Image © 1999
Celsius Records &
The first release by International and award winning illustrators
Michelle Barnes and Greg Spalinka is available
in two formats. The artists are based in New York.
Accompanied with artwork by the duo, the
compact disc is available alone with very simple artwork in
a jewel case or in a cardboard sleeve with full colour 32-page
as The Visions Of Vespertina (Hyperium (Germany) RTD 39102002).
Alternatively, a full color hardbound volume featuring the artists'
illustrations accompanied by the original score on compact disc pressed
by Celsius Records (Finer Arts Records (USA) 9830) is available either
from the artists, the
label or at
The Celsius Records
version of the album comes with a 24-page illustrated booklet.
Visit their sites for soundbites and further ordering details.
The album is comprised of nine gothic-oriented tracks that swim
with Michelle's heavenly vocals. Dominated by vocal textures
across the album, Michelle is is accompanied by April Allen,
John Bagdasarian, Carolyn Sachs and Maurice Welsh. Jill Soubule,
Virginia Haigh, Michelle Gold, Zuriani, Lorraine Joy, Isabel
Vansamson, Tom Ang, John Breakstone, Jeff Lipton, Tim Butler,
Jeremy Kidd, Dan Leuck, Mario Romano and Greg Spalenka are credited
with additional vocal contributions as well. The album's producer
is Erik Moon; his keyboard work dominates the dreamy instrumental
foundation of the album's music.
Meant to accompany the book of illustrations, the album's tracks
flow from one to another.
Aside from the tracks "De Profundis (Out Of The Depths)" and "Carpe
Diem" which both stand on their own, the individual songs work best
within the context of the album as a whole. The memorable "De Profundis"
is a highly dramatic and stunning song combining gothic and Middle
Eastern textures. "Carpe Diem" is highly orchestral and the choral
effect created in the song's crescendos is extremely memorable.
Effects used in some of the album's other tracks improve the
visual experience created by the music. The vocal work on the
album is superb with Michelle's lead being everso sweet and
From Hyperium's website, "Vespertina will guide you to a place
that borders on the unconscious, a multi-coloured landscape of
sound and image which serve as a personal diary and travelogue
of her medieval excursions." Commenting on the music and
illustration, Hyperium add, "with this unique piece of art they
reflect a transcendal journey into unknown worlds, mystical and
magical. The music, rich and haunting, is complimented by an
additional beautifully illustrated 32-page full colour booklet
of verse and reflection. The CD and extra booklet come in
an attractive cardboard slipcase in the same finely-fashioned
design." With two versions of the album available from Hyperium,
enthusiasts are encouraged to get the one with the 32-page
booklet as the illustrations likely improve the listening
A lovely album with delightful music for heavenly vocal
enthusiasts and certainly recommended for those that enjoy
Stella Maris, Love Is Colder Than Death and Hyperium's
Heavenly Voices series (review), the
album is worth further exploration—a nice listen!