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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 22 January 2004
Laaaydieeees aaaand Gentlemen, I give you the first contender for album of the year 2004.
Every so often an album comes along that becomes your friend, travelling with you, keeping you company when you are alone.It acts as a pick-me-up, comforter and all round escape from the world. For me just such an album was/is Fragile States first LP "The Facts and the Dreams"It is not that often albums like these come along, and as a result we treasure them. I'm sure you have one or more you can think of that do it for you in this way.
Now it is very rare to have more than one album by the same artist that falls into the "album-as-friend"; mode (Actually all of Björk's solo albums fall into the category for me, but they do say love is blind!). So it is especially pleasing for me to say that ";Voices from the Dust Bowl"; has all of the signs that my friendship with it will be long and enjoyable. So excuse me while I am more than a little effusive
"Voices.." is EVEN BETTER that Fragile States first outing, and, by now you should be guessing that for me that says a lot about the quality of this album. My first hearing was in a somewhat noisy room, and my initial impression was "Mmm nice"; and that was all. However it is after some intense further listening via headphones that this album has totally blown me away. Not that ";Voices.." is particularly and intimate album, in fact it is much more broad sweeping and cinematic than The Facts and the Dreams.
"four-four-four" the first track is awesome, it sounds like the Dr Who theme meets Star Trek theme meets Zero 7 meets John Barry meets Deep Forest. It is an uplifting track high on emotion that amazingly at 8 minutes feels too short, and leaves you wanting more. I love it.
Much as all previous releases by Fragile State the beautiful jazz tinged compositions and real musicianship shine through. "New Bassa" is another intense broad sweeping track that can lift you up and gently drop you into to somewhere rather special. The breakdown is a particular tingler, making the hairs on my arms stand up. "600 bliss" has the trademark Fragile State twinkley Rhodes riffing over some deep string washes allowing the "bliss" to come center stage.
"At last" has breathy flute samples and driving beats that conjures up someone freefalling or maybe swimming underwater, unfettered by heavy gravity and bulky breathing equipment. Prepare to hear this one over scenes from countless holiday TV programmes. "Overcurrent" explores and revisits "Undercurrent" from the Facts and the Dreams album, reminding me how good that record was."Train time" is a dream-like and ethereal choral infused number, with the choir sounding like Cocteau Twin Liz Fraser - beautiful but what are they saying? When its this good who cares?
Closer "Paper tiger" starts off easy enough, but then gets Fragile State in a bugged out yet delicately executed cavort, with buzzy electric guitar, rolling bassline, crashing cymbals, yet finishing in a nicely spaced out ambient ooze.
"Voices from the Dust Bowl" is an album to turn to again and again.It has all the classic chill out ingredients, but with extra sparkle, warmth and depth which should see it become a mini classic and hopefully get the band into the same status as Zero 7, Lemon Jelly and Bent. I won't accept anything less.
Contrary to popular belief, having "Voices.." in your head is a beautiful experience.
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on 30 October 2005
Kick off your shoes, lie back, relax and let Fragile State take you away to all those places you would love to go with the person you love more than anything in the world!
I really like both of their albums but this is my favourite. It is full of interweaving melodies and sounds, I challenge anyone to listen to their music and not be drawn in. I have not idea why they are not more widely known about.
I wait with anticipation for their next album.
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on 16 April 2004
This is an album that just continues to grow on me - I'm sure it gets better after every listen. I purchased the cd purely on the strength of the first album (The Facts and the Dreams), and after the first play I was pleased with my purchase but didn't think the album had the same depth and variety as their fist effort. However, the more I've listened, the more I've heard - each track grows on you in different ways which cements my belief that Fragile State are the current masters of managing subtlety.
There's no need to reveiw each track individually because they're all so good - not one duff tune!
Every now and again you come across an album with the ability to stir emotions and Voices From the Dust Bowl certainly manages to do this for me.
This is for anyone who appreciates soft, multi-layered music so as long as your into chilled tunes you will not regret this purchase - sublime.....
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on 12 February 2010
I bought this album on the strength of Fragile State's first album: The Facts and The Dreams. I knew it would take something really special to beat that album, and Fragile State certainly delivered there.

It's all lovely cinematic epic-ness: Beautiful string arrangements, subtle electronica, amazing production. Beats anything Zero7 ever did hands-down.

I have listened to this disc so much, that if there was such a thing as CD laser rot, my copy of this would be worn right through by now.

Highlights for me include New Bassa and Paper Tiger... Although it's difficult to choose any tracks.

It's just such a terrible shame Fragile State are no longer producing together...
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on 15 July 2004
I was lucky enough to discover this album on a flight back from Thailand. BA had suprisingly enough put it on one of their channels with Air's latest effort. This is a perfect album for those intense chillout moments and sent me into a trance-like state for the flight home (I ended up listening to it about 6 times) which was exactly what I wanted (being an awful flier at the best of times).
I bought it the minute I got home and wasn't disappointed.
A real find and hugely recommended.
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on 28 November 2015
one of the most beautiful albums I have heard.understated chill of the highest irrepressible combo of beats,strings and melody
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on 10 February 2004
Fragile State are Neil Cowley (from Zero 7) and Producer Ben Mynott, who is also a UK-based journalist.
I heard a few tracks on BBC London and again, they blew me away. Anyone who hasn't already picked up the duo's first album, "The Facts and the Dreams", should do so straight away - because it's a CLASSIC album in every sense of the word. If only all music moved you like this!
The new album pushes the boundaries further - yes folks - it's ANOTHER CLASSIC ALBUM. Beautiful beautiful beautiful music. Period.
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on 4 February 2010
After realizing, with downtempo precision Facts and Dreams in 2002, Fragile State returned in 2004 with this cd which, in spite of moving melodically wise, don't make the impression of his predecessor.

Predictable sounds and insistent lines drift away from the nearly intellectual sound of their past work...

However, Paper Smile, New Bassa and Stole Generation are songs that profit from Fragile State's crafty harmonious touch, but in general this is an album that embrace is own indolence, pleasant to ear but rarely distinguishable.

************--------(12 stars in 20)
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on 9 January 2016
Very good
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on 24 May 2004
I enjoy my chilled music just as much as the next man and have even helped to coin the phraise 'chilled ibiza' which has slipped into our modern lexicon. I bought voices from the dustbowl on the strenght of the glowing reviews featured on this page. However when I got it home my eager anticipation changed quickly to dissappointment. I found the album very bland and boring with easily forgettable tracks that all sound alike. If you are looking for a far superior album to recline to I'd recommend checking out TM juke's maps from the wilderness or Chungking's we travel fast.
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