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Man Of Aran CD+DVD

4.6 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 May 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD+DVD
  • Label: Rough Trade Records
  • ASIN: B001UDPBXW
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,835 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Man Of Aran
  2. The South Sound
  3. Come Wander With Me
  4. Tiger King
  5. The Currach
  6. Boy Vertiginous
  7. Spearing The Sunfish
  8. Conneely Of The West
  9. The North Sound
  10. Woman Of Aran
  11. It Comes Back Again
  12. No Man Is An Archipelago

Disc: 2

  1. DVD

Product Description

Product Description

Disc: 1

1. Man Of Aran
2. The South Sound
3. Come Wander With Me
4. Tiger King
5. The Currach
6. Boy Vertiginous
7. Spearing The Sunfish
8. Conneely Of The West
9. The North Sound
10. Woman Of Aran
11. It Comes Back Again
12. No Man Is An Archipelago

Disc: 2

1. DVD

BBC Review

Having grazed mainstream success with the Mercury nominated, top ten album Do You Like Rock Music?, many might expect British Sea Power to capitalise with another record of rousing indie anthems. But those who have followed their awkward, obstinate career closely won't be shocked by their decision to follow it with an almost entirely instrumental new soundtrack to a 1934 cult quasi-documentary about Irish fishermen. More surprising is how beautifully it works.

The CD of Man Of Aran comes bundled with the reissued DVD documentary of the same name, and it's true that some of this music only works fully when coupled with that film's gloomily melodramatic black and white images of fishermen battling the storm-battered seas off the Isles Of Aran. But much of it is so brooding, mysterious and evocative that it stands perfectly well alone, a testament to the band's musical imagination and assurance.

The songs vary between dreamy, near-acoustic reveries and dramatic electronic epics, reflecting a film that drifts between stagey visions of a lost way of life and rawer scenes of unforgiving, awesome nature. Of the briefer songs, Man of Aran somehow combines stillness and grandeur, a piano endlessly looping while synths rumble like whales in the depths. Of the epics, the Neu!-influenced Spearing The Sunfish opens as murmur and echo, until fierce percussion and brutal guitars whip up the tension of a storm gathering, before finally collapsing into the chaos of its arrival.

The songs which work best when divorced from the film are Boy Vertiginous, with its delicately plucked guitars and descending chords, and the graceful, shimmering It Comes Back Again, which has the spooked ecstasy and echoing synths of Primal Scream's Higher Than The Sun. Less effective are Tiger King, which meanders vaguely when not propped up by the film's imagery, and the only vocal song, the cloying, folksy duet Come Wander With Me.

In a world where most indie shufflers are so desperate to cling to success that they would never risk surprising their audience, British Sea Power are to be cherished for their originality and daring. The strange and beautiful Man Of Aran demonstrates why. --Jaime Gill

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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Having watched Penny Wollcock's documentary film "From the Sea to the Land Beyond" (http://www.amazon.co.uk/From-Sea-Land-Beyond-DVD/dp/B009XD7M10/) and been totally in awe of it as a piece of visal work, I had to find out more about the music she chose to accompany this un-narrated "portrait of Britain's coastline", as it felt it fitted the images on-screen perfectly. I was pleased to find that this was "Man of Aran", by "British Sea Power" and available as an mp3 download here on Amazon.

As a set of background instrumentals this album is a great piece of work, and very enjoyable to listen to. The music rises and falls, weaving themes, tones, and instruments into an almost continuous dream-like experience.
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Format: Audio CD
The CD & DVD (included) are perfect companions for one another.
Both the film and soundtrack convey an awesome sense of power and fluidity, that is moving, and occasionally breathtaking.
A must for BSP fans and film buffs.
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In 1934, an intrepid gent cast off from the isle of Aran in a squalling storm, back towards the mainland with tens of hours of heavy-reel footage under his arm. The sea mist hampered his journey, but did not compromise the contents of his film. Stumbling across the echoing harbour, Robert Flaherty aimed his vessel ashore before beginning his slow descent back to civilisation. There, he would arrange an atmospheric score to soundtrack his bleak, documentary-style film, before such a thing existed in the annals of time.

75 years later, in a surprising, but not shocking move, the entirely bucolic and aptly named British Sea Power would release a re-envisaged score to that windswept reel. Whilst some distance from 2008's indie-rock stomper, Do You Like Rock Music?, BSPs fascination with all things anti-pop continues. To be fit for purpose, it is out with flag-waving, alt-chart acclaim and in with post-rock meditation and classical strings and horns. Their Man Of Aran is almost completely instrumental so as not to intrude too greatly on Flaherty's work, the only vocal coming on a frosty cover of Jeff Alexander's 1964 track `Come Wander With Me'.

Valid comparison comes in genre stalwarts Sigur Rós. The gentle lapping of strings and the sparse build to crescendo of `The South Sound' are Agaetis Byrjun without the shoe-gazing and incomprehensible vocal drone. Elsewhere, the swelling and ponderous menace of `Tiger King' brings Godspeed! You Black Emperor to mind.
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Format: Audio CD
Wondrous, magical and breathtaking, these are the only words that can describe this brilliant combination of music and film. British Sea Power have really cemented themselves as most unique and brilliant band of their generation in my eyes with this 'Man Of Aran' LP. The film itself nearly brought a tear to my eye with the breathtaking shots of rugged islands, beaches and island inhabitants living their simple yet hard lives. This must have been some feat to be shot in 1934 and is amazing to say the least. The music goes from beautiful melodies to post punk rock and always fits perfectly with the film. The scene where the islanders are killing the Basking Shark with Joy Division type rock was strange put perfectly put together. I can compliment this enough it is a truly wondrous achievement.
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BSP are one of those diverse bands that become difficult to pigeon hole, and it is better if you don't. Just take each album in isolation and it is like they reinvent themselves at each attempt.
My previous encounters were the popular "Do You Like Rock Music?" and "The Decline of British Sea Power", two very different albums.
I was intrigued by "Man of Aran" as I vaguely remember seeing the original film many moons ago; what BSP have done is produce a remarkable soundtrack/concept album around the film and with the accompanying DVD a visual interpretation of the original film.
I was absolutely blown away by this and although the whole project works best with the DVD there is still much to be gained from spending time just listening to the soundtrack.
Believe me though, once you witness the atmospheric DVD you really won't forget it.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I received the version of this album which includes the DVD as a present as i am a fan of Robert O'Flaherty maker of "the man of aran". I thought it very brave of the group to take this venture which is really well acheived. The music subtely accompanies this beautiful documentary and races up beautifully capturing the vigor and roar of the Atlantic in this beautiful part of the world.
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I have been to the Arun Islands about 20 years ago, so when I discovered that a film had been made in the 1930's of the place and that BSP had recorded a new Soundtrack for it I just had to find out more.

I watched the original version of Man of Arun on YouTube whilst I waited for the CD/DVD to come and it is apparant that the critisms of the film are justified. The islanders of Arun speak a rare dialect of Gaelic that to my ears sounded rather like Welsh, but they had been dubbed over in English. The rather folksy orchestral sountrack dated the film immensely, sounding at best rather twee.

BSP binned the original soundtrack and replaced it entirely with their own.

This has changed the dynamics of the film completely, its now more like a silent film, and much for the better, you are forced to watch the images to get the narrative cues. We now have a soundtrack that compliments the images far better than ever before. The two standout scenes for me are the shark fishing scene (Spearing the Fish) and the ending (No Man is an Archipelago). With Spearing the fish the strident rythmn fits exactly the tempo of the cutting and thus really brings the scene to life. No Man is An Archipelago brings out the triumph of the survival in the harsh environment of the family. To me the original soundtrack does not make any emotional connection to the images, whilst the BHP soundtrack does with great effect.

If I was to make one critism I'd say that it would have great to have had the original folksy soundtrack as one of the 5 different soundtracks on the disk, then the audience could really apreciate what BSP have created here.
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