10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Electric Eden review,
This review is from: Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music (Audio CD)
Rob Young's book Electric Eden is a genuine delight to read, something to savour and to revisit, a book that chronicles the convergence and melding of traditional folk-music of the British Isles with popular, classical and experimental styles over the course of the Twentieth Century and beyond, creating diverse works of art along the way that re-imagine our connectedness to the heritage of the land. This cd works as a companion to the book, focusing in upon the time-period perhaps closest to the heart of the author, the blossoming of folk and folk-rock in the 1960's and 1970's, though in the same breath I should add that he doesn't limit himself to those hazy-edged genres previously mentioned, and nor should he. As I see it, the subtitle "Unearthing Britains Visionary Music" indicates that there aren't any clearly-defined boundaries over which he shouldn't cross, so long as that "British visionary" element is present, and perhaps this collection could have been more eclectic yet without the risk of losing the plot.
Rob has done a fine job of compiling a diverse selection of artists, the first disc concentrates on acoustic music and disc two introduces electric instruments. Much of the music is pastoral in feel, some is firmly rooted in the ground whilst others levitate above the ground on psychedelic journeys. Both discs contain tracks by the big names of the day alongside more obscure artists, creating a fascinating collection with discoveries to be made around every corner. As with all compilation cds some people might be disgruntled with the omission or inclusion of certain bands or songs, but space is very finite, and to me he has clearly put a lot of thought into each track and moreover the task of refining it down to these particular pieces must have been a mammoth labour of love.
I give the cd 5 stars because it's a delight and I think it makes a fine companion-piece to the book, giving the book a sonic dimension, but I also find myself wondering if it would have been better yet had Rob included music from across the entire scope of the book rather than just one time-period. Creating such a collection on two discs would have been a really tall order, but I can imagine approaching it in one of two ways: either by dipping into the Discographic Timeline at the back of the book for a representative selection, or choosing a couple of tracks relevant to each chapter. I'm not familiar with much of the pre-60's music he talks about and would be curious to hear some to help create a deeper context for the later music. Also it would be fascinating to see him pencilling in a line from Arnold Bax through Ralph Vaughan Williams to Ewan MacColl, Martin Carthy, Pentangle, Kate Bush, Talk Talk, to the Boards Of Canada and onwards - I'm not aware of any other compilation out there that takes such a journey.
I am very happy to own a copy of this compilation, and I'm itching to explore the work of a number of artists that are featured on here whom I have previously not been acquainted with. I see that this collection has the catalogue number EDEN001, so I for one look forward very much to EDEN002.