Michael Chapman

Heartbeat

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When Chapman recorded Heartbeat in 1987, it was very much an experimental work for him. He'd had the idea for a while -- one long suite of music -- but it was only the advent of the CD that made it feasible as a listening experience, to be heard in one go without the interruption of turning over a record or cassette (curiously, it was also originally issued on cassette). That allowed the piece to flow and develop as intended, nine sections that blended into a continuous work. It's essentially an ambient piece of gently shifting moods on guitar, with some wonderful unfolding melodies, Chapman trying things he'd never attempted before -- and pulling them all off. Its lightness has found it categorized as new age, possibly the only Chapman album to warrant such a tag, but it's quite fair, since the experience it offers is one of the mind rather than physical. Ahead of its time it might well be, but it certainly stands the test of the years well.

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