After a three-year wait, this album was a bit of a disappointment. Musically, it is his best yet, but it lacked a certain energy that the others had. The songs seemed to replace vivacity with length. The album didn't do very well on the charts; the number 13 single (U.S.), "Everlasting Love," was the biggest hit. Ironically, the best song on this album, "Out of Thin Air," does not use a single synthesizer but instead is a solo piano piece performed by Jones himself. After all those years of electronic music, a song featuring a real instrument is a welcome relief.
British singer/songwriter Howard Jones was a glinting jewel caught in the avalanche of synthesized music that overwhelmed the pop scene in the '80s. Jones had a true gift for crafting gleaming melodic hooks that make his hits some of the most memorable of the era. He used synthesizers not because they were "in," but because he could use them to create a delicious soundscape that couldn't be created without them. (Later in his career, he proved that he didn't need the electronics to write compelling pop music.) This 12" Album was released in support of his 1984 effort Humans Lib. It includes remixes of four of the hits from that record, including a previously unreleased extended mix of "Pearl in the Shell" and a "new version" of the now-classic "New Song," which features a reworked bass run and a new piano solo.
This disc strikes me as an ideal introduction to the music of Turkey’s greatest composer. Ahmed Adnan Saygun’s style might be described as “Szymanowski with a primal rhythmic feel.” If you love the composer’s First Violin Concerto then you will find here a very similar exoticism, nocturnal atmosphere, and love of voluptuous textures. The harmonic style is intensely chromatic, but also highly melodic. Like Bartók in his last period, Saygun’s handling of tonality mellowed toward the end of his life, which makes the Cello Concerto more consonant than the Viola Concerto, but both works are absolutely gorgeous and masterpieces of their kind. It’s positively criminal that no one plays these pieces regularly in concert. The performances here are excellent. Tim Hugh is a well-known cellist, and he pours on the tone with all of the rhapsodic abandon that Saygun requires. Mirjam Tschopp also is a superb violist, with a big, beefy tone that never gets swamped by the intricate orchestration. It’s also very rewarding to hear a Turkish orchestra in this music–and to find that it plays beautifully under Howard Griffiths.