ROBERT FOX: Timeless (Best of Robert Fox 1991-2005) (2005)
Updated: Jul 20
“A very good compilation that can be listened from one end to the other...”
1 Thundering Water (Niagra) 3:49
2 Queen of Hearts 6:38
3 3 Sisters 4:40
4 FourSixZero 4:51
5 Over Turquoise Seas 6:21
6 Water Music 3:48
7 Heavens Gate 4:41
8 And All Shall be Well 4:36
9 Brother Earth 4:08
10 Angel 5:30
11 Half Heard in the Stillness 4:40
12 Somewhere Out There 5:25
13 White Man Dreaming 6:56
14 Moving On 3:40
15 Ascension 6:40
(CD/DDL 76:23) (V.F.)
(New Age EM Cinema)
I recently learned that Robert Fox had serious health problems. It's in the wake of this news that the label AD Music released a second compilation of his music entitled Timeless Vol 2 (Best of 2005-2022). But what could be better than to talk about his first compilation released in 2005 before talking about this one? TIMELESS (Best of Robert Fox 1991-2005) covers the period of Asfafa to Maya albums and shows the very eclectic style of the English musician who was inspired as much by literature as by his personal experiences and his numerous travels. I know very little about this period of the Newcastle musician that I discovered a bit later in his career with his album Touching the Serpents Tail which was released 2 years after Maya. No matter, the style has not changed much! Exceptional melodist, he proposes compositions which are well structured and supported by silky orchestrations and whose style can compete with the Miramar period of Tangerine Dream as well as Arista/EastWest one of Vangelis with a very Enigma side for the chants and the rhythmic orchestrations.
It's a cinematographic Babylonian overture that opens the splendid Thundering Water (Niagra). Orchestrations at the same time slow and jerky on symphonic drums rolls, the title slides towards a melodious texture which makes very Vangelis of the 1492 Conquest of Paradise time. Already chills come from our soul! Each track blends into the other in this TIMELESS (Best of Robert Fox 1991-2005), making us feel as if we are listening to a long lyrical story without words. Thus, Queen of Hearts has a strange percussive clock that structures a slow and bewitching rhythm. It sounds like blows on an anvil covered of a wood texture. The keyboard weaves a melody which is rolling over orchestrations that dance like leaves caught in swirling winds. Silky orchestral arrangements propel the flying rhythm of 3 Sisters which has a slight oriental feel with a nice melody tied on a romantic keyboard. Robert Fox adds vocals and organic effects for a dramatic finale. Over Turquoise Seas is of the same genre being more airy and less dramatic. The influence of Vangelis is noticeable in the compositional structure and the orchestrations. The splendid and very ethereal And All Shall be Well is a beautiful proof. What a great chills provider! In spite of his romantic side, the English keyboardist knows how to produce a more refined music, as shown by the Berber structure of FourSixZero. A big track with a driving rhythm that borders on Electronica with a synth that places its musical stanzas in other soul-stirring orchestrations. The textures of the gregarious voices and of danceable orchestrations flirt with Enigma territory.
With more jerky orchestrations, Heavens Gate is in the same genre. Water Music offers more of an Easy Listening style of electronic rock with a line of keyboard riffs in a watery texture that envelops a melodic vision of a Miramar years' TD mode keyboardist. Brother Earth offers a Middle Eastern tribal texture with orchestrations whose rhythmic waltz movements are well stimulated by a huge play of electronic percussions. An electronic tribal rock that the keyboard feeds of a circular melodic structure in its last third. As far as rhythmic orchestrations are concerned, a title like Angel does not give its place. An excellent track that also flirts with Enigma essences. The same can be said of Half Heard in the Stillness and its choir of altar boys from a luciferian parish. Its melody is as haunting as Halloween's, it sounds so close to it, played by Mark Shreeve in the time of his album Legion. The piano that drives the opening of Somewhere Out There blends brilliantly with this setting, especially with the accompanying lugubrious sound effects. The track takes a more upbeat tangent with a slightly driving beat that hops around under thick blades of mist and which is closer to electronic. The melody is struck by arpeggios of glass and swirls through this thick mass of orchestrations, keyboard riffs and absent voices. Its finale veers off on a more rocking tangent while still having a dramatic essence. White Man Dreaming's echoing percussion effect structures a slow rhythm with an almost tribal essence. A good misty flute playing under thick orchestrations, as slow as the rhythm, adds a Middle Eastern flavor at times. Moving On has a bucolic feel with a rhythmic melody strummed on an acoustic guitar. We tap our feet in a vision of ourselves around a campfire. A pan flute adds a New Age touch that a keyboard further roots with another rhythmic melody structure. Ascension ends this first compilation of Robert Fox with a music having the same level of emotions as Thundering Water (Niagra). Less pharaonic, the orchestrations whisper as they structure a slow movement that directs the piano to a melody beautiful enough to make a rock cry. Very beautiful!
So much for this 1st compilation of Robert Fox! With its 15 tracks spread over more than 76 minutes of inspired and inspiring electronic music, TIMELESS (Best of Robert Fox 1991-2005) does the right thing by proposing the various musical orientations that mark the first 10 albums of the English musician on AD Music. There is something for every taste and each style shows his immense talent as a melodist. A very good compilation that can be listened from one end to the other and whose diversity in styles is like a musical breeze on a sunny Sunday.
Sylvain Lupari (July 20th, 2022) *****
Available at AD Music