Exposé Online banner

Tales — Marco Polo - A Life for a Dream
(Somewhere in Time SIT9904, 1999, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2000-10-01

Marco Polo - A Life for a Dream Cover art

For his fourth concept album, French sysnthesist Jean-Luc Hervé Berthelot turns his attention from outer space to Earthly history, presenting almost an hour of music inspired by the story of the famous merchant explorer. Since the music is all instrumental, however, it could be inspired by a Sahara sunset or even a pet iguana and not make a difference except to the person designing the cover art. There are a few musical touches that indicate the setting, like sampled sitar and wooden flute, but synthesizers provide the bulk of the sound, which is generally sparse and nearly lacking tempo. The production, which can make or break a recording this subtle, is excellent, with a pristine sound that seems to expand for miles. Berthelot seems to be quite adamant about the methods he uses to produce his music. The liner notes clearly proclaim that no sequencing was used on the project and all sounds were recorded in real time. My personal philosophy on this has always been that if the listener can't tell, it doesn't matter. I'm willing to accept it either way — it's the result that counts. One night I sat listening to this disc and reading the latest installment of Robert Silverberg's Majipoor science fiction epic, and found the music to be a perfect compliment to the exotic setting of the story. Under other circumstances, I've found the long sweeping chords, echoing textures, and wandering lack of energy to be quite annoying. For me at least, this music is great when I'm in the mood for it, but intolerable at other times.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 20, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Jean-Luc Hervé Berthelot / Tales

Latest news

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ian McDonald - Drivers Eyes – Let us take a long journey back through the ether to advent of progressive rock. Who do you see lurking around in the shadows? Well one person was Ian McDonald whose group, King Crimson, was a magic...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues