Artist: VNV Nation
Genre: Future Pop
Release Date: 15th May 2015
Label: Anachron Sounds
A long time before ‘Resonance’ was released, Ronan Harris posted pictures of the recording process on Facebook and reported on the progress. And every time he did so, one could feel a glimpse of his own joy and fascination of working on this project with the Film Orchestra Babelsberg. I, too, was looking forward with excitement to the release of this new "old" work ("old", since there are no new VNV NATION songs to be found on this album, only re-recordings of previously released material) and was, let's say, disillusioned, when I finally listened to it. Maybe it was his band's performance at the Gothic Meets Classic Festival, that inspired Mr. Harris to record an album with an orchestra. I was not present at this event, but I can imagine, how impressive all of that must have been to him. And yes indeed, the orchestral versions of the VNV NATION songs don't sound that bad, but in my ears not so different from a "regular" album.
One can either refer that to the brilliant conversion of the songs to strings and all other elements of orchestral sound, or one can ask oneself why one's not completely swept away by the arrangements. Well, on the one hand there are the faster tracks converted into the orchestral style. They are nice, they sounds nice, but they don't knock one off one's feet because all the songs on this album sound like ballads even if they are originally not. On the other hand I miss the changes of volume, this little something that makes me prick my ears, that I had expected with songs like "beloved" at the latest. Of course, my all-time favourite ‘Illusion’, the song that always brings tears to my eyes on concerts, is not missing on this album, too, but I must admit that the "normal" prior version somehow touches me deeper than this new one.
Don't get me wrong. This album is terrific, thinking of the effort it took to do the new vocal recordings and completely new arrangements for all the songs. The box containing the vinyl records will make the dedicated collectors hearts beat faster, even the booklet, filled with many black-and-white pictures, is bound in a solid cover instead of the common paper patched together. Even the cover design, in deep red and golden colours, gives one a feeling that what he is up to put into his CD player now is something very special, or at least it should be. Considering the fact that not many bands get the chance to do a recording with a whole orchestra, it is indeed special, but I still miss this certain kick. I've reflected over and over again on this, listened to the album for six hours, sometimes even in the car while driving (It's not suitable for that, but I will talk about that later) and kept thinking all the time: "Okay, now this is the orchestral version of VNV NATION. Nice". But in the end, it's not more than that: Nice.
If I was to recommend when to listen to this album, I would say: Use it to find sleep at night. And that's not meant as an offence. like most classical music from Bach or Mozart it has a very calmative effect and makes one fall asleep more softly than while counting sheep. So, this is not the right kind of album for dancing, partying or driving a car, because not only the wow - effect is missing, even if it's only on one or two songs, but also the maximum factor of serenity could have a negative effect on the driving ability. Compared to other VNV NATION albums, which surprise the listener with variations in volume and synthesizer sounds, ‘Resonance’ is foreseeable and nothing interesting is happening. It's a classical, orchestral work to the core. Which is good, because no one would record an album with a famous and notable orchestra when it's not intended to sound like that in the end.
So, I'd like to value this album as a personal dream fulfilment for Ronan Harris, still a nice piece, something for collectors, for die-hard-fans, but not for those who desired VNV NATION in classical, orchestral style. Since it is more classic music in VNV NATION style. So, just listen to it, think about it, form your own opinion and when you have the habit of collecting, add it to your collection just for the number of vinyl records.
01. Nova (Maestoso) [feat. The Babelsberg Film Orchestra]
02. Legion (Vivace Con Affeto) [feat. The BabelsBerg Film Orchestra]
03. Solitary (Allegro Con Spirito) [feat. The Babelsberg Film Orchestra]
04. Further (Andante Appassionato) [feat. The Babelsberg Film Orchestra]
05. Perpetual (Allegro Espressivo) [feat. The Babelsberg Film Orchestra]
06. Illusion (Andante Grazioso) [feat. The Babelsberg Film Orchestra]
07. Nova (Largo)
08. Sentinel (Moderato Sostenuto) [feat. The Babelsberg Film Orchestra]
09. Standing (Moderato Declamando) [feat. The Babelsberg Film Orchestra]
10. Beloved (Allegro Grazioso) [feat. The Babelsberg Film Orchestra]
11. Resolution (Allegro Con Fuoco) [feat. The Babelsberg Film Orchestra]
www.vnvnation.com / www.facebook.com/VNVNation
Total: 6.5 / 10
Written by Josie Leopold, translation by Daniela Kubica