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Mario Millo - Jon English & Mario Millo: Against The Wind original soundtrack CD (album) cover

JON ENGLISH & MARIO MILLO: AGAINST THE WIND ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Mario Millo

Symphonic Prog


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3 stars Like most soundtrack music, this is designed as background, and as such makes few demands on the listener - Millo and English for the most part keep the music simple and unobtrusive. Jon English (who also starred in the mini-series) composed the title theme, in obvious pastiche of a traditional Anglo- Celtic folk song, and that tune reappears throughout the soundtrack - in instrumental form on tin whistle on the title track, and in two vocal versions ("Six Ribbons", which would become English's biggest hit). Millo is responsible for the rest of the soundtrack, but frequently works English's theme into his compositions, transposing it into the major mode of the obviously titled "Main Theme Major"; more impressively, transforming it completely in the two longest and most dramatic tracks, "Seeds of Fire" and "Death or Liberty". Those latter tracks are the moments that most closely approach in quality Millo's work with Sebastian Hardie. The rest of the time he stays close in style to the faux-Celtic flavour of English's title track, for example on "Mary's Theme" which manages to sound like yet another variation on Six Ribbons even though the tune is not used. A very different arrangement of Mary's Theme would of course appear on his subsequent solo debut Epic III - another tune that would recur was "Waltz Theme", which appears on the latter album as "Harlequin and Columbine" - the version here is completely instrumental, with Millo's distinctive melodic guitar covering the vocal melody. "Dinny & Ngilgi" marries a faux-Celtic reel with an even-more-faux-Aboriginal-style droning section. Nothing spectacular here, but a pleasant listen, and at least two tracks that are of genuine interest for fans of Millo's work with Sebastian Hardie

(Apologies for the lack of detail in the musicians' listing - I have added and reviewed this album based on a cassette edition, one of those cheapies which has the cover art, the track listing and nothing else, and it is thanks to Google that you have any musician's names at all)

Report this review (#845926)
Posted Saturday, October 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
Matti
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Well, first I have to confess that my relationship to this LP is very intimately personal: it was being played in a candle-lit room when I entered the world of romance, first kisses and all that. And naturally the music would still raise warm memories, preventing me to judge it with absolute objectivity, but I do my best. Actually the bigger problem is that I haven't heard it completely for a couple of decades (sadly I haven't seen it on CD anywhere). The background of this music's reception goes further, as the TV series was seen in Finland sometimes in my early teens. Hopefully it will reappear one fine day, because I believe it was a good one. It's about people who struggle their lives in Australia, where criminals and other misfortunate people were sent by the British goverment in the Empire days. It stars Jon English who sings on this soundtrack.

Many will remember the love song 'Six Ribbons'. It's a very beautiful, folkish ballad. It is sung in two different versions and also its melody is recycled here and there in the instrumental pieces. The rest of the album, as far as I remember, is instrumental, composed by Mario Millo, Australia's most important prog figure in the 70's, I presume? It is mainly orchestrated as film music usually is, but not just that. Acoustic guitars, flute and synths are present, maybe some folky instruments as well (I really should hear it again...). Anyway, I remember taping the whole - at least nearly all - album and thinking it was surprisingly good on its own, without the TV series (or love life, ha ha!). On that ground I can rate it 3,5 stars.

Of course it can be pointed out that it's not a prog album even if it's here, but hardly anyone expects it to be. It's a good soundtrack album, way better that the large majority of soundtracks. There's both warm emotion and intensive drama - and maybe the long ending number 'Death Or Liberty' did get quite progressive too! 'Waltz Theme (The Women Are Chosen)' is really charming. Recommended to listeners of film music and delicate, pastoral instrumental music - if you can find it.

Report this review (#846887)
Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Review Permalink

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