- Audio CD (1 Jan. 2007)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Original recording reissued
- Label: Rough Trade
- ASIN: B00005Q58Y
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 150,729 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
From Gardens Where We Feel Secure Original recording reissued
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Originally a big indie hit when released as Virginia Astley's debut back in 1983, From Gardens Where We Feel Secure is possessed of a purposefully English ambience that made her a direct precursor of the Orb and Ultramarine. The album's concept was simple--Astley attempted to conjure the spirit of an English spring day, from dawn to dusk, by mixing piano, flute and occasional flowing bass with a catalogue of field sounds she recorded over a couple of weekends in Oxfordshire. In this way, she used the noises around her to create a wildly varying series of moods. There's the rising, enlivening chaos of the birds' dawn chorus, the comforting peal of distant church-bells, the hilarious bleating of young lambs, the desolate creaking of an old gate, the joyful splash of oars on the river and, finally, the unnerving call of owls. All of it is given structure and added melody by Astley's prettily tinkling keyboard. At the time she was hailed as a modern-day Delius, and indeed the album is a pastoral masterpiece that hasn't dated at all. --Dominic Wills
Top Customer Reviews
"From Gardens....." is a beautiful blend of pastoral Edwardian style English classical music and Brian Eno-esque type ambient experimentation.
What sets this album apart from twee repetitive New Age improvised doodlings is the level of experimentation afforded to these beautifully arranged piano/flute compositions.
With a back drop of sound effects ( with vari-speed/direction tape effects)which fade in and out of the mix,the music gradually developes from the calm beginning of "With My Eyes Wide Open,I'm Dreaming" to the disturbing menace of "When The Field Were On Fire",before calming down again with the final "Its Too Hot To Sleep".
The album's concept is a childhood memory of a summers day in the English countryside,moving peacefully from dawn to dusk,whilst capturing the rise in temperature ( and tension ) as the day progresses.
This newly remastered version offers extra clarity ( and instrument seperation ) to the sound and comes in a beautifully designed digipack featuring new rural influenced photographs taken by Virginia herself.
This album should be in everyones collection.....buy it now.
Instruments: Piano,flute,guitar,clarinet,synth,xylophone,wordless vocals.
Bird Song,Church Bells,Lambs,Donkey,Swinging Gate,Clock,Owl,Crickets,Splashing Oars,Childrens Voices, Telephone plus others.
Yes, all these rustic sounds and much much more can be found on this beautifully-recorded album as former Ravishing Beauty Virginia Astley (that's the name of her old group, and I'm sure she's still very good looking)paints a series of wonderfully evocative aural pictures.
Ms Astley's wonderfully light piano touch and voice wash gently over the various scenes, making this a perfect album to slip on when you need to unwind and float away to your idyllic countryside retreat, or for background music of the highest quality.
It's safe to say that you will never have heard anything like this but, once bitten, forever smitten. This is a real treasure, just waiting to be discovered by the discerning masses.
Take a chance, you won't be disappointed.
Nine tracks, divided under headings of 'morning' and 'afternoon', are linked by the introduction of natural and incidental sounds marking the passage of a summer day. From the polyphony of the dawn chorus emerges a simple flute theme, countered by the piano, setting a mood of bright optimism sustained through most of the 'morning'. The birds give way to church bells meshed with the piano in a gamelan effect sustained over a distant 'choir'. Whilst the music is refreshingly free of irony the title track has more than a hint of insecurity. A gently arpeggiated piano theme is disturbed by the phasing in and out of a synthesised note, whilst the flute hints at a wistful mood. Unalloyed lightness of tone is restored in the following track, further levened by a distant second flute carrying a circus-like theme.
After a donkey declares midday there is a darker tone. The piano keeps to the metronomic squeak of a swing as it builds towards impressionistic chords, before a short loop of an exchange between a ewe and lamb usher in an uneasy time signature, next kept by a rusty iron hinge clashing with the gentle piano. The re-entrance of the synthesiser meditiates between the two, but an edgy atmosphere develops through the following track as a rotating machine fades in and out, becoming siren like, masking distant church bells. Grasshoppers, an owl and a reflective flute cohere in a Tchaikovsky-like them, gently punctuated by the flautist's soft intakes of breath.
Intended for the background, the gently persistent music insinuates itself into the foreground, rewarding repeated listening.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
First heard this on vinyl in the 1980s, a beautiful combination of instrumental and "found" sounds from the countryside. Read morePublished 21 months ago by art and garden reader
It was with a little trepidation that I followed my impulse and pressed 'order.' The vinyl is still in my attic, but hasn't been played for 25 years or more. Read morePublished on 5 Aug. 2011 by M. W. Hall
My then girlfriend played this for me in my days of Hawkwind and Black Sabbath "nothing else will do" phase, must have been when it first came out in '83. Read morePublished on 19 Aug. 2010 by Psyber
I'll hold my hand up here - when I first heard this in '83 I could understand the appeal, me still being a bit of a closet erstwhile proghead at the time, but it came across to me... Read morePublished on 3 April 2009 by Mr. I. Stephen
I do like this cd - I just miss Virginia's brilliant voice! Where is it?
I 1st got into Virginia astley through 'hope in a darkened heart' (buy that cd now! Read more
I remember that this got rave reviews when it first came out in 1983 and I had not given the album another thought until I found it on Amazon by chance. Read morePublished on 15 Jun. 2006 by Firenze
Well, I am musician, have been for over 40 years, and love well written lyrics, melody, music with soul. Read more
After Sanctus 2000 Virginia Astley did another of her disappearing act.
Amazingly this is the first time her most famous album has been given an official U K release on... Read more