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How to Measure a Planet

48 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 26, 1999
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Frequently Bought Together

How to Measure a Planet + Nighttime Birds + Mandylion
Price for all three: $39.80

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Editorial Reviews

Disc: 1
1. Frail (You Might As Well Be Me)
2. Great Ocean Road
3. Rescue Me
4. My Electricity
5. Liberty Bell
6. Red Is A Slow Colour
7. The Big Sleep
8. Marooned
9. Travel
Disc: 2
1. South American Ghost Ride
2. Illuminating
3. Locked Away
4. Probably Built In The Fifties
5. How To Measure A Planet?

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 26, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Century Media
  • ASIN: B00000GWYQ
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,864 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Lord Chimp on July 4, 2002
Format: Audio CD
There's a lot of divisiveness found in the reviews for this CD. A lot of reviewers offering a low score dislike the album for its lack of heaviness -- its dissimilarity to Mandylion and Nighttime Birds. The only response I can offer is that it's too bad they think this way. Bands change, except for maybe Stratovarius and AC/DC. And The Gathering has changed, stepping away from the doomy metal of Mandylion and Nighttime Birds and embracing an ethereal pop/rock approach. Haunting emotions, powerful atmospheres, and gorgeous keyboard orchestrations characterize How To Measure A Planet?. Personally, I think The Gathering embraces this new style beautifully: sparse guitars and drums, often mysterious keyboard folds, and the lambent, distinctive voice of Anneke van Giersbergen. When you put it all together, it really seems that there's nothing the band isn't capable of.
There is a morose determination in How to Measure a Planet?, evidenced immediately with the sad "Frail", which is borderline dream pop -- haunting chords selections, auspicious atmosphere, seductive production work, and bare vocals. There are traces of Nighttime Birds, but the sharp edges are polished and rounded. Even "Liberty Bell", the hardest track on the 100+ minute album, fits perfectly with its shimmering feedback and reliance on sonic texture. Other songs like "Rescue Me" or "Travel", combine edgy bursts of noise with the production's dolorous glow. On "Red Is A Slow Color", van Giersbergen's vocals are sweet and light with an accompaniment of jittery drums and dramatic keyboards. Other songs are sonically assaultive -- for instance, the dense electronics and percussion of "Probably Built in the Fifties" -- but never really "heavy" in the sense of Mandylion and Nighttime Birds.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mike on December 7, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This album is actually the six bajillionth album by our friends The Gathering, but it is the third one that is graced with the unmatched crystalline beauty of Anneke Van Giersbergen's voice. I spoke with her at a concert in New York, she is a very smart and down-to-earth woman. Much like Anneke herself, the music on HTMAP is smart. Soft, subtle grandeur can be found in wistful tales such as "Frail" and "My Electricity" with their smooth drifting guitars and Anneke's awesome voice sailing and soaring through the sound waves. Most of the songs on HTMAP reflect despair. Wistful gems like "Red is a Slow Colour" and the instrumental and wonderfully titled "South American Ghost Ride" bring the listener near to tears. Haunting melodies and a gorgeous trachea breathe sadness and darkness into these tunes. One fault that this album possesses is that many of the songs are slower. They are all wonderful, but listening to the album straight through can bore the listener. The CD is picked up off the floor by the high aural intensity of "Liberty Bell" and the masterpiece of the album, "Great Ocean Road." I took to the song "Great Ocean Road" because it is most reminiscent of NIGHTTIME BIRDS, their best album to date. The album is made up of two discs of material, every single song a treasure except for the what-the-hell-were-they-thinking 33 minute-long title track which closes out the album. Much of the song is not singing or music at all, but speaking. This, however, does not overshadow the brilliance of the other fine tunes. I give this album the top rating and my highest recommendations. I also urge listeners to seek out the other two (Anneke included) The Gathering CDs: NIGHTTIME BIRDS and MANDYLION. The Gathering is probably one of the greatest bands to grace my CD player.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kirk D. Colton on November 19, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I discovered this band late. However after buying their albums after being exposed to this great band through "Souvenirs" I believe this is The Gathering's great work. However it takes many listens to begin to appreciate it.

On a basic level compared to other Gathering albums, the songwriting appears to be simple and the band appears to be holding back in the playing department never quite taking off into full "rock out" mode with raging guitars and double kick drum moments that graced their previous albums....However, the gathering apply the "less is more" approach with stunning results. The songs have space and openess compared to Mandylion and Nighttime Birds. But more importantly, the band finally learned how to make a album sound not based on trying to recreate the "live" feeling in the studio. The band and their producer and engineer succeeded because this thing is one of the best recorded albums I own. The sonics and textures on this thing are a marvel. I hear the band was influenced by Radiohead's "Ok Computer" when they recorded HTMAP (another album, if one remembers that took some time to figure out it was a masterpiece as well)

Sonics alone a great album doesn't make. This thing also has just mind blowing moving music similar to the scope of early 70's Floyd Albums. And on top of that, this album contains what I consider one of the greatest rock songs of all time, "Travel". A Requiem for Mozart of sorts and at nine minutes, a song that never becomes boring after several repeated listens.(quite a feat)


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