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Question: Favourite track :: Total Votes:41
Poll choices Votes Statistics
Peace on Earth 1  [2.44%]
Pacha Mama 10  [24.39%]
Santa Maria 0  [0.00%]
Sunlight Shining Through Cloud 3  [7.32%]
The Doge's Palace 5  [12.20%]
Lake Constance 8  [19.51%]
Mastermind 3  [7.32%]
Broad Sunlit Uplands 6  [14.63%]
Liberation 2  [4.88%]
Amber Light 3  [7.32%]
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Topic: Favourite track, I mean - no polls on this forum?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Alan D Offline




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Posted: May 11 2008, 05:58

I've touched on this earlier in the thread, and I know I've mentioned it elsewhere, too - but there are a couple of extra things I want to tag onto it.

I found that watching and listening to the Millennium live show substantially changed my view of the album, and I think there's more than one reason for that. First, this historic 'moment' was basically what the album had been composed for, and the sense of occasion seemed to inspire everyone to squeeze the most out of the music; second, not all the music from the album was played; and third, the finale, Berlin 2000, is one of Mike's most exciting pieces of work, which brings everything to a close in an exhilarating way. But - and here's the rub - Berlin 2000 is not on the Millennium Bell album (and I believe it still hasn't been released officially, has it, except as part of that live show?)

I think Korgscrew said somewhere that he felt Millennium Bell didn't strike him as a particularly well-thought-out project, and I think (as usual for Korg) that's a helpful way of looking at it. I can't help wondering if, with a bit of juggling of tracks, weeding out of a few unfortunate choices, and the inclusion of Berlin 2000 as the finale, it might have been be possible to turn it into something quite wonderful. There would be something astonishing about an album that took the listener through the lush, dreamy experience of Lake Constance at one extreme, yet which detonated the dynamite explosion of Berlin 2000 at the other. And I think that would present some of the problematic tracks in a different context that may well be to their advantage.

Incidentally, if I were voting for my 'favourite track' on a revamped Millennium Bell along those lines I've suggested here, then I'd desert Lake Constance (albeit with a sigh) and vote for Berlin 2000, of course!
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Matt Offline




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Posted: May 11 2008, 06:55

Quote (Alan D @ May 11 2008, 10:58)
the finale, Berlin 2000, is one of Mike's most exciting pieces of work, which brings everything to a close in an exhilarating way.

I've not listened to the concert before. By "Berlin 2000" do you mean this bit or something else? Sounds good! Especially the end sections.

Also agree that the album should be considered in context. In the same way that Killing Fields is a movie soundtrack rather than just a studio album and Tres Lunas is the "soundtrack" of MusicVR - ehm - sortof!  I appreciate that TMB is an event that doesn't quite work for me when considered as a studio album. I am sure it was a fantastic event!


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raven4x4x Offline




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Posted: May 11 2008, 07:51

Yes, that's the bit. It's quite possibly my number one favourite piece of Mike's guitar work.

edit - Sorry, that's wrong. That's what you get for listening to only the first 5 seconds of the video. See Alan's post below for the correct video. I still think Berlin 2000 is my favourite MO guitar track


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nightspore Offline




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Posted: May 11 2008, 08:08

Quote (Alan D @ May 11 2008, 05:58)
I think Korgscrew said somewhere that he felt Millenium Bell didn't strike him as a particularly well-thought-out project, and I think (as usual for Korg) that's a helpful way of looking at it.

For me, Mike's music appeals directly to the emotions, not the intellect (and that's why I think it's wholly appropriate that he often uses nonsense-words in chants, etc). If I want music with intellectual appeal I'll listen to Bach; but Mike's music goes straight for the emotional jugular like no other composer I know (and I have a huge library of "classical music"). And from this personal point of view, "The Millennium Bell" contains a higher density of such pieces then many of his other records. "Sancta Maria" is terrific, so is "Amber Light".
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Tayniee Offline




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Posted: May 11 2008, 08:09

Yes !!.... fantastic piece of live guitar work (and violins). Not much wrong with any of that....

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Tayniee Offline




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Posted: May 11 2008, 09:12

Quote (nightspore @ May 11 2008, 08:08)
n
Quote (Alan D @ May 11 2008, 05:58)
I think Korgscrew said somewhere that he felt Millenium Bell didn't strike him as a particularly well-thought-out project, and I think (as usual for Korg) that's a helpful way of looking at it.

For me, Mike's music appeals directly to the emotions, not the intellect (and that's why I think it's wholly appropriate that he often uses nonsense-words in chants, etc). If I want music with intellectual appeal I'll listen to Bach; but Mike's music goes straight for the emotional jugular like no other composer I know (and I have a huge library of "classical music"). And from this personal point of view, "The Millennium Bell" contains a higher density of such pieces then many of his other records. "Sancta Maria" is terrific, so is "Amber Light".

nightspore, you've hit the nail on the head there for me.

He appeals directly to the emotions. 'Thinking' implies being cerebral orientated as opposed to going with the flow of emotions. MOTS to me is more of a cerebral album to me than TMB.

TMB has everything in it to me, ie. tunes, good arrangements and experimenting with sounds, variety of emotions, playfulness, silly lyrics, passion, love, romance, pain, the spiritual, angry guitar, drama......very Mike Oldfield.

I generally like all Mike Oldield except some of his more commercial songs (ie. To France), and I've being trying to figure out why there is such a divide with TMB. It's not a commercial sound as such, 'production' problems have been mentioned, but that doesn't seem a big enough problem to take away from the music.  

But I think I'm getting closer to the truth, something to do with the degree to which one values the intellect as opposed to emotion and what appeals most with the composing and listening.

I also wonder if it's almost 'uncool' now to like TMB.


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nightspore Offline




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Posted: May 11 2008, 09:59

Tayniee - I in turn agree with everything you've said (including what you say about "To France"). I agree it's puzzling that this record polarizes the fans like no other - you'd expect at first glance that "Amarok" would be the one to do that - and I think you're right that it's the intellectual/emotional polarity that's responsible.
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Alan D Offline




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Posted: May 11 2008, 12:09

Quote (Matt @ May 11 2008, 11:55)
By "Berlin 2000" do you mean this bit or something else?

No no no!! Matt, that Youtube video is the part of the concert that leads up to the turn of the millennium, and a great piece of musical partying that was, indeed. But then, a few moments after that, as midnight passes (just after that You-tube video ends), the piece I refer to as 'Berlin 2000' begins - it lasts about 10 minutes.

It begins with a series of drum beats - intensely repetitive, building up and up, going on and on until you think the tension is unbearable - then Mike lets rip with a mind-shatteringly powerful piece of guitar-playing. It's one of the finest, most intense things he's ever done, in my view - and a really brave piece of work to risk all that repetition in the drums. The whole thing then melds into a version of the finale of Beethoven's 9th symphony (and very fine too, though curiously disappointing after the blistering intensity of what preceded it).

If I can find it somewhere, Matt, I'll post a link.
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Alan D Offline




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Posted: May 11 2008, 12:19

Quote (nightspore @ May 11 2008, 13:08)
Quote (Alan D @ May 11 2008, 05:58)
I think Korgscrew said somewhere that he felt Millennium Bell didn't strike him as a particularly well-thought-out project, and I think (as usual for Korg) that's a helpful way of looking at it.

For me, Mike's music appeals directly to the emotions, not the intellect ... And from this personal point of view, "The Millennium Bell" contains a higher density of such pieces then many of his other records.

I'm not sure why you quoted me, there. I wouldn't disagree with any of what you said - indeed, on the whole I tend to let MO's stuff just wash over me, with the minimum of thought!

My comment (well, Korg's, not mine) wasn't about the listening process, but about the composing process. I think that with a bit of thoughtful rearrangement and editing, the emotional impact of Millennium Bell on the listener might be greater than it is now. Certainly the sheer raw power of Berlin 2000, added as a finale, would leave the listener gasping for air, and in no state to intellectualise!
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Alan D Offline




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Posted: May 11 2008, 12:44

OK I've found a version of it. (I think some confusion arises because it's been known under two titles: 'Berlin 2000' and 'Art in Heaven'.) There is a studio version of it that I managed to find somewhere years ago. It's more polished than the live version, with no duff notes - but in terms of sheer visceral impact the live version takes some beating.

The quality of this video isn't good. If I find a better one I'll post a link to it. But for what it's worth, here it is. Despite the poor quality audio, turn the volume up and prepare to tremble if you haven't heard it before. Then go out and buy the DVD of the show to hear it properly:

Berlin 2000 (Art in Heaven)

I've just been listening to this again, now, with the hairs on my neck prickling and my eyes on the edge of tears. At around 4 minutes 15 seconds, the roof finally starts to blow off. His fingers must have been frozen - no wonder he doesn't make some of the notes. No matter. Things fall apart. The centre cannot hold. You just have to throw away the safety net and go for it, sometimes.

Time after time it has this effect on me - even now, through this pitifully inadequate Youtube video. Unbelievable. This is why I love Mike Oldfield's music. Who else - I mean, seriously, who else, could produce something like this? What better way could there be of exploding into the year 2000? And who would not have welcomed the studio version of this as the true and fitting finale of the Millennium Bell album?
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Tayniee Offline




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Posted: May 11 2008, 13:36

Oh My God !!!

Never heard that before, Fantastico !!


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Bassman Offline




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Posted: May 11 2008, 13:37

I second that emotion!  And third, and fourth...

I really enjoy the studio version.  To have put that on the end of the album would have been GREAT.  Such a glorious racket at the end during the "Ode To Joy" section.  Ear-to-ear smile every time.  Live version is wonderful, too.  Because he's there, he's doing it, it's in your face.  Visceral is the right word.

Man, to have been there...
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Ebony Offline




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Posted: May 11 2008, 17:20

Wow.

In the words of Harry Potter's Ron Weasley (complete with gobsmacked expression):  "That's bloody brilliant!"
:)

Add me to the list of people that can't understand why this wasn't on the album.
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nightspore Offline




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Posted: May 11 2008, 20:16

I guess this shows just how subjective music really is. I'd like to hear the studio version that Alan mentions before setting the following opinions in concrete, but to me the Berlin 2000 piece wouldn't fit in with the often joyous, transcendent mood of TMB. (Yes, I know it ends with Beethoven's Ode to Joy but if I want to listen to a long section of Beethoven (as opposed to a musical quotation or allusion) I'd rather listen to the 9th in its entirety rather than tacked on to someone else's composition.) To me the piece sounded more like Pink Floyd: rather sinister, almost eerie. And - again from a purely subjective point of view; I don't want to spoil the piece for others - I found the incessant drumming intrusive, desultory, and rather robotic. Mike didn't look very comfortable on stage, either.
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Sir Mustapha Offline




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Posted: May 11 2008, 21:46

Quote (Alan D @ May 11 2008, 05:58)
I think Korgscrew said somewhere that he felt Millennium Bell didn't strike him as a particularly well-thought-out project, and I think (as usual for Korg) that's a helpful way of looking at it. I can't help wondering if, with a bit of juggling of tracks, weeding out of a few unfortunate choices, and the inclusion of Berlin 2000 as the finale, it might have been be possible to turn it into something quite wonderful.

Perhaps, yes. It's possible that they went through a really bad mess, which explains them doing the performance in the wrong year...

As for the Art in Heaven piece, it's tons better than anything on the album; which doesn't mean anything. And is it too annoying if I say that the cliché use of the Ode to Joy melody is a pet peeve of mine? Oh, well, at least it is a melody.


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Alan D Offline




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Posted: May 12 2008, 02:30

Quote (nightspore @ May 12 2008, 01:16)
to me the Berlin 2000 piece wouldn't fit in with the often joyous, transcendent mood of TMB.

Well, it's an issue that can easily be checked out by watching the Millennium concert from beginning to end, on the DVD. I've never come across anyone who watched it and thought Berlin 2000 didn't fit with what had gone before.

But this really brings me back to what I began by talking about: the selection of pieces played at the millennium show was not the same as the studio album, and that made a difference. If you read my comments about it above, I never said that Berlin 2000 wasn't a bit scary; but then, the concept of the Millennium - the symbolic tipping over into an unknown future - was itself a bit scary. The structure of the concert - as opposed to the structure of the album - seems to me to be a far more impressive artistic creation that falls broadly into three stages like this:
(1) This is what we've had so far;
(2) Approaching and reaching the turning point: the party at the end of the millenium;
(3) Oh. We're here. And now what ...?

That Mike's conclusion presents the possibility of a darker aspect than had been contemplated up to that point, seems to me to be simply honest (and what I'd expect from a great artist). It gives increased stature to the whole thing (even though he does relent and tags on the bit of Beethoven - about which I, too, am dubious).


(Sir M, you miss my point when you comment that the addition of Berlin 2000 'doesn't mean anything': the experience of any piece of music - or indeed any slice of life, even - can be changed by putting it in a new context.)
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Matt Offline




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Posted: May 12 2008, 06:35

Quote (Alan D @ May 11 2008, 17:09)
Quote (Matt @ May 11 2008, 11:55)
By "Berlin 2000" do you mean this bit or something else?

No no no!! Matt, that Youtube video is the part of the concert that leads up to the turn of the millennium, and a great piece of musical partying that was, indeed. But then, a few moments after that, as midnight passes (just after that You-tube video ends), the piece I refer to as 'Berlin 2000' begins - it lasts about 10 minutes.

Thanks for the link Alan. That is fantastic, and looks like it must have been truly spectacular with all the fireworks/lights etc.!

Obvious when you think about it but I hadn't realised that "Art in Heaven" is the same theme (at the start anyway) as "Thou Art In Heaven" from Tres Lunas / MusicVR. Matt being thick again :D


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Sir Mustapha Offline




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Posted: May 12 2008, 08:01

Quote (Alan D @ May 12 2008, 02:30)
Sir M, you miss my point when you comment that the addition of Berlin 2000 'doesn't mean anything'

Oh, sorry, I didn't mean that. I said that saying the song is better than anything on the album, to me, doesn't mean much. :) But thinking about it again, I have to say it's not at all a bad piece. It's fully listenable and enjoyable, though it's still far from the idea I have of a good new year's eve. Also, I recognise that chord sequence because it was reworked into Thou Art in Heaven.

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Alan D Offline




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Posted: May 12 2008, 14:01

Quote (Matt @ May 12 2008, 11:35)
Obvious when you think about it but I hadn't realised that "Art in Heaven" is the same theme (at the start anyway) as "Thou Art In Heaven" from Tres Lunas / MusicVR.

It hadn't occurred to me to point this out, but since you mention it, Matt, it may be worth explaining the MusicVR reference for those who haven't 'been there': a variant of the 'Art in Heaven' theme is encountered in Tr3sLunas during a ride through a thunderstorm with wild horses.

I think I'm persuading myself that (when I get the time), I'm going to try doing some editing of Millennium Bell - adding Berlin 2000 at the end, cutting out a couple of tracks - and see how much changes of that kind really do modify my perception of the individual tracks. (It's interesting, for instance, that for the Millennium show, Lake Constance was dropped - which at first sight seems extraordinary; but maybe it just didn't fit in the modified context.)
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nightspore Offline




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Posted: May 16 2008, 10:11

Alan, in case you didn't get my email reply, thanks for your suggestions with regard to finding the studio verson of "The Art in Heaven". I've now listened to the piece. I can imagine parts of it forming the background music to an effective suspense thriller; but - purely from my own point of view (I abhor the attitude of some posters who say "X IS so-and-so") - I think TMB relies too much on melody for a mood piece like this to fit in. I agree with you about "Lake Constance", incidentally: it's one of my four favourite pieces on the record (the other three being "Santa Maria", "Peace on Earth" and "Amber Light".) I quite like "Sunlight Shining Through Cloud", too - but then I like "Amazing Grace", both hymn and poem...
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