Brothers Ron and Russell Mael from Los Angeles, USA have been making diverse music since 1969 under various incarnations of Sparks. In 1979 they ditched the guitars and keyboards of glam geek rock and started working with Italian producer Giorgio Moroder, beginning a love affair with electronic music. Since then they have worked with a variety of people including Finitribe, Les Rita Mitsouko, Erasure and Faith No More. No. 1 in Heaven is the eighth album by the American rock band Sparks. Recorded with disco producer Giorgio Moroder, it marked a change of musical direction for the group and became influential on later synth-pop bands.
Following a long-established production pattern, Mike Oldfield assembled some relatively simple pop- and rock-flavored numbers following one long introductory piece on his 1983 Disky release, Crisis. The 20-minute opening title-track is a quintessential Oldfield texture study that consists of sparkling synth washes with edgier material weaving in and out. A fine setup, this track cleanses the aural pallet, preparing the listener nicely for the tunes that follow. Yes fans who can adjust to the sugary highlight "In High Places" will enjoy Jon Anderson's springy vocal work on the track. The energetic guitar romp "Taurus 3" will also appeal to most prog and art rock fans. Those in search of more ethereal Oldfield material should be aware of this record's pop leanings, but open-minded listeners will have a good time exploring Crisis, one of Oldfield's better releases of this type.