(29 July 2001) A Soundtrack For The Wheel Of Time—performed,
produced and written by Robert Berry—is one of two stunning progressive
rock projects out this summer from Magna Carta (USA) (Cat No. MA-9052-2,
2001) with vocal contributions by featured artist
The Wheel Of Time series of fantasy novels is one of the most
successful, longest running and most closely followed of all the works
in this genre. Author Robert Jordan's brilliantly written tales
have been at the top of The New York Times Best Sellers list
since 1990. Described as a modern day Tolkien, Jordon has created a
universe inhabited by wildly imaginative characters and creatures.
The soundtrack was written to be the perfect musical accompaniment
for the books and also as a great listening experience. Robert Berry
created a musical environment that reflects the drama and action
found in the words of the written works. He took a musical path that
suits the style of books some claim it is hard to imagine any other
approach but the one he has taken. The 19-track album is largely
instrumental, blending Celtic with Pink Floyd, with more of a motion
picture texture than Mostly Autumn's instrumental numbers that combine
the same musical elements
The label found that early listeners and fans of the books were
thrilled with the manner in which the music delivered the cinematic
images described in Jordan's books. Berry has been recognised a quality
artist ever since his early years with the band "3" (along with Keith
Emerson and Carl Palmer) and the group Asia.
Contributing to the continuity of the Wheel Of Time book series,
the compact disc cover artwork was painted by renownede fantasy artist
Darrell K. Sweet whose paintings graced the covers of all nine Wheel Of
Time books. Liner notes are simple and accompanied by this brief
statement from the books' author, "Music has always been an integral
part of my writing. Not only do I write to music, but I think of my
writing in terms of music. The words must flow in certain rhythms, and
the story has its own rhythms. In a way, it's like orchestrating the
A certain standout track on the album is the anthemic "Ladies of the
Tower" featuring Lisa Bouchelle's soaring powerful lead vocals. Accompanied
by acoustic guitar, crisp percussion and keyboards, harmony vocals achieved
through multi-tracking also add a lovely texture. The acoustic guitar solo
during the instrumental bridge is also notable.
The album is an instrumental masterpiece blending Celtic styles with
progressive and traditional acoustic instruments with modern arrangements.
An instrumental standout track is progressive treatment of "The Winespring
Reel," most reminscent of some of Mostly Autumn's most recent numbers.
While "A Theme For The Wheel Of Time" is one of a small number of tracks
that contain sung parts, the soundtrack-style instrumentals are quite
enjoyable and will certainly appeal to Clannad, Capercaillie, Mostly Autumn
and even Karnataka enthusiasts.
While vocally more sparse than many of the albums reviewed regularly at
Musical Discoveries, the strong cinematic and progressive rock texture of
this album makes it especially appealing.
We applaud both Robert Berry and Magna Carta on the project and especially
appreciate Lisa Bouchelle's vocal contribution.
Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order Wheel Of Time
here. Certain to appeal to Celtic-oriented soundtrack lovers and
instrumental progressive rock lovers, this album is worth further exploration.
It is worth a journey—a very nice listen!