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Rick Wakeman - Out There CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

3.83 | 117 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars All you need to know is that the answer is out there!

Rick Wakeman is one of those recording artists that clearly put quantity above quality, at least from the 80's onwards. His discography is simply enormous and beyond his early classic albums it is never easy to know where to go next. But here is finally an album worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Six Wives Of Henry VIII, The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur and No Earthly Connection. To be honest, this is a very different kind of music and this album rocks harder than anything Rick has done before or since. He is certainly not trying to mimic his own classic releases here, but he has stated that this is some kind of follow up to No Earthly Connection. But this is more in relation to the concept of that album than to the music itself. However, in terms of quality, Out There is in the same league as those 70's albums! While those classics were brilliant in their kind of own way, Out There is actually one of my all time personal Wakeman favourites and I'm sure that it could appeal even to people who dismiss his early releases as overblown or bombastic. Indeed, Out There is a bit more in line with the 90's Yes albums than with much of Wakeman's solo output.

Rick was here, for the first time in many years, working with the right people, at the right time, with the right ideas (and the right budget!). The line up involved is identical to such amazing live releases as Out Of The Blue and Live In Buenos Aires (the former being a CD and the latter a DVD, both great!). The vocalist is Damian Wilson, known from Prog Metal band Threshold and Neo-Prog band Landmarq. I am very fond of Damian's voice and I think it fits Rick's music perfectly (both these new studio tracks and the classic material when played live as on the live releases I mentioned). We have Tony Fernandez on drums, Lee Pomeroy on bass and Ant Glynne of guitars. This is, I believe, the rockiest band Rick Wakeman ever had and probably my #1 favourite line up of the English Rock Enseble (or The New English Rock Enseble as they are sometimes known - a silly name for a great band, I think). Sadly, Damian Wilson would leave the band before they had the chance to tour in support of Out There. There are thus no live recordings of Out There featuring Wilson.

For this album, Rick came up with six great melodic and progressive songs, all of which are well above six minutes in length. This leaves room for some very good keyboard and guitar solos and not a single note feels out of place. The opening title track is my personal favourite and possibly the most powerful on the six tracks, but all the songs here are at least very good. As it says in the booklet, work on this album started five years before it was released and the music feels complete and fully realized in a way that has been very rare in the Wakeman catalogue. The production values are as high as the artistic values.

There is also a DVD version of Out There which features the same recordings as this CD with some rather bad, mostly computer generated, visual content added. The music is, however, not strictly identical as there are some added spoken word samples from NASA and longer breaks between the tracks. I think the CD version flows better. The visual content is not very interesting and comes across as home made. I would recommend the CD version, but if you can only find the DVD version you can go with that as long as you don't expect anything from the visuals. You do, on the other hand, get an informative interview with Rick on the concept behind Out There and some footage from the tour they did supporting the album (with Ashley Holt replacing Wilson).

This album is out there for you, don't hesitate to let it in!

Highly recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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