Thursday, December 18, 2008

"2008 in Photos"

Boston.com has a "The year 2008 in photographs" article up on their site, with part 2 here, and part 3 here. Some amazing and beautiful photos over there.



They'll be running 3 of these articles over the course of the next few days, so check back on their site for more.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chimera




Arrived today =)

Truly

Finally got this in the post yesterday. One of my favourite album covers, though unfortunately I think they overdid the blurring a bit. It's only a single, so there's no booklet with more pretty pics inside.

As for the music, Nerina Pallot has a beautiful voice, and Delerium did a good job, however it's still far from being one of their best songs. Regardless, it's still a great song. I enjoy the Signum remix as well, which feels a lot moodier and darker than the Album Edit. I'm not too fond of the Wise Buddah Club Mix, and I'm still undecided on the Infusion and Brother Brown remixes.

I like the single, and the cover is beautiful.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Symphony, Closer

I managed to pick up Sarah McLachlan's latest album, Closer, and grabbed Sarah Brightman's Symphony as well, almost entirely based on the fact that it had a stunning cover.

Unfortunately they only had the jewel case and not the digipak, but it still had most of the artwork inside, which I really liked. Closer I managed to get the digipak, but someone decided it was a great idea to put stickers on the cardboard itself. After some searching, I found out I could remove the sticker using a hairdryer, some tape cleaner (isopropyl alcohol), a razorblade, and patience. I messed up a bit with the razor blade, but managed to remove the sticker without otherwise damaging the cover.

Symphony starts off with Gothica, which builds up into Fleurs du mal (trans. "Flowers of Evil"), which was a very pleasant surprise. It reminds me a bit of Nightwish, and while I'm not entirely convinced that the instrumentals suit her voice, it's definitely one of the better tracks on the album.

Most of the other tracks weren't much to my liking, aside from Canto Della Terra (duet with Andrea Bocelli), which had a very epic, grand and dramatic feel to it. While it won't be getting me to listen to "proper" opera very soon, it's a welcome change to the usual music I listen to.

The album ends with Running, which is a bit cheesy, but is still an easy to listen to song. There is a hidden track after Running, which is the Reprise Mix, sans vocals, of Fleurs de mal, which is probably my favourite track on the album. I like Sarah Brightman's voice, but it just felt very out of place on the vocal version.

On to Closer, which starts off with Vox, her debut single from 1988. It's a very catchy tune, and definitely one of my favourites. Into the Fire is also quite upbeat and catchy as well.

Unfortunately, most of the other songs on the album pale in comparison to their live versions on Mirrorball. The studio versions on Closer just sound colder, more lifeless, and more sterile than the live versions.

As for the two new songs, they didn't leave too great an impression on me. They're not BAD, it's just that everything else on the album is so much better than them. However, I found the album worth it, both for the beautiful cover, and having Vox and Into the Fire.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Conjure One, Sirens of the Sea

I've been a big fan of OceanLab's work, but apparently not a big enough one, because I never knew they had an album out until it was released already. I immediately placed an order for it, and decided to grab Conjure One's self-entitled album as well since it was available.

Conjure One has a pretty cover, and the inside booklet has a beautiful panorama in it, with all the track info above and below it. Really well done artwork. However, Sirens of the Sea is in a class of its own. I was really happy that I got a digipak copy. From the cover, which is my favourite in my collection, to the inside of the digipak, to the booklet itself, is filled with lovely photos.

Unfortunately, the album itself wasn't as good as I’d hoped. My favourite songs had been Sirens of the Sea, Satellite and Beautiful Together. Of those 3, only Sirens of the Sea appears on the album, and the album version is nowhere as great as both the Above & Beyond and Kyau & Albert remixes.

The album starts of with Just Listen, which isn't too bad, and Justine Suissa's voice is still as beautiful as ever. Next is Sirens of the Sea, followed by If I Could Fly. If I Could Fly just didn't feel like OceanLab to me, and was pretty much the tone of the entire album. Breaking Ties, Miracle, Ashes and Secret was more of the direction I enjoyed more of their work, compared to Come Home and Lonely Girl.

I enjoy the album, but I still feel it could have been much better, and I still find myself skipping a lot of songs.

Next is Conjure One, which starts off with Damascus, featuring Chemda on vocals. The song comes across as very lonely and desolate, with a painful sadness in her tone. It's a beautiful build-up to the album, which goes on to Center of the Sun next, which is one of the best songs on the album. Featuring Poe (Ann Danielewski) on vocals, Center of the Sun also has the tragic yet still beautiful sound of Damascus (and Manic Star later). CotS is the kind of song you have to listen to loud, with proper speakers or headphones, so you can hear every little sound, and hear every nuance in her voice. The song builds up to the climax, which feels almost ethereal and haunting, and then slowly unwinds to the next song.

Tears from the Moon, featuring Sinéad O'Connor, is another great track on the album, however the lyrics feel a bit too repetitive, and the song drags on a bit too much.

Next up is Tidal Pool which leads into Manic Star. Tidal Pool feels like a long build up, and you can almost see the sparkling, glittering and shimmering lights on the water, with Chemda's almost eerie chanting in the background. Next up is Manic Star, featuring Marie-Claire D'Ubaldo, which is my favourite track on the album, and my favourite track from Conjure One. It starts off with Chemda's chanting, then fades up into Manic Star's beautifully sad backing track. Marie-Claire has a beautiful voice, which sounds as if she'll break into tears at any moment, without sounding fragile, and coupled and balanced with the equally beautiful instrumentals, makes for an amazing song. The only thing I could come close to finding fault with was the lyrics, compared to the other tracks. Still, her voice and the instrumentals easily carry the song.

The next 5 songs are all good, but they're just completely overshadowed by the first 5. The album ends on Premonition (Reprise), which is the instrumental version of Manic Star. Again, a beautiful, serene build up into a sad, almost mourning melody, which slowly and patiently fades out, giving Conjure One one of the best closing tracks on an album.