Sometimes a cover artwork tells little or nothing about the music inside – and sometimes it tells the whole story. The cover of RedHeat’s new release “Origins” contains a picture of deep space combined with a part of a tubular bell – famously used in Mike Oldfield’s 1973 bestselling album. At first glance, it looks eclectic, or even eccentric. But when you get to know the album, you’ll see that it is like a decryption code to RedHeat’s world of music. Read on to learn more about this fascinating, bold and different piece of music!
Redheat is a British contemporary musician and composer specializing in instrumental epics. “Origins” is designed to be played end to end, with each piece flowing into the next for an hour of soothing relaxation, promoting mental wellness through mental stimulation with uplifting themes interspersed with gentle meditative parts.
Return to Marwinia
The album opener is called “Return to Marwinia (Excerpt).” Fans of Mike Oldfield will immediately be greeted by a familiar sound; I’m extremely impressed by RedHeat’s adaptation of Oldfield’s quite complex musical expression. It even has the same playfulness and humor; I found myself expecting a caveman to appear (spoiler alert; there’s no caveman…). At the same time I must stress that this is not a MO tribute recording, but an original work of art. You don’t have to be a Mike Oldfield fan to enjoy “Origins.”
“Return to Marwinia (Excerpt)” has the atmosphere of a fantasy novel. Flutes and guitars guide us into a magical world. There are many nice twists and turns, and I very much enjoy the intertwining melodies. There’s even a talking spaceman in the end, making me change the scenery from fantasy to sci-fi in my mind. The 8-minute-long song seems to fly away, confirming that “Origins” is off to a promising start!
Just a Robot
Next song is “In the Light.” It has the coolness and attitude of a 1970s rock song, something by The Doors perhaps. But when the xylophone part comes on, Jim Morrison is all forgotten, and we are safely back in Oldfield’s realm. It all could have been a segment of “Return to Ommadawn,” it is that good. RedHeat is definitely on par with the master himself, pushing the boundaries of music and creativity.
“Origins” flows beautifully as one track, and before we know it a robot is on to us! “Just a Robot” has a delightful squeaky sound and a rhythm custom-made for robot dancing. There are also some delicate Eastern flavors here, confirming that the robot has a Made in China sticker.
There’s a back story to the next song that deserves to be told. RedHeat writes: “Falcon Heavy was composed on the night that SpaceX launched and broadcast the very first Falcon Heavy rocket carrying Elon Musk’s old Tesla Roadster with the now iconic spaceman at the wheel. As such, this piece is a personal reflection of the time, greatly inspired by the spectacular views of Earth broadcast live from the rocket and the Roadster as it was launched into space.” The almost nine-minute long song is like an EP within the album, taking us on a memorable trip into space. RedHeat captures the atmosphere of Musk’s ambitious project perfectly.
On “Upon Horseback” we are safely back on Earth, getting ready for a ride. Here a Mike Oldfield quote seems fitting: “In summer, winter, rain or sun, it is good to be on horseback.” It is a fabulous piece! RedHeat explores melodic elements that are dear to all Oldfield fans, and adds some nice and personal effects (like the chiptune intro). It all has the quality of “Return to Ommadawn”, it is that good. The song effortlessly flows into “Tubular Dogs”. My only comment here is: “Isn’t that charming? Do you know, I really feel I could dance! Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha” (Margaret Thatcher voice, Mike Oldfield’s “Amarok”, 1990).
If you think “Origins” is an Oldfield tribute album, the next song will change your mind. “Thinking Time” is a fast, ambient styled song with a fascinating atmosphere. This is thinking on a grand, Big Bang scale. Time truly feels relative while listening to it. I very much like the reverb effect and how the lead synth bounces from side to side. It is so fast that it almost can’t keep track with the rest of the rhythm.
“Aether” takes us back into space, on an epic mission. The analogue sounding strings give the song a larger-than-life feel, a touch of Jean Michel Jarre. It also has a lovely playful vibe, with both spaceman chatter, statics and computer game effects.
This episode of New Age Stars on Mixcloud is dedicated to RedHeat:
Before we know it “Be Geezy” has taken over the stage. The song is built around an incredible synth effect, a distorted techno bell, and a bright piano and fresh rhythm fill in nicely. It is excellent sound design. “Digi Hastus, V 1.0” takes it even further, showing RedHeat’s impressive skills as a sound producer. “The Cassini Theme” ends the album with the same precision as space probe, which plummeted into Saturn on September 15, 2017 – successfully completing Cassini-Huygens’ multi-decade mission.
In conclusion: I’ll end this review where I started; focusing on the cover. “Origins” by RedHeat is a fresh, bold and innovative release, perfect for stargazing, dreaming and thinking. The cover shows a part of a tubular bell, which indicates the importance of Mike Oldfield’s music. But it is only a part of the picture, “Origins” is so much more. A Lao Tzu quote springs to mind: “Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.” “Origins” takes us there, into space and back, reminding us not to take it all too seriously. Let’s “Be Geezy”!
Score: 94/100 – See how I rate music here
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