Click here to see a complete list of reviews. Click here to see a complete list of interviews. Click here for links to artists and labels . Click here to visit our main menu page. Click here for email address.

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------Delerium - Nuages Du Monde
STYLE   Lush electronic soundscaping with soaring, ethereal female vocals, emotive beats and colourful world elements. Delerium's unique style blossoms once again here in full opulent glory - the undulating synth arrangements, multi-layered and constantly varying are at their richest; strings, pianos and all manner of the global waves and samples fill the air with an exotic scent, the percussive structures inhabit that ambiguous twilight space somewhere between live and digital, additional organic ethnic loops deftly entwined. Deep flutes and eastern wires frequently thicken the atmosphere and spacious interludes allow the synths plenty of room to evolve and shine - cycling, morphing arpeggios, doleful drones, beautiful shifting melodies. Many of the songs are wordless or sultry, moody affairs that work in smooth conjunction with the sumptuous programming, quirky, catchy themes that hit angelic highs and wistful lows brimming with emotion.
 
MOOD   Exotic musical montages where each track tells a story - unhurried introductions of sweeping strings or brooding ambience unfurl into shady, downtempo dreamscapes of sensual delight. Nuages Du Monde is an album of passion and drama - a series of crepuscular nocturnes for the dreamer in each of us.
 
ARTWORK   The front cover image maintains the Delerium knack for matching image to musical vision - a girl reclines on a bed of cloud, butterflies flickering about her, one alighting on her finger - gondolas in the distance skirt an island of ornate architecture. Everything is presented in muted tones giving an impression of age - only the butterflies bright and vivid. The feeling of decadent opulence is maintained throughout the booklet - gold leaf (literally), floral scrollwork and embossed textures layer most pages in heavy tones. There are portraits of all the singers (with the notable exception of choirboy Greg Froese) and a montaged image of Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber. The package comes in a jewel case this time, but Carylann Loeppky's delightful artwork still makes this feel like something special to hold and browse.
 
OVERALL    Delerium are on top form with this latest release delivering here something of the darkness and romance that first appeared on Semantic Spaces, explored more fully on Karma, however, the development of the Delerium sound into something lighter and more widely accessible through Poem and Chimera is also evident. More lightweight than Karma, more consistent and passionate than Chimera - this is a strong album that consolidates all that Delerium has thus far achieved. There are some Instrumentals, some songs and some pieces somewhere in between where voices are employed similarly to instruments. Kristy Thirsk, Kirsty Hawkshaw, Jael, Zoe Johnston, The Mediaeval Babes and Isabel Bayrakdarian provide the heavenly tones with just the right amount of blissful melancholy.
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   It seems that Bill and co. have listened to the fans and produced a CD that should please the greatest number. I defy any Delerium fan not to be content with this offering. If you don't know Delerium - this is music for fans of beat-driven electronica featuring the glories of the female voice.
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------Rena Jones - Driftwood
STYLE   Digital beats and shimmering electronica inventively woven into downtempo ambient pieces with expertly played cello, violin and clarinet threaded through the heart of most tracks. Rena Jones overlays tinkling, bubbling arps and synth patterns upon smooth strings and pads producing electronic canvases that alternate between bejewelled multifaceted sparkles and spacious atmospheric soundscapes. Her percussion arrangements are fragile, irregular, shifting structures that are not simply beats for the music; they are integral aspects of the overall sound - deeply stitched into the mix. Where the sounds of cello, violin or clarinet are employed - the approach is not that of classical instrument with synthetic backdrop - rather equal attention is given to both, Jones obviously enjoying the aspects of programming as much as those of passionate virtuoso performance.
 
MOOD  

 'Driftwood’ has a clean, crystalline sound - icy, airy - delicate and beautiful. The album has a cutting edge fluidity, technologically bang up to date, yet it never falls into the trap of being mechanical. The music here is eminently human and brims with elegant, feminine sensitivity.

 
ARTWORK   The artwork features fractal-like spirals and swirls. On the front cover these are comprised of intertwining scrolls of driftwood, leaves and blossom gracefully curling off into pointed tips. The rear cover picks up just the leaves and blossom - again spiralling lazily, this time forming a frame for the track list. When the artwork is unfolded into its full three panels the full glory of the driftwood structure can be seen - now solid and bold. Within is a more detailed track list with full credits, thanks and a dedication. Also an attractive poetic composition attributed to ~Phidelity~.
 
OVERALL    Driftwood (Rena Jones third full length solo release) is a delicate album of beautiful music - it could fall loosely into the chillout or ambient genres, but this CD seems to transcend such categorisation with an individuality and style that is quite unique. There is evidence of the Native State house sound, if you're familiar with other releases from the label, this CD will have a pleasing familiarity for you. Promotional material aptly points out that "Rena Jones is an anomaly in modern electronic music. She writes, performs, produces, programs, and plays virtuosic strings all by herself. In a music scene dominated by men, she has proven herself to be more capable and more original than her contemporaries. Her work is sophisticated, delicate, touching, and personal". Rena has previously appeared on a number of compilation albums and also works as a part of a number of collaborative projects including String Theories with Evan Bluetech (which promises an album sometime next year).
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Native State fans will love this album - Rena continues to push back the boundaries of modern music whilst maintaining the roots of the label. Driftwood is a must for anyone into innovative chillout or percussive ambient - blending classical aesthetics with digital wizardry and a keen ear for detail.
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------Sola Translatio - Enigma
MUSIC   Ambient environments thick with obscurity and ambiguity. The album opens with muted shufflings and reverberating disturbances - a sonic wind rising and falling in the background. Some sounds have a human origin indicative of mysterious presences. Much of the sound here is suggestive of 'found sound' as though harvested from sonorous spaces and unmusical activities. Plucked notes and droning tonal loops sometimes rise to the fore rolling in layers, the noise of whirling tubes ghostly, fluctuating, bells and flutes hang in the air. In many places there is a dense sonic soup where undulating tonalities curl and revolve - mysterious effects drifting past the ear - aspects of harmony appearing incidental. Field recordings are woven into the sound, murmuring voices birds and water spectral elements in this land of enigmatic peculiarity.
 
ARTWORK   Artwork consists primarily of classical imagery featuring mazes and labyrinths - the pack is fronted by a painting where knights battle centaurs, a particular dual taking place right at the centre of a circular maze structure - two seated female figues holding the foreground.. The rear cover contains a brown tinted medieval cityscape with another round design in the middle. Inside is the track list along with credits and 'instruments' used for the project. Artwork is credited to Hic Sunt Leones (here there be lions).
 
OVERALL    Enigma is the third collaborative CD by Opium and Alio Die. Here the duo present mystifying a series of eight "imaginary landscapes" where beats are totally absent and musical structure is loose and meandering. The atmospheres are frequently disquieting, haunting and full of subtle perplexity. Acoustic and organic sounds are embedded deep within hazy drone textures, the artists employing drones and loops, zither, flutes bells and field recordings with Opium focusing on programming and wave editings. It must be said though that the sounds produced by the items listed are not necessarily those you might expect, these guys are not into dainty melodies and sweet tunes.
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------Between Interval - Autumn Continent
MUSIC   Synthetic ambient music; mainly beatless with some sequencer patterns in places for rhythm. A number of the tracks on Autumn Continent are cloudy masses of sound where atonal washes combine with sweeping drones to dramatic effect. Rumbling bottom end layers underlie smoother oceanic swells and billowing mists above - occasionally a piano line rises out of the fog or a bass pulse throbs in the twilight. 'Early Life Remainings' sees a percussive pattern slowly roll in with accompanying twinkling synthesiser cycles - this delicate track ends with a beautiful wind down into pensive lightness. A number of pieces tend to rise and fall in ponderous waves and swells of intensity and colour - sometimes sombre and atmospheric, at times wistful and weighted with nostalgia - an autumnal sense of loss, hints of early frost.
 
ARTWORK   An attractive package built appropriately around leaf shapes and autumnal hues. The front cover featuring stalks points and negative spaces strikingly toned from fiery yellow/orange through icy turquoise into nocturnal indigo and black. The reverse image is muted so that the tracklist might shine - tastefully slanted letters sitting atop track times. Within the booklet russet browns blurred with camera motion support credits and thanks and the Between Interval website address.
 
OVERALL   

This is the third full solo album from Stefan Jönsson in ambient mood - he also produces music under the names Sublunar for trance, Monodrive mainly for progressive house and Section 9 for tech-trance/house. Between Interval has also appeared recently on the excellent Ultimae compilations Oxycanta and Albedo. Autumn Continent is released on Spotted Peccary Records. Promotional material explains that the album was "inspired by the chilly autumn and winter in northern Europe. Autumn Continent takes you to vast frosted landscapes, through colourful autumn forests under bleak skies, revealing dark ocean depths far below the newly frozen surface and shows you hidden locations long forgotten". There is no doubt here that Stefan achieves these sonic images to powerful effect.

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------Kiss & Fly
STYLE   Moody trip hop and cinematic electronica with female vocals. Kiss & Fly combine dramatic piano lines and shadowy atmospherics to produce a brooding sound canvas that is driven into motion by a series of unhurried sinewy downtempo beats. At times the sound is orchestral and one of sweeping grandeur at others a solo piano carries the thread. A variety of voices haunt these appealing shadows - a spoken male voice appears on one track, but the majority of the singers are women. Kiss & Fly have a pleasingly professional sound - the vocals are strong and the arrangements ambitious, for a debut EP this is powerful product.
 
MOOD   Like the thunder clouds on the cover and on band's the website, Kiss & Fly work within a mood of lush gloom - emotive, sensual vocals providing the light shafting through the atmosphere. The broad soaring nature of the sound creates a sense of classic romanticism, the smooth production leaving a polished surface and a sense of airy space.
 
ARTWORK   The EP comes packed in a glossy card with a deep blue skyscape on front and back. On the front a jagged streak of lightening holds the attention heading earthward from the band's logo. Rear cover information provides a tracklist with times included, simple credits and web site details.
 
OVERALL    Kiss & Fly according to promotional material "is an open musical project, fruit of the collaboration between Tristan (author/composer) and varied artists, authors, singers, joint together to create skin deep emotional music. The meeting point of refined melancholic trip-hop/pop and subtle soundtrack ambiance". This is not Tristan's first venture into musical release - in 2001 he released an album under the name Le Triste Sire, a second album followed in 2003. These CDs chart the artist's development of neo-classical, soundtrack music into a more electronic sound using synthetic sources and loops. Singers Sandy and Mylene came to the project in 2005 and Kiss & Fly finally emerged.
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   This is a CD for fans of melancholy female vocal music - it might well appeal to Delerium, Balligomingo fans as well as to trip hop audiences that like their sound rich and cinematic.
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------Nosesoul: Francesco Paladino & Opium - angel ghost and human shades
MUSIC  

Ambient experimental sounds combining the 'Francesco' voices with improvisational programming from Opium. Francesco Paladino here provides vocalisations that range from moans, whines and nasal tones through to various mutterings and mournings. Teo Zini or Opium surrounds these utterances with layers of ambient electronic texture and processed 'wave editings'. The resultant sound is a mysterious organic sound installation that is suggestive of various dreamstates - jangling bells, buzzing flies, birds, water droplets and hypnotic drones hang in the aural air - ambiguous, evocative and unsettling. Titles add to the dreamy mood of the music - 'grasswall painted green', 'me, the sky sleeping', 'sunrise overflow'.

 
ARTWORK   Sharp photography focuses on earth hues and textural areas - stacked rocks on the front cover, a pool in a rocky indentation on the reverse. Everything is suitably shady with abundant blacks. Within the booklet are portraits of the artists and a few words from each to present their individual contributions to the project. Web site addresses are included along with thanks and kisses.
 
OVERALL   

Paladino recently collaborated with Alio Die on the album 'Angel's Fly Souvenir' and then as a new musical project teamed up with Opium to form 'Nosesoul'. The promotional material from Teo Zini explains that the "Nosesoul project is pure improvisation - my sessions have been improvised and directly mixed with Francesco's voices. These sounds are pure breaths, pure prayers, pure mourns and pure pleasures to me". The album is released on the Hic Sunt Leones label and can be found on the Alio Die website.

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------Francesco Paladino & Sean Breadin - Mvsica Fivto
MUSIC  

Experimental and improvised folky ambience using the vocalisations from Nosesoul and here combining these with improvisational instrumentation from Sean Breadin. Breadin mixed and processed the original sounds and integrated them into a new context to reveal a very different result from Nosesoul. Acoustic strains from such sources as pocket corner, crwth, viola, gusle, voice, bendhir and bells waft and crawl around the truly peculiar sounds produced by Paladino. Flights up and down the scales, meanderings through musical motifs, wavering sonic explorations - a ceremonial tone and respectful juxtaposition.

 
ARTWORK   Photomontaged imagery combines a solarised eye staring purple, indigo from a yellow-brown backdrop overlaid with lettering and mirrored cartography. A tasteful black border at top and bottom binds the picture running across to the reverse of the booklet where a negative version of the cover appears in monochrome brown. The rear of the jewelcase presents no text apart from HIC SUNT LEONES and the Alio Die website address. Within we find the track list and timings along with credits and sound sources.
 
OVERALL    The promotional material for this album explains that this music was "elaborated from the same basic 'voices' for "NoseSoul" made by Paladino, and then mixed, processed and integrated by Breadin with totally acoustic improvisations with pocket corner, crwth, viola, gusle, voice, bendhir". The sound here is more acoustic than Nosesoul - suggestive of a live performance - a duet of pure exploration and imagination. This is music that strays very far from the mainstream into territories that test the very boundaries of music.