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While this website has become known for its in-depth album and concert reviews, the digest contains concise comments on new music our audience has either recommended or might enjoy. Click on album covers or label names for links to further information. Click on the title to view the article.

Content
Celtic Fire
Nichole Nordeman
Connie Dover
Jennifer Marks
Patricia Saravia
Annyland
Tammy Trent
Wildeve
Madrigal
Glass Hammer
Tinkara Kovac

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Instrumental Digest
 
Flames Of Eviction
Image © 1999 Celtic Fire Music

Flames of Eviction (closeup)
Front Cover Closeup
Image © 1999 Celtic Fire Music
 

(21 May 2000) Linda Rutherford & Celtic Fire's already well-acclaimed 10-track second album is entitled Flames Of Eviction (Celtic Fire (USA) FOE-10CD, 1999). This initial concise review will be expanded into a feature when our exclusive Musical Discoveries interview with the artists and review of the band's debut album Stop The Rain are completed.

Formed in 1995 and based in Hilton, NY (northwest of central Rochester) and fronted by the stunning vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Linda Rutherford the band also includes family members Tony (accordian, keyboards, vocals), Johnny (drums) and Rosheen (electric and acoustic guitars). Linda plays fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar, keyboards, tin whistle, saxophone and flute. Celtic Fire also includes Francis White (bass) and Don Mancuso (lead and rhythm guitars, vocals). The album's songs are written by Rutherford family members in various combinations. The group is managed and directed by Bruce Pilato of Pilato Entertainment (Asia, ELP, Greg Lake, Carl Palmer, Tacye, Anthony Phillips, and many others). This album's music is as wonderful as Scott Hamilton's everso well-designed album cover.

Celtic Fire's latest album blends traditional Irish instrumentation and song structures with highly accessible original rock tunes. Like The Corrs and Capercaillie, jigs and reels are often major parts of instrumental bridges within the group's songs. Stunning vocals adorn the majority of the rich instrumentally arranged songs on Flames Of Eviction and are a notable step up from the debut album according to other reviewers. With the public's growing interest in modern interpretation of traditional folk music arising from successful dance musicals Riverdance and Lord Of The Dance, fans of these shows as well as Clannad, Capercaillie, Iona, Ronan Hardiman and other progressive Celtic recording artists are certain to enjoy Celtic Fire's music and Linda Rutherford's vocal prowess.

Lyrical themes within the album deal with serious subjects including domestic violence and sexual assault. The title track sung in English and Gaelic ("An Gorta Mor") that opens the album refers to the plight Irish citizens faced during the devastating great Potato Famine that struck their homeland in the 1840s. Comprised of two distinct styles—an acoustic Crosby, Stills & Nash-style harmony and a more agressive rock theme—the highly accessible tune typifies the depth and power of Celtic Fire.

Upbeat Celtic-rock numbers ("I Said No" and "Nowhere to Run") feature traditional pipe instrumentation, acoustic guitar and lovely vocal passages laced with lots of backing vocals. The richly arranged "King Of The Faries" is the group's rocking transformation-featuring accordian—of an old Celtic reel and Irish set dance. The album's serious vocally-laced rockers ("What I Am," "Vengeance" and "I Believe") combine agressive electric guitar with vocal harmonies and traditional instrument-based solos featuring whistles, pipes, fiddles and even Jethro Tull-style flutes.

"Too Far" builds an effective blend alternating between traditional, alternative rock and reggae themes. We especially enjoyed "Silence," a ballad with Linda's soaring lead vocal sung over densely arranged traditional and electronic instrumentation with lovely backing vocal harmonies in the choruses. Rosheen's "The Answer" is a heavy rocker lushly arranged featuring accordian and fiddle. It combines modern rock sounds with stunning vocals; modern and traditional arrangements comprise a reel within the instrumental bridge. A reprise of the title track concludes the song.

You can hear soundbites from Celtic Fire's debut album, access other reviews and order the band's albums at their website. Worth a cross-country journey, this new album is absolutely a must listen!

 
Nichole Nordeman - This Mystery CD Cover
Image © 2000 Sparrow Records 
 

(21 May 2000) Alternative singer / songwriter Nichole Nordeman's second album, entitled This Mystery (Sparrow Records (USA), 2000), is a wonderful followup to her debut album Wide Eyed which sold in excess of 130,000 units. The latest project from the acclaimed recording artist, is comprised of ten heartfelt songs spanning various secular themes and was produced by Mark Hammond with executive producer Grant Cunningham. Nichole writes about the inspiration behind the album, "Ms L'Engle has given me a gentle nudge to remember and reclaim the innocence, naivete, and mystery of my faith long before it got lost in the land of adult reasoning." The new album will appeal to a variety of female vocalist enthusiasts and will certainly enthrall Michelle Tumes (review) fans. Soundbites and additional information are available at the artist's website.

The album's title track is an alternative rocking ballad accompanied by contemporary electronic arrangements balancing tension and release. Evocative lyrics are sung emotionally and sensitively and backing harmony vocals are effective at additing texture. The ballad "Tremble" has a slow rocking tempo and thick instrumental arrangements add to the accessibility of the track. "Help Me Believe" is a slow and sensitive jazzy coffee-house ballad that illustrates the sensitivity of the artist's vocal delivery. Guitar riffs within the instrumental bridge and the layers of harmony vocals are most notable. The sensitive yet moving ballad "Home" continues in a similar vein with Nichole's soaring vocals leading the way through the track. Male and female backing vocals create a lovely texture in the chorus as the song builds to its instrumental splendour.

"Fool For You" is a highly accessible and catchy pop-rock tune blending a soaring lead vocals with harmony backing layers and a lush piano-laced instrumental arrangement. The dancy number "Lookin' At You (Lookin' At Me)" builds on the theme with thicker instrumentation. "As" continues to build on this theme taking it to almost R&B proportions with allusions to other popular artists becoming quite evident in the chorus.

The soft and slow ballads "Small Enough" and "Home" are carried by Nichole's sensitive solo delivery. "Small Enough" is joined by only slight male and female backing vocal harmonies. Harmonies in "Home" are joined by lovely instrumental arrangements and build the depth of the song's sound. The ballad "Every Season" is performed with almost orchestral instrumental arrangements. Nichole's vocals are presented sweetly and sensitively and are modulated with the power necessary to delivery the lyrical message. It is a lovely and likely will be an award-winning track!

The production quality of This Mystery is superb and evidence of the labels significant support of their priority developing artist. A nomination for the Dove Award for New Artist of the Year and another from the GMA in 2000 for Female Vocalist of the Year are indicative of this artist's growing notariety. You can read further reviews, hear soundbites and order This Mystery from amazon.com here. Be sure to check out Wide Eyed as well; you can find further information, soundbites and order it from amazon.com here. Nichole's new album is worth a journey and is certainly a very nice listen!

 
The Border Of Heaven - Celtic Music on the American Frontier CD Cover
Image © 2000 Taylor Park Music 
 

(21 May 2000) The fourth album from Kansas City-based Connie Dover, The Border Of Heaven - Celtic Music On The American Frontier (Taylor Park Music (USA) TPMD0401, 2000) is an eclectic collection that blends traditional Celtic themes with songs of the American west. Dover's earlier albums received international acclaim and include Somebody, The Wishing Well and If Ever I Return. The album was produced in conjunction with Phil Cunningham and is comprised of twelve tracks with instrumental contributions by a bevy of additonal performing artists. Be sure to visit Connie's website for additional information about the album and the artist's career.

Connie's soprano voice perfectly suits the folky themes of her newest album. Songs are sung either in Gaelic or English and most blend Irish and American instrumental themes. The album opens with "The Blessing" sung in Gaelic and combines traditional melodies with additional instrumentation. The traditional American folk song "Sweet Betsy From Pike" has a lovely moving melody and Connie's sensitive lead vocal carries it wonderfully. Adapted form the Alabama folk song, Connie's "I Am Going To The West" is a folk ballad with a catchy melody certain to appeal to a broad audience. The eclectic combination continues with Connie's interpretation of "The Streets Of Laredo" accompanied primarily by accordian. A contrasting vocal by Skip Gordon adds to the American cowboy flavour of the track.

Phil Cunningham's penny whistle introduces the ballad "Lord Franklin," perfectly illustrating the crystalline texture of Connie's voice. The traditional Irish song "An Spailpín Fanach" (The Wandering Laborer) is sung in Gaelic with tremendous clarity and, a highlight of the album with a lovely instrumental bridge, is also a tribute to Connie's vocal talent. The track "Last Night by the River," written by Connie Dover is a very slow, almost droning, hymn; vocals soar over the lightest instrumental arrangement. An American folk song of Scottish origin, "The Water Is Wide" and the English folk song "My Dearest Dear" are highly accessible yet slow paced ballads with stunning lead vocals and light instrumental accompaniment.

Orchestral-sounding instrumental arrangements support Connie's lead vocal in the hymn "Wondrous Love" and make it a highly memorable track. The pace actually picks up in the folk song "Winters Night" with dancing feet contributing to its percussive texture. The American Civil War folk song "Brother Green" is sung almost a capella and serves to illustrate the range and depth of Connie's vocal talent.

Taylor Park Music has spared no expense in the production of Connie's latest album. Artwork is lovely and a thick booklet with complete lyrics and song backgrounds accompanies the compact disc. You can read further reviews, hear soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here. Connie's earlier albums are also available at amazon.com. This latest album is technically superb and eclectic in its construction. The music is very listenable and most appropriate for relaxation. Worth a journey, it is certainly a very nice listen!

 
Jennifer Marks - My Name's Not Red CD Cover
Image © 1998 Sweet Sound Music 
 

(21 May 2000) The second album from New York-based singer / songwriter Jennifer Marks is comprised of fourteen relatively short alternative pop tracks. Entitled My Name's Not Red (Red Kurl Records (USA) RK 000-2, 2000) the album is the followup to the artist's debut album from 1998, Pizza. Described as having lyrics ranging from edgy to humourous, her honesty and integrity separate her from the rest of woman's pop music and place her in a league of her own. Influenced by The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, REM, Prince and Elivis Costello, she is similar in sound to Aimee Mann, Sarah McLachlan and Fiona Apple. Further information is available at the artist's website and an extensive range of downloadable music is available at her mp3.com website.

The songs on Jennifer's album are sung evocatively and the heartfelt delivery comes through in each one. The albums' ethereal tunes mix contemporary electronic instrumentation with soaring vocalise and whispy lyrical segments ("Window" and "Dreamill"). The swinging tempo of "Halo" is perfectly complimented by the instrumental arrangement and male harmony vocal.

Alternative pop tunes vary tempo betweeen slow and upbeat and include heartfelt lyrical segments ("Thick," "I Can't Love You" and the highly memorable 60s sound of "High School Reunion"). Jazzy undertones of the title track are complimented by Jennifer's unique vocal treatment. The vocal raunchiness of "Turn Away" is contrasted by a rich instrumental arrangement; soft harmony vocals are especially notable. The quirky sound of "I'm Getting Old" is achieved with experimental vocal harmonies and the combination of various instrumental—circus-like—themes.

Slower numbers include folk rock tunes like "Unpredictable" and "Fly" where Jennifer's lead vocals far outweight the supporting instrumentals. The album's ballads ("Fragile" and "I'll Try") drip with emotion and instrumentals support the moods developed with the vocal delivery. The album concludes with excellent lead and harmony vocals in the alternative structured ballad "Standing In Lines."

You can find additional reviews, soundbites and order Jennifer Marks' album My Name's Not Red from amazon.com here. The album contains some highly memorable moments and is worth further exploration. Many of our readers will find the album is a nice listen!

 
Patricia Saravia - Ritmo de los Santos CD Cover
Image © 1998 Songosaurus Music 
 

(21 May 2000) The fifth album by Costa Rican recording artist Patricia Saravia is entitled Ritmo de los Santos (Song-O-Sau'rus (USA) 724783, 1999). Eleven Latin-rhythm tracks feature her stunning vocal work and lush jazz-inspired instrumentals. Patricia's four earlier albums include Caracol (1989), Atrapar un Instante (1991), Entre el Son y el Corazón (1992) and De Inga y de Mandinga (1996). Her latest album was selected by Luis Tamargo of Latin Beat magazine of Los Angeles as one of the ten best Latin American albums of 1999.

Patricia's main objective has been the performance of Peruvian music. She is considered by Peruvian journalists to be an artist with special quality and performance. She lives in San José de Costa Rica where she is currently workong on research about Central American and Caribean music. Patricia has won awards in Costa Rica for her musical work there. Her sixth album includes a brief anthology of Peruvian rhythms and some Latin American tunes; it is due to be released later this year.

The music on Ritmo de los Santos is earthy and rhythmic, with lush production and lovely vocal passages. It is most akin to jazz in its texture with guitars balancing other instruments and never overpowering the vocals. Some of the tracks are dance-oriented.

In Offbeat, Joseph Irrera wrote, "Not only a compelling vocalist, Saravia composed the jazz-tinged selection "Asucenes" and the title cut of Ritmo De Los Santos. Backed by Ruben Blades' current ensemble and members of Costa Rica's National Sypmphony, along with vocalist Fidel Gamboa (one of Costa Rica's most prominent musicians), Saravia is an excellent introduction for thos music lovers in search of the indigenous and creole sounds of Peru. Seemingly related to the precussion-oriented music of Brazil and Cuba, Afro-Peruvian songs provide the accompaniment for the country's three main dance forms' the lando, samba maleato and the alcatraz. Patricia Saravia provides the invitation: 'Come to me if you dare ... come because to dance with me, determination you've gotta have."

Readers that are interested in expanding their horizons are encouraged to explore Patricia Saravia's latest album. Her stunning (Spanish) vocals are backed by Latin and/or jazz textures to produce a lovely and sound. You can find additional reviews, soundbites and order Patricia Saravia's album Ritmos de los Santos from amazon.com here. We enjoyed listening to the album and learning about this different style of music. A very relaxing listen!

 
Annyland - She Walks In CD Cover
Image © 1995 AsFab Music Co 
 

(27 May 2000) The only album from Annyland released to date is entitled She Walks In (AsFab Music (USA) AM2700, 1995). Fronted by singer guitar-player songwriter Anny Celsi, the band also includes Tim Lindholm (drums and percussion), Bruce Kaplan (guitar), Steve Janowski (bass) and backing vocalist Cindy Jones. The band is currently based in Los Angeles. The music on the album is highly accessible with relatively short tracks spanning blues, R&B, hearfelt ballads and new wave rock'n'roll. Although released five years ago, the album has a timeless quality. The music has a similarity to that of the Pretenders, but Anny Celsi's voice is more appealing than Chrissi Hynde.

Chris Manahl (MTV, LA) wrote, "To look at Anny Celsi and hear her sing, is to dream of riding off with her on a Harley in a whirlwind of romance and road dust." Continuing to describe the music, he wrote, "Celsi's come-hither voice and bluesy songs like, "Under Cover of the Rain," and "Drag the River" are played and sang with the life affirming energy of the world's best pop songs. ... On stage, she matches her Chrissie Hynde black leather pants with a knowing, enrapturing smile."

Steve Alcorn (Pasadena Weekly) wrote, "The CD rolls through one catchy number after another. From the straight ahead pop of "27" to "This House Won't Rock," an R&B-style romp fueled by the horns of Lee Thornburg and Greg Smith ... "Hole In The Sky" is a beautiful piece with piano and male chorus that swirls gently. It was at this point that I had decided that Annyland had locked up a damn-near perfect disc. Then "Kiss A Crocodile" rocked on -- what a stomp! Driven like a kid in a rental car on a dirt track, Chris' sax tears it up, along with the rest of the band, in another R&B styled thrill ride. Amazingly, the energy of Annyland's live shows has been translated to their disc."

The music on the Annyland album features stunning technical recording quality; vocals are mixed way up, never overpowered by the instrumentals, and the processing incorporated perfectly suits each of the song styles. We especially enjoyed Anny's soaring vocal excursions; her vocal dexterity is tremendous, whether sultry or sensual, the dynamic range and vocal energy will enthrall female vocals enthusiasts. The epic ballad "Drag The River" is emphatically sung and spans a significant portion of Anny's range and its instrumental riffs demonstrate the band's virtuosity.

Further information on Annyland and their album She Walks In is available at their website. The CD has been attractively silkscreened to look like an Atlantic 7" single. You can find additional reviews, soundbites and order Annyland's album She Walks In from amazon.com here. The album contains some highly memorable tune and worthy of further exploration, it is a nice listen!

 
Tammy Trent Set You Free CD Cover
Image © 2000 Sparrow Records 
 

(27 May 2000) Tammy Trent, with her empassioned spirit for the Lord, shares her fire for music in Set You Free (SPC/D 1732, 2000), her first release on Sparrow Records (USA). Like many other secular artists, Trent grew up around the Church. Following her mother by travelling to churches, women's conferences, nursing homes, and prisons, Trent learned that "Christian music was a very powerful thing, full of hope and a huge source of strength." This latest 9-track album was produced by Michael Linney but includes two tracks produced by Mark Hammond. The album's executive producer was Grant Cunningham. The music on the album is best categorised as pop.

Seeing Amy Grant in concert gave Tammy an urge that pushed a dream forward. "She was affecting my life so much, I thought it would be awesome if I could inspire a little girl someday just like she did me," Tammy recalls. From then on, she knew her dream was music.

Set You Free has not only upbeat tunes, but ballads too. Tammy Trent sings under Gospel influence, but her music incorporates R&B and pop as well. "My Irreplaceable," "I Do Believe," "If You Need Love," "Everybody Move With It" and "He's Right There" are all upbeat songs but each has a different musical influence. "He's Right There" brings out a strong R&B influence. "Everybody Move WIth It" uses a pop influence with rap vocals by DjMaj. These tunes really show that she is excited to perform with her zest for life while spreading God's word.

Trent easily switches gears and channels that energy into a quiet reverance with ballads like "Light of Love" and "Your Love Pursues." "Light of Love" is a song about the importance about being a reflection of the Lord. "That song is a prayer for me me that speaks so true to my heart about simply being a reflection of God in all I do," says Trent. On "Your Love Pursues," she addresses the miracale of God's love and forgiveness and its awesome magnitute. "How God's love pursues us is an amazing thing," says Trent.

"Without You" and "Trusting You" really bring out the Gospel influence in Tammy Trent's music. She shows through an upbeat ballad that she is true to Jesus and she needs direction in her life. "I see myself growing closer to more of an image of Christ."

It's imperative to Tammy that she record only songs that speak truth that she can both relate to herself and others. She takes her responsibility as a conduit for God's love seriously and hopes to continue growing and reaching more and more people as she stretches as an artist in future years.

This latest album from Tammy Trent can be further explored at her website or at Sparrow's excellent website. You can read further reviews, hear soundbites and order the album at amazon.com (link will be provided) from June 20. Certainly worthy of further exploration, the album is a nice listen! —Deborah J. Elliot

 
Wildeve Touch And Go CD Cover
Image © 1996 Music Is Intelligence 
 

(28 May 2000) Built around lead singer Lili Plieninger, German progressive rock band Wildeve have released one album to date entitled Touch and Go (WMMS 1111, 1996). The band formed in 1995; before that Plieninger sang backing vocals with English classic rock bands Landmarq and Casino. Lili also contributed backing vocals to the album by German progressive band Rejoice.

In Wildeve, Lili also contributes vocals, electric and acoustic guitar and keyboards. Wildeve's album features band members Andreas Brenner (acoustic guitar), Leno Vijackic (electric guitars), Rudi Liechtle (drums, percussion), and Peter Steinbach (bass); guests include Hardy Heinlin, Werner Danneman and Helmut Kipp. The songs are primarily written by Lili Plieninger. The music is mainly light and airy, never too heavy and often quite accessible. It can be best categorised as folk rock with a progressive edge, similar in some ways to Rebekka (Phoenix), and it certainly has a 1970s feel. All songs are sung in English.

The band is presently working on new songs, demo recordings and that they are preparing a new album for release later this year. The lineup supporting Lili now includes Alex Mueller (electric and acoustic guitars), Mark Ellis (bass) and Hardy Philipp (drums and percussion).

Wildeve's Touch and Go album is comprised of ten relatively short tracks each featuring sensitively sung vocal passages. Production quality on the album is superb with vocals mixed way up, never overpowered by the instrumentals, which with lush keyboard parts are very effectively arranged. The occasional multi-tracking adds depth to the vocal textures.

Lili's vocal work is evocative and sensual; soaring excursions in several of the passages show her vocal dexterity and the tremendous depth of this talented singer. Accurate parallels have been drawn by German media to Tori Amos, Cranberries or early Kate Bush as well as Heather Nova and Alanis Morissette. She has a unique vocal style, perhaps due to the German edge (accent) of her voice, that suits the light style of, and acoustic guitar within, the progressive rock that Wildeve plays.

The album's acoustic tracks feature lovely harmony vocals sung over light acoustic guitar or piano and include "Days Of Desire" and "What Can I Do." The tremendous vocal lead in the acoustic track "Radioman" is most reminiscent of Rebekka's music. The more richly arranged rock tracks have a slighly heavier edge with thicker bass and keyboard parts joining electric guitar. These include "City Rain," "Strange Girl," "Eternalize" and the everso densly arranged ballad "As the Days Go By."

Several of the album's tracks include both styles effectively mixing acoustic with the denser rock arrangements. These songs include the title track, "Touch and Go," "What a Man" The vocal parts in these songs are among the best due to the soaring excursions. We especially enjoyed "Good For Me," a lighter track that mixes Wildeve's lovely acoustic folk rock style with a thicker, almost live chorus and many layers of backing harmony vocals.

With preproduction of their follow-up album complete, it's a good time to explore their debut album further. You can find further information, soundbites and ordering information at Wildeve's website. Worth a cross-country journey, Wildeve's Touch and Go is certainly a must listen!.

 
Madrigal - Silence CD Cover
Image © 1997 Madrigal 
 

(28 May 2000) Madrigal are a progressive rock band from Hannover, Germany. They are currently compiling their first full length compact disc. Fronted by the stunning lead vocalist Sandra Werner, the band also includes Lars Totzke (guitar), Kai Paulmann (drums) and Kai Spickenbom (bass and keyboards on "(No More) Face to Face"). Madrigal's first four-track EP is entitled Silence (Madrigal (Germany) 1997); a second four-track EP was issued in 1999 in the run up to the band's full length album. The band's music has a harder edge than Wildeve, along the lines of Leger De Main (review) but not as hard and more accessible instrumentally. The sweet and crystalline quality of Sandra's voice comes through in all of the songs. Sung in English, all music is written by Lars Totzke (music) and Sandra Werner (lyrics). The band's second EP is vocally stronger than their debut.

Silence begins with the rocking track "(No More) Face To Face" which is a powerful instrumental number with sufficient lead vocal work to introduce the listener to Sandra Werner. "Covered Sun" clearly places Sandra in the spotlight with instrumentals taking a backseat to her soaring vocal passages and lush multi-tracked backing harmonies. The production quality of the guitar work is exceptional. "Turn Back The Time" is a very Yes-like track; it balances thickly arranged melodious guitars with Sandra's jazzy lead vocal passage and lovely backing harmonies. The EP's title track is a folk rock-style song with layers of vocals supported by a progressive mix of light acoustic guitar and more thickly arranged electric guitar. The solo guitar work in the instrumental bridge is especially notable and their first EP is a delight.

The band's second EP was provided to Musical Discoveries on CD-R. The first track, "Before Your Eyes," has incredible vocal clarity that will strike all listeners from its first play. Similar in some ways to "Silence" in its instrumental arrangements, the vocals are immediately more evident and are mixed way up, right in your face, with harmonies above the lush instrumental arrangements. The—perfectly performed—a capella vocal introduction to "Evolution Error" is a further illustration of Sandra's vocal dexterity. Another vocal-oriented track with layers of harmonies, the thick guitar never overpowers Sandra's crystalline mid-register performance. Vocals and instrumentals contrast with both harder and softer edges in "Deep Blues" and "Crystal Night" which concludes the second EP.

The two Madrigal EPs contain eight tracks featuring the stunning vocal work of Sandra Werner with excellent lead and supporting progressive instrumental work by the rest of Madrigal. In anticipation of their first full length recording, it's a good time to explore these EPs further. You can find further information, soundbites and ordering information at Madrigal's website. You can order an eight track digital audio music (DAM) CD with the eight tracks reviewed here, download samples and read further information about the band at their mp3.com website. The band can be contacted via Lars Totzke, Karlstraße 8, 30559 Hannover. Madrigal's two EPs are worth a cross-country journey, and with the second vocally stronger than the first, the two CDs are certainly a must listen!.

 
Glass Hammer - Chronometree CD Cover
Image © 2000 Sound Resources 
 

(29 May 2000) The latest album from progressive rock band Glass Hammer is entitled Chronometree (Arion Records (USA) SR-9000, 2000); it should delight fans of Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer as well as other bands of that genre. A concept album like the group's former releases—Journey of the Dunaden, Perelandra and On To Evermore—the album is comprised of one multi-part epic yet it has two smaller pieces embedded within it. There are actually two numbering sequences for the album's tracks which, with a little bit of studying, can be easily interpreted. The two major parts of "All In Good Time" consist of album tracks "a" through "j." The fifth and six tracks of the album, "A Perfect Carosel" and "Chronos Deliverer," are the middle songs. A short instrumental bonus track is also included at the end of the album.

The album was written and recorded by Fred Schendel (Hammond organ, Mellotron, mini-Moog, keyboards, acoustic, electric and slide guitar, autoharp, drums and backing vocals) and Steve Babb (bass guitar, keyboards, Mellotron, synths and backing vocals). To round out the lineup for the album, Fred and Steve brought in Brad Marler (lead vocals and writer of "Perfect Carosel"), Walter Moore (drums, guitars), Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon; also Lana Lane's latest album (review)) and Terry Clouse (additional guitar work). This is the first Glass Hammer album to be produced without explicit female vocal parts; there is, however, a choir passage with guest performances Susie Warren, Jamie Watkins and Sarah Snyder on "Chronos Deliverer." Enthusiasts will be interested to know that Glass Hammer also released a limited edition album of rare live performances and remixes from their work prior to On To Evermore entitled Live and Revived (Arion Records (USA) SR-5710, 1997).

The storyline of Chronometree revolves around Tom, a progressive rock fan from the 1970s who heard voices from outer space within the music he listened to. The aliens instructed him in the science of Chronometree. Tom captured the fundamentals in a series of drawings and esoteric manuscripts ultimately revealing directions to construct a time machine. A series of graphics from the project are available at Glass Hammer's website.

"All In Good Time" is primarily an instrumental number, laced with layers of keyboards drawing a strong resemblence to ELP's Tarkus in many places. Arrangements blend Glass Hammer's style from former albums with this very 1970s Keith Emerson-style keyboard work and the metal edged guitar work of Arjen Lucassen. The album requires several devoted listens to appreciate the details of the music and the instrumental themes evident within it. It is a very well written, performed and recorded album, and will appeal to symphonic and orchestral progressive rock enthusiasts.

"A Perfect Carosel" and "Chronos Deliverer" contrast the balance of the album both in their style and delivery. "A Perfect Carosel" is an acoustic guitar- and light synthesizer-based ballad. Wakeman-style keyboard excursions contribute to Yes similarities within the track and compliment the lyrical theme of the tune. A highlight of the album is "Chronos Deliverer," a very Yes-like track with soaring electric guitars and keyboard parts similar to Howe and Wakeman respectively. We especially enjoyed the vocal parts and the supporting orchestral keyboards. The later tracks on the album include both Wakeman- and Emerson-style keyboard passages.

The first album to emerge from the band since 1998's On To Evermore, Glass Hammer's Chronometree effectively blends elements of their earlier styles with those of classic ELP and Yes. The group's website is a resource for further information; there you can find further reviews, soundbites and ordering information. Chronometree is also available from good online and mail order progressive rock retailers including CD Services (Dundee, Scotland) and ZNR (Louisville, KY USA). The band's earlier albums are available at amazon.com. You can order Journey Of The Dunadan here, Perelandra here and On To Evermore here. A progressive album worth extensive exploration and certainly a long distance journey, this latest Glass Hammer release is a must listen!

 
Tinkara Kovac - Koscek Neba CD Cover
Image © 1999 Sazas (Slovenia) 
 

(21 May 2000) Slovenian singer and flute player Tinkara Kovac's latest album is entitled Koscek Neba (Sazas (Slovenia) 105326, 1999). The eleven track album is sung entirely in Slovenian and features highly accessible mainly popular rock tunes. A biography, stunning photographs of the artist and soundbites are available at the English portion of Tinkara's website. Further information and two additional songs by the artist—including one sung in English—are available from her mp3.com website.

Koscek neba is comprised of songs that fit relatively easy into one of several categories. The highly pop-oriented numbers are easy to listen to and are well arranged blending instrumentals to support Tinkara's soaring vocal passages with catchy choruses. Songs include "Ko bo prisel" and with a rocking style reminscent of The Cars, "Loahheeiyeee."

Several of the numbers are more vocally and instrumentally exploratory and demonstrate the range and depth of the artist's raw talents and would most comfortably fit into the Eurovision Song Contest. These include "Brez lazi," "Ti si tu," the orchestrally rich movie theme-like "Zakaj" and "Grem." The album's ballads have a gentler texture yet move right along as well and include "Ko samo skupaj" and the varied "Nikoli."

Tinkara's effective and evocative Slovenian cover of The Corrs (review) "Only When I Sleep" is entitled "Od zvezd pijan." She has added her own vocal textures to the track and the electric guitars have been mixed with a raunchier sound that works quite well with Tinkara's voice. The track "Nic je vse" is performed in a similar, but less melodic, style.

The album closes with "Nocem vec" a rocking number with soaring vocals and hard edged electric guitars. The jazzy Ian Anderson-style flute solo during the instrumental bridge is most notable.

Tinkara Kovac's latest album is certainly a tribute to a talented performer. With samples available online, her work should be explored further. We found her latest album a nice listen!

 
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