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Tom Newman - Faerie Symphony CD (album) cover


Tom Newman


Crossover Prog

2.88 | 20 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars If there is an artist clearly in a shadow of a better-known artist, it's this chap. And the shadow is cast by MIKE OLDFIELD, whose magnificent debut Tubular Bells (1973) Newman was putting together with Mike, working in Virgin Records. Also on Tubular Bells II Newman was in the production team, and maybe on some other Oldfield albums too, I can't remember.

This is the second solo album and the closest he ever got to making a, hmm, semi- masterpiece of his own if you like. Indeed, if you listened to this in a blindfold test, you'd probably think it's a Mike Oldfield album from mid-seventies. Progressive, folky, pastoral instrumental music featuring lots of acoustic guitar, keyboards, flute and percussion, creating images of faraway fairy tale lands. And just like Oldfield, Newman handles most of the instruments himself. The main collaborator throughout the album is Jon Field on woodwinds; the other guy from JADE WARRIOR - and so it comes as no surprise that music sounds quite a lot like that band as well. The background of Tom Newman is linked to the Jade Warrior guys too.

I would want to enjoy this album more than I do. But I can't help feeling a bit frustrated about the way all the thirteen tracks - except the least enjoyable one (which has time to become annoying) - are very short, and the whole album is too short. Naturally the other obvious reason for not feeling very positive about this work is its lack of true originality, since it so much sounds like a cross between Mike Oldfield and Jade Warrior. I bet anyone prefers listening to early Oldfield albums which are way more exciting and mature. But I understand that Faerie Symphony openly payed hommage and was inspired by Oldfield's work. And of course an Oldfield connoisseur would not be mistaken to think it as an Oldfield album when (s)he listens to it completely. It does have an atmosphere of its own. So, with this starting point in mind Newman did great results.

Released in 1977, it goes without saying that this album was totally ignored at the time. However I think it is respectable to make a serene, introspective instrumental album so plainly of a progressive nature at the time when it was very unfashionable. The cover art is amazing: both sides of the leaflet serve as the front cover, the one you don't see here is an orange-toned fairy tale painting. An informative essay on the artist is included in the CD released some years ago.

Matti | 3/5 |


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