Artist: Lisa Gerrard and Jules Maxwell
Genre: Electronica / Cinematic Soundscape / Alternative / World Music
Release Date: 7th May 2021
Label: Atlantic Curve
A few days ago I reviewed Lisa Gerrard’s and Jules Maxwell’s new single called ‘Noyalain’ from the up and coming album ‘Burn’ I gave some background information into the genesis of the album over a period of seven years and how James Chapman from MAPS was asked to join the fold as producer. Now I have possession of the album I can offer my first impressions for your reading delectation, or not, as the case may be...
...Well, for starters, it sounds like MOBY crossed with ENYA but with a more eastern and operatic thread to it. It’s watery and chewy like bubble-gum or marshmallows but it’s also a fairly light album in regards to production. By that I mean it’s not hard to digest like a stodgy meal. Instead, it leaves you with a satisfactory fullness. It’s like DEAD CAN DANCE but with all the Gothic Medieval and monochromatic veneers filed off into smooth corners. I’ve had a few listens now with a couple of listens on shuffle. The first was by accident. That facilitated a tension in my belly that didn’t dissipate until I had finished the run through. A second listen on shuffle confirmed what I felt the first time. It’s just that the flow and symmetry didn’t feel right. It’s like drawing the River Thames onto some tiles and then rearranging the tiles. With the tiles arranged in the right order, however...
‘Heleali’ starts us off through a 35-minute journey. This track has a punchy bass line and a floaty gossamer feel to it. I feel like I have water in my mouth as I stare up at the pale blue sky. It’s as if I am within a purification ritual, that’s the feeling I get. ‘Noyalain’ I reviewed previously. To briefly sum up what I said in that review, do you remember what it felt like to have human contact before lockdown? If you have just been allowed to reconnect, what does that reconnection feel like? Also, to add to what I wrote before, another feeling has revealed itself. The feeling of forgetting and rediscovery and the wonder / shock of feeling “for the first time” The bass line is bouncy, with strings backing it up as if to lift one up, Piano keys allude to the light touch of fingers touching and send a shock of sensation through the body, making an impression and in a flash disappearing. Within the warming tones of ‘Deshta’ shivery eastern vocals dance and shimmy around your head like a mouthful of Turkish Delight where the past does not matter, the future does not matter, all that matters is the moment! A simple baseline exudes the warmth of a desert. Or the warmth of a touch on skin parched by drought of feeling.
The track notes for ‘Aldavyeem’ say that this track is a gentle trance that wakes you up from slumber. I agree with that, the track is easy and a bit like a cat’s paw on the nose as the conscious mind grabs the stimulus without being aggressively forced to. ‘Orion’ reminds me of ‘The Filth Element’ for some reason. I like the throatiness of this track; Lisa’s larynx being pulled down to achieve the cavernousness. Again, a simple bass line but one that pulls the proceedings along nicely. Cut crystal keyboards in the background complement the cavernous atmosphere perfectly. ‘Keson’ starts with Lisa’s vocal sung in tandem to another’s. And this gives the track a discombobulated feel at the beginning before VANGELIS-like keyboards kick in around two minutes. It’s kind of dreamy and windswept with a sense of the glassy eye.
Final track is ‘Do So Yol’. The vocals are sung in a language I do not know of, backed by the bom - bom - bom - bom of a drum, a guitar pops in like John Bon Jovi gate-crashing the recording session before being swiftly kicked out, the vibe returns to a flowing scarf in the wind vibe replete syncopated percussion and a droning electronic vein that pulls the track to its conclusion.
And so to conclusion: I like the album but as I have stated in other reviews, this is a piece of music that only gets better if you give it time and peel back its layers. First listen had me going “Hmmm it’s alright!” But after half a dozen listens my palette had started to discern the subtle flavours within. So, when ‘Burn’ gets released on the 5th of May, put a freshly laundered and fluffed duvet on your bed, light some candles and plug in the AirWick®, pour a glass of your favourite Sauvignon Cack Du Pap and let ‘Burn’ wash over you like a sweet-smelling Will O The Wisp. I thank you!
01. Heleali (The Sea Will Rise)
02. Noyalain (Burn)
03. Deshta (Forever)
04. Aldavyeem (A Time To Dance)
05. Orion (The Weary Huntsman)
06. keson (Until My Strength Returns)
07. Do Yo Sol (Gather The World)
Lisa Gerrard – Vocals
Jules Maxwell – Instrumentation + Additional Vocals (Noyalain / Deshta)
James Chapman – Instrumentation
David Kuckhermann – Additional Percussion (Aldavyeem)
https://julesmaxwell.com / https://www.lisagerrard.com
Total: 8 / 10