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

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Spacious Mind - Organic Mind Solution – The Spacious Mind is a contemporary Swedish band that wants nothing more, nothing less, than the opportunity to blow your mind with their authentic psychedelic rock. Layers of guitars echo in the...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues