Group: Super Admins
Joined: Dec. 1999
||Posted: July 08 2007, 11:30
What makes it sound like it's rushed? He's been collecting his thoughts for the past two years and has been working on it more intensely since he finished his autobiography earlier this year. That's only rushed in the same way that Ommadawn was rushed, or that Amarok was rushed.
I also don't think it's safe to assume that he sat down with a blank piece of paper (or indeed, blank sequencer document) and only begins coming up with ideas from the point where he says "I'm starting work on my new album now". My experience is that most composers have stockpiles of all sorts of little bits and pieces. Some people probably have more than others, and I suppose some use them up more quickly/regularly while others keep them hanging around for years. I'm one of the latter type, and I suppose if I put it all together, I could write an hour long piece within a week, if the right drive was there. That wouldn't, in my opinion, lead to a poor quality rushed sounding piece of music, because most of them are good and carefully considered ideas (I'd not keep them if I didn't like them)...not by default, anyway, it would entirely depend on how I put them together. The same definitely applies to Mike - Amarok used at least a few ideas he'd been sitting on for over 20 years and it's not inconceivable to me that he would have done the same with this latest album.
One of the criticisms of some of Mike's more recent albums has been that he's been getting too distracted with all his computer toys and that he should concentrate more on the composition...well...that's exactly what this project has let him do - concentrate almost entirely on the composition. No worrying about getting the right sounds, no fiddling with drum loops and virtual vocalists and all that, no relying on preset patterns...just writing music that can be played by real musicians which, reading posts here a few years back, seemed like exactly what fans wanted...Mike working with other musicians again, Mike not using synthesisers, Mike writing long instrumentals again...well he's done all that and this is the result. Whatever he does, someone out there isn't going to like it; it's of course not so fun when that someone is you, but if Mike never did anything that would musically offend one of his fans, he'd never do anything...
I'm reminded of what Freddie Mercury said during Queen's Milton Keynes Bowl concert on the Hot Space tour. Addressing some of the negative comments about the band's change in musical style, he said something along the lines of "It's only a bloody record. People get so excited about these things. We just want to try out a few sounds". Blunt, perhaps, but true. Of course there comes a question of when experiments should be released - I felt, for example, that Light + Shade had a few potentially interesting ideas on it, but that had it been my work, I'd have probably played around with them for a good while longer and made something ultimately very different out of them. That's all very well and good, but sometimes it's actually better to just get things out there and move on...
So...I'm not saying all this means that the album is going to be good, just that I see no evidence that suggests it should be written off at this point. I think it's an interesting thing for Mike to be trying and I'm intrigued to see what happens next...