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4.7 out of 5 stars
23
4.7 out of 5 stars
As If To Nothing
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£7.48+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on 13 April 2002
Bless you, Craig Armstrong. You really are a genius. I had the pleasure today to hear most of "As If to Nothing" and many of the pieces moved me to tears they are so beautiful. This is music for the soul. In a short film about this album, Armstrong said the title is about how music is not really tangible, just audio waves that we cannot really hold on to. That may be the case, but this music is already stuck in my head and that is tangible enough for me. I had some fears about this album after seeing the track listing and guest artists. On his last solo piece, "The Space Between Us," Armstrong had Liz Frasier and Paul Buchannan doing vocal duties. It doesn't get much better than that. When I heard Evan Dando was on "As If to Nothing" singing on the first single "Wake Up In New York," I was disappointed. I was never a fan of the Lemonheads. However, Evan Dando has risen to new heights in my eyes. This a beautiful song and he sounds fantastic backed by all the atmosphere Armstrong has created. It evokes NYC and all that has happened there and should be a massive hit. "Ruthless Gravity" is an instrumental that ranks as one of Armstrong's best. It sets the tone for the entire album. Bono gives and inspired reading of the U2 classic "Stay (Faraway, So Close)." I didn't like it in the beginning, but it builds to such a beautiful and haunting finale that I was completely won over. This is my fave U2 song (and its from a Wim Wenders film--even better), so it's nice to see it getting a new lease on life. "Let It Be Love" which closes out the cd (followed by a choral ending) brings the album full cycle and has some of the best lyrics. I have been a fan of Armstrong for years, aftering hearing his work with the great Massive Attack, and of course his award winning soundtrack work. My only hope is that he brings his tour to America. This is probably going to be the best album of the year.
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on 16 April 2002
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this CD. Billed as the Golden Globe and BAFTA winner, the only music that I had knowingly heard from Craig Armstrong was the Romeo & Juliet and Moulin Rouge soundtracks. This CD however is quite different.
The first thing to strike me was the reflectiveness of the whole album; there aren't any up-beat songs. The melancholic streak runs throughout the whole CD. This is not an album to play at a party but as a late-night CD to put on in the background it's perfect.
Some of the instrumental tracks seem empty and like they don't move or go anywhere, similar to some of the 'chillout' albums that I have or to some of the work Philip Glass, however all of these tracks remain melodic even if at times they appear to be a little computer generated.
Conversely the vocal tracks are incredibly rich in sound. Admittedly I'm a U2 fan but in Stay (faraway, so close), Bono's voice soars over a huge orchestral base and at no point is eclipsed by depth of sound backing him.
This album would be a great addition to a CD collection but I think it's probably one that I would have to be in the mood to listen to, it's not something that I could put on in the background whilst I got ready to go out. Having said this it is a good CD and would be perfect to listen to whilst working.
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on 18 April 2002
After being a fan of Craig Armstrongs work for some time now, I have been waiting for the release of his new album 'As if to nothing' for a few months, and was looking out for the postman for the last few days eagerly awaiting for the disc to arrive...it was well worth the wait. It really picks up from where 'Space Between us' left off, in that, it continues its mix of moody instrumental masterpieces and powerful vocal performances. The styles mix seemlessly between Middle eastern inspired 'Amber' and 'Finding Beauty' to a Depesche mode-esc 'Inhaler'. Even Dando's vocal on 'Wake up in New York' is superb. This album should find itself on any real music fans CD tray for a long time, as it is an awe inspiring composition, with bench mark setting production qualities....buy it!!!
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on 27 September 2002
Craig Armstrong, known to many perhaps mainly as a film composer, here delivers his second solo album of original material. Musically this is a real advance on his previous Melankolic offering "The space between us", which suffered from being too closely tied to his work with Massive Attack, and featured among some admittedly brilliant individual pieces, a fair amount of stuff he probably put together in rather a hurry.
So, what is it like? Well, there are the trademark big, lush, sombre strings, some fairly cool bleeps courtesy of Rupert Parkes (Photek) and some quite nice crooning from a number of mega rock stars (eg Bono). Standout track is the fabulous "Wake up in New York", which also has a truly phenomenal acoustic guitar sound on it, complete with creaks. The vocal isn't bad either (!) Other things that stick in the mind include a truly bizarre German expressionist piece he is probably wishing didn't make the cut. Anyone who was at The Barbican show earlier this year will know what I'm talking about.
Overall the album has the gorgeous quality we have come to expect from Armstrong in recent years, having been recorded and mixed as usual by the best team on the planet (Geoff Foster at AIR studios), and will not dissapoint film music heads on that score.
It is good to see Armstrong continuing to make his own music while managing to maintain a presence in the vipers nest that is the Hollywood film music business. He is obviously onto something here: there is a real interest in this kind of intelligent music that bridges the Classical and dance music worlds, but apart from Armstrong and in a slightly darker way Max Richter, there are very few thoughtful composers working that seam.
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on 30 April 2002
Probably best known for his collaborations with Massive Attack Craig Armstrong is one of the most creative composers at present. His music cannot be placed into one specific genre, as the scope of sounds created in his music is endless, most considerably the use of thought provoking orchestral melodies, with however the use of drum beats typical to dance which makes his music accessable to everyone. If you're looking for something innovative, atmospheric, and have a keen ear for the classical then this albulm and his previous can't be recommended more. Those who know his contributions to Massive Attack will not be disappointed.
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on 23 April 2002
Picture this
July 98. Cephalonia, Greece. Lying on a sunbed.
Hmmm... another free Ministry CD, some useless tracks.... drifting over my head....
WOAH! Look at the sleeve to find out who composed this breathtakingly beautiful piece of music.
Holiday enhanced by the perfect track to dream away to!
The track was Weather Storm from Craig's first album and since then I have been awaiting further releases, be it scores like Bone Collector, but to hear his new album was coming out was just amazing.
And his new album is certainly amazing and beautiful. In summary, it contains a lot more vocal tracks than The Space Between Us and almost all the tracks contain electronic beats in some form or other (TSBU has some purely orchestral and piano pieces). This isn't to say any of them are beat heavy pieces, except perhaps Inhaler which is almost rocky. The prescence of more vocal tracks (half are vocal led) was initially a bit of a worry to me but all except Snow work wondefully. Bono in particular makes the stark and wanting Stay a masterpiece of simplicity and emotion.
Standout tracks for me are:
Stay
Amber
Wake Up In New York
Starless II
In short, go buy it now. The album cover is also atmospheric and enchanting which fits perfectly with undoubtedly one of the best albums of the last few years.
Warning though, Craig Armstrong will probabaly change your views on music and this album will become an adiction for a long while....
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on 15 April 2002
From the opening track you can tell that you are in for an interesting ride. I have always been a sucker for sweeping orchestration combined with modern songwriting, so for me this album was a godsend. His first solo album was far more instrumental, but here he collaborates more with some of the music worlds more interesting vocalists to deliver a stunning cinematic experience. Simply beautiful, you must buy it.
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on 17 April 2002
I have been unpatiently waiting for this album ever since I bought 'The Space Between us ' in 97. Then I regarded that as one of the best albums I have ever heard, this is not a disapointment - simply brilliant. Just as good as his debut, and chillingly better in its slight darkness on certain tracks. Even Dando is fantstic and is David Mcalmott. Whilst Armstrongs orchestral sounds are as beautiful as ever. He has produced an amazing album. As with all Armstrongs scores, his music on this album is perfect. He is an influencial artist of the 21st Century and I hope he tours the UK very soon.
If you like this buy the Plunkett and Mckleane soundtrack as this is also brilliant.
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on 24 November 2009
This album becomes an ambient mood floating between and uniting quite a few gorgeous songs written by Craig Armstrong for the other artists he brings along to collaborate with him. The list is long and includes U2' Bono, Steve Lindsay, Antye Greie-Fuchs, Mogwai, Evan Dando, Photek, David McAlmont and Wendy Stubbs. The final effect is spectacular making this album (for me) one of the most special electronica releases of the early years of 21st century. Craig Armstrong has released this album a few months following 9.11.2001 and I find his envelope of the vibrations of the life support machine, beginning lyrics addressed towards New York, middle eastern sounds of the Miracle and ending lyrics asking us 'let it be love' to be the outline of his...conceptual approach towards the problems facing our world. United we stand divided we fall in general. It applies to every single person as much as it does to humanity.

Ruthless Gravity starts with the sounds of a life support which...brings some ambient melody to life...before the incredible outburst of drums brings it all to an end. It acts as a wonderful texture introducing the following song, Wake Up In New York. Many were songs addressing New York which I can recall, and some of them really strong, but this particular song by Craig Armstrong I find extremely beautiful. Great vocals by Evan Dando, just one of many artists collaborating with Craig here, bringing us this great album. Miracle is the following ethnic song Nursat Fateh Ali Khan could have performed. The beauty of Craig's music is his ability to unite various styles and approaches by his underlying ambient texture so the entire album becomes a solid concept project. The Space Between Us was such a concept album and so is this one. Amber, and following it Finding Beauty are both electronica moods Craig has mastered so well. Waltz could be one of the most beautiful songs i have ever heard sang or spoken in German. What an appropriate idea for an ambient musician to use a repetitive equation which does not make any sense and turning it into a lyric and doing it in German worked great. Inhaler could be an image left in Craig's mind after the production of Massive Attack's Mezzanine. It has a bit of that feel in it. This music really needs to be listened fairly loud with good sounding equipment. Hymn 2 showcases Craig Armstrong's creativity and this song offers such a full spectrum of experience with many special effects in it. The following song Snow is probably my favorite song of this album. Another great vocal delivered this time by David McAlmont. Starless II brings upon us the mood of King Crimson's first album In The Court Of The Crimson King which everyone should have in their collection. Stay ( Faraway, So Close!) with Bono singing sounds like one of the most beautiful songs from Passengers, the U2's collaboration with Brian Eno from 1995, another highlight of this great album. Sea Song introduces vocals by Wendy Stubbs. Following it, Let It Be is another great song accompanied mostly by piano but with a typical mood building atmosphere, and introduces vocals by Steve Lindsay. Choral Ending finishes the project in an appropriate solemn way.
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on 18 May 2002
What can one say? I never follow newspaper reviews but after reading one absolutely ecstatic review I followed the masses and bought the CD.
I don't think I've ever quite heard anything like it- that's not true, elements of it I have, but not the combination on one CD. It's something like Massive Attack (not suprisingly) verses Preisner or Arvo Part's 'Miserere' (two melancholically beautiful classical CDs) with a bit of slow rock vocals thrown in for good measure. It's numbing.
The dramatic opening track is the only track that can become wearing- the trip hoppy acidic synthesisers don't mix as well on this track as I think Armstrong believed they might- but elsewhere he gets it perfect. The combination of the sweeping orchestra and gentle hidden trip hop is best exemplified on Photek's contribution track "Hymn 2" -this and the Choral Ending remind me particularly of the two aforesaid classical CDs.
Most of the tracks are instrumental, and fare much better than the vocal led tracks. Bono's contribution to "Stay" brings it slightly beyond a sickly sweet poppy vocal track, but only just. All the tracks are intensely emotional, what you'd expect from Armstrong, and the best track has to be "Starless II" a downtempo, slightly electronic song with a great sample that will have you pressing the repeat button for along time after purchase.
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