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Songs From Before

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

Price: CDN$ 147.03
Only 1 left in stock.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Sept. 28 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Fat Cat
  • ASIN: B000HDR9B8
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #111,433 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Song
2. Flowers For Yulia
3. Fragment
4. Harmonium
5. Ionosphere
6. Autumn Music
7. Time Passing
8. Sunlight
9. Lullaby
10. Autumn Music
11. Verses
12. From the Rue Vilin

Product Description

Deluxe 180gm vinyl LP pressing of this 2006 Max Richter album, Punctuated by Robert Wyatt's distinctive, understated readings of Haruki Murakami's, 'Songs From Before' utilizes piano, cello, violin and viola, with Max playing piano, mixing and producing. The music evokes forgotten memories or lost histories, a series of bittersweet articulations that seem suspended somewhere between a dreamy sense of awe and melancholia. Fat Cat.

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Format: Audio CD
Max Richter's follow up to the most excellent "The Blue Notebooks" feels directionless, rushed and uninspired. One can't help but think that Max attempted to fulfill a contractual obligation by taking a the table scraps from his previous record and stretching it into an album piecemeal. At roughly 37 minutes, this could very well be the case. The pretentious text readings are back and this time unforgivable. In place of Tilda Swinton, we have Robert Wyatt's goofy, almost inaudible mumbling through text by Haruki Murakami(not to mention sounding very much like cold-struck Kermit the frog). Despite this, there are several glorious moments scattered throughout the album. "Song," which opens the album, easily stands as one of Max's best. Furthermore, Max's gentle piano compositions have yet to sound less than perfect. However, as a fan of Max Richter, I can't help but feel disapointed. At best, Max has the ingredients for a solid E.P. Nevertheless, die hard Max Richter fans will ignore my warning(as would I) since the few shining moments are hard, if not impossible, to resist owning.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Picks up where The Blue Notebooks left off March 8 2007
By Manny Hernandez - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In "Songs from Before" Max Richter picks up right where he left off with "The Blue Notebooks". His sound is still like a blend of Craig Armstrong and Philip Glass at times, specially in the piano-centric pieces such as "Fragment", "Autumn Music 1 and 2" and the closing track. But Richter continues to have a unique and sophisticated sound that conveys a sense of depth and melancholy.

His electronic treatment of classical sounds and overall ambient feel is very interesting. The only parts that I could live without (and the ones that make it loose a star) are those where Robert Wyatt reads passages ("Flowers...", "Time Passing", "Lullaby" and "Verses"). It's not quite that his reading kills them: it's just that Wyatt's voice doesn't seem to add much to them, and distracts the listener away from an otherwise exceptional instrumental album.
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another nice neo classical release from Richter Dec 8 2006
By somethingexcellent - Published on
Format: Audio CD
A couple years back, Max Richter came out of the blue with his The Blue Notebooks album and pretty much knocked me for a loop. A splendid mixture of modern classical and electronic music (plus some spoken word bits from Tilda Swinton), the release easily made my year-end list and was good enough that it made me seek out his more elusive debut album to get a little more background on his artistry. As it turns out, Richter is more than just an accomplished solo artist, having worked with everyone from the Future Sound Of London to Roni Size and even Vashti Bunyan on production and collaboration.

Songs From Before is his latest full length album and it sounds like a very logical sequel to The Blue Notebooks. In fact, it has so much in common with that release that it feels more like the second chapter in a larger over-arching saga, than a large step forward into new territory. The lush string arrangements are back, along with some spoken word bits that filter in (Robert Wyatt reading short passages from Haruki Murakami this time out). If there's any difference, it's that more overt electronics play less of a roll in this recording, although Richter does incorporate more lo-fi electronic touches through the use of shortwave radio noises.

The simply titled "Song" opens the album on a strong note, as some repetitive organ melodies mix with some subtle strings while distant percussion sends deep reverberations through the mix. "Flowers For Yula" opens with some disembodied radio chatter and a few passages from Wyatt before slow swells of strings rise up from the crackling depths and crest without ever getting very loud. "Harmonium" may very well be the most haunting track on the entire release, again starting with a couple evocative sentences from Wyatt before some deep, filtered swirls of what may very well be the title instrument are offset with sparkling bells and chimes. It's a gorgeous track that works wonders at high volumes.

The latter two-thirds of the album is a bit more spotty, and after listening to the release a bunch of times, I still have a hard time pin-pointing why. There are a lot of shorter tracks (like "Ionosphere" and "Lullaby") that add nothing to the release, while a familiar melodic theme is used in "Autumn Music 1," "Autumn Music 2," and the album closer of "From The Rue Vilin." Considering Songs From Before is only about thirty-seven minutes long, it's probably safe to say that the effort suffers a bit from being really good on the front end and then not offering up as much in variety from there out. Richter is still a heck of a composer, and the twelve-track release is always pretty at the very least, but unfortunately it seems like a slight step backwards considering his previous album.

(from almost cool music reviews)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Notebooks of a Different Color Sept. 12 2012
By Bumblebee Adams - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Songs From Before is similar to the Blue Notebooks, without being duplicative. But, while there is plenty of good stuff here, the quality is not as consistently high.

The speaking voice on this album detracts from the music.
Tilda's voice on The Blue Notebooks worked great.
But Wyatt's voice here does not.
I think it's largely a matter of the low frequencies of Wyatt's voice interfering with the music. And the music interfering with the voice.
But, also, the music that accompanies the speaking voice here is not as successful as on The Blue Notebooks.

Most of the tracks that don't have Wyatt's voice, however, are super.

3 1/2 stars
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More exquisite beauty from Max Richter Sept. 26 2015
By Violet T. - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Though I don't love Songs from Before *quite* as much as I love The Blue Notebooks, this is still an amazing five-star album. It is indeed very much like The Blue Notebooks, except perhaps even more introspective and autumnal. It's a great album to listen to while reminiscing, or thinking quietly, or just sitting by yourself and watching the world go by outside your window. Autumn Music I is my favorite track on this album and one of my favorite Max Richter pieces overall.

There's no composer who can capture longing and melancholy like Max Richter can, so if you like very emotional music, you will probably love this album as much as I do.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars May 23 2016
By TWP - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This CD was extremely short and certainly not what I expected. VERY Disappointed

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