Ringworld MP3 Review

Milo Black has recorded a selection of tracks inspired by the Larry Niven's novel Ringworld.

Milo describes himself as "An English guitarist/programmer/producer, making what can best be described as psychedelic, progressive space rock". He lists his influences as "Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Ozric Tentacles, Gong, King Crimson, Genesis, Tangerine Dream amoung others.

Most of the tracks are instrumentals, and so make good background music.  A couple of the songs, as indicated below do have backing vocals accompanying them.  Aside from filks at conventions which may or may not have been recorded, this is the first time to our knowledge that anyone has illustrated one of Larry's stories musically.

These songs used to be available from mp3.com and Milo's own website, both of which are long gone. We have been unable to contact Milo Black, however, we have made the songs available directly from larryniven.org.

"Blind Spot: In System: Arrival"

This track is completely instrumental.  It starts off very atmospheric as if building to a climax. You can just imagine the Liar on its approach towards the Ringworld and the Flyby of the underside of the ring.  Halfway though the track it changes completely and turns into a more upbeat, with electric guitar sounds playing over the bassy rhythm.

"Louis Wu"

Louis Wu has self narrated vocals by "Louee Woo" provided by Duane Tate.  This is a slow-rock ballad that narrates the story of Ringworld.  The guitar is a little over the top and Duane Tate's voice is a little weak, but most importantly doesn't sound even slightly oriental.

  • "Flycycle"

    Interspaced in the beginning with what sounds like communications with an Apollo mission and Houston backwards!, this is a hard rock instrumental track.  A nice boppy little melody plays over the rock guitar track. 

  • "The Arch"

    Another good track, very atmospheric, with a piano solo overlaying the backing track, this almost has a tubular bells sound to it.  You can just imagine Louis and his motley crew flying above the Ringworld surface on their way to the wall, being mesmerized by the size of the Arch overhead.

    "Teela Brown"

    A quirky sounding melody accompanies this track, more electronic guitars, and just when you think that the song will amount to nothing a new rhythm changes the end of the song and makes it sound far more dangerous and exciting that in the beginning,

    "Speaker-to-Animals"

    Not a bad soft rock track, this time with a hint of menace, but at five and a half minutes, this track does go on a bit longer than it needs to.

    "Flowers and Lace"

    Vocals provided by Janet Murphy.  This is a good song and is about a woman who has lost her love.  I suppose you could think of Prill stuck in the ARM headquarters between the end of Ringworld and before Engineers and missing Louis terribly.

  • "Nessus"

    This song alternates between the frantic, the mellow, the calm, and the downright zany, you could liken it to Nessus in his Manic-depressive cycle.

  • "Eye Storm"

    This is a swinging rock track with a the ever-present guitar solos that feature elsewhere in this series.  The wind sounds are good, but fails to do justice to the Eye Storm itself which surely must make the F5 in the movie Twister look like a dust devil.

    "The Tower Called Heaven"

    This latest addition to the Ringworld collection starts off with choral voices and then progresses into another heavy guitar number, you hear the occasional churchbell throughout. It does seem to go on a little too long.