Album – Dreamland – Brent Spiner and Maude Maggart

Posted by admin on March 4th, 2008

I came upon this album by chance when following a link to a YouTube video, which promised music by Brent Spiner, better know as Data on StarTrek the Next Generation. Who knew he could sing? In fact after doing a little research, I found this is in fact Brent’s second album, the first being his 1991 release “Ol’ Yellow Eyes is Back”, which featured Brent’s interpretation of some old favourite tunes, like “Time after Time”, “Very Thought of You” and “When I Fall in Love”, to name a few. This album seems to have been a hit with his fans, as it’s no longer available, but copies are trading hands on Amazon for in excess of $70 each.

Anyway I clicked on the link more out of idle curiosity, than as research for Indie Launchpad, but am really glad I did. The thing that instantly fixed me, like a deer in the headlights, were the vocals of Maude Maggart, whose voice is just amazing. I enquired about a review copy which arrived a couple of weeks later.

I knew this was going to be something quite different. The album is like an old radio play from the 40’s, with a sound track to match. I had a cursory listen when I first got the album in and the thing that hit me again, were Maude’s vocals, which nearly had me forgetting to breathe. Brent’s voice also is a pleasant surprise, but he’s more an actor that can sing, rather than a singer that can act, not that I mean any disrespect in that, it’s just that Maude’s is a voice in a whole different league. What is interesting however is the way that the vocals compliment each other. As this is a more theatrical release, the vocals work very well and allow you to wrap yourself up in the love story that unfolds. I say love story, but don’t think there is anything conventional in this story. To give you an example, how many guys give a girl a lift home on a train? Yeah this is a story that can only make sense in Dreamland. From riding home on a train, to being on a liner that’s hit by an iceberg, you have to say, this is certainly inventive, not just in story, but in it’s whole production.

The first track pretty much sets the scene and gives you an idea of the style of things to come. It isn’t until track 4, “Train Ride” that we first hear the vocals of Maude and to be honest, I think some people may not give this album a fair chance, as it’s then that it really come alive. When I hear Brent sing, I keep being reminded of Fred Astaire. A fantastic dancer who could sing pretty well, but man could he dance. With Brent his vocals are very interesting, but it’s all the work he’s put into the story and atmosphere that really shine. Casting Maude as his love interest is sheer inspiration.

The production on this album is excellent, from the wonderful musical score, to the great sound effects and atmospherics. I have to admit, I did find the dialogue and performances a little cheesy at times, but it all adds to the overall authenticity, as a 1940’s radio drama.

One thing that I couldn’t help but yearn for, is a full cinematic version of this album. That’s what I though at first, but when I thought again, I realised that like a good book, I’ve built the whole story up in my imagination and that is where it should probably stay. All too often a book is reworked into a movie and that spark of imagination is just lost. I wouldn’t be heartbroken though, if a cinematic version were to be eventually attempted.

Throughout the album there’s songs that leap out as recognizable and others that sound strangely familiar, from song writers like Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s just a smattering of the songs that are included, “Mr Sandman”, “Some Enchanted Evening”, “You Were Meant for Me” and the list goes on and on. A particular favorite of mine was Brent’s interpretation of “What’ll I Do”. I also love the duets “Let’s Face the Music” and “Stranger in Paradise”, but my absolute favorite, surprise, surprise is Maude’s version of “I Remember You”.

In rounding off, I’d just like to say, that while this isn’t the usual kind of material I review here on Indie Launchpad, it’s a great advocate of original, exciting material. Good music is good music, no matter the genre. I may not like everything, but what I do love, I love regardless of how it’s been pigeon holed. This is wonderful escapism at it’s finest and for that it surely deserves all the praise I’m lavishing unreservedly.

Conclusion : A wonderful throwback to the radio days of old and a thoroughly enjoyable 50 minutes of entertainment. I will definitely be checking out Maude’s other solo works and hope that this is just the first of many collaborations, as it truly is a delightful work, that stands up both for it’s great music and sheer entertainment value.

5 Responses to “Album – Dreamland – Brent Spiner and Maude Maggart”

  1. Brent (not spiner) Says:

    If you enjoyed the album, check out the fun they had making it on our Youtube video.

  2. Dataest Says:

    I second the motion! Brent’s work is quite refreshing and quite enjoyable.
    It is time for his type of music.

  3. Troy Says:

    I’m totally thrilled for Brent! Not only is he a multi talented man but a fine individual too. I thankfully own a copy of “Ol’ Yellow Eyes” and still listen to it today which is a testament not only to Brent, but to the timeless music he creates. A re-release would be highly desirable for many.

    Dreamland is at the top my ‘next buys’ list and it should be for ‘YOU’ too! 😀

  4. Chuck Butler Says:

    This review is dead-on. The album is beautifully conceived, arranged, recorded, and mixed. It may come as a shock to some listeners that music once included melody as well as rhythm, and that songs could be constructed using more than 4 chords. If you were born after 1980 and you’ve never heard actual music before, here’s your chance. If you’re older, Dreamland is a lovely trip down memory lane.

  5. Marquesa96 Says:

    I was just listenig to a sample of Brent’s music and I already love it! I think he is as good a musician as he is an actor.

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