Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A SEMINAL CLASSIC
Larry L. Looney | Austin, Texas USA | 02/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"SPK was the electronic/industrial/ambient brainchild of Graeme Revell - now known for his soundtrack music for numerous films and television programs. His sense of composition and orchestration (and I don't use that word in the traditional sense...) which are apparent in his current work have been present all along, to which this recording, originally released in 1986, will testify. This music is played/constructed/composed with creative brilliance and genius - there are many contemporary artists that owe a great debt to his pioneering work, and much of what passes for innovation in this genre doesn't hold a candle to this.Revell utilizes all sorts of sounds - keyboards, orchestral instruments, percussion, ethnic instruments from around the world, voices (including solo voices recorded specifically for this music, as well as altered recordings of choirs and altered and looped voices from primitive culture rituals), found sounds (ambience from a railway yard, clanking chains, printing factory noises, a child's swing, sheet metal) and recordings from nature (toads, crows), mixing them not at random, but with precision and skill and emotion, to form a cohesive whole that is nothing short of astonishing. The resulting music has elements of the sacred as well as the profane - it is darkness and light, possessed of a heavenly beauty and gut-wrenching power, subtle and overt. The loveliness of many passages will bring tears to the eyes - and a chill to the spine.Some of the notes from the CD insert are revelatory - a quote from Wellesz (from BYZANTINE MUSIC AND HYMNOGRAPHY) portrays Byzantium as `...the centre of civilization...' for Europe during the Dark Ages, `...and it now laid the foundation for the music of Christendom through a fusion of elements, religious and secular, eastern and western.' The image is an apt one - this recording is itself a blend of sounds from all over the world, an audio lens through which Revell shines the light of diverse cultures and belief systems, illuming the mind of the listener. There is also a verse quoted from `Byzantium' by W. B. Yeats, which expresses some of the mood of this album:`...by the moon embittered, scorn aloud
in glory of changeless metal
common bird or petal,
and all complexities of mire or blood.'The instruments (include in that definition: taped sounds) on this recording are played by Revell - the voices are by Sinan (who also appears on earlier SPK releases), Jan Thornton, and the Choir of the Russian Old Orthodox Church of the Holy Annunciation-Assumption of Sydney, Australia. There are voices that sound like they were recorded in perhaps Bali or Vietnam that have been made into loops - and Revell has done this with great care, preserving the rhythm of the lines sung so that the layers he has added contribute to that rhythm and feeling, rather than clash with it. Several of the tracks have an obvious influence of the Balinese gamelan orchestras, as well.The mood changes from track to track, from section to section of each piece - but it does so logically, never jarring the listener. It's easy to experience to this in a `trusting' way, allowing the composer/performer to lift the listener and pull him/her along on this journey. As some of the titles reflect, there is darkness to be found here - but there is also much light. This is a stunning sonic document."
Unclassifiable but great...
Kattryn The Terrible | Dallas, TX | 01/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hard industrial metallic sounds mix with slow dark percussion rhythms and overtone/undertone melodies by exotic instruments on this album to create a haunting and disturbingly melancholic picture of life. Truly experimental, these compositions are not aggressive in terms of being loud or overcharged with sounds as some of SPK's other albums, rather, the music is soft and ethereal, as are the vocal parts, whether alone or choral. At the same time, it is not at all tranquil or soothing; SPK have infused this album with a sometimes kind, sometimes dark, always quiet kind of melancholy and some songs are almost philosophical, reflective in nature. In all its originality and because of its ability to transport the listener to another world, this album is in my top 10 of all time."
Frosty Cold One | Seattle, WA USA | 09/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Perhaps one of the greatest "unknown" recordings to be brought from vinyl to CD, this one will always be in my 'Top 5' list. Taking the listener around our world and beyond, it brings home the fact that Graeme Revell did some traveling to accumulate the sounds that find their way into this work (Balinese bell tree, Tibetan drums, African flutes, Choir of the Russian Old Orthodox Church...) This recording shows the limitless potential for the Industrial genre, and it conveys [for the uninitiated] why the genre is in fact called Industrial; factory horns, sheet metal, railway yard, and "child's swing" are some of the audio sources for this recording. This CD goes well with red wine, yet is probably best experienced on your own -- so that it will bring you into another dimension without interruption. The music is complimented by perfect quotes chosen for the booklet. To all the kids who think NIN is industrial music: please buy this CD!
Trivia fact - one the tracks on this CD was put to excellent use in Dead Calm, the film that brought Nicole Kidman into the public eye."