Lamp - The Three Towers

3 track CD - expected soon
Total running time - 58 minutes

01 The Tower of Breganze Listen
02 The Tower of Aurumshade
03 The Tower of Diameter Listen

    Coming soon...
Voyage To Venus  

Michael Shipway - Voyage To Venus

10 track CD - release date August 2011
Total running time - 64 minutes

01 Kingfisher listen
02 Mekonta
03 Silicon Mass listen
04 The Jungle
05 The Mekon
06 Turning Blue
07 Submariner listen
08 Kargaz
09 Invasion
10 Victory listen



Daring to go beyond the spirit of adventure

Nowadays it seems that any music with the slightest hint of a synthesizer is labelled ‘electronic’. It is often a misnomer and cause for consternation amongst disciples of ‘full-fat’ electronic music.

There is no doubt, however, that the work of Michael Shipway deserves this moniker. Mister Shipway composes bona fide electronic music and is one half of the much-admired duo, ‘VoLt’.

Michael's trio of solo albums – ‘Into Battle’, followed by ‘Beneath Folly’ and then ‘Spirit Of Adventure’ – were released in the nineties to critical acclaim. They conjured-up melodies, rhythms and atmospheric sounds that helped define the zeitgeist of late-twentieth-century electronic music. All three thoroughly deserved their plaudits from the cognoscenti. They were going to be a hard act to follow, even a decade and a half on.

Michael has now finally ventured beyond ‘Spirit Of Adventure’ with ‘Voyage To Venus’, an album inspired by the BBC's 1990 serialization of Dan Dare. I am delighted to report that "Voyage to Venus" is a very worthy successor to his previous works.

With a heady mix of mellifluous, melancholy melodies, exceptionally elegant sequencing, sumptuous sounds and timely, well-chosen dialogue from the BBC broadcasts, Dan Dare’s escapades are set to a magnificent and appropriately futuristic soundscape. I hear shades of ‘The Songs of Distant Earth’ -­ one of Mike Oldfield’s most epic albums. I also hear a touch of the melodic majesty of Ian Boddy. And I hear soupçons of Tangerine Dream's ‘Tangram’ and ‘Stratosfear’. But most of all, I hear Michael Shipway at his sublime best.

This opus bears comparison with the most revered electronic music – particularly the album’s elegiac yet uplifting tracks, ‘Mekonta’ and ‘Silicon Mass’. ‘Turning Blue’ and ‘Kargaz’ are not far behind, either. So enthralling and intoxicating are these compositions that they can send shivers down the spine and leave one feeling emotionally drained.

A few years ago I lived opposite the house in Epsom, Surrey that was once the home and studio of Dan Dare creator, Frank Hampson. If Frank was alive today, I feel confident that he’d approve of this musical homage to his creation. I also feel confident that fans of Michael’s previous albums will approve whole-heartedly and that this masterpiece will further enhance his status as one of the nation’s finest exponents of (authentic) electronic music.

Richard Rayment
Into Battel  

Michael Shipway - Into Battle

9 track CD - release date September 1990
Total running time = 51 minutes

01 Into Battle
02 Yellow Streak
03 Ritual
04 Falling
05 Land Sailing
06 Coming Home
07 Capture
08 In The End
09 Into Battle (Enigmatic Remix)


Beneath Folly  

Michael Shipway - Beneath Folly

12 track CD - release date April 1992
Total running time = 60 minutes

01 Arrival
02 The Folly
03 Caravan
04 Celebration
05 The Dream
06 Flying Machine
07 After Dark
08 Procession
09 Secrets
10 The Watchkeeper
11 Departure
12 Return To Battle


    Michael's much awaited follow-up to 'Into Battle' visually appeals with it's impressive packaging and excellent sleevenotes - a professional image which is becoming a Surreal to Real trademark.

The CD starts with 'Arrival', a track which really sets the pace for the rest of the album featuring upbeat melodics created by a wide array of synth voices including mandolin at one stage. Another strong melody is the basis of 'The Folly' which is woven around percussion lines which feature some unusual samples - effective and enjoyable. A short but superb piano interlude is featured during the latter stages to really put the icing on a fine track.

'Caravan' uses delicate percussion and guitar voices to set a more relaxed pace somewhat reminiscent of Waveform's 'Gently Does It'. 'Celebration' returns to a more upbeat pace while 'The Dream' is carried along by an Enigma style rhythm overlaid by soothing synth lead producing one of my favourite moments.

Images as disparate as calming water samples (what self respecting modern synth album is complete without them?!) and clanking industrial percussion are blended together by another excellent tune to form 'Flying Machine', while 'After Dark' features probably the strongest and most infectious melody on the album.

Beautiful piano heralds 'Procession' which is a more grandiose affair then previous tracks. 'Secrets' sounds like a laid back version of themes visited earlier in the album and 'The Watchkeeper', after quite a deliberate start, develops into a thunderous Shreeve-like blast.

'Departure' is really too short to develop it's promising theme leaving 'Return to Battle' to close proceedings with a radical remix of 'Into Battle'. I don't think this remix has done the original any favours however, being one of the few disappointments on the album.

'Into Battle' was always going to be a tough act to follow, and I feel that many listeners, as I did, may greet initial airings of 'Folly' with a tinge of disappointment. However, the positive comments in this review have been borne out of repeated listenings to an album which has a lot to offer if one cares to look.

Graham Getty - Zenith Magazine
Spirit Of Adventure  

Michael Shipway - Spirit Of Adventure

13 track CD - release date July 1995
Total running time = 72 minutes

01 Spirit Of Adventure
02 Highland
03 Evening Star
04 Sequences
05 SOS
06 Sanctuary
07 Jamjar
08 The Navigator
09 Temple
10 Chameleon
11 The Visitor
12 Expedition
13 Oasis



Admired by many for his very unique style and sense of adventure, this album is aptly titled. The cover evokes a real pioneering spirit and not for the first time the sleevenotes provide interesting and thought provoking reading.

Electronic voice samples initially hint at a shift into Synthetik dance territory, however unmistakable Shipway refrains soon take centre stage and accompanied by characteristic chant samples and flutey synth the opening title track does not disappoint.

'Highland' breezes along on a chugging beat and features a very familiar theme played in a variety of voices and styles. It's good, but at seven minutes it does go on a bit. 'Evening Star' is another adroit offering with a measured main theme and immaculate backing. Another member of the 'Sequences theme club' follows, and its similarity to 'Highland' may explain a few things. It is played with rather more gusto though and hence is a more successful outing, but still rather predictable. The segue into track 5 is very impressive, and the form continues with a very infectious theme and a confident air which combine to great effect.

'Sanctuary' suggests monastery, monastery suggests monks, monks suggest Enigma, Enigma suggests a chugging beat, silken synths and monastic chants. A chugging beat, silken synths and monastic chants characterise 'Sanctuary'. 'Jamjar' is a dense collage of electric guitar and repetitive synth voices, and it works very well. 'The Navigator' slows the pace down and is a thoughtful interlude, while 'Temple' presents ethnic rhythms and voicings in a contemporary manner.

'Chameleon' expertly combines a variety of synth styles and really does show-case Michael Shipway's considerable talents. More traditional synth voices feature in 'The Visitor', another pleasing track which closes with PC vocals (alá Waveform's Virtual World) that introduce the next track... 'Expedition'. It's here that this album really gets into top gear. This really is a superb piece which has the lot; great themes, marvellous samples, and an infectious rhythm. Classic Shipway. The PC vocals continue on 'Oasis', heralding another Enigma beat and another excellent track.

Had this album finished after track 9 I would have commented that it was an album of immaculately presented EM but that it was founded on very safe ground. However, the closing quartet of tracks really do transcend this album, and go a long way to justify its 'Spirit of Adventure title'. Shipway fans will delight at what's on offer here. Newcomers may well be impressed enough to investigate other MS albums. Really, you can't ask much more than that can you?

Graham Getty - Zenith Magazine