(28 March 2005) The folks over at www.auralgasms.com have given us another wonderful compilation album featuring the songs of both new and established artists. Bliss of Life (Auralgasms (USA) 2005) is the follow-up volume to Auralgasms first collection, The Beat of Discontent (review). This time around, the line-up of featured artists is even stronger and the music is indeed, "blissful."
The immensely talented Belgian group, Lunascape are also given a prime slot for their track "Praise Me," culled from their sophmore album, Mindstalking (review). Lunascape's lead vocalist, Kyoko Baertsoen is a formidable singer who manages to sound both assertive and fragile at the same time against the driving percussion and guitars. American fans should also take note that Lunascape will shortly be releasing an album state-side that will feature some of the best tracks from their first two albums.
Famed world-music/experimental composer Hector Zazou tapped ex-Mandalay frontwoman Nicola Hitchcock for the song "Surrender"--and what an absolutely gorgeous song it is. Taken from Zazou's L'Absence album, "Surrender" is a ghostly stripped-down number featuring electronic whirrs and haunted textures. Against this tapestry, Nicola's voice resonantes with inexpressible longing and sorrow. Fans of Mandalay (feature) will be happy to hear that Nicola is back in full-form and will be releasing her collaboration album entitled Passive Agressive shortly.
Bliss of Life also features superb tracks from female-fronted acts previously reviewed at Musical Discoveries. For example, the epic "To Kill A King" by Hungry Lucy (review), the excellent new track "Hollywood" by Jody Quine (viia feature), and Harland's "Little White Lies" (reviews) are especially noteworthy. However the album's standout track is Sleepthief's "Eurydice" featuring vocals by Jody Quine. Watch this space for our feature article on the band.
While the album highlights female vocalists, it also includes stunning material from other bands fronted by male singers. The Autumns; "Cattelya" is phenomenal. Fans of epic/shoegazer/acoustic pop will flip for this band. "Lucky Boy" by In Flight Safety and "Something To Do With My Hands" by Her Space Holiday are well produced electronic-style tunes with lush guitar and keyboard stylings. The acoustic "Skies You Climb" by Highspire, and Monster Movie's "Beautiful Artic Star" are also enjoyable. The album concludes with Eskobar's vocally lush "You Got Me"; listen for the soaring soprano backing vocals.
Bliss of Life will also introduce our readers to new female artists that should be explored further. Such is the case with Asobi Sesku whose tender electronically textured ballad "Walk On The Moon" and the lush downbeat tune featuring Stephenie Halpert's vocals entitled "Blissfield" by Au Revoir Borealis which both drew significant attention from our editorial staff.
In Bliss of Life Auralgasms have compiled a range of songs that introduce an equal assortment of emerging artists to a larger audience. While we would have liked to hear from more female vocalists, the mid-priced 17-track album will certainly whet the appetite of the site's regular visitors and serves to introduce this music to a wider audience.