Review: Crystal Dreamscapes

Artists: Orpheus, Marcel Donné, O2, Boz

Price: £7.99 (

Independent Review by Andrew Fisher, Freelance Writer

(Listen to CD in lo-fi)
Crystal Dreamscapes CD

To call something New Age Music has become both a cliché and a put-down. Usually, the people listening to it on TV are portrayed as hippies or stressed women about to give birth. When an artist from the genre becomes mainstream, they are accused of selling out. Orpheus has taken a different approach with this, his first release.

CRYSTAL DREAMSCAPES looks superb with suitably dream-like images on the CD cover & inlay by Steve Baztd Barrett. Many of the tunes are partly based on music originally composed for the Commodore 64, with the original musicians fully credited.

Here and there you can also hear the important influences behind the style of the album; Nebulae Drift by guest musician Marcel Donné is reminiscent of Equinoxe by Jean-Michel Jarre, Cosmic Carousel (Ark Pandora) could have been written by Mike Oldfield. Knowing the original Commodore tunes well, I am impressed by how they have been covered in this way, while the new pieces create a calming atmosphere.

The whole album conjures up images for me, from the underwater sound of Parallax Visions (Parallax Stroll), to the changing moods of Dark Before Dawn (Trap). The second half is particularly soothing, from the shimmering Into The Light (Wizball) to the gentle Welcome Home (LED Storm High Score). The hidden track, an excerpt from Morning by Greig, is a very appropriate ending.

The sounds are subtle, the arrangements never too complex or too distracting. Having heard a preview of the album before its release, Chris Abbott has worked hard to polish these 12 crystals into a final product that shines.

There is no rating because if you like New Age music, you should buy it. Then you can lie back and listen to an album that will help you relax. It may be a cliché, but that is what it is for.