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Mike Oldfield - The Songs of Distant Earth CD (album) cover

THE SONGS OF DISTANT EARTH

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

3.75 | 219 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars First of all this is a 5 stars album. I have heard discussions about being it more newage oriented than prog. In the false-folky sections it could remind to the native american chants that had a boom in the period of its release, but there's a reason behind.

The concept is inspired to a novel by Arthur C. Clark (2001 Space Odyssey, The City and the Stars, Rama just to mention some titles), and this omonimous novel is one of his best.

So let's follow the story:

Our sun is unexpectedly turning to a Nova when the generational starship Magellan is launched to another stellar system with hybernated people who should make the human race survive. When sun explodes, the starship is distant enough, and the explosion is seen only by the few people awake from hybernation in that moment. This is what the first 3 tracks are about.

After hundreds of years the magellan lands on a planet quite entirely covered by water: Oceania, just to discover that after their escape from earth a way to go faster than light was discovered. They took all that time to reach a planet just to find it already colonized by people escaped years before them. They are on that planet since generations and have built a flower-power-like society and their own culture. We are at about track 8.

The Magellan people tries to integrate with the local culture and with the new world's ecology but at the end they find that integration is not possible without disturbin and maybe destroying the delicate equilibrium reached by the locals. At the end they decide to leave, going back to the Magellan and restart their journey hoping to find a new world.

The story is full of regret for the lost Earth and hope for a new beginning (the last track).

I think Mike Oldfield has been able to represent all of this with the music. This is not a soundtrack to a novel. This is an alternative way to tell the same story.

I apologize for omission or mistakes about the story. This is what I remember of a novel read 20 years ago.

With a concept like this, how could it be not prog? They are two masterpieces, the book and the CD.

octopus-4 | 5/5 |

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