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Topic: The beauty of Maya Gold< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
nightspore Offline




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Posted: Nov. 04 2008, 19:24

Quote (The Caveman @ Nov. 04 2008, 09:15)
I find the more Mike tries to sound new and hip with all the new 'toys' the quicker it starts to sound dated.To my ears it started around 1980 with QE2.Great album but it sounds very dated now with the Linn drums etc.Fast forward to say Islands.Good album(ish) but very dated late 80's production and so on.This is purely subjective of course but all that glitters ain't gold..... :laugh:

My advantage is that I don't listen to much other popular music, so the question of comparing something to what others are producing at the same and whether that could make it later sound "dated" never arises for me. Speaking of popular music, I heard that song by Alphaville "Forever Young". That could have been written by Mike himself; it has that same yearning, the same feel of crying into the sunset.
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Holger Offline




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Posted: Nov. 04 2008, 20:30

Quote (nightspore @ Nov. 05 2008, 01:24)
Speaking of popular music, I heard that song by Alphaville "Forever Young". That could have been written by Mike himself; it has that same yearning, the same feel of crying into the sunset.

Goes to show how much the quality of popular music varied in the 80s just as much as it does now. For some completely unrelated reason, I watched the video to Kajagoogoo's "Too Shy" a few days ago. Boy how much this is better than that one. While I agree the tune is something Mike could have come up with, it still would have ended up sounding quite different though.

I've never talked about this before (wonder why I do now, actually, as if this were the right thread for it), but I've always felt that this was also something Mike could have come up with in the late 80s.
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nightspore Offline




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Posted: Nov. 04 2008, 21:30

Quote (Holger @ Nov. 04 2008, 20:30)
I've never talked about this before (wonder why I do now, actually, as if this were the right thread for it), but I've always felt that this was also something Mike could have come up with in the late 80s.

I agree, Holger - it reminds me of "Trick of the Light", and has the general feel of the Discovery songs. But I don't think any of the Discovery songs have the emotional wrench that his other work does, whereas "Forever Young" does (for me). I wonder if Alphaville are worth investigating further, or whether "Forever Young" was just a flash in the pan (in a way, it would be in keeping with the sentiments of the song if it was!;).
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Ugo Offline




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Posted: Nov. 05 2008, 09:26

Quote (nightspore @ Nov. 05 2008, 03:30)
I wonder if Alphaville are worth investigating further, or whether "Forever Young" was just a flash in the pan [...]

@ nightspore: Alphaville in general are a flash-in-the-pan, or a meteor (as they say here in Italy), because they've just had two hits - "Forever Young" and "Big in Japan". "Forever Young" is quite a good song, but, in my view of it, is spoiled by being entirely electronic like most of that time's stuff. It would sound much better with a 'heavy' guitar solo playing what that silly (IMO) trumpet sound does... or still better, with heavy guitars through the whole song. :) To me (and I agree with Caveman here) something sounds 'dated' when it's got too much of what was peculiar of a certain era. TB (1973) sounds dated to me because it sounds 'prog', and unfortunately TB 2003 still does; "Forever Young" sounds dated to me because it's electronic. But there's nothing in TBII (always IMO) that makes it sound dated, so, at least to me, it doesn't.

@ Holger: Yes, "Circle in the Sand" is very Mike-&-Anita-ish, very Islands-ish. It's not my fav Belinda song, though - my fav is "Heaven is a Place on Earth".

Back on topic, I'm not really fond of "Maya Gold" - I don't actually like improvisation by anyone, not even by Mike. The only part I like of "Maya Gold" is precisely what Sir M. here finds horrible, i.e. the "Main TBII Theme" guitar/vocals coupling at the end of it. :p


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Bassman Offline




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Posted: Nov. 05 2008, 10:14

Hey, what about "Middle Of The Riddle"?  That was a good one and it had a fantastic video.

And why does everyone get so bogged down just because a tune reflects the musical trends of it's time?  When I hear a cheesy 80's tune (for example) I would EXPECT it to sound like one.  If I liked it then I like it now because I don't look for anyone else's validation.  It seems like some have a bias against those songs because they are listening to it with "current" musical ears.  Like cloth, I guess.

BTW... yes, it is possible for the voices at the end of "Maya Gold" to be real AND to sound that way... the human voice is capable of remarkable things.  Real or synth (and in this case I believe it IS synth), I wouldn't presume that MO made it sound that way unless he WANTED it to sound that way.
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Sweetpea Offline




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Posted: Nov. 05 2008, 13:58

Quote (Ugo @ Nov. 05 2008, 09:26)
I'm not really fond of "Maya Gold" - I don't actually like improvisation by anyone, not even by Mike.

"Maya Gold" was improvised? I didn't know that. I suppose the playing is rather loose (is that the right term?), but I think it sounds wonderful.

Nightspore, I liked Alphavilles' Forever Young (1984) and Breathtaking Blue (1989) albums. I didn't care much for Salvation (1998).


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"I'm no physicist, but technically couldn't Mike both be with the horse and be flying through space at the same time? (On account of the earth's orbit around the Sun and all that). So it seems he never had to make the choice after all. I bet he's kicking himself now." - clotty
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Sir Mustapha Offline




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Posted: Nov. 05 2008, 14:48

Quote (Sweetpea @ Nov. 04 2008, 15:23)
And you didn't, of course. I made an erroneous assumption. Can I blame old age? Just the other day I was looking at one of my own previous posts, elsewhere, and wondering 'What the heck was I talking about, there??'

Hey, get out of my head! :laugh:

But this is the Internet, where several bits of meaning and context can get "lost in translation", and in fact I often get completely lost in my one words and end up not expressing myself clearly (though this happens a LOT more when I'm speaking instead of writing). It's not something to worry about too much. :)

Quote
To think - if you had expressed this opinion at an early stage of the work's development, and if that point of view had been taken seriously by Mike Oldield, TBII might never have seen the light of day !!

Now that would have been devastating.


To be honest, I wouldn't be speaking in these terms if I were to give constructive criticism of a work-in-progress. I'm only speaking here as an outside observer, as spectator of the finish product of an artist who clearly knew what he wanted. If I were to be some kind of producer, I wouldn't voice it like that. I'd be expected to give a less biased opinion and suggest something to replace the bits I didn't like. I don't do that because, hey, Mike is the music maker and he does what he wants. :)


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Check out http://ferniecanto.com.br for all my music, including my latest albums: Don't Stay in the City, Making Amends and Builders of Worlds.
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Ugo Offline




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Posted: Nov. 05 2008, 15:58

@ Sweetpea: the bass part of "Maya Gold", being based on a repetitive, circular tune, was certainly written down. But what he plays on the guitar is very clearly improvised, and you can see this because what he plays on the live version of the same piece (in the Edinburgh show) is only superficially similar to what is on the album. I don't really like it when Mike (or anyone else, as I said above) starts going off the 'structured' track and ventures into improvisation, and this is the reason why I hate jazz music - because improvisation is of course a key factor of jazz. This, of course, may also refer to guitar solos in other genres, such as (for example) metal. I love Dave Murray's solos in Iron Maiden because most of them are very tightly structured, but I don't like Yanick Gers' ones because they're not. :) It's just a matter of personal taste, of course, because some people may find Mike's relaxed style (more than 'loose';) on "Maya Gold" much more appealing than his technical, virtuoso wizardry. I don't, but it's only me. :)

@ Bassman: I think it's rather hard to explain this for me, because English is not my native language, but what I was saying is that a piece of music sounds dated to me when it features too many of a particular era's trademarks or peculiarities. There are plenty of 80s songs which I like better than "Forever Young" because they don't sound as 'plastified', and, changing era, I'm a big Beatles fan because, to me, most of the stuff that the Beatles did (especially from 1965 onwards) does not sounds 1960ish at all - they were very, very, very ahead of their time. On the other hand, to me a piece of music like TB (1973) sounds firmly planted in its own time, and the fact that I still enjoy it now because it's (obviously) great music doesn't avoid the fact that it sounds very 1973-ish to me. And it always will. "I Will Survive" sounds  extremely 1978-ish, but of course I still play it (and dance to it :D).


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nightspore Offline




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Posted: Nov. 06 2008, 00:02

Quote (Ugo @ Nov. 05 2008, 09:26)
Back on topic, I'm not really fond of "Maya Gold" - I don't actually like improvisation by anyone, not even by Mike. The only part I like of "Maya Gold" is precisely what Sir M. here finds horrible, i.e. the "Main TBII Theme" guitar/vocals coupling at the end of it. :p

These are exactly my thoughts too, Ugo! The only kind of improvisation I ever warmed to was that in early Pink Floyd (eg in "Quicksilver", from More), but because so much of their music was about a drifting, dreamlike state anyway, it seemed perfectly justified.
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wiga Offline




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Posted: Nov. 06 2008, 06:10

Quote (Sir Mustapha @ Nov. 05 2008, 14:48)
Quote
To think - if you had expressed this opinion at an early stage of the work's development, and if that point of view had been taken seriously by Mike Oldield, TBII might never have seen the light of day !!

Now that would have been devastating.


To be honest, I wouldn't be speaking in these terms if I were to give constructive criticism of a work-in-progress. I'm only speaking here as an outside observer, as spectator of the finish product of an artist who clearly knew what he wanted. If I were to be some kind of producer, I wouldn't voice it like that. I'd be expected to give a less biased opinion and suggest something to replace the bits I didn't like. I don't do that because, hey, Mike is the music maker and he does what he wants. :)

By all means then, you kick ass (or kiss ass) on the finished product.

And hey, someday you might meet Mike Oldfield. When that happens you might need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below !!


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nightspore Offline




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Posted: Nov. 06 2008, 06:35

Quote (Ugo @ Nov. 05 2008, 09:26)
"Forever Young" is quite a good song, but, in my view of it, is spoiled by being entirely electronic like most of that time's stuff. It would sound much better with a 'heavy' guitar solo playing what that silly (IMO) trumpet sound does...

Ugo, I've just realised I missed this part of your post. I hope others don't mind my talking a bit more about this song (my justification is its mood is definitely in the MO flavour!;) Anyway, I think an overwhelming justification for Alphaville's instrumentation on "Forever Yong" is that electronic instruments are young instruments; just imagine how ironic the song would seem if it were played on, for example, the lute. Also, I think that trumpet sound is the highlight of the song: it begins where words leave off and where words can say no more, and soars away into the sunset.

There was a very big hit version of the song in Australia a few years ago by a band called "Youth Group"; I suspect you'd like that version more.
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Sir Mustapha Offline




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Posted: Nov. 06 2008, 10:36

Quote (wiga @ Nov. 06 2008, 06:10)
And hey, someday you might meet Mike Oldfield. When that happens you might need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below !!

Any artist who has that kind of reaction against his detractors deserves no respect whatsoever, and in my book is no more than an attention whore who uses his work not as a form of expression but as a tool for ego inflation - and I say this because you can find people like that everywhere on the Internet. And even though I have no factual evidence to back myself up, I believe Mike Oldfield is not like that. You publish your work, you expect to hear all sorts of bizarre things about it - it's all about making it public, right?

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wiga Offline




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Posted: Nov. 06 2008, 12:15

Sir Mustapha - you criticise the vocals as "ATROCIOUS," (in capital letters) and then later you moderate that to "beyond bad." Is this serious "art criticism" or gratuitous cruelty?

It could be interpretted as gratuitous cruelty. In the real world people get bopped on the nose for that (and more). Moralising doesn't work.


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Sir Mustapha Offline




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Posted: Nov. 06 2008, 13:25

Quote (wiga @ Nov. 06 2008, 12:15)
Sir Mustapha - you criticise the vocals as "ATROCIOUS," (in capital letters) and then later you moderate that to "beyond bad." Is this serious "art criticism" or gratuitous cruelty?

I don't think it's either. It's not "criticism" because, like I said, I was speaking from the position of an outside observer and on purely subjective terms (though two years ago I wasn't so careful in making that distinction quite clear); and it's not cruelty (I think) because I wasn't saying that with the willingness to cause pain neither on the fans nor on the artist himself. I started from the supposition that the artist was mature enough not to be offended by someone exercising his freedom of speech and that the fans wouldn't take that as a personal attack on their tastes. The latter has its pitfalls, because a statement of an opinion can sound like a gratuitous attack, and I sometimes fail to remember that when I'm expressing myself. It might have sounded like cruelty, so you'd have to accept my word that it wasn't intended to be. :)

As for being bopped on the nose; you can be bopped on the nose for doing absolutely nothing at all, depending on the nutter you come across, so I'm not so sure about that. ;)


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Dirk Star Offline




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Posted: Nov. 07 2008, 06:35

My favourite version of Forever Young appears at the end of The Pretenders album Last Of The Independants.. ;)

I have to admit the only song I`d heard by Alphaville before now was that Big In Japan thing.Which I always thought was a bit naff myself..Ah yer Big In Japan tonight Ah yer Big in Japan be tight And then something about sleeping with neon mannequins in a zoo or whatever??  :/ I just did`nt get it really at the time.And I kind of had them down as a cross between Japan(the band) and an electro Brotherhood Of Man or somebody?Obviously though there`s enough positive comments in this thread to suggest I may have missed out a little there.And having now heard their Forever Young song,it does kind of sound like something that Mike would have come up with at the time,I agree.And it does sound pretty good as well.

Ok Maya Gold..I`m not really that fond of TB2 for all sorts of different reasons really.The main one being that I just wish that he`d moved a bit further away form the main structure of the original I guess.That said I do really like the last few tracks of part two if you like.Moonshine excepted that is,which although I do like.I just think it causes too much of an intrusion tagged on at the end the way it is.Obviously I can see his reasons for doing that regarding the whole Sailors Hornpipe thing etc.But I dunno`it just kind of come wading in there with it`s big synthetic cowboy boots on and ruins the mood completely somehow?I think with Sailors Hornpipe it always kind of lifted the mood there for me.But Maya Gold it`s almost like Ambient Guitars resolved I guess.But then I don`t want to start knocking down Ambient Guitars either,as that`s one of my favourite pieces of Mike`s music ever...It was concieved and recorded by a completely different person emotionaly though,no doubt about it.

Anyway imo that little run of "introductory" guitar notes that comes in at around the 35 second point of Maya Gold are just exquisite I feel.There`s just this great aching almost resigned feeling there in a way.But then that next little run of notes at around the 50 second mark are even better because they kind of go off into a direction you`re maybe not expecting.And there`s this great sudden surge of strength and maturity there to me.All from a few well chosen notes,amazing stuff.And in a way that little section of music maybe sums up what Mike always wanted to do this album.Or at least a part of the musical message of self discovery he wanted to convey here.But the part of Maya Gold that really slays me is when those big warm acoustic guitar chords come in at around the 2:30 mark.And just the way that whole section plays out in general into the finale,I love every second of it.
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Holger Offline




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Posted: Nov. 07 2008, 07:13

Dirk Star, I hadn't actually listened to Maya Gold in god knows how long, but your little summary inspired me to put it on just now... wow! I had completely forgotten about it actually, and I agree it's very very good. Quite possibly the closest thing on TBII to what I'd have expected from a "TBII" concept. Those first few guitar notes... "aching almost resigned feeling" sums it up perfectly really, and I love how he stops playing right there, after those few notes, when he could easily have gone on. Perfect.

I can't really say I find the vocals atrocious either... while those vocals have never really been a favourite part of TBII in general for me, I can't say they ruin this track.
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nightspore Offline




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Posted: Nov. 07 2008, 07:46

While I have most of Mike's albums on CD (the exceptions are the pre-Incantations ones, which I don't own at all), I also have them on my computer, so that I can dip in and play a piece (often while I'm writing a response on this site!;) while I'm doing something else. For some reason the TB2 piece I dip into most often is "The Great Plain". It has a majestic, sweeping, echoing feel that really conjures up some lonely desert for me. Anyone else particularly fond of this one?
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Ugo Offline




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Posted: Nov. 07 2008, 07:48

Quote (nightspore @ Nov. 07 2008, 13:46)
Anyone else particularly fond of this one?

*raises his hand* :D

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Bassman Offline




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Posted: Nov. 07 2008, 16:55

Hey Wiga, if you want to hear "atrocious" I'll point you in the right direction!

:laugh:  :laugh:
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Sweetpea Offline




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Posted: Nov. 16 2008, 01:34

Quote (Ugo @ Nov. 05 2008, 15:58)
...what he plays on the guitar is very clearly improvised, and you can see this because what he plays on the live version of the same piece (in the Edinburgh show) is only superficially similar to what is on the album. I don't really like it when Mike (or anyone else, as I said above) starts going off the 'structured' track and ventures into improvisation...

Ugo, I'm not a big fan of improv, either. I suppose that may be a prejudice of mine, but it often seems as if the improviser doesn't know what he's doing, which makes me uncomfortable as a listener. Of course, I understand surprising and wonderful things can happen, but my enjoyment is tempered by my tension! I'm not convinced, however, that the guitarring on studio "Maya Gold" was improvised, because I don't get the feeling that MO didn't know what he was doing, there. I don't have ready access to the TBII performance, but it would be interesting to hear the difference.

I hope it doesn't sound as if I'm harping by pursuing this subject. I just think it's an interesting line of thought.


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"I'm no physicist, but technically couldn't Mike both be with the horse and be flying through space at the same time? (On account of the earth's orbit around the Sun and all that). So it seems he never had to make the choice after all. I bet he's kicking himself now." - clotty
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