(29 July 2001) Initially discovered by Musical Discoveries in 1998,
F.R.E.U.D.'s Time Passengers
has been re-issued with up-to-date
liner notes including excerpts from our review on a new label (New
World Music (UK) NW-498, 2001). F.R.E.U.D. is Cora O'Donovan (lead
vocals) and Ingo Hauss (keyboards). The duo are supported by a vast
number of supporting artists.
The songs range from the highly accessible and almost pop-sounding
"Worlds Of Wonder" to the bluesy "Skies Above Loveland" to the dreamy,
almost Gothic, heavily instrumental texture of the title track.
Arrangement and production are rich throughout with equally influential
treatment of the deepest bass and highest flute. Synthesizer is used
to wonderful effect to lay a rich foundation for Cora's stunning vocals.
Choral elements blend into the instrumentals in several non-lyrical
"Euphoria" is an upbeat and melodic new age track heavily laced
with vocal energy, synthesizer, guitar and bass. Combined with Cora
Donovan's multi-tracked lead vocals, the choir is used to great effect
to produce a very rich overall sound. Although remaining vocal-led,
"The Miracle Of Moona" demonstrates the diversity of the group's
instrumental talents with a more extensive display of string passages
provided by guitar, violin and piano. Synthesizer effectively links
the instrumental elements of the almost epic-production together.
An almost dance-oriented track called "Eternal" further explores
the band's diverse range of talents. Here dreamy multi-tracked vocals
carry above percussion- and bass-provided rhythms. Both choir and
whispery vocals are used to create the overall sound.
"Fairyland," like "Worlds Of Wonder" is a highly accessible, almost
pop-sounding track with lead vocal equally balanced with instrumental
and rhythmic backing. Instrumental bridges feature very delicate
acoustic guitar and wonderful keyboard passages. The chorus has quite
a hook. Perhaps the most powerful string session on the album can be heard
in "History Of The Sandman" which features both violin and piano. An
almost-Gregorian chant provides a rich bass texture to the song.
With a chorus that reminds us in structure of a lullaby, the
6:48-long "Sleep" is one of the more Enya-sounding songs on the album
in the way the backing vocals and instrumentals underscore and support
the lead vocals. Brief whispy narrative passages within the song join
instrumental bridges to connect the choruses. This is a stunning song
that most fully illustrates Cora's vocal energy and Hauss' composition
skills. The album concludes with two instrumental-based tracks almost
absent of vocals. Natural rain sounds are produced
electronically to effectively support the relaxing theme of
"Rain Temple" while the church organ completes the temple
effect. "Minuit" begins with a highly industrial texture delivered
with simulated air traffic control radio traffic before the synthesizers
take over the song.
Although we were attracted to this album way back when by it's
Enya-like qualities, clearly the group have done a lot more in their
eleven debut album tracks. Time Passangers is a truly excellent
new age album—and a wonderful discovery—that illustrates tremendous
diversity of a new ensemble of talented musicians.
We are informed by the producer that a second album is in the works. Stay
tuned to Musical Discoveries for information on it.
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As it was when initially reviewed here, F.R.E.U.D.'s Time Passengers
remains a classic. Worth a trans-Atlantic journey, it is a must listen!