Origin of Symmetry
|Origin of Symmetry|
|Studio album by Muse|
|Released||17 July 2001|
|Genre||Alternative rock, new prog,
space rock, progressive metal
|Producer||David Bottrill, John Leckie, Muse|
|Singles from Origin of Symmetry|
Origin of Symmetry is the second studio album by English alternative rock band Muse, released on 17 July 2001 by Taste Records. The album was a critical and commercial success in the UK, it peaked at number 3 in the UK Albums Chart and was certified platinum. The title and theme for the album comes from a concept put forward by the theoretical physicist Michio Kaku in his book Hyperspace.
On 26 and 28 August 2011, Muse designed and performed a special set at the Reading and Leeds Festivals to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Origin of Symmetry. The album was played from start to finish, marking the first time certain songs (such as "Darkshines" and "Hyper Music") have been played in several years.
The development of the album came about during the band's extensive touring in promotion of Showbiz, with some of the material written and performed whilst on the road. Many of the songs on Origin of Symmetry are more riff-orientated and have a heavier hard rock sound with a greater use of distorted guitars. In contrast, there is also a significantly stronger classical music influence. The album contains more songs which use piano, electronic keyboards and synthetic sounds, as well as more organic percussion instruments. Origin of Symmetry proved to be a more progressive and experimental album, with a greater range of different vocal, melodic, and percussive styles than Showbiz.
The name and theme of the album comes from the book Hyperspace by theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. In it he discusses how a future book about the discovery of supersymmetry should be entitled "The Origin Of Symmetry", due to its implications in physics, in reference to the impact Charles Darwin's "On The Origin Of Species" had on biology. As is cited by Matt Bellamy: "The name of the album, 'Origin Of Symmetry', is from a book about geometry of the universe and how it's all in beautiful balance, a perfect thing in ten dimensions. It explains all the mysterious forces we invented religions around. According to Bellamy, "everyone's been writing about the origin of life so now they'll start looking at the origin of symmetry; there's a certain amount of stability in the universe and to find out where it originates from would be to find out if God exists."
Recording took place at Ridge Farm Studios in Surrey and Real World Studio in Wiltshire, and additional recordings were made at David Gilmour's Astoria Studios, Richmond Studios and Abbey Road Studios in London and Sawmills Studio in Fowey, Cornwall. The album was mixed at Sawmills and mastered at Sony Music Studios in London. Origin of Symmetry was produced by David Bottrill, John Leckie (who previously worked on the band's first album, Showbiz) and the band themselves.
Songs like "New Born", "Plug In Baby", and "Bliss" and were recorded with producer David Bottrill during the middle of touring in late 2000, in Ridge Farm Studios, Surrey. The songs were recorded within just a few days, so the band later had to re-master the songs with the help of John Cornfield after finishing with the Showbiz tour in order to make them suitable for an album release. The relatively stripped down nature of these songs helped to set a contrast for the recording of the rest of the album. "New Born", "Plug In Baby" and "Bliss" were seen as the "backbone of the album", with the other material being more experimental and ambitious.
Origin of Symmetry saw the band experimenting with new instruments and dynamics. Dominic Howard (drums) expanded the standard rock drum kit with various other items of his own, including a balaphone and even animal bones on "Screenager". Matt Bellamy also used an organ at St Mary the Virgin's Church, Bathwick to record "Megalomania". Because of the requirement of the pipe organ, this song is rarely played live by Muse, perhaps the most notable occasions being at Muse's charity gig at the Royal Albert Hall and during the Hullabaloo concert in Paris. Critics also noted that the album contains a heavier, more confident sound than predecessor Showbiz. In this album, Muse began to clearly display the classical music influences for which they are now known. For example, in the opening piano section and melody of "Space Dementia" one can clearly hear echoes of Rachmaninoff's second piano concerto.
Origin of Symmetry was to be released in the US on the 28th August 2001 but the release was cancelled after Muse left Maverick Records, who previously released Showbiz in the United States. The record label asked the band to remove the falsetto vocals for the album's release, claiming that their presence would discourage radio play. Muse's refusal saw them part ways with the label, meaning that the album was not released in the US until 2005. However, the album did not chart on the Billboard 200 until February 2010, when it "debuted" at number 161 nearly a decade after its original release.
The album was originally released as a CD-ROM with the MuseTV feature linked to online bonus material. This later ceased to function once the MuseTV media had been removed from the Internet. The CD was available in either a digipak or jewel case.
|Drowned in Sound||10/10|
The album was met with positive reviews. The BBC stated in their restrospective review that the album "shows a band with the drive and unfettered ambition to create a standalone marvel which not only awakens the ghosts and clichés from prog's pompous past, but entirely adds its own voice", adding that many elements of the band's later sound on albums such as Black Holes and Revelations could be traced back to this album. Q listed Origin of Symmetry as one of the best 50 albums of 2001.
In her 2011 work Revolution Rock: The Albums Which Defined Two Ages, author Amy Britton argued that on Origin of Symmetry Bellamy "progressed [his band]'s sound so much that he earned a new title – this generation's guitar hero," highlighting "Plug In Baby" and "New Born".
The album has made appearances on lists of the greatest rock albums of the 2000s, both poll-based and on publication lists. In 2006 earned the spot of 74 on Q Magazine's 100 Greatest Albums of all Time. Later in February 2008 a Public Vote for Q Magazine placed the album in #28 of the Best British Albums of all time. Acclaimed Music ranks Origin of Symmetry as the 1,247th greatest album of all time. Kerrang! Magazine placed the album at #20 in its 100 Best British Rock Albums Ever! List, #9 in its Albums of the Year 2001 List  and #13 on their 50 Best Albums of the 21st Century.
"Feeling Good" is a cover of a song written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse originally for the 1965 musical The Roar of the Greasepaint—the Smell of the Crowd. Bellamy decided to include it in the album because Nina Simone's version of the song is a favourite of his former girlfriend. Later the song was used to advertise Eden, a new channel launched on 26 January 2009, that was previously known as UKTV Documentary, as well as being used in the 2008 feature film Seven Pounds. Nestlé tried to use the song in a coffee commercial, though the band refused to give the company permission to do so. After Nestlé used the song anyway, the band successfully sued Nestlé for £500,000 and donated the proceeds to the charity Oxfam - along with several local charities near Teignmouth, the town where the band formed.
The song "Space Dementia" has been used for the advertisement of the fragrance Midnight Poison by Christian Dior, released in 2007. The advertisement features Eva Green in a blue dress, directed by Wong Kar-wai.
Fragments of the song "New Born" have been used in an advertisement for Oxfam. The advertisement uses part of the piano intro and the first driving guitar riff. The song was also used in a 2008 advertisement for the Lloyds TSB bank.
The song "New Born" has been used in the film Haute Tension (also known as Switchblade Romance in the UK and High Tension in the US) and a remix by Paul Oakenfold was used in Dominic Sena's film Swordfish.
|5.||"Plug In Baby"||3:39|
|11.||"Futurism" (Japan CD and iTunes bonus track. It was later featured as a B-side to the "Dead Star/In Your World" single.)||3:27|
|Bonus Track (Enhanced Digipack CD version)|
|12.||"Muse TV" (An online "enhanced element", no longer available, that could only be visited once played in a computer, acting as a CD-ROM feature.)||N/A|
|UK Albums Chart||3||2× Platinum|
|Australian Albums Chart||22||Platinum|
|Austrian Albums Chart||7|
|Dutch Albums Chart||19|
|French Albums Chart||2|
|German Albums Chart||17|
|Irish Albums Chart||3|
|Italian Albums Chart||5|
|Japanese Albums Chart||20|
|US Billboard 200||161|
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