Monday, December 25, 2006

Ü2K6: Post-Pudding Trance

For the vast majority of our readers, Christmas is now nearly over. Presents have been unwrapped, the turkey is long dead, and it is now time to gaze into the fire, and think ahead to the debauchery of the end of 2006...things such as end of the year album lists...

2. Delerium - Nuages Du Monde

For those of you not familiar, Delerium is a mainstay for Roland and I. Their recent works (since 1994's Semantic Spaces) have focused on combining classical and world elements with elements of ambient and trance (it's notable that Delerium was an ambient project prior to Semantic Spaces, and remixes are nearly always firmly in the trance camp). Comparisons can easily be made to Dead Can Dance and Enigma; however, Delerium firmly focus on freely combining the two, with spacy trance keyboards layered over tribal beats and a chorus of feminine vocals.

Chorus is especially appropriate for Delerium, as they use a multitude of different singers in featured guest roles. Emily Haines (of Metric) made an appearance on "Stopwatch Hearts", one of Chimera's (2003) bonus tracks, while Delerium's greatest success has come with Sarah McLachlan, on "Silence" off 1999's Karma. Nuages Du Monde's appearances include Kristy Hawkshaw, Jael, Isabel Bayrakdarian (usually famous for her opera work), the Mediaeval Baebes, and Kristy Thirsk.

Let me just come out and say it: Nuages Du Monde is a great album. While previous Delerium efforts have focused far too much on one side of the formula (Poem lost itself in classical tangents, while Chimera often became a straight pop album), Nuages Du Monde hits the right balance not seen since Karma. As usual, the works here are long and drawn out, at least for a pop album. Delerium's approach is always one of quiet layering: elements and instruments fade in and out, bringing their own special touches to the mix. (The use of string instruments on "Lumenis" is the best example on this album.)

Oddly enough for such a high-placing album, I've run out of words. (Ascribe it to over-familiarity.)

Next: What, the Swedish pop scene consists of more than just ABBA?


rgsc said...

Interesting - Delerium used to be one of my favourite bands but I sorta found their latest efforts a little formulaic and I kinda tuned out. I have been meaning to investigate their new album but really didn't have a strong enough motivation until your review. Now it is gonna be high on my list of records to pick up.

Have you seen any live Delerium floating around the internet? I occasionally search for it but have come up with nothing. They did their first tour in 2003 (i think) and it was pretty fantastic. If you can hook me up with a live recording you would be my hero (superhero status would be awarded for a recording of their show in Toronto).

Happy holidays.

Roland said...

Hey Rodney,

Unfortunately, I haven't gotten my hands on any live Delerium, either, but there's a lot to explore as far as guest vocalists go. Of course there's Emily Haines, Leigh Nash and Sarah McLachlan, but some of the lesser known singers are definitely worth a second listen as well. Nerina Pallot's (of "Truly") Fires is quite good.

Sorry things have been so slow on my end recently; winter break breeds massive procrastination. I'll definitely have a few things up by tomorrow!

rgsc said...

You might be interested in Harland, if you aren't already familiar with her- she and Delerium regular Kristy Thirsk provided the vocals on the tour (18 dates, with Conjure One opening, ca. september 2003). If you like Delerium's stuff with female vocals (and, let's face it, if you like Delerium you probably love this aspect of it) then you probably will dig this.

I'll definitely look into Nerina Pallot

You know, I thought Stopwatch Hearts was a great track and until I read it here I didn't realize that it was featuring Emily Haines - I had that album before I started listening to Metric and I guess i haven't listened to it in quite some time.

And don't feel you need to justify your posting or lack thereof to me or anyone. Just keep doing what you are doing when you can do it.

All the best,

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