Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Conjure One - Extraordinary Ways

Conjure One - Extraordinary Ways
Nettwerk Records
August 30, 2005
3.5 / 5

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The most recent in a long line of Rhys Fulber projects, Conjure One is another exercise in rich female vocals mated to state-of-the-art ambient-influenced techno pop. Extraordinary Ways, the second Conjure One recording, would baffle most people based on its artwork, both on the cover and on the inside. The graphics belie the sonic beauty found in songs like "Endless Dream," "Face The Music," among the several tracks that would not sound out of place on a Chimera, the most recent Delerium album (another Rhys Fulber group.) The soaring, vocals of ecstasy in the piano driven third track "Pilgrimage," an instrumental, makes this one of my favorite tracks.

The sound is a less tribal, Arabic and techno sounding than the debut self-titled first Conjure One album and more pop-oriented.

Tablas open the cover of the Buzzcocks'"I Believe", featuring Rhys Fulber on vocals, a rare appearance. It works with for me, with Fulber's heavily processed voice. This is a potential single.

The acoustic guitar opening to "Beyond Being" is reminiscent of "Stairway To Heaven."

Vocals credited to "Jane" are actually the work of the artist Poe, a singer from the first Conjure One album. Other singers who contributed include Tiff Lacey, Chemda, Joanna Stevens and Leah Randi. Sarah McLaughlin's Ashwin Sood, drums on a few tracks , as well.

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Rhys Fulber

Extraordinary Ways has its moments of excellent, particularly in the first five tracks, but there's not enough of them. The album lacks a consistency of songwriting that would make it a must-fan purchase for fans of this musical genre. The songs "Dying Light" pretty much sums up this album for me. It's a gorgeous sounding, slow-moving piece that builds and builds but doesn't seem to end on a satisfying note. You can't help but listen to it but in the end, you want a more succint song structure. Something more memorable rather than just exquisite sounding, dreamy pop music.

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