Tears and Joy
'Tears and Joy' is the debut album from modern British composer, Richard Amos which was composed and produced in London during 1998 and 1999 at Richard’s Private Studio and mastered at Battery Studios.
Listen to album samples;
- Track 1: Tears and Joy *
- Track 2: Inside *
- Track 3: Voyage of Hope
- Track 4: Fly *
- Track 5: Heart
- Track 6: See You Again
- Track 7: Escape *
- Track 8: Shine
- Track 9: Blue Sun
- Track 10: Road to You
- Track 11: Tears and Joy (extended remix) *
Exclusive web bonus tracks:
- Shine (original mix) *
- Tears and Joy (remix by Robin Amos)
All tracks composed and produced by Richard Amos except Tears and Joy - composed by Richard and Robin Amos
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The album is a collection of 10 short instrumental compositions fusing mainly electronic, new age and classical influences. There is also one extended remix of the title track.
'One of the main driving forces behind 'Tears and Joy' was 'to focus on melody while exploring the possibilities of arrangement and sound within short pieces...
All the tracks were very personally inspired and I feel this may make the album more of a private listening experience. Each piece grew from a spark of inspiration or one single idea, a theme or a chord progression and that became the foundation to create a finished piece - which I hope has something magical about it...
In terms of production, I wanted to mix electronic and classical sounds such as the piano to achieve a more natural and human feel than say a pure electronic production....
I have also found that when using synthesizers and samples it's important to play to their strengths rather than pretend you have an orchestra at your fingertips. For this reason, I have limited my use of sampled string sections or other orchestral instruments and have developed a synthetic sound which works differently...
Synthesizers can be used very musically and be made to sound fluid, warm and natural but it's a challenge....
I've also experimented with arrangement, some pieces follow a more traditional form of a theme, some development and concluding with a recapitulation of the theme or other musical part, while some of the arrangements have an evolving almost improvisational quality. I've included some quite ambient introductions and short interludes which help to provide a break between the pieces...
Overall, 'Tears and Joy ' is a personal project which I hope others will enjoy. '
The title track 'Tears and Joy' was composed by Richard and Robin Amos.
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Review by Bill Binkelman of www.windandwire.com
While showing glimpses into what his later release, Dancing in the Desert, would contain, Richard Amos' first album, Tears and Joy is an occasionally more subdued recording that can best be described as accessible and melodic electronic keyboard new age music. Some tracks do point toward the bouncy/rhythmic EM/synth-pop that makes Dancing in the Desert such delicious ear candy (e.g. the opening title track with its pumping bass beats, high hats, soaring strings, and sparkling piano work, or the joyful Ray Lynchian 'See You Again' anchored by Amos' simple yet elegant piano lines, soft as silk keyboard washes, rapid fire bass beats, and percolating synth bubbles). However, other songs on Tears and Joy are 'Tears' instead of 'Joy.' 'Inside' offers up a somber piano piece (the piano on the album is, if I'm not mistaken, a high-quality digital one) with only minor electronic texturing in the background. 'Voyage of Hope' is ethereal new age music, blending Amos' piano and his swooshing and whooshing new age keyboards, while muted beats in the background add a subtle feeling of flight/movement. Amos plays his piano here with some degree of urgency, yet the vibe of the song is not hurried to my ears.
'Fly' opens up as a classic slice of new age/spacemusic, featuring lush soaring synth choruses and massive string sections. At times, I thought I was listening to vintage Constance Demby on this cut. It's one of the only songs without any piano (something this artist may want to explore more often). 'Heart' is patented Richard Amos, as he deftly combines piano, a variety of electronic keyboards (including excellent sampled pan pipes a la Cusco), and other new age music (bell trees) and spacemusic elements (cosmic-sounding textures) to yield a solid song that packs quite a punch, although some of the string samples are a tad thin to my ears.
Other solid cuts include 'Escape' which starts slow and builds into a 'Dancing in the Desert' type of number (pulsing rhythms, piano refrains, and a wonderful use of sequenced notes which imparts just the right amount of Berlin-school texture into the mix), the sparkly-cheery number 'Shine'(perhaps the most outright 'smile-inducing' music Amos has ever recorded) and another 'piano-less' track, 'Blue Sun' which once again showcases Amos' abilities to craft ethereal spacemusic/new age music that floats on wispy clouds of electronic bliss.
If you enjoyed Dancing in the Desert, I canąt see why you wouldnąt like Tears and Joy with equal enthusiasm. Many similar musical characteristics can be found on both albums, although the former is more concerned with crafting 'catchy' hook-infested tracks while the latter sometimes opts for a more restrained approach and explores new age and spacemusic in more deliberate fashion. Richard Amos has a distinct talent for composing and playing music that is instantly accessible and hard to resist if you favor melody and rhythm in electronic music. Hardcore ambientphiles or those who prefer drones will no doubt consider this 'lightweight', but personally, I enjoy music like Amos' a lot. Tears and Joy earns a solid recommendation from me.
Review by Bill Binkelman
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Review of debut album 'Tears and Joy' by Dene Bebbington of www.windandwire.com
This is the debut album of Richard Amos who has since released Dancing in the Desert which was reviewed on Wind and Wire a while back. According to the review notes Tears and Joy is a personal project as each track was "very personally inspired". It comprises eleven short tracks (the album only runs to just over 44 minutes) of catchy new age melodic music played on piano and synths.
Richard's albums do have a personal feel to them, almost as if they were written for his own satisfaction rather than an audience; the music sounds as though it comes straight from the heart. He nicely pulls in some classical elements with the piano and combines that with new age and ambient style electronic sounds. In some respects this album brought to mind artists like Darshan Ambient, David Berriman, and John Kerr because of the way melodic piano is used.
Most of the tracks are melody driven, but there are a few like "Fly" and "Blue Sun" which deliver ambient (and almost spacemusic) soundscapes. Richard is as good at these as he is with the pleasant tunes; as an ambient fan I'd be keen for him to further explore the ambient side of his music.
I came to this debut album after hearing Dancing in the Desert. You can tell that some melodies on the latter album seem to have derived from the piece "See You Again" on Tears and Joy. It's obvious that Richard has a distinctive style, one that is hard to classify. Not that classifications are too important though, what epitomises his music is it's coverage of human emotions (no surprise given the title!) and the general lightness of touch.
On the whole listening to Tears and Joy is a pleasant and uplifting experience. I found it to be one of those albums which didn't do much for me on the first listen but which grew on me after a few, and more concentrated, listening sessions.
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Review by Serge Kozlovsky
'When You give free rain to your tears without restraint
In the music of Richard Amos just as in life itself the joy and the sorrow are interlacing with one another. Here everything is nearby, all things are coupled, and all emotions are very natural. It is not by chance a debut album by Richard Amos bears a name "Tears and Joy".
Richard Amos is an excellent melody-maker. His music is very light and bright by its inner state. It dips you inside yourself giving the possibility to become aware of your “ego” and your problems, to feel the innermost and come back to this world a renovated one. There is some incredible clearness in the music of Richard Amos. His emotions become understood easily by you, they resonate with your own state and give rise to images that are close to your heart.
Now and then the music of Richard Amos has a dance and dynamic character ("Tears and Joy" and "Escape" compositions), sometimes it has philosophic and cosmic features ("Fly" and "Blue Sun" compositions) but nevertheless it is always a single whole by its inner properties. And furthermore in spite of some apparent archaism it is very individual. This is a direct contact with a living person who does not try to isolate himself from you with the achievements of computer technologies and memorized electronic rhythms. He is present in his music which has a special fragrance of the Renaissance.
"See You Again", the composition pulsating with joy and optimism, sticks to my memory more than others. Richard Amos’s music passes by so quickly, it is so difficult to catch it, and one desires to listen to his album over and over again.
The inner male vigour is available in this music. It makes the sounding of this album incredibly attractive.
In "Tears and Joy" there is a pulsation of the life itself which is the essence of everything.
'While dreaming of distant worlds Do not lose the way to yourself,
Translated by Tatyana L. Permyakova
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