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Tom Newman: The (Secret) Life Of Angels (Pt. 1)

Bells-man goes riding with the angels.

Best known as Mike Oldfield’s producer, and more recently as executive producer of Rob Reed’s excellent Sanctuary, Newman’s own musical ventures have always seemed overshadowed by those of his more famous collaborators.

Probably his best-known work, 1977’s Faerie Symphony And Other Stories (reissued by Esoteric back in 2009) is an ethereal progressive Celtic journey that would most likely have been laughed off the face of the planet with the onset of punk rock. Four years in the making, The (Secret) Life Of Angels (Pt. 1) takes a similar path, perhaps leaning more into classical and world music territory. It’s a dreamy, largely ambient soundscape that Newman cultivates here, certainly one rooted largely in a bygone era, and that adds to the charm and warmth here. Newman plays everything, lending the work a highly personal quality as well, and although the subject matter, as with his earlier fairies-based oeuvre, might seem a bit twee in this modern age, Newman’s occasional otherworldly musical approach means that, overall, what could have come across as one man’s folly is in fact a most enjoyable and relaxing experience.