The Nomad Soul [no label, 1CD, mindwarp 867]

David Bowie and Reeves Gabrel were in Bermuda when they were approached to contribute a soundtrack to a new computer game, Omikron: The Nomad Soul. Designed by the same team that created the mega-selling Tomb Raider, Omikron was a magnificent construct in which the game itself was all but secondary to the situation in which it is set, a vast cityscape whose attractions included Bowie and his band performing “live,” especially for you. And this is what they played, a clutch of songs that Bowie described as “music… [with] an emotional subtext,” and an escape from the stereotypical electro-Industrial clatter that accompanies most computer games. 

Most of the material here will be familiar, albeit in different form, to the songs that became the basis for Bowie’s next regular album, the brilliant Hours: “New Angels of Promise” is a lot more aggressive, for example; “Something In The Air” a step or two slower and more subdued, and so on. These are interrupted by a handful of cuts by one Xavier Despas, the multi-part “A Journey” and the burbling “Save Your Soul,” but all work well across the overall disc, and you should file The Nomad Soul alongside your copy of Hours right away. Double the delight of Bowie’s greatest latter-day album. - Dave Thompson

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September 5, 2008