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Tom Newman - Faerie Symphony CD (album) cover


Tom Newman


Crossover Prog

2.86 | 18 ratings

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2 stars Widely known as being the producer of Mike Oldfield's groundbreaking ''Tubular bells'', Tom Newman was born in 1943 in a small suburb of London to Irish mother and a second generation Russian-Jewish father.He got married at the age of 22, around the time he was performing with the Psych outfit Tomcats, which would evolve into the short-lived Psychedelic Rock act July in late-60's.At the beginning of the 70's he met Virgin's future leader Richard Branson and both collaborated for the constrcuction of The Manor Studios in Oxford.He would soon meet a young Mike Oldfield and produce his now highly-acclaimed debut.Newman himself had his own solo album out in 1975 on Virgin, ''Fine Old Tom'', his last collaboration with the mega label.In 1977 he returned with a huge line-up and a second personal album on Decca, entitled ''Faerie symphony'', featuring among others his old July bandmate and future Jade Warrior member Jon Field.

A pretty minimalistic and ethereal affair, ''Faerie symphony'' sounds like a mix of Psychedelic/Folk, a bit close to PETE FINE's or PAUL BRETT's solo works, with pre-New Age stylings, that lack dynamics and passion, instead Newman, who handles multiple instruments in this work, tries to build folky, dark textures in a cinematic way.His work with MIKE OLDFIELD seems to have inspired him as well, though the album sounds more like a late-60's/early-70's work than a more recent offering.Plenty of acoustic instruments blended with traditional British sounds recall Newman's Irish roots in an archaic Celtic mood, containg lots of flutes, percussion, bagpipes, oboe, harp and violins.These deliver a very rural atmosphere with a strong psychedelic approach.Parts of the album contain light orchestral textures with strings and very mellow keyboards.Only a pair of the short arrangements are closing the rock territories with some decent electric guitar solos in the vein of MIKE OLDFIELD and DAN AR BRAZ.Combined with some nice Celtic tunes out of the grandiose bagpipes these seem to be the most passionate passages of an album, that otherwise sounds very hypnotic and extremely ethereal.

''Faerie symphony'' seems at moments to be totally out-of-date, while the lack of serious melodies and the overall very minimalistic soundscapes do not help either.This album would strictly appeal to fans of dated Psychedelic Folk, loving acid and trippy atmospheres and do not mind the absence of rich instrumental movements.

apps79 | 2/5 |


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