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Blackfield - Blackfield CD (album) cover

BLACKFIELD

Blackfield

 

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3.81 | 442 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Just got the CD couple days ago. You know, I live in "the rest of the world" country where I've always got prog album very late when most of you have already got it months ago. The CD is one of 16 fine prog CDs / DVD and prog books that I ordered through amazon and lasercd while my prog friend, Rizal, visited US for approx 2 weeks early of this month. That has made the delivery faster than regular mail to my country. Once I got it, I don't know why I tend to spin BLACKFIELD. It's probably two reasons: it's a collaborative work of multinational coming from developed and developing country; and it's definitely because of STEVE WILSON name. Yes, I have always liked Steve's work. It's probably "bias" review. So be it. I understand that most music review is heavily influenced by personal taste, background and music preference of its reviewer.

This CD really BLEW me the fist time I listened to it. Its music is, of course, heavily influenced by Wilson's music / Porcupine Tree, composed in an atmospheric, ambient style. It's probably a modern psychedelic type of music. It's very similar to later works of Porcupine Tree - "Stupid Dream" or "Lightbulb Sun". When the CD reached track 8 "Cloudy Now" I was really stunned. The tagline melody and musical nuances rang me a bell to other's work. What is it? I was not aware of it the first time. And then I repeat and repeat and repeat ... until I got something really crystal CLEAR in my mind. Yup! Yup! Yup!Gotcha!!!! It's definitely really really damn close to the tagline melody and music nuance of ...., guess who???, (if you have this CD already, try to spin this track 8 NOW!) .... yeah...... .... it's a song under "Amused to Death" album of Roger Waters (previously with PINK FLOYD). If you want the exact tune, it's a song titled as "It's A Miracle" - the 13th track of the album. Find it NOW! Spin the two tracks. You will definitely agree with me. "It's A Miracle" was my favorite track when I was enjoying Roger's DVD titled "In The Flesh" couple months ago.

Well guys, ... I hope that this similarity is a "coincidence". I have insofar never heard any similarity of Wilson's or PT's work with PINK FLOYD or the solo albums of its members. So, I hope it's a "coincidence". Based on my research about BLACKFIELD, "Cloudy Now" with other two songs in this debut, ie. "Glow" and "Scars" were remakes of previous work by Geffen. The three were already single hits in Israel. The album that I got comprise of 2 CDs with CD 1 contains 10 short songs (average duration is about 3 - 4 minutes) totaling about 37 minute of music (ouch ... similar to early work of Gentle Giant ...). CD 2 is a bonus CD that contains 3 tracks plus video clip. With current digital technology, I don't really know why this album must be split into 2 CD package. There is HUGE space available in Disc 1 even if it is combined with the video clip.

Let's do track by track review ..

"Open Mind" opens the album with atmospheric music with acoustic guitar and great duo-voice lines, soft keyboard and piano touch in a mellow style. The guitar riffs suddenly come into play augmented by other instrument (drums, bass) at the same time. The riff reminds me to Porcupine Tree work. Sometime the voice is performed in distance or kind like voice through a PA (public address) system. You may have heard the kind of voice in jail, if you watch a film. It's a very attractive track.

"Blackfield" kicks off with a simple piano touch followed by full music performed in psychedelic mode with acoustic guitar rhythm and keyboard. Wilson's voice dominates this track, as a lead singer. Unfortunately, this track lasts too fast as it fades out when actually it can be filled with a long lead guitar solo or keyboard as interlude. The space is there, actually, for any solo. Oh ... it seems the song is like truncated. It's not natural at all.

If you still like the style of mellotronisque sound of 70s prog, "Glow" provides it nicely during the opening track. When the duo voice sings "Please hold me under the sea ." onward . the music reminds me to RADIOHEAD or MUSE type of music.

"Scars" is performed using sampling / sequencing method at the opening track. But the music then is augmented with simple guitar fills and mellotron sound. (It reminds me to early King Crimson or Anekdoten "From Within" album). The lead guitar played at the altar reminds me clearly to Wilson's guitar playing. It's a treat for those who like mellotron or PETER GABRIEL's kind of beat sampling / sequencing. It continues seamlessly to the intro of "Lullaby" using simple piano touch and followed by voice line "Share my cup"... What a great voice, Wilson! It's a very simple song with very limited number of instruments. I like the violin work in this track. "How does it feel without your drugs? (Sing you a lullaby) How does it feel without my love? (Sing you a lullaby)". Uughh . what a great closing! Excellent track.

Track 6 "Pain" is a bit poppy or ballad type as compared to previous tracks. The music composition is simple and straightforward. The organ sound in the short interlude is really stunning. Again, this song is potentially can be composed longer than just mere 3:47 minute. (It's probably Geffen did not want to create music more than 4 minutes so that the song is still "accessible" by most people).

"Summer" is the other ballad song in this album but with more influence of Wilson's music. It's a straight forward psychedelic music. The lead guitar work during interlude is simple but it helps accentuate the overall song composition.

I don't need to review "Cloudy Now" as I have discussed it above. One recommendation is - try listen to this track with Roger's song. I want to hear your opinion. Nevertheless, this is a great track and it's one of my all-time favorite track from this album. Performed excellently!

"The Hole In Me" starts with a keyboard sound followed by full music with distanced voice singing style. The augmentation of acoustic guitar fills is really stunning. The music turns to a faster tempo with a duo voice lines. Simple and wonderful composition Great regret though . this track ends too fast (2:47) when electric solo guitar has just started! What a big regret!

"Hello" is the concluding track of the main album (CD 1) and it's composed nicely; performed in a dup vocal line. The music reminds me to PINK FLOYD's "Division Bell" album. The background music with string arrangement is really cool .. The Gilmourian guitar at the end of the track must end immediately before it reaches ultimate orgasm for the listener. The bonus CD comprises 3 songs: "Perfect World", "Where is My Love?" and "Cloudy Now" (live) and one video clip. "Perfect World" is an acoustic guitar based song with FLOYD influence (early album "Obscured by Clouds"). It's an excellent song. "Where is My Love?" is a typical Porcupine Tree song. It's a bit boring song, to my personal taste. Probably it's the repetition of the words "Where is my love?" throughout the song. "Cloudy Now" is performed almost the same with the studio version. The video clip contains "Blackfield" only; it's just typical promotional clip.

Overall, I recommend you to buy this album. It's worth it. It's inexpensive. The composition and production quality are excellent. I can hardly catch the true voice of Geffen in this album. It sounds like Steve Wilson is dominating the vocal line. My overall rating goes to 3.75 / 5 with following notes: If, the songs are performed at its fullest and longer than 4 minutes with some great guitar / keyboard interlude it will improve my rating to 4.5/5. And, if there is no such song that "coincidently" (?) similar with other's (in this case with "It's A Miracle" of Roger Waters) it will round up my rating to full 5/5! As-is, my rating stays at 3.75/5. Sorry . it's fair, I think. GW, Indonesia.

Gatot | 4/5 |

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