Over the last few years the extent of John Foxx’s influence on modern electronic music has become ever clearer. This is undoubtedly because the former Ultravox man’s unassuming and modest personality has meant all his creative energies and passions go into making his music. ‘Cathedral Oceans’ is proof that ambient music can also be deeply felt, for it is a remarkable set of tableaus documenting, as Foxx says, ‘a vast, half-submerged cathedral’. Foxx gives his music an almost complete lack of weight, suspending it from the heights of the great structure in slow moving blocks of harmony, dipping beneath the water but then suddenly coming back up for air. There are explicit references to classical music here, none more so than the Debussy references in ‘Oceanic’, and while the overall mood is ambient there are passages that suddenly open the ears, such as when the graceful peace of ‘Visible And Invisible’ is thrown into sudden relief by the multi-layered vocal that starts ‘Golden Green’, Foxx conjuring up a whole choir of his own voices. This set covers the whole ‘Cathedral Oceans’ trilogy, from 1997, 2003 and 2005, but in reality it is a timeless document, creating the almost complete peace of mind it is clearly designed for. The addition of a deluxe hardback book only makes the package more desirable.
Ben Hogwood
5 out of 5