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Mark Shreeve - Oracle CD (album) cover


Mark Shreeve


Progressive Electronic

2.00 | 1 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Mark Shreeve, 2 June 1957 -- 31 August 2022(!), was a British electronic music composer. His discography of 15 albums is sadly totally unreviewed here, just a handful of practically useless ratings without reviews. There are reviews for the electro-band REDSHIFT which he founded in 1996 with his brother Julian Shreeve, James Goddard and Rob Jenkins. Having only listened to a couple of Redshift albums (lengthy pieces of music comparable to Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze), I didn't know what to expect from this album I found from Youtube.

Oracle is the eighth album of Mark Shreeve. It starts with the highly energetic 'Blade Runner' which doesn't really have much to do with the marvelously sensual VANGELIS soundtrack. Vangelis never "rocks" like this piece. [In addition to the catchy Blade Runner theme, his album Direct (1988) Vangelis did approach this kind of a pop direction, but certainly not to a degree of this music.] It seems Shreeve has sampled details from 'Welcome to the Pleasure Dome', the 1984 hit of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, to a great effect. Also 'Myriad of Colours' has a powerful drive and even a fuller soundscape. Heavy drum programming and all kinds of synth crashes that make the ones in 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' sound lame. Very catchy this is, but frankly too hyperactive for me to enjoy without reservations. Think of adrenalin-fuelled early THOMAS DOLBY without vocals.

'Mephisto' (the longest track of the seven, at 7:12) continues with the rhythmically and sonically muscular direction. I begin to miss more dynamic variety and, most of all, more sensitivity. The second vinyl side begins with 'Shadowplay' that brings nothing new to the table. BTW, Chris Franke of Tangerine Dream is guesting on it.

Admittedly the music is well produced, much better actually than a lot of synth-centred popular music of the time. But sad to say, the term over-produced wouldn't be out of place here. 'The Ice Queen' gracefully slows the tempo and thus gives the moody melody the deserved attention. Shreeve's cool guitar playing is a nice additional ingredient to the synthetic soundscape. 'After the Silence' is fairly similar to 'The Ice Queen'. The use of synthesizers is delicious here, from the trumpet-like melody line to a particular bright riff that reminds me of a song on the album Il Sole Nella Pioggia (1989) by ALICE, the Italian singer. Oracle's final piece 'Thunderdome' perhaps namely nods to the second Mad Max movie (1985). Stylistically it's a return to what was heard before the previous slower pieces.

So, if you want some really catchy and bold synth-centred instrumental music, try this one. I feel disappointed to the album whole, because production-wise there would have been opportunities to make a great and dynamic album. Two or three stars? Maybe two's enough, despite all the strengths heard on this album.

Matti | 2/5 |


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