Five years it has taken the famous keyboard player Rick Wakeman to compose, to record and to release this new solo work. Starting the recordings in the year 1997, “Out there” began to be a real thing recording some demos and other ideas. During this period, Wakeman was focused on his ambitious project called “Return to the centre of the Earth” so when he finished it, he returned to this demos & ideas. For this new work he had the colaboration of some grateful musicians such as: Tony Fernández (drums), Ant Glynne (Guitars), the recently famous Damian Willson (voice) and Lee Pomeroy (bass guitar), besides the collaboration of the English Chamber Choir. Dedicated to the crewmembers of the fallen Columbia that as you know died during their space mission.
Turning the pages of the booklet art of the CD we can se that follows the same way than all progressive albums. A kind of a fish octopus ship advances us some of the progressive musical way oth this legendary leyboardist.
The first song gives name to the album. "Out there" is a almost 14 minutes song which surprises us from it´s first notes. Without a doubt it is the most commercial of all. From the first compasses we can appreciate a slight change in the composition style of Wakeman. A song that until it ends up touches even Power metal (icredible). But... dont worry, his music keep having this strange texitures and other reminiscences of his previous works. "The mission" take us back to the reality again. This track sounds like pure Rick Wakeman. A progressive pop/rock song like the purest style of Yes. Great melodies and good taste mainly in the composition and arrangements. "To be with you" is one of the most experimental songs of the album. A slow and ambiental song like a New Age song. It´s necessary to highlight the vocal parts of the English Chamber Choir, very well done that fits perfectly with this song. We will also highlight the great job of Damian Willson on vocals. We had never heard him singing this way. "Universe of sound" is (without a doubt) the the most powerful song of the album. With a very catching riff, this track shows us that Wakeman loves analog sounds. A very actual but at the same time full of sound song with elements of the 70s and 80s. A great solo battle between guitar and keyboard. One of the most beautiful that I have heard in many years. "Music of love" reminds of Yes again. A music that reminds to space atmospheres that embodies the whole album. A song in wich the guitar is predominant among the other instruments. To conclude, a church organ melody introduces us to the final song called "Cathedral of the sky", a purely conceptual song in which he uses the choir again. We can also find some warm grateful piano parts but the album still sounds very cold and "digital".
To have taken the gewgaw of 5 years to conclude this project unfortunately I have to say that it is not an exceptional quality album if we talk about the sound & the compositions. Some songs are really really good, but the whole album doesn't reach the quality of his previous works. On the other hand we are able to say that this album is not the same thing like his other projects, therefore, he has been able to continue with its musical evolution. We hope he´ll surprises us again with his following works.