Goodbye to the Greenlands by Michael Neil

Michael Neil

Goodbye to the Greenlands

4 tracks

Running time: 0:53:51
Released: 06/1991

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  01   Goodbye to the Greenlands - 10:12
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  02   Spirit of Singing Waters - 9:26
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  03   John 3-8 - 10:30
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  04   In the Darkest Hours - 23:43
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The beginning of the title track is full of shimmering drones which are oh so soft and delicate. Gradually they become more melodic, the stunning beauty of the whole thing increasing by the second. Just close your eyes, let your soul be healed and heart filled with joy. This is much more fanciful than my usual review but then this is no ordinary album. No one else I know produces music like this, so full of emotion, a bitter sweet combination of melancholy but also great hope all mixed together is a deeply spiritual way. Appropriately, 'Spirit of Singing Waters' abounds with fine flowing tinkling notes. It is like having fine warm water falling on you from above. It's all so refreshing but emotionally stimulating at the same time. As things go on darker elements seem to intrude adding a sense of unease. It's as if the skies are clouding with the warning of an oncoming storm. 'John 3:8' uses the most wonderful sounds, sort of half vocal, half orchestral strings. As with the opener, layback and let the stresses of the day be taken away.

More wondrous sounds get 'In the Darkest Hours' underway. Again there is a deep reverberating vocal quality to them. It's like the sounds from a church echoing over the valleys and being heard many miles away. A couple of minutes later these fade and things become very ethereal, punctuated by little cosmic twitters and effects. A lonesome flute can be heard bringing us back down to Earth. It is now as if we are looking up at the night sky from some primitive but tropical land. The flute departs as we get lost in our gaze at the clear starry sky, almost hypnotised by the beauty, letting the immensity of it seep into our consciousness. The music fades to almost silence. Tinkling note droplets shine out like the Sun rising above the horizon. Slowly, so very slowly, we start to emerge from our trance like state. The flute returns but much more urgent than before. We have shaken off our dreams and are starting on the business of another day. There are no drums and hardly any sequences on this album, just some of the finest atmospheric music you will ever hear. Each track is constantly shifting and more than maintains the interest throughout. Indeed it is quite incredible how quickly this album seems to be over.

'...Greenlands' was originally released as Michael's first CD. He is a huge talent, indeed one of the greatest Electronic Music composers to come out of the UK but because he is not exactly prolific, doesn't perform (or at least has not done so in many years), or push himself forward as others do he has not had the recognition he deserves. If you are into fine atmospheric music then this is an essential purchase. When you have this I am sure you will search out any album by him you can. (DL)