LYNNE, the sonic architect of ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA,
builds on the group's formidable legacy with
'Zoom', their first album of new material in 15 years
on Epic. But it's been well worth the wait, as 'Zoom' showcases
Lynne's prodigious talent and unbridled musical passion
on 13 songs, including 'Moment In
Paradise', 'State Of Mind'
and 'Melting In The Sun'.
is now available in the UK
(Epic 502500 2), USA (Epic
85336) and Japan (Sony SRCS 2466). The Japanese domestic
edition features an excellent bonus track, 'Long
Black Road', plus an additional 24-page black and
white lyric booklet plus sleeve notes (all in Japanese).
produced and performed by Jeff Lynne, the album mixes many classic
widescreen ELO elements - the layered harmonies, ringing guitars,
melodic rushes, string arrangements and rootsy rock stylings -
with the shimmering sonic touches he brought to other projects
as a producer (George Harrison's 'Cloud
Nine'; Tom Petty's 'Full Moon
Fever', Petty and The Heartbreakers 'Into
The Great Wide Open'; Roy Orbison's hit 'You
Got It') and as a member of the Traveling Wilburys,
with Harrison, Bob Dylan, Orbison and Petty, on their two
albums (1988's 'Volume 1' and 1991's
general body of work of ELO actually goes all the way back from
a couple of cellos and a violin to a 40-piece orchestra and a
30-piece choir at its biggest and most expansive," reflects
Lynne. But the strings on Zoom, he points out, "are not over
the top- there are just little string quartets and little violin
Zoom, Lynne handles lead vocals, backing vocals, lead guitar,
rhythm guitar, cello, piano, keyboards, bass and drums. He's joined
at various points on Zoom by such guests as George Harrison
(slide guitar on 'A Long Time Gone',
'All She Wanted') and Ringo Starr
(drums on 'Easy Money', 'Moment
in Paradise') as well as vocalist Rosie Vela and
cellist Suzie Katayama.
standout tracks like 'Melting In The Sun',
'Really Doesn't Matter At All' and
'Stranger On A Quiet Street' feature
Lynne's signature, layered vocals, while 'In
My Own Time', 'Lonesome Lullabye'
and 'Ordinary Dream' showcase the
more orchestral ELO sound.
says his musical relationships with Harrison, Dylan, Orbison and
Petty influenced how he sculpted the ELO sound on Zoom.
"Working with them broadened my
mind and I thought, 'What if I applied this new knowledge to a
new ELO album? I'd probably see it differently and do it differently.'
I have learned a lot working with all those guys, all my favourite
guys. It was a total pleasure. I suppose bits of them rubbed off
on me and it opened me up more. I was always locked away, working
Zoom's 13 songs were recorded over the period of two
and a half years at the British artist's Los Angeles home recording
studio and in various rooms throughout the house, utilising the
built-in dramatic acoustics. "It's
interesting in that respect," says Lynne. "You actually
get different sounds than you probably would in a studio. I prefer
natural-sounding wood and the echo of different rooms." Lynne
adds, with a laugh, "Sometimes in the bathroom I've got an
songs on Zoom draw on life's "ups
and downs, you know," Lynne explains. "Some
of them are about just trying to do as good as you can when things
don't work out. Sometimes there are loose ends that you can never
tidy up," adds Lynne about relationships that
falter. "But it's also about trying
to learn to trust your instincts and do what you feel is right."
Lynne reveals that "these
words actually came to me much faster than they used to in the
old days because I was basing them more on things that have happened
to me. These lyrics are more heartfelt than ones in the past."
waiting for the release of Zoom, ELO fans luxuriated in the newly
issued 'Flashback', a three-CD box
set compiled by Lynne that spans ELO's entire career from 1970
to 1986. Between 1974 and 1981, the multi-million selling ELO
enjoyed a remarkable 17 Top 40 hits - among them 'Evil
Woman', 'Strange Magic', 'Telephone
Line', 'Can't Get It Out Of My Head',
'Don't Bring Me Down', 'Shine
A Little Love', 'Hold On Tight' and
'Livin' Thing' - and became a major
arena and stadium draw. The group's shows were sonic and visual
spectacles, including massive flying saucers and vibrant light
53-track (Epic/Legacy) collection includes seven previously unreleased
tracks, plus alternative mixes and rare demos plus liner notes
by Rolling Stone's David Wild and track-by track comments
from Lynne. The set encompasses the group's 21 U.S. and U.K. chart
singles, ranging in time from the seminal '10538
Overture' ("the very birth
of the realisation of the sound" says Lynne, recorded
in 1970 with Roy Wood when they were still in The Move)
and 'Roll Over Beethoven' (the song
that brought ELO to the American top 40 for the first time in
1973) all the way to 'Calling America'
(ELO's final top 20 hit of 1986). The final ELO album was 1986's
'Balance of Power'. In 1990 LYNNE
released a solo album, 'Armchair Theatre'.
"I think the long-distance gap of
15 years gave me a very good perspective of what I did earlier",
says Lynne reflecting about 'Zoom'.
"I've learned a
lot during that time."