Top positive review
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Exquisite New Age symphonic electronica
on 26 March 2009
On first listen, I would have probably given this disc 3 or 4 stars, but on subsequent listens, I've discovered such a lot more in the music and have found it easily worthy of the full 5 stars.
The opening track, "Bon Voyage", is one of my favourites on the album, with a sumptuous orchestral sound, reminiscent of the Hans Zimmer score to the film "Paperhouse" (particularly the scenes set in Devon towards the end of the film).
Track 2, "Siren's Whispering" features some lovely voices and harp glissandi; my only criticism of this track is that it's perhaps a bit long, and some of the other sounds and rhythms on the track are almost a bit "Bontempi-organ" ish at times, to my ears.
Track 3, "Dreams of Surf" opens with some gorgeous piano arpeggios, perhaps reminiscent of the Bach piece from the "Well Tempered Klavier" that Gounod used as the basis for his "Ave Maria"; this is joined later on in the track by a flute, giving a mood reminiscent of part of the second movement of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2. To me, this track could have done with being a bit longer; it has some lovely themes and almost seems as though it's over too soon.
Track 4, "Spanish Harbour"'s highlight is the gorgeous guitar, giving it the Spanish feel; it's more up-tempo than the previous tracks on the album, with a "chillout" type beat, whilst still being fairly laid back. There's echoes of some of Vangelis's earlier albums if you listen carefully though, e.g. there's a "screechy" sound at around 4 minutes 10 seconds in the track which could have come straight out of "Heaven and Hell", and some of the bass in the track is reminiscent of Albedo 0.39.
Track 5, "Islands of the Orient", opens with quite a trancey/chillout riff, over which Vangelis adds piano, guitar and the occasional harp glissando. This then builds up into a big climax, with a rhythm that wouldn't sound out of place on Autechre's "Incunabula" album.
There's then a lovely key change into track 6, "Fields of Coral", which has a rather Enya-esque sound to it, think the accompaniment to "Caribbean Blue", and "Lothlorien" from Enya's "Shepherd Moons" album.
Track 7, "Aquatic Dance", has a sound which reminds me of part of Magnetic Fields by Jean-Michel Jarre (the chord progression and harmony with the voices), and perhaps "Aldebaran" by Enya (especially the harp glissandi), from "The Celts" album. A flowing track with a minor key.
Track 8, "Memories of Blue", has a lovely laid back piano tune - this is quintessential Vangelis, and to me remninscent of some of the more reflective moments of his "Blade Runner" soundtrack.
The final track on the album, "Song of the Seas", features a Japanese-sounding flute, and a Hawaiian-sounding guitar, and is another fairly laid back track.
So quite an eclectic mix, with a lot more depth and interest than the vast majority of instrumental New Age albums, and definitely worthy of Vangelis's name.