Amazon.co.uk review 5/5
This CD is affectionately named after the island of Lundy in the Bristol Channel, and supposedly inspired by the composers visit to this spectacular place. As a regular visitor to the island, this is to the best of my knowledge, the only musical tribute available.
It sums up the atmosphere of the island perfectly and so eloquently. From Flight of the Seabirds to Puffins Waltz, the music will entrance from start to finish and evoke memories of this wondrous isle to see you through the long days between visits.
Each time I start to miss the island, I just listen to this, close my eyes and feel instantly better ! All self respecting Lundy lovers should have one.
Ms. J. M. Austin "lundy-girl" (surrey, england)
"Record Collector Magazine" Review - Issue No. 224, December '99
OLIVER WAKEMAN Heaven's Isle Verglas VGCD 0015 (50:33)
A chip off the old block, Rick's son, Oliver, delivers 13 splendidly soothing instrumental ideas dedicated to Lundy island and its flora and fauna. Two bonus tracks are added to the 1997 release, and blend seamlessly with the rest, which roam through the shanty keyboards of "Puffin's Waltz", the "Six Wives"-type playful jauntiness of "The Seals' Navy", and the relaxing soft timpanis and subaquatic synth effects of Diving". "Montagu's Wreck" is the nearest to Dad's pulsing playing, with rushing ebb-and-flow breakers and a dramatic, dynamic finale. Other tunes have brisk, energising ocean air tones, stretched, elegant notes or hints of a sparkling, sun-smacked glittering sea. Nothing as florid as the old maestro, but the youngster done well.
(Thanks to Loukas Papangelis in Athens, Greece, for letting us know about this!
Wondrous Stories Review 1 - October '99
Originally a 1997 release, the launch of which was covered extensively and exclusively by Wondrous Stories. Oliver originally released this with the backing of the Landmark trust but now this instrumental album gets its second wind with a re-release on the Verglas label. The difference this time is that there are two bonus tracks, 'The Outward Journey' and 'If A Picture ...', both of which were around at the time of the original release but didn't make it on to the album.
Each and every track paints an inspiring picture of scenes on and around Lundy Island, an island three miles long and half a mile wide and found a few miles off the North devon coast. The album was inspired by a number of visits to the island by Oliver in 1996 and the end result is a classical keyboard experience. Tracks such as 'Puffin's Waltz' and 'Flight Of The Seabirds' give a good impression of where Oliver's ideas were driven from. The original release is still to be found on the CRS sales List and this version will be added sometime soon.
New Horizons Review - July '99
Oliver Wakeman describes 'Heaven's Isle' as a "keyboard based instrumental album about an island". The island in question is the Isle of Lundy, situated off the North Devon coast, which Oliver first visited back in 1996 and was so inspired by the experience that he immediately set to work, trying to capture the spirit of the island, its flora and fauna, even its history, in a rich musical soundscape.
From the whimsical opening of 'Puffins Waltz' through to the closing strains of 'Memories', this CD leaves us with a lasting mental image of the island of Lundy. Two additional tracks, omitted from the original 1997 release of the album due to time restraints, round off this re-release in the form of 'The Outward Journey' and 'If A Picture..' - a minor criticism here, is that these tracks have been added on to the end of the original work, so in effect we get the journey out to the island after we have completed our tour!
All in all though, this is a well produced piece and reflects well on Oliver's talent as both a composer and a performer. Mention should also be made of the accompanying booklet - produced in association with the Landmark trust (who own Lundy).
There are some marvellous photos of the island and it's wildlife, along with associated narrative to support each of the original eleven tracks. In addition, an introduction and a postscript written by Oliver all help to give further insight into the inspiration behind this work. The overall style of the CD puts it well into the classical/new age category. If you are expecting lots of over the top synth playing this may not be for you, but if you enjoy listening to well composed mature keyboard music then take the journey ... lose yourself in 'Heaven's Isle'.
Simon 19 July 99
Wondrous Stories Review 2 - April '97
This is the long awaited debut album from Oliver, eldest son of CRS Honorary President Rick Wakeman. The album takes the form of eleven instrumental tracks in a warm classical style with sounds that tell fitting tales about how inspired he was after visiting Lundy Island, a small island off the north Devon coast of England.
The island sits in the Bristol Channel where the sea can be flat and calm one day and a raging storm the next. The island is only 3 miles long and on average half a mile wide, attracting 20,000 visitors a year. Around it's secluded coast line can be found shipwrecks, thousands of seabirds, high cliffs and of course the sea.
There is only one village with the basic essentials, including a tavern and the island is accessible by the ferry M.S. Oldenburg. So the scene was set for Oliver to create a musical image of all this 'Heaven's Isle' and take us on a musical tour. He has achieved all this in amazingly accurate fashion with pieces of music like 'The Puffins Waltz' that starts matters off and depicts the life and movement of this funniest looking of the sea bird world.
'The Dolphin's Dream' allows your mind to picture this most trusting sea faring creature of such intelligence and of course Oliver uses all his natural and technical ability, something that might be expected of someone with that famous surname, but he achieves it by means of his own hard work, with the end result being a notable musical soundscape. 'Heaven's Isle' is a classical incantation that depicts the loneliness and the geography of the place while also giving it an air of 'heaven'.
This album is your ticket to the island - and you don't have to leave your front room to get there.
From the July/August '97 Issue of 'Atropos'
Translation of the original article - many thanks to Maria Lucia in Brazil for sending this in!!!!
"Very interesting debut of Oliver Wakeman in CD. It's obligatory to refer to his father Rick Wakeman because the influence is evident in the style of playing. Nevertheless, his originality resides in a good balance between modern sounds and the classical influence. In this sense he differs from his brother Adam who is more part of the mainstream and taking part in the cross over rock. Many years after progressive rock, Oliver realized that, in order to have total control of his work, he should produce his own albums and created Opus Music in collaboration with his friend Mike Philps.
"This album is played, produced, arranged and written by Oliver himself and the music is intended to inspire thoughts through melancholic voyages. “Memories has this keyboard touch, “Atlantic Airs” and even the title song “Heaven's Isle”, on the other hand, he's influenced by Rick Wakeman's classical (and best) period.
"Each one of the themes is inspired in the atmosphere of Lundy Island and its bucolic landscapes, in order to transmit us various feelings. Oliver's style is awesome, wonderful, and it's in the level of any other consecrated keyboardists (including his father!). His technique, both on the acoustic piano and on the keyboards – sounding as analogs sometimes- is remarkable because his style is unique. Raise your spirits with this wonderful CD that will delight you for many years.
"Jose Luiz Martinez"
Released in 1997. Does for Lundy Island what The Heritage Suite does for the Isle of Man but with a fuller range of keyboards. It is very good and highly recommended. It was re-released in 1999 on Verglas with "extra material written at the time of release".
Opus OPUS1, Verglas VGCD015
OLIVER WAKEMAN - "HEAVEN´S ISLE"
Verglas Music / VGCD 0015 - 2000. Produced by: Oliver Wakeman
It's amazing how Oliver and Adam has adopted the sound and style of their dad, it's so obvious, Rick must have been their teacher? We are familiar with Adam after his solo albums and many tours and albums with his father. But Oliver must of us heard of when he last year together with Clive Nolan did the great album Jabberwocky. This album lies spooky close to his father's style and sounds like a clash between albums like Zodiaque, Sea Airs and 2000 A.D. Into The Future.
Style wise that is, cause there is no stealing going on here. He has added more traditional folk in it. Sometimes I hear some Tangerine Dream in it and sometimes hints of an earlier Vangelis. Well now you got a feeling of how it sounds, and it sounds good. But I'm convinced that he will do better albums in the future.
Submitted review 1
"Heaven's Isle" arrived last week and I LOVED it! I can feel much classic influence (which is very good, in my opinion, for I love the classics) and also it reminded me a little of Rick's "Six Wives" in some tracks ("Heaven's Isle", for example). My favorite song is "Alone at Last", I can't resist a romantic piano tune!
Maria Lucia, Brazil, December 17th 1999
Cranium Music (New Zealand) Review
During 1996 Oliver Wakeman visited the island of Lundy which is a few miles off the North Devon Coast of Great Britain. The island is owned by the National Trust and is 3 miles long and on average about half a mile wide. Around 20,000 visitors a year visit this scenic sanctuary and one of the features the island is famous for is the "Lundy Puffin" stamp which has been used on mail from the island since 1929.
After visiting the island a few times Oliver Wakeman was inspired to write the music that features on this release. Originally it was released in 1997 as a limited issue and available in Devon only. Now with two new tracks, also written at the time of the "Lundy" visits but left off the original version due to time constraints, Heaven's Isle is now available on worldwide release. This is not complex progressive music but at times tranquil symphonic keyboard music that sums up what Oliver experienced from visiting this island haven.
Track titles such as Puffin's Waltz, Flight Of The Seabirds, The Seals Navy, Elizabethan Pirates, Montagu's Wreck, Atlantic Airs etc sum up the past and present of life on Lundy.
Oliver Wakeman is a fine piano and keyboard player and this album is his first true solo project.
Submitted review 2
"Yesterday I got a copy of Heaven's Isle and I really love it. It has some of the fairy-tale feeling of Jabberwocky. It is beautiful, dreaming and innovative..."
J.A. Sweden. September 20th , 1999.