consumption. So when i heard that Paddy McAloon was releasing a solo album i was distinctly underwhelmed. Then i read the reviews and so gentle reader to bring this tale to it,s inevitable conclusion i bought it and...it,s ravishing, the unexpected treat of the year.
First bit of good news is that woman from Prefab Sprout is,nt on it. In fact the surprise is that there are hardly any vocals on this album at all. The title track has Yvonne Connors intoning collages of radio excerpts to an orchestral backing of subtle brass, twinkling harps and chimes and gorgeous stately strings.
The rest of the album continues with out the narration but the music maintains its liquid regal finesse. "Fall fom Grace" is like a chamber piece, all choppy strings and processional while "I,m 49" embraces a more modernist approach with flourishes of electronica.On the beautiful "Sleeping Rough" Mc Aloon provides plaintative understated vocals."I,m lost, yes i am lost" he sings over a string arrangement so poignant i,m sure my C.D. player shed tears.Final track "...but we were happy" is so cinematic it could have come from the soundtrack of "Wonderland".
Maybe thats what this is..the sound track to a film that has,nt been made yet, a film that only exists in Paddy McAloons head.I,ve heard he was suffering from temporary blindness when he wrote this.Maybe he was putting music to the pictures in his head.Whatever the inspiration behind this music it,s wonderful amd whats more it,s great to type to.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars do you feel completely abandoned or lost?, 15 Jan 2010
This review is from: I Trawl The Megahertz (Audio CD)
You can't review this album and do it justice. It puts you into a place emotionally which is almost impossible to describe, in the space between melancholy and redemption.

Halfway through the second loop around the title piece, I found myself crying my eyes out, utterly bereft and broken hearted. And I don't know why. Something in the looping of the theme, in the deadpan delivery of the words of the agony of loss and regret, in the words themselves, brings back every ounce of every loss you have ever suffered, rubs you to raw, judges you.

And the music that follows, simple, looping, reflective, sometimes warm, sustains and builds the mood. I honestly don't know what will happen the third time through, I can barely conceive of putting myself through it again, but I can't leave this place, I really fear I can't.

If purgatory is to be judged endlessly by a God who feels the pain in your soul for every hurt you have caused, and sorrows for you, then this is how it feels. It is at once delightful yet unbearable.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living Up To The Legend, 23 May 2003
By 
L. N. Nixon "nlnxn" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Trawl The Megahertz (Audio CD)
Prefab Sprout fans have hung on to legendary stories about Paddy's solo projects for years. At last we get an official release and it's as good as I'd imagined. This is a lush, ethereal, heartfelt expressive record. Up there with Brian Wilson in terms of invention and ambition. The orchestrations, narrations and instrumental passages all grow better with repeated listening. There are very few albums like this, Mercury Rev's Harmony Rocketts project or The Durutti Column's 'Someone Elses Party' are two that come to mind, concept pieces the genuinely move the listener.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow....how unexpected, 23 Jun 2003
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This review is from: I Trawl The Megahertz (Audio CD)
Profoundly beautiful album. Ambitious, gentle, dark and beautiful. Like Craig Armstrong, Blue Nile, bits of Stephen Duffy, and lovely jazz influenced things going on too. The poetry inspired by the shortwave radio transmissions works wonderfully well. Hadn't bought a Paddy McAloon related record for over a decade.....but this justified the return :-))))
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different view, 3 Dec 2008
By 
Bruce Percy - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Trawl The Megahertz (Audio CD)
If you like Prefab's music, there is no guarantee you will like this. Many of the reviews here range from excellent to poor and this I feel is due to expectations being for some Prefab material on this disc.

But I think this is a great CD. In some ways I'm pleased it's totally different from what Paddy has done before, and although I miss his voice (it is only on one track, and sparcely at that), the music and the themes of the CD are compelling.

Most of the music on this CD is made up from orchestrated pieces of music with either poems read out by an american woman, or short radio samples from a time when Paddy was ill in hospital, losing his sight. He listened to the radio and found many audio snippets of people bearing their souls. Used carefully in the surrounding music - we have here something quite special.

It's a statement and although I appreciate that many Prefab fans won't like it, it is very good indeed. If you like to experiment and try something new from time to time, then this disc is for you.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern instrumental brilliance from classic songwriter, 4 Jun 2003
By 
M. A. Coyle "Mark Coyle" (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Trawl The Megahertz (Audio CD)
The artist is more known for his leadership of classic popular music band Prefab Sprout, a band writing emotional, classic songs for a largely ignoring public. On this album the artist writes an instrumental suite of quietly devastating music that continues the shimmering melodic themes of 'Andromeda Heights' but places them in a new and intriguing context.
While his eyesight was temporarily impaired he would listen to the radio, moving the dial catching fragments of conversation. The key lead piece of the album records a number of these fragements placing them into a spoken word text next to each other seeming to possess some inner and unspoken meaning. The fourth track uses actual samples in a similar way to more direct impact and only on one track does he actually sing briefly.
The music combines the structured ambience of Brian Eno (such as Music For Airports) with restrained strings, vibes and hushed trumpet reminding of The Blue Nile, Gavin Bryars 'Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet' with it's similar overlayed text, Gil Evans arrangements with Miles Davis or modern classical composer Marshall Ingram with his 'Gradual Requiem'. The album works in the fore ground for intense listening or as an ambient backdrop, each listen offering another take on the music.
This is a highly individual and fascinating album that each listener will find a personal and treasured take on. It is very different from the artist's more song based work and deserves a wide audience. With the right support could have a similar impact to albums like Tubular Bells. Like David Holmes soundtrack work could result for the artist and with use in a sympathetic media context the work could resonate through the wider public consciousness.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magificent, 13 Aug 2011
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This review is from: I Trawl The Megahertz (Audio CD)
One or two reviewers have suggested this is a CD for hardcore Prefab Sprout fans only. I completely disagree. The clue is in the name of the recording artist: Paddy McAloon. He was clearly trying to distinguish between the evolved sound of Prefab Sprout (Swoon, 1984, to Andromeda Heights, 1997, have HUGELY different sounds and surely appeal to different people) and this very personal record which cannot be categorised easily and is sublime and unique.
This, more than any of his other recordings, demonstrates Paddy's genious and innate humanity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive, 4 Nov 2009
By 
M. Oxby "victheviking" (Messingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Trawl The Megahertz (Audio CD)
This is a very addictive album. Everyone loves to be read a story and this is like a story with layers - you hear and experience something new on each listening. However, I do think you have to be in the right mood for it. I generally listen to it whilst tidying the kitchen (in the early hours of the morning) after friends have been round. Background music which actually demands your attention. It really shouldn't work, but it does!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mature record in many senses, 28 Jun 2008
By 
M. A. Fraser "baroque pop fan" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Trawl The Megahertz (Audio CD)
Having been a fan of Prefab Sprout since their debut Swoon, I've been waiting a long time for Paddy to broaden his musical palette beyond his clever and engaging pop songs, in fact, I'd given up, and then I heard about this. Alas it took a couple of decades and a spell of illness before Paddy McAloon finally came through with something that left the pop world behind. So what is it? The CD title and cover suggest something electronic and ambient, and while the latter is somewhat true the music is orchestral, sometimes with spoken voice or singing.

If anything, the mammoth title track is my least favourite (being a little repetitive, but the melodies and songs that follow are beautiful pieces of music, and sometimes very moving.

Not recommended to everyone, but if you've ever enjoyed film scores, classical music and Prefab Sprout then do give this a try.
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I Trawl The Megahertz
I Trawl The Megahertz by Paddy McAloon (Audio CD - 2003)
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