Black Holes and Revelations (album)

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Cover art
Back cover art
Muse album
Name Black Holes & Revelations
Tracks
  • 11 (World) »
  • 12 (JP)
  • 2 (KROQ sampler CD-R)
  • 5 (Barnes and Noble Sampler CD-R)
Total length 45:28
Recorded 2005–2006
Writer/composer Matthew Bellamy
Producer Rich Costey[1]
Art work Storm Thorgerson[1]
Publisher
Format(s)
Catalogue №
  • HEL3002CD (GB), HEL3002CDX (GB digipack) »
  • WPCR-12306 (JP digipack)
  • WPZR-30194-5 (JP+DVD)
  • WB443502 (US+DVD)
  • 44284 (US)
  • 256435095 (AU)
  • 25646-3509-4 (ID cassette)
Release date
  • 3rd July 2006 (GB)[3] »
  • 28th June 2006 (JP)[4]
  • 30th June 2006 (NL, DE),[source?]
  • 5th July 2006 (EI)[source?]
  • 7th July 2006 (AU)[source?]
  • 11th July 2006 (US)[source?]
  • 10th February 2007 (AU+DVD)[source?]
  • 21st February 2007 (JP+DVD)[5]
  • 30th August 2007 (UA)[2]
  • 18th August 2009 (vinyl)
Chart position
  • 1 (GB, IE, CH, AU)[source?] »
  • 2 (NL)[source?]
  • 3 (FI)[source?]
  • 6 (FR, NZ)[source?]
  • 9 (US)[source?]
  • 11 (BE)[source?]
album chronology
Absolution
Black Holes & Revelations
The Resistance
Singles
Nav-sbh.jpgNav-starlight.jpgNav-koc.jpgNav-invincible.jpgMap of the Problematique artwork.jpg




Information

Black Holes and Revelations is Muse's fourth studio album, released three years after previous album Absolution, in July 2006. The album is less classically orientated than Origin of Symmetry and Absolution, while introducing new influences including jazz, soul and R&B. The album contains elements of these genres. The varied influences on the album can be traced to the intial demos and recording made in the Château Miraval studio[6] and the later recordings in New York City,[7] where Matt DJed in a club and the band recorded the remaining songs in the Electric Lady Studios.[6] Inspiration for the album was taken from a wide variety of other artists, from contemporary acts such as Lightning Bolt[6] and Rage Against The Machine,[8] to composer Ennio Morricone[9] and jazz singer Nina Simone.

The album is dedicated to the memory of Helen Kirk.[1]

Prior to recording

Bellamy approched Costey in regards to producing their next album during the Absolution tour. Costey followed this up by contacting Bellamy a few months prior to starting the album.[6] The playing of Black Holes and Revelations tracks and its b-sides live in effect started in 2003 with "Take a Bow" being played as a piano interlude after "Citizen Erased". Playing of the tracks pwoper started mid-2004 with "Glorious". "Crying Shame" made its debut in 19 December 2004, while "Assassin" and "Exo-Politics" in their early forms made their debut during the 2005 MTV Campus Invasion Tour (8 April 2005).[6]

Recording

The album was written partly before the Absolution Tour, partly during said tour and finished during their time at Miraval Studio, Avatar and Electric Lady Studios. As with Absolution, the time frame was not as large a concern as on the former two albums, hence Muse took their time over recording the album. The freedom also extended into the style of the music they wrote, delving into areas that Muse considered might be risky for other bands.[10] While previously Muse had written songs with their ability to play them live in mind, the band did not concern themselves with this ability whilst recording Black Holes and Revelations.[10]

During the band's time at Miraval, the album was hindered by the band's fear of bats and ghosts, as well as the owner who purportedly didn't want Muse there.[source?] Only two songs were recorded during Muse's time at Miraval, namely "Take a Bow" and "Invincible", although around 20 songs had been written.[8] Whilst three of these songs became B-sides, the others were left unfinished or as demos as the band were focused on finishing the eleven album tracks, and later became involved in live performances and recording new material.[11][12] One of the left over songs, "Soaked", which was completed during the end of the recording process, later emerged.

Matthew Bellamy claimed that had the entire recording process been carried out at Miraval, it would have turned out akin to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.[source?] He described some of the material that they put aside from their time at Miraval as "a little too progressive and symphonic" for the type of album they wanted Black Holes and Revelations to be,[13] and "waffling on the piano, a lot of orchestration".[13] The band had become frustrated during their time at Miraval at the "lack of rock" in their music.[13]

In the Autumn 2005, Muse moved to New York, recording at Avatar and Electric Lady Studios. As well as recording in New York, Muse partook in the lifestyle of the city, which Dominic Howard claims influenced the style and direction of the album, particularly "Supermassive Black Hole".[14] The album's recording finished at Christmas 2005, after which the band moved to London and finished mixing at Sanctuary Townhouse Studios.[source?] Whilst recording the band worked on one song at a time, keeping those they liked and scrapping those they disliked.[15] New instrumentation not used on previous recordings include a buchla synthesiser and a trumpet.

The track list of Black Holes and Revelations was finalised by April 2006,[16] and the final track titles were decided by May.[17]

Inspiration and style

Whilst writing and recording the album, Muse listened to music in the style of Joe Meek, Kill Bill and Nancy Sinatra. Bellamy had been living in North Italy for a while and had discovered some old Italian traditional folk songs. They had also been inspired by Belgian bands such as Millionaire and Evil Superstars. Bellamy also listened to the style of his father's band, The Tornadoes.[18] Chris commented that the band listened to Islamic radio stations whilst writing the album and the progressive elements of that music influenced songs such as "Assassin".[19]

The general theme of the album centres on dystopian-orientated/kleptocratic politics, along with accompanying war. As well as in the music, this can be seen in the album art and booklet.

Album art

The album art, created by Storm Thorgerson,[source?] features the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation.[source?] Their four horses of different colours, are on the table. The rider of the white horse represents the Anti-Christ, the red one war, the black famine and the pale one represents death and decay. The horses are small to signify the ills of the riders had outgrown those of their horses.[20]

The images inside the album booklet include the HAARP installation, M87, papers from Project MKULTRA, and a blue contrail, in reference to the Aurora aircraft.

HAARP is a scientific research project, the goal of which is to study ionosphere. Muse later entitled the live album H.A.A.R.P. after the project. M87 is an elliptical galaxy in Virgo that emits a jet of matter, probably from a supermassive black hole within it, while the blue contrail is a reference to the Aurora aircraft, which some believe is a top-secret hypersonic aircraft that leaves a blue contrail behind it. Project MKULTRA was a CIA project that sought to use chemicals for mind control and interogation, after which Muse entitled the song "MK ULTRA".

Q Magazine offered the table and chairs featured on the front cover as a prize in a competition, in September 2007.[21]

Release and post-release

To promote the album in the UK, a set of MP3 player headphones loaded with the album was distributed for press use, including a short biography and track list. No promotional CD was produced for use in the UK. The US promo CD-R and the KROQ Weenie Roast CD-R are watermarked and encrypted so that they cannot be played on a computer. Each was printed with name of the intended recipient on the disc. In Germany a CD-R promo featuring an interview with the band was circulated to promote the album.

The album was leaked on the 7th of June, 2006, in monaural form,[22] which was speculated to have been from the aforementioned headphones, at least in part due to the presence of sounds that are not present in the final release.[source?] The album was leaked in stereo form on the 27th of June, from a Japanese disc.[source?] The album saw two weeks at number one in the UK chart.[23]

Black Holes and Revelations was re-released early in 2007 as a Tour Edition with a bonus DVD. A few online stores and listings on eBay have claimed that there exists a different Japanese CD/DVD set with additional DVD features including 'Live performances from Summer Sonic 2006 and Reading/Leeds Festival 2006, and Behind-the-scenes studio footage'. However, this is not the case, the DVD itself is identical to the original, which includes the videos and live performances of the first 3 singles from the album. The release of the album was completed when made available in Ukraine, in August 2007.[2] A version of the album featuring the "Grand Omega Bosses" version of "Assassin" was made available on 7digital.com from during 2007, but this was later amended to the album version of "Assassin" at a later date.

The vinyl edition became available on Amazon UK during early March, 2007,[24] but all orders where subsequently cancelled and the item remained seemingly unreleased. The double LP was finally rescheduled for released on 18th August 2009 along with the US vinyl reissues of Showbiz, Origin of Symmetry and Absolution, over three years after the original release date. The album was the first to have no French singles box-set released.

The Australian release includes a copy prevention rootkit (virus). To ensure your computer does not get infected, disable autorun before inserting the CD into your computer. This only affects Windows systems.

Awards

The album was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize in 2007. In addition, Knights of Cydonia was voted the "Hottest Song of 2007" on the Australian radio station Triple J.

Track list

CD, promos

  1. Take a Bow
  2. Starlight
  3. Supermassive Black Hole
  4. Map of the Problematique
  5. Soldier's Poem
  6. Invincible
  7. Assassin
  8. Exo-Politics
  9. City of Delusion
  10. Hoodoo
  11. Knights of Cydonia

US bonus DVD

  1. Absolution Tour

Tour Edition bonus DVD

  1. Supermassive Black Hole video
  2. Starlight video
  3. Knights of Cydonia video
  4. Supermassive Black Hole (live at Paris-Bercy, 14th December 2006)
  5. Starlight (live at the Bella Center, 2nd November 2006)
  6. Knights of Cydonia (live at the Wembley Arena, 23rd November 2006)

JP CD

  1. Take a Bow
  2. Starlight
  3. Supermassive Black Hole
  4. Map of the Problematique
  5. Soldier's Poem
  6. Invincible
  7. Assassin
  8. Exo-Politics
  9. City of Delusion
  10. Hoodoo
  11. Knights of Cydonia
  12. Glorious

Digital alternative version

  1. Take a Bow
  2. Starlight
  3. Supermassive Black Hole
  4. Map of the Problematique
  5. Soldier's Poem
  6. Invincible
  7. Assassin Grand Omega Bosses edit[25]
  8. Exo-Politics
  9. City of Delusion
  10. Hoodoo
  11. Knights of Cydonia

US untitled promo CD-R

  1. Take a Bow
  2. Starlight
  3. Supermassive
  4. Synthy Dreams
  5. Soldiers
  6. Invincible
  7. D-Tune
  8. Exo Politics
  9. City Of Delusion
  10. Nina
  11. Knights of Cydonia

KROQ Sampler CD-R

  1. Supermassive Black Hole
  2. Knights of Cydonia

Barnes and Noble Sampler CD-R

  1. Starlight
  2. Soldier's Poem
  3. Invincible
  4. Exo-Politics
  5. Hoodoo

MY Videos promo VCD

  1. Supermassive Black Hole video
  2. Starlight video
  3. Knights of Cydonia video

Album artwork

Black Holes and Revelations gallery

See also

References

  1. a b c Album notes
  2. a b c Official Ukrainian fanclub. (2007-08-30). [Official Ukrainian fanclub news]. Retrieved from muse.com.ua.
  3. Tom Wilson. (2006-07-03). Black Holes and Revelations - Out Now!. Retrieved from muselive.com.
  4. Black Holes And Revelations(ボーナストラック)【CD】-Muse/音楽/HMV (2006). HMV Japan. Retrieved from hmv.co.jp.
  5. Black Holes And Revelations(DVD付き, 限定盤)【CD】-Muse/音楽/HMV (2006). HMV Japan. Retrieved from hmv.co.jp.
  6. a b c d e Jeff Touzeau. (2007-03). An Evening with Rich Costey. EQ. [verify]
  7. Muse reveal inspiration behind funky new sound (2006-07-19). Retrieved from nme.com.
  8. a b Discussion in London (2006-05). Rock Mag. Retrieved 2007-05-09. [verify]
  9. Marcus Kagler. (2006-07-20). Muse. Under the Radar. Retrieved 2006-07-21. [verify]
  10. a b Matthew Bellamy
  11. sam_linnett. (2006-06-01). Muse Interview In French Magazine. Retrieved from muselive.com.
  12. News (2008-11-28). Muse website. Retrieved 2008-11-29 from board.muse.mu. [verify]
  13. a b c Lindsay McDougall. (2007-08-02). [Interview with Matthew Bellamy]. The Breakfast Show. Retrieved 2007-08-02 from abc.net.au. [verify]
  14. MTV News
  15. Chris Wolstenholme interview (needed)
  16. RoyalBlue. (2006-04-23). Album Details Emerge. Retrieved from muselive.com.
  17. Filip Taneski. (2006-05-10). Black Holes and Revelations Track List. Retrieved from muselive.com.
  18. Matthew Bellamy
  19. Firebaptist. (2007-05-14). An interview with Chris. Retrieved from board.muse.mu.
  20. Couleur 3 2007-07-24
  21. aleydarss. (2007-08-31). Win the table and chairs from the Muse album cov. Retrieved from muselive.com.
  22. teh w33z wag00n. (2006). Muse - Black Holes and Revelations : Music > Rock - Mininova. Retrieved from mininova.org.
  23. The Official UK Charts Company : ALL THE No.1's (2007-06-29). Official UK charts. Retrieved from theofficialcharts.com.
  24. Amazon UK. (2007-03). Amazon.co.uk: Black Holes and Revelations [VINYL]: Music: Muse. Retrieved from amazon.co.uk.
  25. [Download page]. 7digital. Retrieved from 7digital.com.


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