AG-385 Fresh Aire V
Produced by Don Sears and Chip Davis
Released on 1983
US NEW AGE CHART POSITION #25 [1994]
Find it at GEMM
AG-385 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 5.0: KEPLER KHAN. Johannes “Bongmeister” Kepler wrote a dreamtale called “Somnium” about demons that could transport people into the aether. This was, prophetically, hundreds of years before American Airlines. Mannheim Steamroller wrote an entire album around Kepler’s dream, painted the cover black, called it Five, and I was sure this was going to be their best album yet. Instead, V is where Chip Davis begins his intercontinental ego trip by engaging both the Cambridge Singers and the London Symphony Orchestra. The resulting music sounds like a cross between Alan Parsons Project and John Williams (the composer not the classical guitarist). Davis had caught up Kepler’s tale at the tail of Four (“Dream”), effectively ending his seasonal work (except for the busy holidays) and beginning a new chapter of thematic works around Kepler’s reverie, Greek mythology, numerology, endangered animals, etc. This type of topical writing lends itself to new agey arrangements rather than medieval romps, and so the days of harpsichord and lute solos seemed lost forever (they do return on “Earth Rise”). In leaving its magical fields and forest for the symphonic stage, Mannheim began to outgrow its original charm. (They rediscovered that charm again on Christmas.) From the opening chorale, “Lumen,” which is like Music For Films For The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, it’s clear that the Steamroller is on a new and different path. What follows is orchestrated program music, with its dry patches and its fertile stretches. Looking back, it’s the anomalous numbers (“Lumen,” “Creatures of Levania”) that stay with me when Fresh Aire Five is over. Although over their career the Fresh Aire series represent what’s best about Mannheim Steamroller (outside of a few good holiday records), V isn’t the transportative work it might have been and can be saved for later. There’s also a review of this at All Music Guide.

AG-385 inner gatefold AG-385 back cover
AG-385 inner gatefold AG-385 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. "LUMEN" (New Light, A Chant for the Candlemass)
  2. ESCAPE FROM THE ATMOSPHERE
  3. RELEASE
  4. DANCIN' IN THE STARS
  5. CHANT
  6. Z-ROW GRAVITY
  7. CREATURES OF LEVANIA
  8. EARTH RISE
  9. RETURN
  10. THE STORM

    Composed by Chip Davis

CREDITS

JACKSON BERKEY -- keyboards
CAMBRIDGE SINGERS -- choir
CHIP DAVIS -- conductor, percussion
ERIC HANSEN -- electric bass
THE LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA -- orchestra
John Rutter -- production assistance and Cambridge Singers choirmaster
Mark Coniglio -- Drumatix, Sequential Circuits programming
Louis Davis, Sr. -- keyboards technician
John Richards -- engineer
Don Sears -- engineer
Jim Wheeler -- engineer
Steve Ozaydin -- technical engineer
Carol Eggleston Davis -- album jacket art director
Gilbert Williams -- painting

return to MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US 1983 American Gramaphone LP/CD/CS AG/AGCD/AGC-385 gatefold cover
US September 12, 2000 American Gramaphone CD 5005 digital remaster w. different cover

 

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