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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chalk up another Eno-produced classic.
This disc is a reissue of the ORIGINAL recording of these two great "minimalist" classics. It was first released in 1975 on Brian Eno's fledgling label, "Obscure." Each piece on this disc is approximately 20 minutes in length, which generally works well for the nature of the music. I actually have not heard the more widely available (and much lengthier) versions of...
Published on September 12, 2007 by Christopher Costabile

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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I am disappointed +++
Repetitive music, not to be listened in a moving car on the freeway like I did on cruise control, because you will miss any subtle essence + fall asleep. I should have not bought it. Loops endlessly repeating themselves ad vitam eternam! Is this a joke? BTW I am a very patient person, so...
Published on December 15, 2011 by P.Ilou


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chalk up another Eno-produced classic., September 12, 2007
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This disc is a reissue of the ORIGINAL recording of these two great "minimalist" classics. It was first released in 1975 on Brian Eno's fledgling label, "Obscure." Each piece on this disc is approximately 20 minutes in length, which generally works well for the nature of the music. I actually have not heard the more widely available (and much lengthier) versions of these pieces, because I had always been informed that the performances on this recording are superior.

"The Sinking of the Titanic" is intended to be a musical representation of that very event, and it succeeds brilliantly. Supposedly, a band on the Titanic continued to play an Episcopal hymn as the ship went down (whose theme makes up some of the musical content here), and Bryars was inspired by hearing the story. Bryars's score uses various sound effects that could have been associated with the event (waves, loud metallic sounds) and weaves them together loosely with the incessant strings and other orchestral instruments, never unifying the various elements, which seem to be unconscious of one another. The result is a perfect blend of ambience and tension that evokes in the listener the same sense of uneasy drifting that the terrified passengers must have felt. This work is powerful.

Although it is also quite moving, "Jesus's Blood Never Failed Me Yet" doesn't achieve the magnificence of the Titanic piece. I think the problem with "Jesus's Blood" is that instead of creating a dense atmosphere of sound around the hobo's voice, the arrangement of melodic strings builds progressively in an attempt to reach a climax that never really manifests itself. Whereas the Titanic piece settles freely into a somewhat ominous mood of constantly swirling, repetitious, but never tiresome sounds, "Jesus' Blood" is too much an attempt to wring grandiose emotion from a piece which doesn't really have the musical content to provide that kind of stamina. It works to some extent, but the music escalates too gradually, and although a larger orchestra may have better sustained this sort of subtle crescendo, as it exists here, the piece probably could have afforded to be a bit shorter. The loop of the hobo's voice really does tug at the heart strings, though, and I am interested in hearing the more recent version, as I understand that Tom Waits (whom I love) doubles the hobo's voice late in the recording.

Although this disc is not flawless, I would contend that it is worth the money both for its historical value and the Titanic piece alone. Four stars!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars melancholy, June 28, 2008
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mr paranoid's previous review does us a great service by identifying these brilliant pieces as the original 1975 versions. as far as i can tell the overly artsy liner notes make no mention of this. but he misses the mark in faulting JESUS'S BLOOD for trying to "wring out grandeose emotions" and "failing to reach a climax". this music finds beauty in melancholy and desolation. no climaxes called for here. bryars is on the opposite end of the spectrum from beethoven,but they are both geniuses of simplicity. beethoven wrings out greatness devoted to joy and ego just by running the scale in the emporor concerto, bryars does the same thing in his very different way with a few seconds of the looped voice of a bum.

this music is not about christian redemption, its about a bum tottering off to oblivion, disappearing, clinging to his pathetic belief as he does so. "jesus's blood" has failed him utterly. This is music of idea, one ugly beautiful idea, Bryars takes 24 minutes to rub our noses in it. i believe a subsequent version with tom waits takes 76 minutes.maybe thats too much. But if anybody doubts that we have a genius here, go listen to his ONE LAST BAR,THEN JOE CAN SING
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating piece of music, October 4, 2010
By 
Nick Denife (Cleveland, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
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This disc was originally part of the Ambient Music series started by Brian Eno back in the 1980's. It's kind of an aural collage incorporating a band comprised of the same number of musicians and instruments used by the band on the Titanic playing the music they were rumored to have performed during the sinking of the ship, sound effects, and an interview with a survivor of the tragedy. A great disc and a very interesting composition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a mouse encounters socrates, March 14, 2014
sometimes, when the insights of the anointed are challenged by fools, one must momentarily step back from the music to make comment on that. reviewer snooders' conception of jesus' blood's essence is dead on right. one of the great giant steps music has taken recently, beyond the orthodoxy of musical classicism, is the inclusion of all moods: somber, morose, helpless, lost, despairing, pathetic. ..... "downer" music if you will. dylan's rue morgue avenue, cohen's dress rehearsal rag come to mind from popular music. mr bryars is one of music's pioneers in this regard. jesus' blood could not be more simply and purely clear in this regard. he takes downer music out of itself and watches it at a distance, as dostoevsky watches underground man at that books' end.

reviewer jens jensen doesn't seem to grok snooderdog. perhaps that reviewer's own religious redemption issues are getting confabulated with the bum's issues. "pilgrim" in vague uncited "russian classics" not withstanding, it is prima facia ridiculous to call the bum "truly free."

but of course every mans musical mind is his alone. let a thousand flowers bloom, let a thousand schools of thought prevail!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of All Bryars' Versions, January 21, 2013
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Gavin Bryars has produced no less than three, maybe more, versions of the Sinking of the Titanic. This disc is the original and most moving version of this composition.

The Sinking of the Titanic is a post-modern composition of the music reportedly played by the house quartet for the steam ship liner while it was sinking. It consists of tape loops of that particular musical piece, repeated over and over, and as the piece progresses, as the steam ship liner sinks further down the ocean depths, becomes fainter and fainter until it is but a muffle. Voices can also be heard in the background as the tape loops begin; these voices, as well, naturally become softer and fainter until they are not heard at all.

It is a very moving and poignant piece, probably the best version he produced. A similar version was released in approximately1994 and another in approximately 2001. None have matched the dramatic effect of this version.

The second piece, Jesus Blood, is piece of tape loops of an actual field recording of a London homeless man singing the self-named ditty with Bryars' strings in the background. While poignant in its own right, it doesn't carry the emotional punch of Titanic. Bryars has made several versions of this piece as well, one which featured Tom Waitts in the background. Of all his versions, the one on this CD is the most satisfactory.

Sinking of the Titanic was one of the first releases from Brian Eno's Discreet Music label. In the days when only vinyl was available, this particular release was considered the Holy Grail of music afficionados. This release was very difficult, if not impossible, to find on vinyl, and record collectors were paying literally hundreds of dollars for a mint copy, which, back then, was a real pity because of the superb quality of the music. With the advent of digital sound, this music can be enjoyed for all at a fraction of that cost.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful. Moving., February 13, 2007
By 
Shrimpboat "shrimpboat" (St. Louis, MO United States) - See all my reviews
This piece is profoundly moving, beautiful and heartbreaking. Will appeal to fans of ambient, new age, classical, film scores, what have you. Quiet and contemplative .... you can't help but imagine the events of that evening. Like the sinking itself: chaos on board as the ship sinks into unusually calm water. And the band played on.....
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some of Bryars' best work, January 12, 2014
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I just got this album. After years of listening to the more recent versions, which are much longer and more developed, it is a treat to hear the earlier "templates" of these wonderful works. The brevity of "Titanic" is refreshing and stands well on its own as a unique composition in Bryars' Canon. "Jesus' Blood," on the other hand, seems lacking here. Perhaps I'm just used to hearing Tom Waits chime in on the chorus, which adds a whole other dimension and greater depth to the refrain and highlights its importance to the composer. It's sad that one reviewer misunderstood Bryars' intention. The so-called hobo is not in the least "pathetic," but rather he reminds me of the pilgrim in the Russian classic--truly free! Like Bobby McGhee says, freedom is having nothing left to lose. This is a fine version, but I highly recommend the longer one with Tom Waits. It's also worth checkin out Gavin Bryars' "Mercy and Grand: the music of Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan."...quite a departure and a testament to Bryars' regard for Waits' music.
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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I am disappointed +++, December 15, 2011
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Repetitive music, not to be listened in a moving car on the freeway like I did on cruise control, because you will miss any subtle essence + fall asleep. I should have not bought it. Loops endlessly repeating themselves ad vitam eternam! Is this a joke? BTW I am a very patient person, so...
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The Sinking Of The Titanic
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