Mon. Mar 4th, 2024

Stevie Marvel’s Journey Via The Secret Life Of Crops was issued as a double-album soundtrack on October 30, 1979. And whereas “What is that this?” could also be a wonderfully legitimate query in some circumstances, it wasn’t acceptable right here. A much more pertinent inquiry would have been: “Hold on a minute. How can a man who can’t see, write music for a film, a predominantly visible medium?” Give it some thought for a second. The reply, in fact, is: that is Stevie Marvel. What can’t he do?

Take heed to Journey Via The Secret Life Of Crops on Apple Music and Spotify.

An anomaly amongst Stevie Marvel albums

Journey Via The Secret Life Of Crops was Marvel’s first new album for the most effective a part of three years. He hadn’t supposed it as “the brand new Stevie Marvel album” as such, extra as a soundtrack he’d created for the documentary of the identical title, however Motown, hungry for contemporary materials from its confirmed musical genius, just about marketed it as a brand new Stevie opus.

That triggered a specific amount of confusion: the place was this file’s “Superstition,” “Sir Duke” or “Creepin’”? Nicely, there was successful, a US No. 4, in “Ship One Your Love,” whereas two additional singles have been drawn from the gathering. The album offered properly at first – followers have been as hungry for Stevie materials as his file firm was – however clearly it was no Fulfillingness’ First Finale. Journey Via The Secret Life Of Crops stays an anomaly in Marvel’s 70s catalog: a little-visited cranny in his extremely authentic musiquarium, stuffed with prolonged instrumentals; however it has its highlights – and a few are very excessive.

The recording of Journey Via The Secret Life Of Crops

To reply the large query: Stevie had the producer describe what was taking place on display, scene by scene, as a tough lower of the film performed, whereas the Motown genius labored on composing the music, and the engineer, Gary Olazabal, assisted with defining the size of every piece. Easy, if you’re Stevie Marvel.

Journey Via The Secret Life Of Crops

Journey Via The Secret Life Of Crops begins slowly; you’re instantly conscious that it’s going to be excessive on soundscapes and temper, and low on funk. Loads of it, resembling “Voyage To India,” is actually classical in tone – on this occasion, each Western and the classical music of the subcontinent. There’s low-key thriller in “Earth’s Creation” and the tinkling “The First Backyard” opens like a horror film theme. If you happen to’re on the lookout for a reference level inside African-American music, it might be Miles Davis’ “Then There Had been None,” earlier than the piece warms up with harmonica: a touch that extra common Stevie-ish music was to come back? For positive, because the vocal observe “Identical Outdated Story” arrives, with its melody like a samba bringing out Stevie’s extra soulful aspect for the primary time right here.

“Venus Flytrap And The Bug” provides a contact of “Peter And The Wolf,” although extra just like the Jimmy Smith model than an orchestral one, slipping alongside as twilight jazz, with Stevie buggin’ vocally like like a Disney cartoon villain. “Ai No Sono” makes use of synth-like sedate harpsichord music, with chanting kids including to its Japanese vibe. Then comes a bomb in “Energy Flower,” co-written with Michael Sembello and delivering a really feel that may have fitted Songs Within the Key Of Life. An impressive gradual jam with touching harmonica and a wonderful rumble within the backside finish, this is without doubt one of the excessive factors for these in search of the flavour of the usual 70s Stevie.

One other thriller arrives with “Race Babbling,” an uptempo tune a tickle or two forward of its time, with excellent hurtling basslines and mad vocoder suggestive of early electro, 80s Herbie Hancock, and, inevitably, Kraftwerk – although its sense of a free movement was uncommon within the digital music of that period. The hit “Ship One Your Love” is a stunning Stevie ballad, however, as is usually the case on … The Secret Life Of Crops, it lacks a touch of funk within the backside finish. “Outdoors My Window” has an identical subject for followers of normal Stevie: it has that beautiful rolling really feel of “Isn’t She Pretty,” however you’re ready for a more durable drum beat to kick it alongside tougher.

Glowing with heat, “Black Orchid” is one other little miracle befitting Stevie’s “traditional” albums (the lyric is laden with extra than simply horticultural issues). The whimsical ballad “Come Again As A Flower” additionally has shades of early-70s Stevie; sung by Syreeta, it might have handed muster completely on her second album. And when you’re used to the absence of particular grooves, it comes as a little bit of a shock when the driving “A Seed’s A Star’/“Tree Medley’ delivers grooves by the trug-load, providing echoes of the funk-Latin vibe of “One other Star.” “Finale” reveals additional dancefloor vibes with chugging synth and hissing drum machine beats.

The reception and legacy of Journey Via The Secret Life Of Crops

Journey Via The Secret Life Of Crops is an exceptionally lengthy suite of usually prolonged temper items through which “songs” are few and much between, and grooves within the funky sense hardly ever crop up. However there’s magnificence right here. Stevie’s unquenchable need for experimentation and love for melody are in full impact, and a few of the magic and thriller of the botanic planet is evoked.

Stevie’s obsession with electronics allied to the kind of jazzy chords he favored are in proof all through; this might not be the work of anybody else. It’s a soundtrack, probably not a Stevie Marvel album, however the truth that there’s a sprinkling of songs worthy of Stevie’s traditional albums amid the scene-setting sounds is a bonus. It might be a curiosity, however the album’s very existence was some form of marvel in itself, and the love and virtually obsessional nurture that went into it sing out of each observe.

Journey Via The Secret Life Of Crops could be purchased right here.

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