Fresh Aire V

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Carol Wright
This ambitious fifth album in the Mannheim Steamroller Fresh Aire series leaves earth-bound themes behind to blast off into the cosmos. Composer Chip Davis's signature electro-Renaissance-rock ensemble is expanded to include the London Symphony Orchestra and the Cambridge Singers. Here, Davis's concept is atypically unified: The musical narrative draws inspiration from Johannes Kepler's book, The Dream, a fanciful tale from 1609 of archaic astronomy and human travel to the moon. And the mode of transportation? Being shot from a cannon, of course. Phrases from the story inspire the album's musical movements, opening with the innocent plainsong "Lumen" sung by the ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Carol Wright
This ambitious fifth album in the Mannheim Steamroller Fresh Aire series leaves earth-bound themes behind to blast off into the cosmos. Composer Chip Davis's signature electro-Renaissance-rock ensemble is expanded to include the London Symphony Orchestra and the Cambridge Singers. Here, Davis's concept is atypically unified: The musical narrative draws inspiration from Johannes Kepler's book, The Dream, a fanciful tale from 1609 of archaic astronomy and human travel to the moon. And the mode of transportation? Being shot from a cannon, of course. Phrases from the story inspire the album's musical movements, opening with the innocent plainsong "Lumen" sung by the Cambridge Singers. "Escape from the Atmosphere" blasts off with an orchestral detonation, then builds with Davis's propulsive drums, a groovin' bass, keyboards, harpsichord, and plenty of brass. The music drifts into an echo as our human bullet reaches space, floating on a dreamy melody lead by the piano. "Dancin' in the Stars" inspires you to do a joyous swing, featuring the usual MS harpsichord, and "Z-Row Gravity" features spacey and mechanistic synthesizer effects. Other highlights include the delicate tiptoe tones of "Creatures of Levania," the dramatic fanfare of brass, drums, and orchestra signaling the sight of the "Earthrise," and the celebratory full-ensemble "Return" lead by the buoyant hammered dulcimer. The final, half-minute track, "The Storm," contains only rain-and-thunder sounds to awaken the listener from the vision. Davis's arrangements are deftly executed, colorful, and evocative -- a fun album from blastoff to home landing.
All Music Guide - Dave Connolly
Having exhausted the four seasons, Chip Davis turned to Johannes Kepler's account of a trip to the moon, The Dream, for the theme to Fresh Aire V. Fans may recall that Fresh Aire 4 featured a song of the same name, implying in the album artwork that Kepler's book had induced a reverie by the fireside. Fresh Aire V is that reverie revealed in its full length, detailing on the first side of music the trip to the moon, and on the second side an account of events on the moon. As might be expected, the musical landscapes of the moon and winter lean heavily on synthesizers, so in many ways it's like Mannheim Steamroller never left. The difference here is the addition of the London Symphony guess the Omaha Symphony was busy that day and the Cambridge Singers, two revered institutions that Davis puts to full use in place of his usual medieval colors. The opening, "Lumen," is unlike anything Mannheim had done to date: a choral piece that sounds medieval, but forsakes the usual up-tempo entrée for a dour, mystical experience. As it turns out, Mannheim merely moved the usual intro up one spot, to the spirited "Escape From the Atmosphere." Yet the medieval, progressive rock of earlier work never makes an appearance; instead, Mannheim sounds more like the Alan Parsons Project than Rick Wakeman when action or emotion are the tasks at hand, Vangelis when trying to paint spacescapes. Despite some genuinely good sections, such as the classically scored "Earth Rise" with its shades of Ben Hur and the oddly charming "Creatures of Levania," much of Fresh Aire V sounds like music for an imaginary television series. In the post-Chariots landscape of 1983, Mannheim Steamroller can be forgiven for trying to bridge electronic and classical sounds, but Davis' classical aspirations seem lightweight on the moon, especially compared to artists who have long since grown acclimated to space, like Tangerine Dream and Vangelis.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/12/2000
  • Label: American Gramaphone
  • UPC: 012805500524
  • Catalog Number: 5005
  • Sales rank: 127,457

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Lumen - Cambridge Singers (1:29)
  2. 2 Escape from the Atmosphere - Cambridge Singers (10:38)
  3. 3 Dancin' in the Stars - Cambridge Singers (5:13)
  4. 4 Z-Row Gravity - Cambridge Singers (3:50)
  5. 5 Creatures of Levania - Cambridge Singers (3:51)
  6. 6 Earthrise/Return - Cambridge Singers (8:58)
  7. 7 The Storm (0:42)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Mannheim Steamroller Primary Artist, Primary Artist
John Rutter Choir Master
Jackson Berky Keyboards
London Symphony Orchestra Track Performer
Cambridge Singers Track Performer
Chip Davis Percussion, Conductor
Eric Hansen Electric Bass
Technical Credits
John Richards Engineer
Don Sears Engineer
Jim Wheeler Engineer
Tim Pennington Engineer
Don Sear Engineer
Gilbert Williams Art Direction, Paintings
Mark Coniglio Programming, Program Sequencer
Steve Ozaydin Engineer
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