Image © 2000
New World Music
(04 September 2000) Terry Oldfield's 19th album Across The Universe
(New World Music (UK) NWCD 489, 2000) "is about the yearning to be free that
becomes so much a part of Human Condition as we travel the pathways of liberation."
In contrast to his earlier projects, three of the five tracks feature stunning
vocal contributions from sopranos Juliana and another named Karen Debbonnaire.
Instrumentals are played and arranged by Terry Oldfield and include parts on
low whistle, flute, piano, percussion and keyboards. Further instrumentals
include shakuhachi, temple bell, pan pipes. Peter Rosser contributes piano
to "Sun In My Eyes" and "When", to which Rhonda Oldfield contributes backing
With only five tracks to the album, each one is epic in proportion.
Relaxing new age, soundtrack-oriented instrumentals dominate the mix but
lovely vocals contribute to the expressive texture of the album.
Juliana's lovely soprano vocals inspire the listener on the title track
ballad that opens the album. Crystalline clear and flute-like in texture,
the lyrics are sung over soft electronic accompaniment before flute
and low whistle parts begin. The track builds in depth with rich new
age sailing-oriented arrangements that pass the melody from voice to
whistle to keyboard. Juliana's voice is most reminscent of Eimear Quinn
in clarity, style and texture. A children's choir (Lana and Hallam
Robinson and Eilidh Debbonnaire) adds texture to the chorus as the
track comes to its conclusion.
Steven Page wrote, "'From the Heart' has a feel to
it that is similar to that of Terry's earlier albums Cascade
Reverence. It opens with some wonderfully peaceful natural
sounds. Terry's flute comes in and you immediately find yourself
drifting with the music. It most definitely tugs on your heart strings
and fills you with all kinds of emotions."
The album's third track "When," while full of woodwind textures, is
complimented by the whispy tone of Karen Debonnaire's lead vocal and
the layered vocal choir. Sung in the style and textue of Márie
Brennan, Enya or Shanon (Ronan Hardiman's project), it is a lovely new
age ballad with several movements each rhytmically different that will
delight female vocal enthusiasts. The new age ballad "Sun In My Eyes"
is vocally even richer, with Karen demonstrating the crystalline
texture that she can achieve over light flute and acoustic guitar
accompaniment. The interplay between lead vocal and flute melodies is
dramatic and evocative. The instrumental "Down to Earth" features a
lovely reprise of the title track and concludes the album.
You can find further information, listen to soundbites and order
Terry Oldfield's album Across The Universe at his official
and at the New World Music label
website. A new age album with plenty of female vocals that
should entice Máire Brennan, Enya and Shanon enthusiasts, it should
be explored further. Worth a journey it is a nice and relaxing