I first became aware of this album through Mike Oldfield's 'Boxed' release in the late 1970s. That album consisted of his first three albums plus the bonus LP, 'Collaborations'. One of the tracks on the bonus issue was a lengthy extract from 'Star's End'. Made the year after 'Tubular Bells', it too consists of one composition, but is nowhere near as accessible as Oldfield's music. Though rock instruments are featured, the album is predominantly performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and sounds more like a modern classical work.
It's intended as a musical representation of the process signified by the title. This isn't an album that will have you humming. The opening fragments of violin which suggest the gathering of matter towards the eventual chemical reaction are discordant. 'Star's End' is an impressionistic album. The aforementioned extract is probably the highlight of the album. During this, Oldfield plays a trademark electric guitar solo over the backdrop of a steady, portentous timpani beat and an orchestral wall of sound.
The merit of depicting a star's collapse in music will remain open to debate. Nevertheless, this is a well-crafted album, not for the casual listener, but one which rewards patience and attention.
on 31 May 2002
For me David Bedford's 'Star's end' is my most cherished album for 25 years. I always was surpised why this album never got any attention (as far as I know).
The gravitational collapse of a star; the uninmaginable quantummechanical phenomena; the time-space curvation: 'Star's end' is the only music I know which 'describes these things quite accurate' in sound.
Warning: It certainly is not easy music.
Although it is filed under 'Popular music' it looks more like modern experimental classical music (despite the guitar work of Mike Oldfield).
It makes full use of a big orchestra.
To many listeners it will sound like 'avant-garde' music but it definitely is not: 'avant-garde'-music is clinical, emotionless; 'Star's end' is full of melodies although they are not easy. It is the opposite of Vangelis 'Cosmos':
'Cosmos' has a big easy tune; the first time 'Cosmos' sounds beautiful but soon you will get bored. You won't get bored with 'Star's end'.
on 4 June 2015
I remember being a traditionalist music student in the 1970's and dismissing this work as rubbish. Well, we all grow older and wiser don't we? Having recently purchased this recording, I am now amazed at what David Bedford achieved here. David, please accept a posthumous apology for all the rotten things I said about you 40 years ago. This is truly a great piece of music and should receive far more public performances that it does. Warning though, to get the full benefit of this wonderful work requires multiply hearings. You just simply cannot take in the complexity of it all with just one.
It is a great addition to my library and one 30 years ago I wouldn't have touched with a barge pole. A masterpiece.
on 6 January 2013
Originally got this on release in the early '70s, in the wake of Mike Oldfield's popularity. the two worked together in Kevin Ayer's band, and subsequently on Mike Oldfield's projects. David Bedford seems to have developed a musical language for this which although might sound cacophonous at first, does seem to have a vocabulary that's quite in tune with the subject. Always liked this album, with something new to hear with every listen.
I suppose it could best be described as a mix of avant garde classical, the type of ambient music being played at the time by the likes of Tangerine Dream, plus Mike Oldfield's wonderful bass and guitar playing.
Problem was in the '70s being a poor student I didn't have a good record deck. Result was crackling on the quite bits, distortion on the loud bits. It's great to hear this music as intended without the unwanted additional noise from cheap record decks!