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Ken Baird

Crossover Prog

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Ken Baird Fields album cover
3.54 | 11 ratings | 4 reviews | 27% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. New Universe (5:45)
2. Little Air To Breathe (5:40)
3. There Is A Place (2:10)
4. Firefly (4:55)
5. Awake In The Dark (3:56)
6. No Easy Path (7:06)
7. Into Night (11:07)
8. The Pond (6:14)
9. 3000 Blue Mountains (2:47)

Total Time: 49:40

Line-up / Musicians

- Ken Baird / piano, keyboards, acoustic & electric guitars, bass, drum programming, recorder, vocals, composer, producer

- Sue Fraser / vocals
- Mike Truax / drums (2,7,9)
- Jacob Moon / guitars (4,7)
- Mike Clasen / saxophone (8)

Releases information

CD self-release (1998, Canada)

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and to Quinino for the last updates
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KEN BAIRD Fields ratings distribution

(11 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KEN BAIRD Fields reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
5 stars Canadian symphonic keyboard wizard Ken BAIRD's second release building very much on the success of his eye opening debut album "August". In contrast, "Fields" although still heavily instrumental does put more emphasis on the vocal aspect of his music. With assistance from Sue Fraser who certainly does have a very lovely voice, it is BAIRD himself who carries the dominant lead vocal role and does so with great conviction. "Fields" is absolute "symphonia" at its finest, full of heavy keyboard driven orchestral landscapes, pastoral atmospheres and images you can almost picture yourself playing a part in. BAIRD's music carries a wholesome quality to it and is not ever "over produced" sounding and given lots of room to develop his themes and ideas. A wonderful and highly colorful symphonic rock album which will win your hearts over.
Review by kenethlevine
2 stars I've been listening to Ken Baird for a while, because he is clearly a fan of some of Mike Oldfield's more mystical mid period work, and Sally Oldfield's pagan leanings, with vocals that are in many ways better than either of his two role models can muster. The keyboards and guitars range from the electronic to the acoustic, the melodies tend to the hypnotic, and the lyrics, while somewhat cryptic, are not silly, pompous or bland. On songs like "Little Air to Breathe", "Firefly" and "No Easy Path", he manages to combine all of these aspects in a manner that is generally tasteful, restrained and appealing. Yet overall, I just can't get too excited about this album or Baird in general.

I like soothing, meditative styles as much as the next new age guy, but also yearn for a rock groove occasionally, or at least some sort of edge in my music, a sense that the fellow might be a bit angry or passionate about something. After a while, I can't just assume that the emotion is between the lines of the lyrics or otherwise implicit in the subject matter. I am not saying I doubt Ken's sincerity or his intensity, but sometimes I just want to feel the passion. When I listen to "into Night", the longest and presumably most important track, I get some of that feeling, but the melodies are trite and the strings treacly, which spoils the effect for me.

I'm not saying this is a bad album, just that its appeal on this list might be limited to those who are partial to the very mellow side of prog. I always thought that group would include yours truly, but apparently the field is so wide that even I do not quite stand at its fringes.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I thought tonight would be the perfect time to review "Fields" considering Ken is doing a live show this evening. He asked me to come out but we were celebrating my son's birthday tonight so it didn't work out this time. So the next best thing is sitting down with one of Ken's meaningful cds and getting lost in another world for an hour. By the way our own loserboy (James Unger) was the emcee at the Baird concert tonight. As with all Baird albums we get a great combination of thoughtful lyrics to go along with Ken's intimate vocals. Sue Fraser and her beautiful voice are like the icing on the cake on this one. Great picture on the album cover of Ken getting ready to throw that 2 foot cardboard airplane out in the fields. It's hard for me to explain but this music is so down to earth and meaningful. It's about real things and everyday life.

"New Universe" is a song Ken says he still plays live and if you hear it you'll know why. Kind of spacey to open before this relaxed and steady beat comes in. Vocals before a minute. Susan follows with some vocal melodies. What a great sounding track. Guitar after 4 minutes. "Little Air To Breathe" is another outstanding track. This is my favourite. I like the atmosphere as Ken comes in with reserved vocals. A nice beat with piano here. I really like when the sound gets a little fuller. Contrasts continue. Susan sings backup after 2 minutes. We get some trumpet after 3 1/2 minutes. Guitar follows. Check out the orchestral keys late that remind me of COLLAGE's "Moonshine" album. "There Is A Place" is mostly vocals and piano although we get some recorder a minute in. "Firefly" opens with recorder and strummed guitar. Vocals join in. Susan helps out and she really adds a lot to this track. A fuller sound a minute in. A bit of a Celtic vibe when the whistles come in. "Awake In The Dark" features gorgeous piano melodies throughout with vocals. Interesting lyrics on this one. Beautiful track.

"No Easy Path" opens with drums, piano and vocals. Check out the piano after a minute. Nice. It then turns dark before kicking back in with those uptempo piano melodies. Penny whistles 4 minutes in. "Into Night" is the longest track at over 11 minutes. There are those COLLAGE-like orchestral keyboards again with guitar, bass and drums. Great sound ! Susan comes in with Ken after a minute. Dual vocals but Susan's voice is more dominant. Themes are repeated. Some penny whistles and piano on this song too. "The Pond" is led by vocals and piano but we do get some recorder followed by some sax after 2 1/2 minutes. "3000 Blue Mountains" has no lyrics but lots of vocal melodies from Ken and Susan.This is so uplifting and moving. A real lush and rich sound too. If I go down to the beach where I live and look out over the bay to the west there is a mountain that's called Blue Mountain. Lots of skiing there in the winter, it's about a 20 minute drive.

"Martin Road" is still my favourite Ken Baird album but this deserves 4 stars without a doubt.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ken Baird continued his safari of personal albums with another private release in 1998.The album was titled ''Fields'' and after a few years Baird teamed up with drummer Mike Truax, with whom he had been playing with in his former band Perpetual Angelus.Sue Fraser is again among the participants and the list closes with Jacob Moon, who plays the guitar in a couple of tracks, and saxophonist Mike Classen, appearing in one cut.

As Baird himself had admitted, with ''Fields'' he would partly abandon the long instrumental forms of ''August'' and turn into a more song-oriented style.Of course the material remains proggy enough, featuring again this unmistakable MIKE OLDFIELD aura and the light symphonic moves.Once again the music is driven by Baird's sweet piano themes and dreamy keyboard parts, I can hear even echoes of CLIVE NOLAN of the 90's PENDRAGON era in the album, but while the instrumental passages are somewhat reduced, the ethereal vocals of Baird, the angelic chords of Fraser and the orchestral synthesizers produce a beautiful and moving atmosphere.Certain pieces contain some tunes from recorders, making the MIKE OLDFIELD connections even tighter, but Baird's style was way more symphonic, resulting to an almost personal style.Longer tracks are not absent either, both ''No easy path'' and the very good ''Into night'' are fine examples of keyboard-based Neo/Symphonic Prog with folky overtones in a genuine mix of old and new atmospheres.The display of the guitar parts offer a stronger sense of teamwork and the mixture of male and female vocals delivers a nice, lyrical depth...not to mention that Baird's limited but still present flashy keyboards are more than fantastic.

''Fields'' is a work of emotional, lyrical and atmospheric Neo/Symphonic Prog, where the virtuosic keyboard parts have been sacrified in the name of a lighter still brilliant instrumental enviroment.Warmly recommended, especially to those into the softer and more melodic side of Prog Rock.

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