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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.

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Rose Chronicles
Rose Chronicles
Rose Chronicles
Delerium
Delerium
Delerium
Delerium
Delerium
Kristy Thirsk et. al.
Kristy Thirsk
Kristy Thirsk
Delerium

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Kristy Thirsk
Image © Barry Gnyp 2002

More Kristy Thirsk
Interview and Photos
Dead and Gone to Heaven
Shiver
Happily Ever After
Semantic Spaces
Karma
Odyssey
BootLegs
Balligomingo
 

The Music of Kristy Thirsk

Best known for her work with Juno Award-winning Rose Chronicles and Delerium, this special edition of our digest reviews material featuring the vocal work of soprano singer songwriter Kristy Thirsk. In addition to exclusive photographs embodied in our in-depth interview with the artist, we review her recordings with Rose Chronicles, Delerium and various other projects.

Kristy began to draw widespread acclaim as the lead singer in Rose Chronicles. She worked with Delerium not long after as a featured vocalist on the Semantic Spaces and Karma albums. Kristy embarked on a solo career as Rose Chronicles disbanded and treated audiences to a limited edition recording entitled Bootlegs. As a guest vocalist, she co-wrote and contributed a track to the Balligomingo album Beneath The Surface and wrote and performed another in the soundtrack of the motion picture Kissed.


(06 July 2002) The Dead and Gone to Heaven (Nettwerk Productions (Canada) W2-6318, 1993) EP is the debut recording of Rose Chronicles--a collaboration of Kristy Thirsk (vocals, lyrics) and Richard Maranda (guitars). The band were signed to Canada's Nettwerk Records, home of Sarah McLachlan and Delerium, after playing only two live shows.

Thirsk says, "When we signed with Nettwerk, Richard and myself never went out shopping for labels. We were young and just surprised at how quickly things were happening. Anyhow, I just thought, wow, that's Sarah McLachlan's label!" In addition to Thirsk and Maranda, Judd Cochrane (bass) and Steve van der Woerd (drums) contribute to this recording and those that followed. Their first full length album Shiver was released in 1994 and was followed up by their last album Happily Ever After (review) in 1996.

The band members met through ads in a local Vancouver paper and were signed to the label after a friend who knew an A+R person at Nettwerk recommended that Rose Chronicles contact Nettwerk. Representatives of the label appeared at a show and were wowed by the band's performance. They were quickly offered the opportunity to record a demo with the label.

By 1993, Rose Chronicles were ready to release their debut 5-track EP entitled Dead and Gone to Heaven, which received wide critical acclaim. Shortly thereafter, the follow-up LP, Shiver, was recorded. Again, the release was embraced by the critics and public alike. After a period of touring, band members Judd Cochrane and Steve van der Woerd decided to part company with Rose Chronicles. Kristy and Richard remained a duo, yet the original Rose Chronicles lineup re-entered the studio to record their final album. Although the Rose Chronicles maintained a large fan base and received the Juno Award for best new group, Kristy and Richard ultimately decided to part ways as well.

Kristy went on to record with labelmates Delerium on both Semantic Spaces (review) and Karma (review) and more recently with the electronica act, Balligomingo (feature). In addition, Kristy released several solo pieces and continued to perform live. Presently, Kristy is hard at work on her first solo album with producer Eric Rosse (Tori Amos). Fans can expect a release from Kristy in the forthcoming months. In fact, the amazing single "Runaway" has already received quite a bit of attention from the online community and foreshadows a great return for Kristy upon the release of her solo album.

The surreal and dreamy Dead and Gone to Heaven is a wonderful introduction to the Rose Chronicles catalogue and Kristy's powerful and varied voice.

The first track "Awaiting Eternity," is a striking and vibrant song that captures elements of the Cocteau Twins, and Love Spirals Downwards (albeit with a bit harder edge). Vocally, Kirsty is in prime condition alternating between pure soprano and low-end hum. "Echo of Angels" is a rocking but melodic piece with an irresistible chorus that features slamming guitars and kicking percussion. "Hollow Sea" follows in similar vein, though with a slightly 80's vibe.

"Clouding Doubt" begins with waves of tribal percussion followed by washed metallic guitar strums and Kristy's pensive vocals. The closing track "Dead and Gone to Heaven" features a lengthy storm soundtrack and (of all things), and a digeridoo drone with no vocals provides an eclectic ending to a well-balanced and entertaining album.--Justin Elswick

Dead and Gone to Heaven and the band's second full length album Happily Ever After remain generally available while Shiver has been deleted. Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the product from amazon.com here. Certainly a must listen!

 
Shiver CD Cover
Image © Nettwerk Productions 2004

More Kristy Thirsk
Interview and Photos
Dead and Gone to Heaven
Shiver
Happily Ever After
Semantic Spaces
Karma
Odyssey
BootLegs
Balligomingo
 

(03 August 2002) The first full length release by Rose Chronicles is an eleven--plus one hidden bonus--track album entitled Shiver (Nettwerk Productions (Canada) W2-30084, 1994). The band's background is summarised in our review of their debut EP "Dead and Gone to Heaven." The history is further elaborated in our review of their final album Happily Ever After.

Fronted by the powerful versatility of Kristy Thirsk's vocals (see interview link in the left hand column), the band's lineup also includes Richard Maranda (guitars), Judd Cochrane (bass) and Steve van der Woerd (drums and percussion). The album shares "Awaiting Eternity" with the band's previously released EP.

Rose Chronicles' unique sound blends rich rocking guitar- and bass-oriented arrangements with Kristy Thirsk's soaring vocal excursions that explore the versatile singer's full range and include layers of lovely harmonies. Upbeat numbers dominate the album although a few slower and mid-tempo tracks provide variability and add to the album's overall enjoyment. Clearly an album for Kristy Thirsk enthusiasts, listeners will be captured by her sensually pure vocal clarity. Those that discovered Rose Chronicles with "Dead and Gone to Heaven" are certain to be delighted with Shiver.

The lush standout track "Brick and Glue" features Kristy's soaring lead, glorious choral harmonies and contrasting bridge instrumental and rebellious vocal excursions. And in the mid-tempo rocker "Undertow," Kristy's powerful lead vocals and backing harmonies clearly steal the listener's attention away from the richly arranged guitar and bass lines. We especially enjoyed Kristy's harmonious vocal work and high soaring crystalline inflections in the evocative ballad "Visions."

Kristy's vocals are way up in the mix and exhibit vast range explorations in the varied-tempo track "Forgotten." The glorious "Awaiting Eternity" closes out the main portion of the album. The bonus track--an alternative acoustically-driven extended version of "Visions"--begins at the 7:24 mark and is full of soaring vocalise that will floor Kristy Thirsk enthusiasts.

Shiver is indeed a perfect full length introduction to Kristy Thirsk's incredible vocal talent and self-determined versatility. Unfortunately deleted at this writing, second hand copies are available through a variety of online resources, including amazon.com (here). Clearly worth a trans-Atlantic journey, the album is highly recommended and certainly is a must listen!

 

Happily Ever After CD Cover
Image © Nettwerk Productions 1996

More Kristy Thirsk
Interview and Photos
Dead and Gone to Heaven
Shiver
Happily Ever After
Semantic Spaces
Karma
Odyssey
BootLegs
Balligomingo
 

(06 July 2002) The third release by Rose Chronicles--featuring vocalist Kristy Thirsk and guitarist Richard Maranda--entitled Happily Ever After (Nettwerk Productions (Canada) 0 6700 30108 2 5, 1996) is comprised of thirteen tracks. The album is their second full length recording and came on the heels of their 1994 Shiver. The new album is said to much more bold and abstract than the former, but the sound is that of a more mature band.

Although Judd Cochrane (bass) and Steve van der Woerd (drums, percussion) departed from the band before this album was released, they do perform on the recording. Contrary to the album's title, Kristy and Richard parted ways following the release of Happily Ever After in 1996.

Happily Ever After is the Rose Chronicles final, and rowdiest album. Released in 1996, the Rose Chronicles third offering is a more intensely aggresive and experimental collection of songs. Producers Mike Plotnikoff, Kevin Hamilton, and Greg Reely all contributed their talents to the ironically named Happily Ever After.

Tracks like the Tori Amos-in-a-fierce-mood-inspired "Vicious Thorn," however demonstrate Rose Chronicles' undiminished ability to write catchy hooks that sound amazingly well against a backdrop of raging electric guitars and eerie instrumental sonics. More restrained numbers such as the Twin Peaks-ish "Blood Red" and lamenting "Torn" work equally well, displaying Kristy's ability to forcibly grab a song by the proverbial horns and to mould it to her vocal expressions.

Other favorites include "Acquiesce," a shoe-gazing styled number that drips melancholy and the languid Robin Guthrie flavored "Heaven Tide." "Spill," showcases Kirsty at her siren-singing best as she roams from high soprano peaks to angst-filled valleys.

Lyrically and musically, Happily Ever After is a dark and sometimes manic listening experience--yet despite this, the album captures moments of purity and brightness. It is this duality that, finally, is most fascinating--and Rose Chronicles is very much deserving of the praise that has been bestowed upon the band.--Justin Elswick

Happily Ever After and the band's debut EP Dead and Gone to Heaven remain generally available while Shiver has been deleted. Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the band's available products from amazon.com here. Those interested in hearing Kristy Thrisk's vocal work prior to Delerium will find this album worth further exploration. It will grow on you with repeated plays and is a must listen!

 
Semantic Spaces CD Cover
Image © Nettwerk Productions 1994

More Kristy Thirsk
Interview and Photos
Dead and Gone to Heaven
Shiver
Happily Ever After
Semantic Spaces
Karma
Odyssey
BootLegs
Balligomingo
  (30 June 2002) Semantic Spaces (Nettwerk Productions (Canada) W2-30092, 1994) released in 1994, represents Canadian duo, Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber's first musical foray into the world of vocal-ambient electronica. Although the two had previously released numerous albums under the pseudonym "Front Line Assembly" as well as under the name "Delerium," these previous works were largely instrumental and more intensely industrial.

Enigma's 1991 album, entitled MCMXC a.D. was a musical watershed, combining trip-hop/downtemp loops, chanting monks, and seductive female whispers. Many groups, including Balligomingo, ERA, Mythos, Morana, Oceania, and Deep Forest, have been deeply influenced by Enigma's hugely successful formula that merges the old and the new as well as the familiar and exotic.

Similarly, with the album Semantic Spaces, Delerium moved in a more world music/ethereal direction. Part of this transformation was accomplished through the inclusion of Rose Chronicles' vocalist Kirsty Thirsk who--like Delerium was a Nettwerk artist at the time--provides lead vocals on both "Flowers Become Screens" and "Incantation." Additionally, the songs on Semantic Spaces feature wonderfully fierce tribal and ethnic vocal samples and eerie woodwinds and chimes. This structure is undergirded by intense and varied drum tracks and loops and sinuous electronic flavorings.

Delerium's two subsequent albums, Karma and Poem reveal a development in the songwriting ability of the band. Whereas both of those albums feature more recognizable pop-song patterns, the tracks on Semantic Spaces are more divergent and lacking in concrete form. This is not to say that the songs on Semantic Spaces are lacking in interest. In fact, the melodies of these songs are incredibly attractive in their own right. However, Semantic Spaces definitely provides listeners with a more instrumental/ambient aural experience than either Karma or Poem (review).

Standout songs on Semantic Spaces include both "Flowers Become Screens" and "Incantation." As noted earlier, Kristy Thirsk provides lead vocals on these tracks. "Flowers Become Screens," the strange and compelling opening track, is a mid-tempo stunner. After its ominous and aqueous opening--during which Kristy's whispered vocals circulate--the song modulates into a positive major-key melody that utilizes Kristy's voice to the fullest. The chameleon-like "Incantation" begins with swirling synths and and rattling beat, but suddenly moves into the trance/techno realm with a pounding bassline and Gregorian male vocals. Again, Kristy's soprano voice provides a lush counterpoint to the dizzying electronic pulses. "Incantation" recieved impressive airplay and club play upon its release.

Other impressive tracks include "Consensual Worlds" and "Flatlands." The baroque-feeling "Consensual Worlds" opens with a synthetic organ-styled melody that could have been penned by Bach himself. In typical Delerium fashion, all of this disolves into mysterious ethnic chant and carnival-esque instrumentation creating a sense of playfulness and wonder. This reviewer particularly appreciates the clever homage to 80's band Yaz at the 6.06 mark in the song where a creamy lead synth breaks into a musical phrase quite like the one found in Yaz's "Don't Go."

"Flatlands" actually incorporates the main percussion line from Engima's "Sadeness." Although no lyrics are featured in this piece, Kristy does a fine job emitting her trademark banshee-like wails with thrilling results.

While the average music fan might find "Karma" and "Poem" more musically accessible, Semantic Spaces is well-stocked with lovely tunes that will appeal to most fans of electronica. For those who enjoy music with a "visual" element, Semantic Spaces is certainly an album that will open up the avenues of the imagination.--Justin Elswick

Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here. Worth a transAtlantic journey, this one is a must listen!

 
Karma CD Cover
Image © Nettwerk Productions 1997

More Kristy Thirsk
Interview and Photos
Dead and Gone to Heaven
Shiver
Happily Ever After
Semantic Spaces
Karma
Odyssey
BootLegs
Balligomingo
  (30 June 2002) Karma (Nettwork Productions (Canada) 0 6700 30113 2 7, 1997) is the stunning follow-up to Delerium's successful Semantic Spaces. Fans of the the earlier Semantic Spaces will not be disappointed by Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber's second journey into the haunted realm of Delerium. Both musically and vocally stronger than its predecessor, Karma spawned several international hits including "Silence" featuring the incomparable Sarah McLachlan, "Heaven's Earth," featuring the amazing Kristy Thirsk, and "Duende," featuring Sarah McLachlan's touring backup singer, Camille Henderson. In fact, "Silence" reached the top of the charts in Europe and has been re-mixed by some of the world's most renowned DJ's.

The increased appeal of Karma is no doubt in part attributable to the corresponding increased use of female vocalists. While Semantic Spaces (review) featured Kristy Thirsk prominently on only three of that album's nine tracks, Karma includes an array of incredible female vocalists who provide vocals for eight of the eleven tracks on the original release. Fans may do well to note that multiple editions of Karma have been released. Bonus editions have included various remixes of "Silence" and "Duende" as well as the non-album tracks, "Heaven's Earth" and "Window to Your Soul." "Heaven's Earth," featuring Kristy Thirsk at the vocal helm, is especially worth obtaining and is one of the highlights of the entire album.

Some of the notable tracks on Karma nclude "Enchanted." This premiere track is a trip-hoppy masterpiece through which the vocal samples of various indigenous tribes and Kristy Thirsk's eerie (almost sinister) keening weave. Both dark and majestic, "Enchanted" provides a gripping opening to Karma.

The now well-known number, "Silence" is probably the best track on the album. Engima-esque Gregorian chants circulate and meld with Sarah McLachlan's always distinctively beautiful vocals and Flamenco guitar flourishes. Of course, all of this is backed by propulsive percussion and saturated string textures. Sarah's voice cannot be praised enough, and "Silence" truly allows her to exercise her vocals skills to stunning effect.

"Euphoria (Firefly)" is the most straightforward pop-friendly track on Karma and provides a foretaste of the similarly more radio-friendly Poem (Delerium's latest release). Jacqui Hunt of Australian band Single Gun Theory delivers a knockout performance sounding like a sophisticated Madonna backed by funky jack-swing percussion.

Using vocal samples of the inimitable Lisa Gerrard (formerly of Dead Can Dance), both "Forgotten Worlds" and "Remembrance" delve into Arabic-tinged regions. These exotic numbers are powerful both because of their dense instrumentation and as a result of Lisa's "echos of the ancients" style of singing.

The Kristy Thirsk companion pieces "Wisdom" and "'Till the End of Time" are both intriguing numbers. The mesmerizing melody of "Wisdom" is almost lullaby-ish and bittersweet. The light piano accompaniment and bouncing eclectic synths combine perfectly with Kristy's vocals. "'Till the End of Time" begins with a truly unusual single tribal vocal sample that sounds almost Asian. Delerium cleverly lifts the driving drum track from the Tori Amos hit "Caught a Light Sneeze." In this song, Kristy maintains her voice in a hushed, almost spoken manner during the verses, but then makes full use of her high-end range as the song enters the chorus section.

With Karma, Delerium have created a singularly fascinating album that is both emotionally and sonically enlightening. From start to finish, each track invites the listener to open his or her imagination and journey into strange and wonderful places. Superb.--Justin Elswick

Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here. Worth a transAtlantic journey, this one is a must listen!

 
Odyssey CD Cover
Image © 2002 Nettwerk Productions

More Kristy Thirsk
Interview and Photos
Dead and Gone to Heaven
Shiver
Happily Ever After
Semantic Spaces
Karma
Odyssey
BootLegs
Balligomingo
 

(10 May 2002) The latest release by Delerium, Odyssey (Nettwerk (USA) 0 6700 30240 2 0, 2001), is a two-CD collection of remixes from all three previous albums with eight of them previously unreleased or unavailable in any format. Note that several of the tracks have previously been out of print until being reincarnated here. The two CDs include fifteen tracks in total, yet four have two versions and two of them ("Silence" and "Innocente") have three. Only one remix of the tracks "Euphoria (Firefly)" and "Incantation" is provided.

The remixes are primarily dance oriented and will likely appeal most to lovers of that genre or die-hard Delerium enthusiasts. Those that most enjoy the group's more ambient and ethnic/tribal influences most may not appreciate the difference. Delerium's prior Nettwerk releases include Semantic Spaces (1995), Karma (1997) and Poem (2000) (review).

The first CD has seven extended remixes. The "Silence" remix, which opens the album, features vocal work by Sarah McLachlan. The "Underwater" remix follows with vocals by Rami sounding like the version on Poem. The Key South remix of "Heaven's Earth" which follows includes vocals by the stunning Kristy Thirsk.

Leigh Nash's sensitive vocals grace the Deep Dish remix of "Innocente." Single Gun Theory's Jacqui Hunt sings on the remix of "Euophoria (Firefly)" while Camille Henderson's vocals again appear on the Bleak Desolation mix of "Duende." The first CD concludes with "Flowers Become Screens" again sung by Kristy Thrisk. This first CD is very dance beat oriented and will most appeal to those that enjoy this type of music most.

The second CD has eight tracks and while extended like those on the first, perhaps some are lighter, more orchestral and less thumpy remixes. Kristy Thirsk opens the CD vocally soaring in the Matt Darey remix of "Heaven's Earth." A more subdued mix of "Silence" with vocals provided by Sarah McLachlan comes next and is followed by another Camille Henderson version of "Duende." The 12" mix (edit) version of "Incantation," again with vocals by Kristy Thirsk follows.

We especially enjoyed the MaUVe's Dark Vocal mix of "Underwater" with vocals by Rani and Mr Sam's The Space Between Us remix of "Innocente" and the Michael Woods remix of "Silence" again with Sarah McLachlan. Kristy Thirsk concludes with the Frequency Modulation mix of "Flowers Become Screens" that concludes the second CD. Somewhat ligher than the first CD, the second will most likely have a broader audience appeal.

Odyssey is a value-packed double release certain to appeal to people that like a stronger beat to their music and adore Kristy Thirsk and Sarah McLachlan's vocal work. It may not however phase the others in Delerium's audience. Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here. Clearly worth a journey, the latest release by Delerium, especially in the run up to the Balligomingo album Beneath The Surface, is an especially nice listen!

 
Chimera CD Cover
Image © Nettwerk Productions 2003

More Delerium
Poem
Semantic Spaces
Karma
Odyssey
 

(05 July 2003) The Canadian master of female-fronted electronica, Bill Leeb, is back with his newest bevy of spectacular singers featured on the latest Delerium album, Chimera (Nettwerk (USA) 0 6700 30306 01, 2003). According to Greek mythology, the Chimera was a fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, body of a goat and tail of a serpent. It plagued the land until it was killed by Bellerophon who was riding the winged horse, Pegasus. The word chimera can also mean an impossible and malleable scheme or fancy. Appropriately, this mythological and mystical-sounding word captures the metamorphosizing and haunting quality of this most recent Delerium release.

Once again, Bill Leeb mans the Delerium vessel as producer and melody-shaper. This time around, one-time Delerium partner Rhys Fulber--who most recently released his own project entitled Conjure One (review) has returned to produce and program several of the tracks on Chimera. Carmen Rizzo also features as co-producer and programmer on the remaining tracks. As with Delerium's previous album Poem, live drums by Sarah McLachlan's husband Ashwin Sood, and strings arranged by Jane Scarpentoni are featured prominently, giving the album an even more organic feel.

Although some die-hard Delerium fans have resented the group's exploration of world and pop music, it is extremely gratifying to see Delerium progress and mature with each succeeding album. Beginning with Semantic Spaces--with its more disembodied, cold and industrial sound--to the present, each Delerium album has strived for a more functional song-based content. Chimera is clearly Delerium's most "proper" pop album to date.

Most of the tracks are standard in length--instead of the 8-plus minute tracks that used to appear on past Delerium albums--and contain the more common intro / verse / pre-chorus / chorus / bridge formula. Despite this move away from the experimental realm, Delerium's work continues to be fresh and exciting both lyrically and melodically. In fact, the songs on Chimera are more wide-ranging in mood and color than any of the songs on Poem, Karma, or Semantic Spaces. Suffice it to say that Bill Leeb and company do not disappoint.

Even fans of older Delerium albums will appreciate the two more epic and soundtrack-flavored pieces, "Serenity" and "Eternal Odyssey." Both are haunting, amorphous and visionary, relying less upon a structured vocal line and more upon intermittent ethnic samples and wails In fact, "Eternal Odyssey" cleverly weaves the melody from Samuel Barber's gorgeous "Adagio" within the fabric of steady beats and spectral electronic touches.

Some of the tracks on Chimera like "Love" featuring the fabulous voice of Faithless collaborator Zoe Johnston and "Returning" sung by the sorely-missed original Delerium voice, angelic Kristy Thirsk are highly pleasing electronic gems. Others, like the certifiably club-friendly "After All" featuring Jael of the band "Lunik" and the retro/disco treat "Truly" featuring Nerina Pallot push the album's energy up a notch.

Still, others like the spine-tingling "Just a Dream" sung by the stunning Margaret Far and "Touched" with Rachel Fuller--and, incidentally, one this reviewer's favorite track on the album--are more mellow and contemplative in tone. Most suprising is Delerium's foray into the jazz/chill/trip-hop realm. "Orbit of Me" sung by Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer, "Magic" featuring Twin Peaks diva Julee Cruise, and "Stopwatch Hearts" sung by Emily Haines are all great songs that incorporate jazz chord progressions and hip-hop drums.

Although this is an entirely new genre for Delerium, Bill Leeb and the vocalists pull it off with class and panache. Most importantly, this triad of songs actually enhance rather than distrub the flow of the album. Another unique track is "Forever After" featuring Sultana which combines spoken word/rap and Arabic/Indian instrumentation to great effect. Finally, the emotional "Fallen" sung by Rani is a poignant song about an otherworldly being who loves a human and wishes to enter the material world.

It should also be noted that the Chimera bonus CD contains the extra track "Stopwatch Hearts" and a remix of "After All," as well as three videos of previous Delerium hits: "Silence," "Flowers Become Screens," and "Aria." In total, fans receive 14 new tracks, one remix, and three videos for the price of one CD--reason enough to be grateful to Bill Leeb and Nettwerk Records. This reviewer, for one, is most enthusiastic about Delerium's Chimera, finding it to be a worthy addition to the group's string of top-notch albums.--Justin Elswick

Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here. Delerium continues to be one of the leading electronic acts making music today. Clearly worth a trans-Atlantic journey like their previous material, this album is undoubtedly a must listen!

 
The Best Of Delerium CD Cover
Image © Nettwerk Records 2004 
 

(01 October 2004) Delerium, the masters of electronic ethereal world-moodiness have released their collection of greatest hits entitled The Best of Delerium (Nettwerk Records (USA) 2004). This release features some of Delerium's best-known songs from their Semantic Spaces album through their most recent album Chimera. Additionally, fans are treated to new remixes of "Truly," "Underwater," and "Silence." Most welcome, however, are the two previously unreleased tracks: "Paris" featuring french chanteuse, Aude, and "You and I" featuring Zoe Johnston.

The Best of Delerium offers a brilliant perspective of the ensemble's lush and innovative music. It is interesting to listen to early songs like "Flowers Become Screens" and "Incantion," (both from Semantic Spaces and both featuring Kristy Thirsk) when Delerium's music was still rooted in the industrial/gothic/enigmatic sound and compare them with songs like "After All" and "Truly," which reflect Delerium's recent transition to more pop-oriented sound. Not that the change has been bad--if anything, it shows that Rhys Fulber and Bill Leeb have honed their songwriting and production skills. And it will be interesting to see what sonic explorations Delerium will take on their next album.

Although now ubiquitous, "Silence," featuring Sarah McLachlan, remains one of Delerium's best musical moments. Who knew that Sarah's sonorous and heavenly vocals would be so perfectly suited to the electronic whirrs, beats and Gergorian monks that inflitrate the song?

Kristy Thirsk, who became associated with Delerium's "core" female-vocal driven style can be heard on the subperbly gothic/trip-hop song "Flower's become Screens" and the riveting dance track "Incantation." Frontwoman Leigh Nash of folk/rock band Sixpence None the Richer also grabs to lead vocal spots on the eerie "Innocente" and pop-laden "Run for It."

The two new tracks are also magnificent. Aude worked with Delerium on "Terra Firma" from their Poem album--so it can be assumed that the bonus track "Paris" is from that session. Fans of Delerium may be a bit surprised by this one--the melody is lifted directly from Pachelbel's "Canon" and Aude sings in French. Although the opening of the song borders on the slightly cheesy, that the song ultimately displays its own certain sweet charm! The melody is everso memorable.

Zoe Johnston--who has worked with Brit bands Faithless and Bent--lends her throaty alto vocals on "You and I." The opening saloon-piano and Abba-esque melody are quite innovative for a Delerium song. Think Annie Lennox singing with Erasure. "You and I" is an attractive song that showcases Zoe's ever-intriguing voice.

The Best of Delerium is a perfect starting place for newcomers to the Delerium sound. Evocative, haunting and propulsive, the album takes the listener on a fantastic exotic aural voyage.--Justin Elswick in Utah and Russ Elliot in New York

 
Kissed Motion Picture Soundtrack CD Cover
Image © Unforseen Music 1997

More Kristy Thirsk
Interview and Photos
Dead and Gone to Heaven
Shiver
Happily Ever After
Semantic Spaces
Karma
Odyssey
BootLegs
Balligomingo
 

(12 August 2002) Unforscene Music is a joint venture between A & F Music Ltd. (Sam Feldman and Bruce Allen) and Nettwerk Productions. Its most recent release, the soundtrack for The Brothers McMullen (Grand Prize winner at 1995's Sundance Film Festival), features Sarah McLachlan's hit single "I Will Remember You". The label released the Kissed Motion Picture Soundtrack (Unforseen Music (Canada/USA) 6 24248 4000 2 7, 1997) featuring the material of Kristy Thirsk, Sarah MacLachlan and others.

Kristy Lee Thirsk possesses the sweet soprano voice which has come to define the sound of her group, Rose Chronicles. The band's second album, Shiver, (review) reached #1 on Canada's Campus Radio Charts and went on to win the first JUNO award presented for "Best Alternative Album". Her amazing voice has received international exposure on Delerium's hit single "Flowers Become Screens" and is ever-present in her composition "Bounds of Love," recorded specifically for Kissed.

While the tracks by the other artists are notable in their own rights, Kristy's track, "Bounds of Love," is clearly the standout appearing at position 16 in the 18-track running order of the album. Supported by gentle string arrangements, Kristy's crystalline solo lead dominates the ballad which is further underscored with harmony layers. One only has to hear Kristy vocally soar to deliver the emotional message to be enthralled with the track.

Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here. A Kristy Thirsk collection can not be completed without this stunning soundtrack with material from other Nettwerk artists Delerium, Tara MacLean and Sarah McLachlan. Worth a trans-Atlantic journey this one is a must listen!

 
Bootlegs CD Cover
Image © Kristy Thirsk 2000

More Kristy Thirsk
Interview and Photos
Dead and Gone to Heaven
Shiver
Happily Ever After
Semantic Spaces
Karma
Odyssey
BootLegs
Balligomingo
 

(09 October 2002) Issued in extremely limited numbers to support her west coast tour, Kristy Thirsk's debut solo recording is entitled BootLegs (self-released, 2000). Kristy writes, "So here's the deal, it seems to be taking forever for me to put out a real record. So in the meantime, while I'm working on it, I've put together, with the help of my band, a collection of various demos, first time acoustic versions and live songs, to whet your appetite." The timing of our review could not be better since Kristy's first full-length solo album release is due in early 2003. Read our interview or visit Kristy's website for further information on the the new album.

BootLegs is comprised of six tracks, five of which are written by the artist. The CD also includes Kristy's rendition of the Martin Gore song "Behind The Wheel" originally performed by Depeche Mode. Kristy plays acoustic guitar, electric guitar and provides all of the vocal work. The album also includes contributions by Johnny Savella (classical and electric guitar), Bill Arab (bass) and Shane Wilson (drums). Recording and mixing credits are shared amongst Johnny Savella, Vic Levak, Kevin Hamilton and Shane Wilson.

BootLegs opens with "Souvenir," a sensitively performed solo demo track that many of Kristy's fans have heard via download from her website. Sparse electric and acoustic guitar arrangements support Kristy's soaring lead vocal that explores her vast range. The bridge combines vocalise with various guitar excursions. Additional harmony layers and guitar arrangements underpin Kristy's unique banshee-style lead in the stunning "Second Fiddle."

A live version of the gentle rocker "Imagination" includes even richer arrangements, this time with the Kristy's powerful lead vocal thoroughly accompanied by bass and drums. It gives us a hint into how wonderful a live Kristy Thirsk performance would be and demonstrates that she can deliver her vast vocal excursions on stage. "Something Spilt" is a tenderly delivered ballad supported by acoustic guitar. Lyrical passages blend perfectly with layers of Kristy's lovely vocalise.

Classical guitar arrangements underscore the edgy ballad "Behind The Wheel," which like several of the others feature Kristy's sensually soaring vocalise segments and contrasting lyrical passages. The EP concludes with "Giant Pedestal," a live track also available for download at Kristy's website. Like "Souvenir," the version on the CD is of substantially better audio quality than the downloadable mp3 version. "Giant Pedestal" is a tremendously memorable rocker--the vocals are clearly the strongest, most widely ranging and most powerful on the EP!

Unfortunately BootLegs is no longer generally available so interested readers will have to comb second hand sources to find one for their collection. Clearly an outstanding tribute to one of our (soon to be) featured vocalists, this recording is a must listen!

 
Souvenir CD Cover
Image © Pretty Noise Productions 2003

Souvenir 2004 Image © Pretty Noise Productions 2004

More Kristy Thirsk
Interview and Photos (2003)
Interview and Photos (2002)
Dead and Gone to Heaven
Shiver
Happily Ever After
Semantic Spaces
Karma
Odyssey
BootLegs
Balligomingo
 

(07 December 2003) Canadian vocal siren Kristy Thirsk is beloved by many as lead vocalist of the now defunct Rose Chronicles and oft-contributing singer for electronica band Delerium. Let's be clear from the outset--Kristy Thirsk is an amazingly gifted singer, hands-down. With her uncanny ability to stretch her voice from the lowest growl to the highest celestial tones, Kristy Thirsk is a naturally blessed talent.

After working for months in the studio with producer Eric Rosse, Kristy has finally released her full-length debut album, Souvenir (Pretty Noise Productions (Canada) 8 21228 80076 6, 2003). An attention-grabbing collection, it is chock-full of great songwriting and incomparable singing. In January 2004, Kristy joins the prestigious list of Musical Discoveries featured artists.

Kristy does not hold back with the kickin' opener "Indifference." Strumming guitars create a folksy Jewel vibe, but the percussion and electric guitars shape the song into a rocking number. One is instantly drawn to Kristy's gorgeous and emotive singing.

Kristy pushes more fully into the rock-n-roll realm with songs like "Imagination." "Home for Angels" is a slightly more ambient and gentle number reminiscent of Cocteau Twins and featuring light percussive elements and fantastic layered vocals.

Certainly a standout track, "Runaway" is a racing, energized and vibrant song. Kristy's voice perfectly fits the accelerating beats and dark guitar rifts. When this song reaches the chorus, it explodes with energy and intensity. Songs like "Hypnotized" and "Second Fiddle" are breezy pop-tinged numbers that meander in summery fashion. At points the album veers towards an almost alt-rock/gothic sound--reminding us of her days with Rose Chronicles--as with the song "Whitelight." Even at these shadowed points, Kristy is something mesmerizing to hear.

Incandescent and pensive, the final track "Souvenir" is a gentle and tender goodbye. The 2004 release includes the stunning bonus track "Over It" co-written with Eric Rosse. Mixed a little rougher than the preceding tracks, Kristy's lead and backing vocals blend wonderfully in this heartfelt rocker that includes a chorus with a tremendous hook.

There's no question that Kristy Thrisk is a musical force to be reckoned with. With numerous collaborations under her belt Kristy is finally stepping into the spotlight on her own--and the results can only speak of greater things to come. --Justin Elswick

 
Nuages Du Monde CD Cover
Image © Nettwerk Productions 2006

More Delerium:
Best Of Delerium (2004)
Chimera (2003)
Odyssey (2002)
Karma (1997)
Semantic Spaces (1994)

 

(19 January 2006) There aren't a lot of musicians who actually start a trend, but as Delerium, Rhys Fulber and Bill Leeb can take credit for the ethereal-girl genre of dream-pop electronica. From early releases like Karma, which included singer Sarah McLachlan, they've specialized in a mixture of lush, almost romantic electronica coupled with female singers that tend toward the ecstatic.

Their latest album, Nuages du Monde (Nettwerk Productions (Canada) 0 67000 30602 6, 2006), is no exception. Fulber and Leeb bring in a host of singers, from the operatic soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian to Punjabi Bollywood singer Kiran Ahluwalia. Also on board are old favorites the Mediæval Bæbes, whose "Blow Northern Wind" is sampled and adapted with new vocals on "Extoller."

Kristy Thrisk, who goes back to the earliest vocal works of Delerium on Semantic Spaces, returns, joined by Kirsty Hawkshaw--a singer who's already been a favorite foil for artists like BT, Orbital, and DJ Tiësto. Along with Jael's "Lost and Found," Hawkshaw's "Fleeting Instant" is among the most accessible singles from the disc.

Like their previous album Chimera, Nuages du Monde ("Clouds of the World") flirts dangerously with formulaic arrangements, but they've pulled back considerably, thickening the beats and trading synth strings for real on many tracks.

The tribal "Sister Sojourn Ghost," the Bæbes' second appearance on the disc, is one of the few tracks that play with the formula, as an uncharacteristically primal chant from the Bæbes treads a dark, percussive groove. A bit more of that would have lifted Nuages du Monde beyond what we've heard from Delerium previously. Regardless the record is extremely listenable and instantly memorable.

The latest album by Delerium is certain to draw significant attention from long term enthusiasts both of their material and the female vocalists individual dedicated followings. The artists' formula is clearly working and many will respect them for making incremental rather than radical changes.

 
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