Lisa Gerrard – Twilight Kingdom

Lisa Gerrard - Twilight Kingdom

Lisa Gerrard is a versatile artist that moves us so much with her unique voice that a new album by her is always a great event. From her debuts with Dead Can Dance to her collaboration with Klaus Schulze, it’s always her voice that held the listeners’ attention. Curiously, information about the issue of her new album, ‘Twilight Kingdom’, was very spare in the media. One had to check her website to make aware of this new record, which is even proposed for streaming in its entirety. I have to thank Philipp Vallin, founding member of french webzine Clair & Obscur, for spreading the word about ‘Twilight Kingdom’. Driven by my love for Lisa’s music, I rushed on the streaming links  to discover a work that promised to be dark at the simple look of the front cover.

Lisa GerrardWith its sensitive and tearful vocalizations as if coming from an ancient past (byzantine chant or lamentations of the Renaissance era often spring to mind), Lisa Gerrard is a bit like “the Song of the Earth”, a voice that brings back to surface all the vocal experiences collected through thousands of years of humanity’s history. She knows how to move us only through an unusual (in the world of pop music) and varied (as if several vocalists sang each with different range) use of her vocal cords. The tenderness associated to the delicate extension of her vocalizations is also instrumental in making us enjoy our stay in the garden of emotions. All along the record, the great priestess invites us to a session of mystical and almost religious contemplation. “Adrift” and “Neptune” are examples of songs where Lisa’s typical solemn and low-pitched voice reminds us of her love for sacred chants of Middle Ages. The beautiful angelic voices that float in the background of  “Neptune” are performed by Astrid Williamson, previously with rock band Goya Dress, and who participated in Dead Can Dance’s 2012-2013 world tour. Of all tracks, “Estelita” and “Too far gone” are more surprising, as the album evolves towards more pop directions, obviously still in a melancholic way, with real lyrics (on “Too far gone”, written by actor Russel Crowe, who starred in ‘Gladiator’, a movie for which Lisa Gerrard contributed the score), and a little lullaby-like melody. On the former track, Silverchair’s frontman, Daniel Johns, sings with a raspy voice like a scared  Seal (the singer) yet with high-pitched notes as if escaped right from Mika’s most eccentric moments. On the latter track though, it’s as if Marissa Nadler with her intimist folk had taken part  to the contemplation session. Divided by their range but united by their common contemplative vision, all those diverse vocals add to the dramatic dimension of the music. Besides, the musical background also contributes to the beauty of the record, through minimalistic yet somptuous arrangements (Lisa Gerrard’s past collaborator, Patrick Cassidy, is there again), which are discrete when the voice is in a reflective style, and more majestic when it takes a flight towards higher spheres.

With ‘Twilight Kingdom’, Lisa Gerrard brought us songs that highlight her unique voice (as well as the one of her two guests, Astrid Williamson, and Daniel Johns, both in a very different range from what we used to know from them, yet revealing even more their talent), the musical background remaining as less invasive as possible. This album is certainly one of Lisa’s darkest work in terms of mood, and most personal through the emphasis on vocals in all their splendour and diversity. Let’s hope that, like all the voices that inspired her, this work will be timeless.

Tracklist:

1 Blinded

2 Adrift

3 Our Kingdom Came

4 Estelita

5 Neptune

6 Seven Seas

7 Become

8 Too Far Gone

9 Of Love Undone

10 The Veil

Links:

http://www.lisagerrard.com

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