Tres Lunas June 3rd, 2002
Cover by Ian Ross for Bill Smith Studio, from an original concept by Hans Claesson of Kebawe , art direction by Bill Smith
01. Misty 03:58
02. No Mans Land 06:06
03. Return To The Origin 04:39
04. Landfall 02:17
05. Viper 04:32
06. Turtle Island 03:41
07. To Be Free 04:22
08. Fire Fly 03:46
09. Tr3s Lunas 04:35
10. Daydream 02:15
11. Thou Art In Heaven 05:23
12. Sirius 05:47
13. No Mans Land Reprise 02:54
13. To Be Free Radio Edit 03:56 (Bonus track)
Produced by Mike Oldfield
Assistant Engineer: Ben Darlow
Vocals: Sally Oldfield (spoken) Amar Jude Sim
Percussion programming: Philip Lewis Thomas Süssmair
Mike Oldfield plays… Believed to be… Electric Guitars, Spanish Guitar, Bass Guitar, Synthesisers, Mandolin, Grand Piano.
Recorded at Roughwood Studios, with additional parts at Plan 1 Studios, Munich
Additional notes from Richard Carter
Notes On The Instruments
Electric Guitars – Mike’s favourite red Fender Stratocaster features quite considerably on the album, providing the familiar sparkly clean sound. The PRS Guitars also feature for distorted lead sounds, as do synth sounds controlled from the Roland pickup on Mike’s Custom 24. Mike was especially excited about a method that allowed him to play flute and sax sounds from a computer running a software synth, using the guitar – the saxophone on ‘Return to the Origin’ is an example of such a sound. In Day Dream, Mike reverses some sections of the guitar part so they play backwards (a technique first used in the 1960s). Have a listen between about 1:20 and 1:26 – this section is the main guitar theme (as heard at 0:32) played in reverse (if you have the facilities, try playing it backwards and hear it for yourself). Another reversed bit is between about 1:39 and 1:43, which is again the main theme played backwards. The first distorted guitar sound is reminiscent of his SG Junior sounds of the 80s, while the sound following it (which seems to be a distorted guitar and synth layer) harks back to the sound of the solo on Discovery.
Synthesisers – The analogue sounds of the Nord Lead can be heard in many places on the album, which goes a long way to lending it a ‘contemporary’ sound. Mike also began experimenting with software synthesisers, both using one to create the guitar-sax sound that features extensively on the album, and the organ sounds such as those on ‘Return to the Origin’, for which I believe he used Native Instruments’ B4 (a virtual Hammond B3 organ).
Mandolin – This instrument takes a small background role in ‘Return to the Origin’. It plays tremolo notes underneath the organ chords at around 1:31 and becomes most noticeable at 1:36. Something about it sounds a little odd to me, as if it might be a sample, but I’ll give Mike the benefit of the doubt…
Notes On The Musicians
Jude Sim – A session singer, especially active on the Jazz circuit. Jude is frequently booked as a backing singer, having appeared alongside artists such as Björk. Jude also has her own group, Bellacapella, who have appeared on radio and TV in the UK. She provides the vocals for ‘To Be Free’.
Amar – The British-Asian vocalist who first appeared on Tubular Bells III.
Sally Oldfield – This is the first time that Sally, Mike’s sister, has worked with him since ‘Incantations’. Sally recorded the spoken instructions in the Music VR game, some of which Mike sampled and incorporated into the music on Tres Lunas.
Philip Lewis and Thomas Süssmair are both engineers and assistants at Plan 1.
Since the early-mid 1990s, Mike had been experimenting with interactive environments to supplement and compliment his music. The first example of this was the interactive segment of The Songs of Distant Earth CD, which centered around a small puzzle which gave access to some video clips. Mike wanted to go further than this, and began working on something he called the ‘Interactive Video Album’, using powerful Silicon Graphics computers to create virtual worlds which worked in conjunction with the music. Serious development of the ideas was held off until computer technology was at a stage where the average home PC was powerful enough for users to be able to explore Mike’s virtual 3D worlds in real time. Tres Lunas sees Mike’s interactive video album’s arrival in homes around the world, under the project name of Music Virtual Reality (previously called both Sonic Reality, and Sonic VR before the name of Music VR was settled on). Sold as a two CD set, one disc contains the interactive element, while the other contains the album of music based on that featured in the game.
For a further look behind the scenes of Music VR, be sure to read my interview with its programmer, Colin Dooley.
‘Thou Art in Heaven’ is based on a piece which Mike composed for his millennium concert in Berlin. The track, known first as ‘Berlin 2000’ then later ‘Art in Heaven’ (the name of the company who organised the concert and accompanying light show) began with a theme from ‘In the Beginning’ (from ‘The Songs of Distant Earth’) and ended with Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, and in-between those featured a section from which the basis for ‘Thou Art in Heaven’ was lifted.
© Richard Carter 2002