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Rick Wakeman - Aspirant Sunset CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

2.01 | 35 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars For insomniacs

One of the Rick Wakeman new age albums, "Aspirant sunset" was the second part of his "Aspirant Trilogy" (the other two albums in the series were "Aspirant sunrise" and "Aspirant sunshadows"). If one was feeling cynical, you could say the album was made on the cheap, as the line up consists only of Wakeman on keyboards. While there is little information on the sleeve, the official Wakeman website misleadingly states that the only instrument used on the album is piano. This is clearly not the case, as there are various synthesiser sounds and choral effects throughout. Indeed, I'm no expert on Wakeman's equipment(!), but I suspect the piano which is used is an electronic one. The album was recorded on The Isle of Man where Rick lives, and appears to reflect the peace he has found there.

According to Rick, the continuing theme is a "genuine study of music and the effects it has on the human body and mind". He researched the subject through long discussions with a Professor Cary Cooper, leading to various "experiments with sounds, tempos and musical design", then tested the results on "all types of people from hyperactive children to elderly insomniacs and even with people who were terminally ill". All this is taken from the album notes on the official website, but the most telling comment is probably that during one recording sessions, the engineer fell asleep at the mixing desk!

The music is certainly pleasant and inoffensive, and it does have the quality you would expect from the maestro. The pace is inevitably sedate, with none of the excitement of say "White rock" or "King Arthur". The overall sound tends to be rather one dimensional, with little variety. Thus listening to the album as a piece of music, it comes across as bland at times. To be fair, the object of the exercise was not to make a complex, uplifting album, and I must to confess to having found the set to be quite relaxing. There is however a fine line between music which is relaxing, and an album which is just plain boring. Here, Wakeman rather straddles that line.

The sparse sleeve notes which accompany the album urge purchasers to support the Council for the Protection of Rural England.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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