[Review] Polar Shift – A Benefit For Antarctica (1991)

New age music to save the whales, the penguins and the seals (so they can keep raping/eating the penguins). Hooray for nature!

Kronomyth x.x: Ice age.

Real Music owner Terence Yallop (a pioneer in new age music) and producer/radio show host Anna Turner assembled a compilation of prominent new age artists to raise awareness of Antarctica and benefit the Cousteau Society, entitled Polar Shift. The impetus, apparently, was the imminent Antarctica Treaty ratification for environmental protection of the area (it was approved several months after the compilation’s release). Only three of the compilation’s thirteen songs are unique to the compilation, including Yanni’s “Song For Antarctica,” Constance Demby’s “Into Forever” and a collaboration between Demby, Paul Sutin and Steve Howe, “Polar Flight.” The remainder is borrowed from existing albums, including two tracks from Vangelis’ 1983 soundtrack, Antarctica.

If you enjoy new age music, you’ll enjoy this sampler. (You’re also a marshmallow. A big, fluffy marshmallow.) If you don’t enjoy new age music, the words “pile of shift” will likely come to mind at some point (say, during the histrionic and anticlimactic “Light of the Spirit”). My only interest in this CD was to hear “Polar Flight” and, as the first of the Sutin/Howe works I’ve heard, it’s pretty good, probably no worse than Rick Wakeman’s Aspirant Sun series.* Of the remaining cuts, “Pura Vida” from Chris Spheeris and Paul Voudouris caught my ear, so I may have to check out more of that. The rest of the artists (Yanni, John Tesh, Enya) left me cold. Those in search of icy tones would do better to seek out the original Antarctica from Vangelis, Mannheim Steamroller’s Fresh Aire IV or The Pearl by Harold Budd and Brian Eno.

*I can now say that this actually is worse than Rick’s Aspirant Series. Sorry, Rick.

The Songs
1. Vangelis: Theme From Antarctica (Vangelis) (7:27)
2. Yanni: Secret Vows (Yanni) (3:57)
3. Chris Spheeris/Paul Voudouris: Pura Vida (Chris Spheeris/Paul Voudouris) (3:49)
4. Yanni: Song For Antarctica (Yanni) (4:23)
5. Jim Chappell: Lullaby (Jim Chappell) (4:44)
6. Enya: Watermark (Enya/Nicky Ryan/Roma Ryan) (2:24)
7. Steve Howe/Constance Demby/Paul Sutin: Polar Flight (Paul Sutin/Benoit Corboz) (4:13)
8. John Tesh: Day One (John Tesh) (5:11)
9. Suzanne Ciani: Anthem (Suzanne Ciani) (3:54)
10. Constance Demby: Into Forever (Constance Demby) (4:54)
11. Vangelis: Antarctic Echoes (Vangelis) (5:55)
12. Chris Spheeris: Field of Tears (Chris Spheeris) (3:08)
13. Kitaro: Light of the Spirit (Kitaro) (7:27)

The Players

Peter Baumann (producer on 2), Carter Cathcart (producer on 8), Jim Chappell (piano & producer on 5), Suzanne Ciani (performer and producer on 9), Beniot Corboz (producer on 7), Constance Demby (performer & producer on 7/10), Enya (performer & producer on 6), Steve Howe (performer & producer on 7), Kitaro (performer & producer on 13), Nicky Ryan (producer on 6), Chris Spheeris (performer & producer on 3/12), Paul Sutin (performer & producer on 7), John Tesh (performer on 8), Anna Turner (producer on 7/10), Vangelis (performer, arranger & producer on 1/11), Paul Voudouris (performer & producer on 3), Yanni (performer on 2/4, producer on 4). Compilation produced by Anna Turner and Terence Yallop.

The Pictures

Cover photograph by Jody Boyman. Design by Boelts Bros. Design.

The Plastic

Released on compact disc on June 11, 1991 in the US (Private Music, 2083-2-P).

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