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Delerium, "Nuages Du Monde"

11/30/06 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Reviews

Link: http://delerium.ca/delerium.html

As of this point, "Nuages Du Monde" is the most recent of the Delerium albums. It's also a good one. And, unlike 2003's "Chimera", it's not copy protected. Yay, Nettwerk! If you've heard one Delerium album, fundamentally you've heard them all: gorgeous female vocals laid over dancefloor/trance rhythms with a strong world beat influence. "Nuages Du Monde" hits all the bases.

The lead off track, "Angelicus," features Canadian opera singer Isabel Baryakdarian who does the aethereal soaring female voice dance-track thingy. It's very pretty. Channelling the Medieval Baebes, "Extollere" comes up next. Since it shares the same vocalist as "Aria" off the earlier "Poem" (Katherine Blake), it sounds quite similar, albeit significantly laid-back this time. Again, very pretty. "The Way You Want It To Be" is probably the most conventional of the songs on the album, showing a clear stylistic heritage dating back to "Semantic Spaces" in 1994. It's pretty too, in a husky sort of way. More dancefloor beats and (for variety) Indian-inflected soaring vocals follow on "Indoctrination". It too is a pretty song. "Self-saboteur" is the closest the album comes to a Top 40 track, using a singer (Delerium regular Kristy Thirsk) with a lower register and supported with more beeps and burbles from the omnipresent electronics. Still pretty though. Soaring the soprano's scales, Baryakdarian returns with "Lumenis", which really does showcase her ability to warble in an extremely pretty fashion. "Fleeting Instant" does the female breathy vocal thing which oddly hadn't appeared on the album prior to this point. It's of the very pretty breathy vocal type. There're some quite appealing piano lines in "Sister Sojurn Ghost" while another pretty female voice chants over the top; from the latinate styling I thought it was Katherine Blake again but it appears to be Kirsty Hawkshaw, another Nettwerk artist. "Lost And Found" is conceivably the other Top 40 outing on the album with a very catchy descant for the chorus but I suspect it would need a bit of remixing to make it more aggressive and less, oh help me here, pretty. Closing out the album is "Apparition" which sounds as if it's led by a boy soprano; it's much more choral than any of the earlier entries with a large portion dominated by the soaring heavenly voices. As a counterpoint to the opening "Angelicus" it fits extremely well, and is a very pretty piece to round off a very pretty album.

Most Delerium albums have at least one killer track. On this outing, it's "Tectonic Shift", an instrumental about half way through the album that's channelling its inner film score. There's lots of bass-work with a persistent drum line driving it forward, some rather Germanic wordless vocals, Arabic strings interspersed along with what could be a plucked banjo or sitar giving an otherworldly feel. It has this amazing ominous, almost foreboding sensation. It's striking, but it's not pretty. I love it.

Frankly, anything I have to say about this album is superfluous. Yes, it does sound gorgeous. Yes, it is formulaic. Yes, it does sound very similar to the earlier albums. However, if you've read this far, you're probably a Delerium fan, already have it and like it. On the off chance that you're not (or don't have it), give it a shot. If you didn't like it, go back and listen to "Tectonic Shift". The album's good. One might say it's pretty good, but that would be too obvious. Really.


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