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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Rime Of The Ancient Sampler - The Mellotron Album CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)


Various Genres

2.97 | 6 ratings

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2 stars Mellotron Overload!

Back in 1993 I read in a magazine that this was about to be released and I thought "I wantsss it, yesss" because: 1 - I love Mellotron; 2 - I love Woolly Wolstenholme & Mike Pinder. Back then, the Mellotron had long gone off my radar and both Pinder and Wolstenholme had left the industry, so it seemed a way of recapturing something of that 70s magic. Alas ....

Rime Of The Ancient Sampler is a compilation of tracks donated by a variety of artists, all of whom have some sort of connection with the Mellotron in its many forms. Most will be familiar to PA members in one way or another, such as luminaries Patrick Moraz, Blue Weaver and David Cross in addition to Pinder and Wolstenholme, but no Tony Banks. I am not sure how many of these tracks were recorded specially for the album: I believe Pinder's is a special recording, whereas Wolstenholme plucked something from the archives. Of the others I have no idea!

Of the 17 tracks [not counting the final 'El Cumbanchero' taken from the 1964 demonstration disc], only one has a vocal. The best instrumental is Gordon Reid's 'Julia' which uses classic Tron-flutes and strings with a throbbing synth bass underpinning some meaty guitar licks in a Prog-like framework, and Derek Holt's atmospheric 'Resurrection', another guitar based piece which has a husky voice repeating "aaaah" at intervals. Overall though, the outstanding track on the album, both because it is so good and because it is so different from everything else here, is Woolly Wolstenholme's 'Deceiver's All', a classic Woolly song with Mellotron based keys and soaring guitars. My only criticism of Deceiver's All is the mix could have been better as his voice is not prominent enough, otherwise it is amongst his best.

The remainder are bland, insipid, laid-back going-nowhere saying-nothing exercises in high-gloss well-produced padding, suitable as background for middle-aged dinner parties I imagine. Uninspired and forgettable. And, sadly, that includes Moraz, Weaver and Pinder. Maybe I am being a bit harsh here, but I am not a fan of smooth keyboard-and-sequencer instrumental music which exists purely for its own sake - it starts, it noodles about, then it ends and it all seems so inconsequential. Sure, it might be pleasant enough, but some of it is only a stone's throw away from those awful mood music CDs you see in displays at garden centres. Very disappointing indeed. There are exceptions: Ken Freeman's has a nice melody from various Tron-choirs and a little get-up-and-go about it and David Etheridge incorporates excerpts of some familiar themes like Strawberry Fields and Nights In White Satin in his piece.

All in all, Woolly's contribution aside, not a lot to get excited about on the music front. You do at least get lots of lovely Mellotron in its many guises, including Birotron and Chamberlain, but is that enough? Not for me, it isn't. Sorry, gotta go with the thumbs-downers - deux point [but only thanks to Woolly]!

Joolz | 2/5 |


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