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alternatively Laurel Records


Harps of the Ancient Temples
The Hebrews 425 A.D. [2.10]; Japan 375 A.D. [3.05]; Pompeii 76 A.D. [2.12]; Greece 300 B.C. [1.58]; The Mayans 700 B.C. [2.03]; Crete 1400 B.C. [3.15]; Babylon 1500 B.C. [2.27]; Stonehenge 1600 B.C. [2.24]; Egypt 1700 B. C. [4.22]; Lemuria 16,000 B.C. [1.31]; Atlantis 21,000 B.C. [2.05]
Gail Laughton (harp and bells).
rec. Los Angeles, California, USA, 1978. AAD

This music in its LP incarnation was a remarkable local success. It was the best-seller ever on the Laurel Records label without any advertising, word-of-mouth having kept it in stock at every Los Angeles record store through the end of the LP era. It's the music that was used in the scene in the film Blade Runner when the bicyclists rush by replicants Roy Batty and Leon Kowalski on their way to see Chu, the eye-maker. The master tape long since having disappeared, this disk is excellently re-mastered from a disk and is hence AAD, however the sound is clear and bright and completely free from noise and artefacts. [see correction in footnote]
I met Gail Laughton several times in Los Angeles at amateur musicales, although he was no amateur, having been a professional performer and recording artist for many years, and he impressed me as being a person perpetually young. He was very quiet and shy, but considering his many accomplishments, he must have been in fact much older than he appeared. It is perhaps fitting that his 'dates' do not appear as composer on any of the material associated with this album, and even upon inquiry nobody seems to know his exact age.
I remember Laughton saying that there were only a few instances of multiple track overdubbing in the album that it was mostly straight improvisation. Most amazingly, there are no finger noises whatever, a tribute to the excellent control of the musician as much as to careful microphone placement. As a result Laughton achieves sounds far beyond what you would expect from a solo harp, leading most to speculate that there were several other instruments, or perhaps a synthesizer involved, but no, only one harp plus a few chimes here and there. Even professional harpists may learn a few things about special effects. The music leans heavily on Debussy and Fauré, with an Impressionist, New Age flavor to it. It really is mood music, more 'background' than 'foreground' music as there are no or no developed themes or traditional musical forms. However the disk is very enjoyable to listen to and will hold your interest through many hearings. It makes excellent meditation music or ritual music; however due to its brief duration you may want to use your repeat playback setting.
Paul Shoemaker

see also review by Rob Barnett


Message received from Laurel Records

I would like to clarify one point in Paul Shoemaker's review. The original audio master tape was not lost. The CD was made by direct transfer from this original master tape without any digital mastering. Perhaps, I erred when I indicated it as AAD. The original editing and mastering was done on the 1/4" master. The audio material was not taken from an LP.

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