How to Measure a Planet?

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How to Measure a Planet?
Studio album by The Gathering
Released 9 November 1998
Recorded Bauwhaus Studios, Amsterdam and Wisseloord Studios, Hilversum between July and October 1998
Genre Progressive rock, trip hop, alternative rock, electronica
Length 103:21
Label Century Media
Producer Attie Bauw
The Gathering chronology
Nighttime Birds
(1997)
How to Measure a Planet?
(1998)
if then else
(2000)

How to Measure a Planet? is fifth studio album by the Dutch alternative rock band The Gathering. It was released on 9 November 1998 by Century Media Records. The album was recorded at Bauwhaus Studios, Amsterdam and Wisseloord Studios, Hilversum between July and October 1998 under the guidance of producer Attie Bauw.

The theme of space travel runs through many of the songs on the album as well as on the cover and CD booklet.

The track "Liberty Bell" was released as a single in Europe as well as in Canada via Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles #12 track 9.

Upon release, the album received positive reviews from critics who appreciated the band's absorption of new styles such as shoegaze and trip-hop into its sound. Many fans of the more metallic side of the group weren't so pleased, however, and it sold about two-thirds as much as its two predecessors (although some slippage should be expected, given it was a more expensive two-CD package). Many of the Gathering's fans did stay with the band, and, as the members have said, it brought them a whole new fanbase.

How to Measure a Planet? remains something of a high point for the Gathering, with tracks from the album making up the majority of its two subsequent live albums, Superheat (2000) and Sleepy Buildings (2004).

In Japan, a one-CD version of the album was released, omitting the nearly half-hour title track.

Background[edit]

Having already achieved some moderate success with Mandylion and Nighttime Birds, the group felt trapped in an artistically controlled corner, which was very limited due to the high expectations from their fan base.

Following the departure of guitarist Jelmer Wiersma, the remaining members of The Gathering decided they needed a change in musical direction. Having only one guitar player implied more space for different elements. Acknowledging the likes of Radiohead's OK Computer and Massive Attack's Mezzanine, and the growing influence of such shoegazer bands as Slowdive and the more ethereal sounds of 4AD bands such as Dead Can Dance the group took the opportunity to experiment with their sound and reinvent themselves.

Under guidance from producer Attie Bauw, the band embraced innovative recording techniques and a will to experiment, turning away from the standard structuring of their previous recordings. The group had developed a different sound; less bombastic, more transparent, and vastly expanded the group's creative spectrum and style.

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Anneke van Giersbergen

Disc 1
No. Title Music Length
1. "Frail (You Might as Well Be Me)"   René Rutten, Frank Boeijen 5:04
2. "Great Ocean Road"   Rutten, Hugo Prinsen Geerligs 6:19
3. "Rescue Me"   Rutten 6:22
4. "My Electricity"   Van Giersbergen 3:32
5. "Liberty Bell"   Rutten 6:01
6. "Red is a Slow Colour"   Rutten 6:26
7. "The Big Sleep"   Boeijen 5:01
8. "Marooned"   Rutten 5:56
9. "Travel"   Rutten, Boeijen 9:06
Disc 2
No. Title Music Length
1. "South American Ghost Ride"   Boeijen 4:25
2. "Illuminating"   Boeijen 5:51
3. "Locked Away"   Van Giersbergen 3:24
4. "Probably Built in the Fifties"   Rutten 7:26
5. "How to Measure a Planet?" (not on Japanese single-disc edition) Rutten, Prinsen Geerligs 28:33
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars link
Daily Vault Album Reviews (A) link
MetalStorm 10/10 stars link

Charts[edit]

Chart (1998) Peak
position
Dutch Albums Chart[1] 45
German Albums Chart[2] 99

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.dutchcharts.nl/showitem.asp?interpret=The+Gathering&titel=How+To+Measure+A+Planet%3F&cat=a
  2. ^ http://www.officialcharts.de/album.asp?artist=The+Gathering&title=How+To+Measure+A+Planet%3F&cat=a&country=de