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Topic: Voyager - the anti intellectual album< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Alan D Offline




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Posted: June 17 2008, 06:19

Quote (Dirk Star @ June 17 2008, 10:55)
Few years back I had Voyager on repeat going along that steep road to Applecross (Bealach na ba) then along the west coast overlooking Skye and onto Torridon where we were staying at the time.Just indescribable really for me.I can even remeber specific musical moments to specific points on our journey that day.Like leaving a little marker there to remind me somehow.

Yes, yes, I read your post just nodding all the way through. It's the place to listen to that music - it seems to become part of the landscape.

Quote
yellow helicopter

About yellow helicopters: a couple of days ago a yellow helicopter landed in the field at the bottom of our garden and three men got out. My wife asked if they wanted a cup of tea. They said yes. Then they drank the tea, and flew off again into the great blue yonder. Just one of those strange but true stories that punctuate life's ordinary moments.

Oh yes - and just to keep this on topic, I should explain that no one present was listening to 'Voyager' at the time.
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Dirk Star Offline




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Posted: June 17 2008, 06:53

See I`ve got a big enough field there outside my front door but not a helicopter to be seen anywhere.Too many kids playing on it that`s our problem here...(leans out of window).. "Oi get yourselves inside and make way for the helicopter"...(leans back inside window)..."Quick get the bloody kettle on before her down the road tries to outdo us again like she did with her patio straight after we did"...

Right so all I need to do now is make sure I`m not listening to Voyager and wait I guess...Mmmm better make a flask!..
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nightspore Offline




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Posted: June 17 2008, 06:56

Quote (Alan D @ June 17 2008, 03:29)
That the music should so closely match the mood of the landscape is pretty telling, I think.

I'm sure you're right, Alan - except that the music also sounds terrific driving among the mountainous rainforests of Cairns (far north Queensland, in Australia)! I suspect that mountains match all those sweeping peaks in Mike's music (just as "Waterwheel" played by the Kronos Quartet is particularly effective when driving in the desert.)
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Harmono Offline




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Posted: June 17 2008, 09:15

Quote (nightspore @ June 17 2008, 04:21)
Quote (Sir Mustapha @ June 15 2008, 16:40)
I feel kind of uncomfortable with Voyager because Celtic music is one thing I definitely don't know anything about.

Sir M, I wouldn't worry too much about the "Celtic" tag. It's an artificial label that has really arisen in recent years. Think about it: can you really expect there to be an absolute homogeneity in music created in places as far apart as Ireland and Scotland? (I'm not being funny, here - go back a few hundred years and you have a lot of isolated communities and styles of music that sprang up in isolation.) You'll never come up with a "definition" of Celtic music, just as - elsewhere on this site - I said a la Wittgenstein you could probably never come up with a definition of a horse. I think all that needs to be said is that there are genuine folk pieces on this record, and that the record is very pleasant to listen to. I don't think Mike aimed at more than this.

That's very true Nightspore, it's impossible to define what is traditional Celtic music. But when people talk about Celtic music they're mostly referring to traditional music from the British Isles.That music, as you point out, is not absolutely homogenous. However, there are significant similarities in instrumentation, harmonic structure and melodies. Actually, many tradional tunes found in Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland have the exact same melody, but are sung with different lyrics.

About the differences between these traditions and Voyager, well, there's a strong improvisational element common to most folk music that's obviously not present on Voyager. And ofcourse the use of electric instruments is not very traditional.

'Celtic' is ofcourse easier to market than 'traditional Scottish' or 'Irish folk', it's just more mystical and fascinating to most people, though indeed quite misleading if taken literally.
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Sir Mustapha Offline




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Posted: June 17 2008, 12:06

So maybe "Celtic" is a meaningless label, but I'm only willing to consider those labels as much as Mike himself is willing to stick to them; so, to take another example, if Mike presents Tr3s Lunas as a "Chill out" record, I'm not going to take it as anything other than a "Chill out" record, for better or for worse. It's all about respecting the artist's intention!

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Harmono Offline




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Posted: June 17 2008, 12:22

Nice view there about respecting the artists intention.
So, at the risk of going even more off topic, is MOtS classical?  ;)
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Alan D Offline




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Posted: June 17 2008, 14:25

Quote (nightspore @ June 17 2008, 11:56)
the music also sounds terrific driving among the mountainous rainforests of Cairns (far north Queensland, in Australia)! I suspect that mountains match all those sweeping peaks in Mike's music

Oh yes - I wasn't claiming exclusivity for Scotland. The mountains in the far northwest of Scotland are composed of the most ancient rocks anywhere on the surface of the earth, and although I know nothing of Australia's geology, I'd be surprised if the music of Voyager didn't seem to fit with ancient mountainous landscape pretty well anywhere. We're talking about responses rooted in archetypes, here, after all.

I would say, though, that because of its use of traditional tunes that are rooted in Celtic peoples, one might expect more of a feeling of 'homecoming' while playing it in Scotland or Ireland.
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Alan D Offline




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Posted: June 17 2008, 14:27

Quote (Dirk Star @ June 17 2008, 11:53)
Right so all I need to do now is make sure I`m not listening to Voyager and wait I guess

I think that is indeed the key to attracting them, though why helicopter pilots should be particularly drawn to locations where 'Voyager' isn't being played remains a mystery, I think.
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Alan D Offline




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Posted: June 17 2008, 16:58

Sudden bright thought: it must be true, Mick, this business about not listening to Voyager in order to attract the helicopters. Because, you see, just at this moment I'm not listening to Tubular Bells - and there isn't a helicopter in sight! What more proof do we need?
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nightspore Offline




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Posted: June 17 2008, 22:03

Quote (Alan D @ June 17 2008, 14:25)
Oh yes - I wasn't claiming exclusivity for Scotland. The mountains in the far northwest of Scotland are composed of the most ancient rocks anywhere on the surface of the earth, and although I know nothing of Australia's geology, I'd be surprised if the music of Voyager didn't seem to fit wit

When I was driving around Skye some years ago I was listening to Rossini's The Thieving Magpie on the stereo. There's a part in that where someone is writing a letter, and the accompanying music always reminds me of the swarms of midges on Skye!

With regard to Sir M's point, does Mike actually call Voyager a "Celtic" album? I can't find any reference to this on the record itself (yes, I know one piece is called "Celtic Rain").

Folk music the world over tends to be pentatonic. Popular songs like [/I]Amazing Grace[I] tend to be as well.
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Alan D Offline




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Posted: June 18 2008, 02:53

Quote (nightspore @ June 18 2008, 03:03)
Folk music the world over tends to be pentatonic.

I can understand how that would give a common root to folk music all the world over and explain the similarities, but is there any comparable explanation for the differences? What I mean is that (say) English folk tunes are often as recognisably 'folk music' as Scottish tunes - and yet they are also often recognisable as distinctively English (even more so when compared with folk tunes having more far-flung origins.) At least, it seems that way. I've never actually done a blind test to prove I can detect the difference!
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Dirk Star Offline




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Posted: June 18 2008, 03:44

Quote (Alan D @ June 17 2008, 21:58)
Sudden bright thought: it must be true, Mick, this business about not listening to Voyager in order to attract the helicopters. Because, you see, just at this moment I'm not listening to Tubular Bells - and there isn't a helicopter in sight! What more proof do we need?

:laugh: Well it does`nt take much but my head`s just about nearly exploded here trying to work out what I should`nt be listening to.I guess I`m just going to have to resign myself to the fact that it`s never gonna` happen.It`s a shame because the woman next door to me has a real thing for men in uniform of any variety whatsoever.You know I think she even took a shine to the gasman just because he had one of those badges on his jumper.She would`ve been so green with envy she never would`ve lived it down.Maybe I`ll go out and start a fire and see if I can`t make do with a couple of fire engines..."Yeah I dunno mate must`ve been kids or something,milk & sugar with that?.."

The Vangelis track Himalaya is something I always kind of identify with the highlands now.Despite the whole eastern theme that is so apparent on that track it just seems to fit in so well when you`re driving through the mountains up there.There was a time a few years back when I was really into compiling pieces that I thought would be sympathetic  to the landscape up there somehow.I`d have loads of these tapes made up ready for the journey.But I think I just like being surprised a little bit now.Although the great thing about Voyager is there is no need for any editing at all.
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nightspore Offline




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Posted: June 18 2008, 09:55

Quote (Alan D @ June 18 2008, 02:53)
[quote=nightspore,June 18 2008, 03:03]Folk music the world over
I can understand how that would give a common root to folk music all the world over and explain the similarities, but is there any comparable explanation for the differences? What I mean is that (say) English folk tunes are often as recognisably 'folk music' as Scottish tunes - and yet they are also often recognisable as distinctively English (even more so when compared with folk tunes having more far-flung origins.) At least, it seems that way. I've never actually done a blind test to prove I can detect the difference!

I imagine you'd need a computer program capable of very detailed statistical analyses to sort that one out. No doubt there are differences such as you describe, but I imagine they're very subtle and not simply a case of "note x tends to follow note y".

Interestingly, Beethoven did arrangements of folk songs. One of my favourites has words by Robbie Burns and is called "Once More I Hail Thee"; it's hard to find, unless you buy a six CD set or whatever of Beethoven songs.
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Tubularman Offline




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Posted: June 18 2008, 13:00

Wild goose flaps it wings is very orginal..
The Voyager is one of mikes album i never got into. But suddenly, it was there. I like it very much. But it is a bit long and have some b-tracks.


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arron11196 Offline




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Posted: June 19 2008, 18:28

Quote (Harmono @ June 16 2008, 21:52)
What do you mean Arron, what should be?

I just meant, as you said, that I can't really see Mike doing anything other than his way of doing things. He can't do anything BUT put his own stamp on it... as far as I know he's not put out anything which didn't sound like it came from him.

To bring this somewhat back to SirM's earlier points, about it being celtic music... I don't think its pure celtic. I don't think its pure Mike either, and you can see a blur there - its this "lets have a go at this" thing again. To compare, TSODE is very Mike, but that's because its not only an original arrangement, but also composition. Flowers in forests and women in Ireland and heroes and songs of suns have been done before, but TSODE was original. Thats pure Mike.

I think the same sort of way about Guitars really... theres that experimental attitude which seems to leave a lot of Mikes normal compositonal breathing room out of the picture (for me at least). There isn't very much on Guitars that I can go crazy over at all, Summit Day is nice, but other than that it hardly gets any play time for me.

Voyager is different. If it comes on, I can live with it in the background mostly, and won't search out something else. The only track I really go to purposefully is Mont St. Michel, (remember our wonderful conversation on that piece, everyone?) but even that's rarely.

I suppose like others here, I have to be in the right place - or the right mood to be able to receive it.


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Arron J Eagling

Everyone's interpretation is different, and everyone has a right to that opinion. There is no "right" one, I am adding this post to communicate my thoughts to share them with like-minded souls who will be able to comment in good nature.

(insert the last 5 mins of Crises here)
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arron11196 Offline




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Posted: June 19 2008, 18:32

And on another note... its funny how I DONT have to be in a mood to recieve some of Mike's stuff. For example, there are many more occasions when I will want Incantations or TBII or Ommadawn or Crises than say Five Miles Out. I guess I just like these albums more, but I think its more about being in the right frame of mind for it. I used to listen to Crises a hell of a lot more than I do now, I loved (and still do) the intensity of the whole thing. Now I can be just as content relaxing to Weightless or Harmonics or Part II of Part II of Ommadawn (the bit when the acoustic starts)

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Arron J Eagling

Everyone's interpretation is different, and everyone has a right to that opinion. There is no "right" one, I am adding this post to communicate my thoughts to share them with like-minded souls who will be able to comment in good nature.

(insert the last 5 mins of Crises here)
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Harmono Offline




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Posted: June 20 2008, 07:31

Quote (arron11196 @ June 20 2008, 00:28)
Quote (Harmono @ June 16 2008, 21:52)
What do you mean Arron, what should be?

I just meant, as you said, that I can't really see Mike doing anything other than his way of doing things. He can't do anything BUT put his own stamp on it... as far as I know he's not put out anything which didn't sound like it came from him.

Ah, now I see, and totally agree.
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Major Gowen Offline




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Posted: Oct. 16 2008, 01:49

What I really love about music is its blurriness when it comes to the question of intellectual qualities. By this I mean the way we listen to and appreciate music has no hard and fast rule, no defining boundaries, no black or white certainties. It’s a gloriously fuzzy grey area that can often make no sense. Music is never measured in intelligence. You use your mind to appreciate music but in a complicated, unfathomable way. I think I love the way my mind works (though I don’t really understand what’s happening) when I listen to music, therefore I would always rather listen to music than watch a film or read a book.

As for Voyager, well it took me a long time but I’m finally getting into it. Before I thought it was Mike kind of going through the motions, not trying too hard, but recently I’ve felt its lack of bite is its greatest strength. Not in terms of ‘music to chill out to’ but its smoothness and its peace is incredibly comforting. Funny really, as I usually listen to his music for comfort but always regarded Voyager as being a bit too easy on the ears. Not anymore though.

I have an album of music from Stanley Kubrick’s films which has a more traditional strings/pipes version of Women Of Ireland, and I used to prefer this vastly to Mike’s rendition. Now it’s the other way round. Strange, but another fascinating thing about music, how your perception of it can change.
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Sweetpea Offline




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Posted: Oct. 16 2008, 01:57

Quote (Major Gowen @ Oct. 16 2008, 01:49)
...but recently I’ve felt its lack of bite is its greatest strength. Not in terms of ‘music to chill out to’ but its smoothness and its peace is incredibly comforting. Funny really, as I usually listen to his music for comfort but always regarded Voyager as being a bit too easy on the ears. Not anymore though.

It's great that you've gained new appreciation for Voyager, Major Gowen, and I agree with your description of it as "comforting".


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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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nightspore Offline




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Posted: Oct. 17 2008, 07:38

Quote (Sweetpea @ Oct. 16 2008, 01:57)
and I agree with your description of it as "comforting".

Not sure about that, Sweetpea... The feeling of possible or imminent loss is never far away in any of Mike's music, except maybe in the pre-Exegesis albums. In "Sunset", on Light and Shade,it's almost heart-wrenching; and I think it's there on Voyager's pieces too. Think of "Dark Island", where the few short, rising melodies are answered by long, slowly-descending ones. (I'm reminded of a line in Goldsmith's poem "The Deserted Village" where, with regard to an awareness of death, he says "Resignation gently slopes the way".)
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