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Seireenia explores the heavenly beauty of the female voice, collecting the best-known bands in the ethereal music genre. From the U.S., Europe and South America, Projekt has assembled a collection of songs that celebrate this natural splendor. Whether it be tightly woven harmonies or floating lead vocals, Seireenia lures the listener with its carefully sequenced selections.
Exquisitely enthralling and enchantingly elegant . . . heed the tempting call of Seireenia and fall under its soothing spell.
Featuring never-before-heard tracks from Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Mira, Amber Asylum and Faith & Disease; plus the first track in six years from Germany's Stoa. Also featuring classic album tracks from ethereal and darkwave favorites Lycia, Switchblade Symphony, Love Is Colder Than Death, Rosewater Elizabeth, and introducing France's Rajna.
Several of the groups featured on the compilation are already well-known to fans of darkwave and goth music. Projekt's flagship group Black Tape For A Blue Girl (headed by Projekt's main man, Sam Rosenthal) offers up a striking new version of their track "Overwhelmed, Beneath Me" the original version of which was previously available on their album This Lush Garden Within. Also, Projekt staple, Lycia, offer up one of the best tracks from their 1996 release, Cold, the beautifully mysterious "Baltica". Switchblade Symphony make an appearance with one of its more worthy songs, "Dissolve," from their debut CD, Serpentine Gallery.
While these scene stalwarts turn out impressive performances throughout, the most impressive songs on this release come from artists I wasn't previously familiar with. Velvet Empire Record's Frolic presents the listener with the soft and soothing track "Skin" that definitely captures the ethereal sounds of bands like Lovesliescrushing. I also really enjoyed the album's lead off song, "Rajna" by Prikosnovenie Records recording artist Rajna. Rajna's sound reminded me of Dead Can Dance's, mixed with a set of forest environmental sounds records played in synchrony. Other tracks worth mentioning are Rosewater Elizabeth's "It Swallows Me Whole," Stoa's "Maare Illucescend" and Faith and Disease's "Stray" which fall more under the "gothic rock" genre classification and are all good representations of that sound.
The compilations nears its end with an experimental tinge: "The Bounding Main" from Amber Asylum, which is minimal, yet compelling. The final track, "Shing Kee" by Carl Stone, is a fifteen-and-a-half minute epic, and relies upon minimal, lo-fi piano, found sound noises and the voice of Akiko Yano to carry Seireenia to its inevitable end. A collection of old favorites, new classics and edgy experimentalism blended seamlessly to reflect Projekt overall dark and smooth aesthetic, Seireenia is yet another fine release by the world's premier gothic music label.
"La Vuibre" has religious tone and Diana Huarte's has an exceptional voice. "Divine" by Mira is the first song to incorporate guitar on the album. "Overwhelmed, Beneath Me" has a nice musical platform for Elysabeth Grant to perform her silky vocals. Faith & Disease contribute "Stray," which combines dark guitar lines, flute and Dara Rosenwasser's soft voice. "It Swallows Me Whole" has a heavy percussive groove established by Rosewater Elizabeth. Melissa Mileski's voice is like a tiny spot in a vast musical space. The music Lycia makes for "Baltica" is great stuff. Tara Van Flower's exquisite voice is icing on a cake. Mostly instrumental, "Baltica" is moody and has a wide sound that seems tailor made for a movie.
The guitar rhythm Switchblade Symphony plays in "Dissolve" totally works for me. Tina Root's voice is catchy as a Venus flytrap. The percussion in the song also stands out. I like the gloomy mood of Frolic's "Skin," but I thought the music was mixed too loud to appreciate Kelly O'brien's voice. Amber Asylum's "The Bounding Main" is so subtle, it's a whisper but the song has mood in spades. It's the kind of thing moviemaker Michael Mann would use in one of his films. - Terry Wickham
Like any good compilation, Seireenia provides a mix of old favorites and new discoveries. Love Is Colder Than Death's "Questo Mostrarsi" is a perfect example of their gorgeously decadent baroque witchery, and Stoa's special mix of "Maare Illucescend" has incredibly lovely vocal harmonies and cello melodies. Black Tape for a Blue Girl's new version of "Overwhelmed, Beneath Me" washes over you with waves of guitars, synth, and violin, then envelops you completely with the beautiful sultry voice of Elysabeth Grant. The cuts by Switchblade Symphony and Amber Asylum are also outstanding.
In the new discoveries category, Rajna's self-titled track, drenched with an awesome variety of hypnotic percussion, hammered dulcimer, and flute, felt like being lost in a Middle Eastern bazaar, with Jeanne Lefebvre's wordless vocals dark and mysterious as the flashing eyes of a beautiful young woman glimpsed above her veil as she weaves her way toward you through the crowd. Frolic's desolate "Skin" sent chills up my spine, and new Projekt signee Mira does an excellent job framing Regina Sosinski's gorgeous breathy singing with strummed guitar, real drums, and synth on "Divine." -Dave Aftandilian