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   Vortex - the Music Volume 2
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VORTEX - THE MUSIC OF EMPIRE 639 Volume 2 (AVA02)

This audio CD is entitled Vortex - the music of Empire 639 Volume 2 and contains seventeen tracks:

1.   Abslom Daak Theme
2.   Symbiont (original composition)
3.   Genesis of Evil Fantasia
4.   Black Legacy
5.   Yellow Peril in Red Square (original composition)
6.   Abslom Daak - Dalek Killer (incidental score)
7.   The Colour of Darkness (original composition)
8.   The Pentaray Factor
9.    Plague of Death
10.  Hush (original composition)
11.  The Archives of Phryne
12.  Lament in Silk (original composition)
13.  Eve of the War
14.  Wookey Witch (from Wookey Hole 2005)
15.  The Destroyers (from the Loose Cannon reconstruction of The Daleks’ Master Plan)
16.  Dalek Chronicles (original unreleased theme)
17.  Blood Dawn (original composition)

Click the cover image above to download the CD tray inlay, cover and CD label. Click here to order your copy of this release.

   Vortex: Reviews

Last updated: 18 July 2008

We love receiving reviews - the finest form of payment we could receive! Please send all reviews to empire639@msn.com.

Peter Ashcombe writes:

Reviewing music is always difficult (and I can only assume it’s the reason why nobody else has attempted to do so on this page) but here goes anyway.

My favourite track on this album has got to be Blood Dawn, which is both haunting and highly evocative. Coming in a close joint second are Lament in Silk and The Colour of Darkness, but this is not to suggest that the original tracks stand ahead of the themes from Altered Vistas productions. Far from it - Black Legacy is an incredible piece of music and guaranteed to spook you out if you listen to it late at night (especially on  headphones), whilst Plague of Death is a revelation - probably one of the best incidental scores for the Chronicles, truth be told. I am also extremely fond of The Pentaray Factor and The Archives of Phryne (complete with musical pun), which push the musical envelope in slightly different directions.

Pushing the envelope even further is Abslom Daak (in both his theme and incidental versions). This music is radically different to anything Stuart has done before but really shows his range and versatility.

The original, unused version of the Dalek Chronicles, plus the music from Stuart’s Destroyers feature are interesting asides on an album that is tonally rich and wonderfully varied, whilst perhaps not quite as experimental as the previous release.

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys the Chronicles and also anyone who likes ambient music.

RetroRobot writes:

Opening with a theme nicely equivalent to the first track of 'MUTANT'(vol.1) this 2nd AlteredVistasAudio-disc sounds exactly like part of a double-set.  Given that so much of this material in particular has been composed over an(aprox.)5-year period, its consistency of style and 'one-studio'sound holds together the delightfully wide-ranging tunes,tones&moods hereon amazingly well.

The arrangement of the tracklist is excellent.  Where dynamic is contrasted with subdued or slow followed by 'atmospheric' or jump-cut to something more dynamic, the relationship of the sounds is also considered nicely.

The last disc, 'MUTANT' had one track (‘Collisions in Jazzspace’) that became my favourite piece of short electronic music for that year, while 'VORTEX' has several contenders for that place, plus other worthy mentions, viz:

Track3 – 'Genesis of Evil Fantasia' which, despite (as he says in his liner notes) being Stuart's very first Dalek Chronicles composition, is a deliciously 'ambient'/atmospheric piece of masterful competence and its "orchestral sample'', later used for the Series Theme itself, integrates this number perfectly with the large number of later compositions which ended up on these two discs;

This is followed by (Track4) 'Black Legacy's extensive composition which features a lot of atmospherics & mood-noodlz making it the ideal follow-on from above.  It is also an excellent example of how listening to these musix divorced from their other(visual&dialog)content significantly changes both their subjective perception and one's awareness of their beautifully-rendered* musicality;

[* cgi-pun intended ]

Particularly nice for me is the inclusion of the music from 'Plague of Death' (T.9) – a nicely 'Organ-ic' composition for my favourite D.C.story;

Track 10 – 'Hush' is a short&(very)sweet ditty, elegantly simple and quite lovely in its gentleness and links the different moods of the preceding&following theme-trax;

Another feature-inclusion is Track15, Stuart's theme for 'The Destroyers' (T.N.'s pilot-ep. for a Dalek Tv-series) which would be the very first EMPIRE 639 music that i ever heard due to encountering this on the LC-Recon of 'The Dalek Master Plan'* before getting my first D.C.s-discs!

[* which was also my first glimpse of Stuart's CG-DalekWork ]

The "original theme" for T.D.C. is included ("...as a curiosity") and i'm most grateful for it, despite (as Stuart properly decided) not being up-to-scratch as the D.C.Theme, is nonetheless a good 'Miniature'(near-1min.)work which goes well as a pairing with the (only seconds longer) 'Destroyers' Miniature.

Lastly, 'Blood Dawn'*, the final Track(17), is like a 'performance-extra'/encore or "AfterShow-TheatreMuzak" follower for the two tiny 'end-trax' preceding it – the Orig.D.C.s Theme being the obvious Closer. 

[* isn't this an IceWarrior/'Martian' audio,novel-or-shortstory title?! (oooh!) ]

This is not to poke fun at the music, btw – it's one of those quality ambient movements Stuart does so well* and finishes-out the arrangement of 2 very good electronic compilations.

 [* i'd love to hear an entire disc of EMPIRE 639 Ambient music, actually! ]

It would be nice if there was (could be?) an Index for the non-storytitled tracks to identify where & in-which AlteredVistas-productions they appear (or don't).

And it is good to be told (in his notes) that Stuart has troubled to adapt many of the incidental-music compositions as full audio-arrangements, especially given that part of the Art of soundtrack-work is in modifying the dynamics of background-music to Underpin-rather-than-Undercut the Audient's experience of visuals&action/dialogue.  As listening-material, such work does need remixing to restore 'musicality'.  I, for one, am grateful that Stuart respects his own work as an audio-artist enough to go to such efforts on our behalf.

Another splendid set of GreatValue-for-Nothing(!) AV-Productions (on a single disc!!).