• Sylvain Lupari

ROBERT FOX: Timeless Vol 2 (Best of Robert Fox 2005-2022) (2022)

Updated: Jul 21

Hugs and kisses to an astral friend whose music has always moved me

1 Earth 3:18

2 Dream State 5:44

3 Desert Song 5:33

4 Kindred Spirit 6:15

5 The Temple 4:11

6 Dirty Old Train 4:50

7 Pieta, Pt. 1 4:07

8 The Devil's Puzzle 6:09

9 Resurrection 2:08

10 Sceptered Isle 4:47

11 Icarus 6:57

12 Woodland Carpet in Blue 4:13

13 Cathedral 4:57

14 The Serpent's Tail 5:38

15 Another Time Another Place 4:46

16 Persian Sunset 5:25

AD Music - AD230CD

(CD/DDL 79:00) (V.F.)

(New Age EM Cinema)

Like the first compilation, Timeless (Best of Robert Fox 1991-2005), TIMELESS VOL 2 (Best of Robert Fox 2005-2022) is an overview of 10 albums, the last 10 ones of Robert Fox's career. It follows a press release issued by the management of the AD Music label on the precarious state of health of the brilliant English melodist. Presented in a remastered sound envelope, this second compilation flows between the ears with an improved sonic clarity compared to the original albums, especially from Maya to Still Waters. The sound is less dark, and the orchestrations are more refined. The music is still in narrative style with verse and chorus without words in a darker musical vision compared to the previous albums of the England musician since these years served as a springboard to more concept albums and works of dark and pastoral character.

The drones that are at the origin of Earth fade away to offer beautiful orchestrations that cover distant muffled explosions. Taken from a concept album inspired by Michael Robinson's native poetry book; Touching the Serpent's Tail, this ambient track loses its luster when taking apart from its concept source. But no matter, the orchestrations are like seraphic chants. They flow between our ears like those generic images from a documentary about indigenous peoples as the synth and the voices unite their emotion by humming a celestial tune. Cut by half of its original time, Dream State screws us a splendid melody to make a rock mine bawl with a piano which pours its tears on the airs of a plaintive violin. We cannot make more sensitive than here but there is plenty of these moments in this compilation. And the news of the precarious state of health of Robert Fox overdraws our level of emotion on this very beautiful title which develops in a seductive downtempo around the 4th minute. Desert Song also offers a Native American tribal essence that follows very well the first two tracks of TIMELESS VOL 2 (Best of Robert Fox 2005-2022). Its rhythm is slow and as bewitching as the incantations and the fluty chant. The album Maya also nests on this second compilation by the presence of Kindred Spirit. Always meticulous in his arrangements, the native of Newcastle begins the title by depositing melodious pads of synthesizer which stick with a structure of electronic rock. The rhythm gallops steadily through the mysteries of the gothic with a touch of Enigma in the voices. Taken from the Easter ode Adonai, The Temple takes the musical paths of a tribal party with nice flutes that are accompanied by guitars and more uplifting voices. The structure becomes sibylline with its opaque musical veil and arrangements that waddle over metronomic percussions. From the Evergreen album, Dirty Old Train reorients the music towards New Age with a smooth rhythm that flows under a good synth/piano combination. It's a bit clashing, especially since Pieta, Pt. 1, also from Adonai, begins with a thunderous blast that awakens a choir of female voices chanting a holy ode. Muffled echoes of percussions stimulate a very good downtempo that makes our hips move in an atmosphere as sibylline as pious. Another track from Adonai, the short and intense Resurrection used to close this album with an atmospheric vision as esoteric as angelic.

The first impression that comes when listening to the opening of The Devil's Puzzle is to hear some Mike Oldfield in his period of The Songs of the Distant Earth. And then comes this piano that unfolds its keys in a texture that reminds us that Robert once played with Code Indigo. The rhythm settles with the fragility of a wooden metronome before biting into an intense passage dominated by the harmonic series of a piano and letting itself go in a vision of Caribbean rhythm. The xylophone makes us dance on the wings of a cloud of violins with lento flights in a second part that is more intense and animated. Too bad, this is the only track that represents the excellent and last album of Robert Fox, House of Chimes. His waves of water overflow to Sceptred Isle which opens Evergreen with a beautiful seraphic vision where the pensive pianist crumbles his sorrow in Vangelis-like orchestrations that would make you weep. Woodland Carpet in Blue also comes from this album that I must discover because what I hear in this compilation is very beautiful. The track offers this synth that laments like a weeping violin on a rhythm that undulates idly under orchestrations. Arabian scents envelop this music that becomes always a little more energetic. It sounds a bit like Tangerine Dream in a vision of New Age electronic rock but with more emotion. Icarus, from Short Stories, is a good ballad driven by a light tribal rhythm where a synth/violin combination wails. The violin has a gypsy approach and drags its melancholy over a good arrangement of hand percussions. Cathedral is a short excerpt from the album of the same name and highlights the angelic and angry moods of an ecclesiastical universe. The Serpent's Tail, a superb track that ended the album Touching the Serpents Tail, proposes a floating opening to end up embracing a kind of Electronica in gestation. A stylized Code Indigo and Delirium-like rhythm that is backed by pounding drums. The synth is stunning with some great harmonious solos. Still from the same album, Another Time, Another Place is a sweet melody that travels on a keyboard whose arpeggios swirl on its light rhythm that becomes hostage of other good synth solos always melodious and inspired. Persian Sunset could be the finale of any of the 10 albums, except Cathedral, that make up this compilation. Its melancholic tone, its arrangements and this keyboard which makes tinkle its keys like a metronome subjugate as much as this piercing voice which dominates the ambiences. Tender and moving, we just have to hope that Robert Fox will get better.

This last sentence explains the dimension of this brilliant melodist from Newcastle who has never makes any compromises in order to create an electronic music (EM) of his own. A style that flirts as much with the pastoral as the gothic universe and New Age with a hint of melodic approaches to make stirring the foundation of our souls. Although TIMELESS VOL 2 (Best of Robert Fox 2005-2022) covers a more introspective period of Robert Fox's life, with a darker and more textural music in its many emotional denouements, it comes out with 15 gems that explain why he is said to be the Vangelis of England. I sincerely hope for better days for Robert with the prospect that in 10 years another Timeless will be out. Hugs and kisses to an astral friend whose music has always moved me. I wish the same to those who should discover it with this other superb compilation skillfully produced by David Wright.

Sylvain Lupari (July 21st, 2022) *****

SynthSequences.com

Available at AD Music

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