Longing for Orpheus | Somnia

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Somnia

by Longing for Orpheus

With this release, Longing for Orpheus moves into the Ethereal realm, featuring singers from the opera and musical theater communities of Austin's celebrated music scene, set against a background of chilled electronica.
Genre: Electronic: Chill out
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Fire
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4:02 $0.99
2. Shine
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5:10 $0.99
3. The Walk
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3:36 $0.99
4. At Sea
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4:48 $0.99
5. Then
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4:29 $0.99
6. A Room Full of Stars
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5:02 $0.99
7. Sand
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4:31 $0.99
8. Ghost
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5:07 $0.99
9. At the Ending
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5:12 $0.99
10. Broken Down
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4:54 $0.99
11. Ivory Towers
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
These are songs of dreams, of the night sky, of hopes and fears, of love lost and love found. These are songs about the beauty in a sometimes not-so-beautiful world.

With this third full-length release, Longing for Orpheus moves from a primarily instrumental project into the Ethereal realm. Singers from the opera and musical theater communities of Austin's celebrated music scene lend their voices to the album's eleven songs.


Reviews


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Longing For Orpheus - Somnia

Longing For Orpheus - Somnia
STYLE
October 2012
Female vocals and downtempo electronica in the vein of Blue Stone, Sleepthief and Delerium.
Somnia sees Longing For Orpheus reach new heights in the pursuit of ethereal beauty and sensual grace. The increased involvement of singers adds a greater passion, feminine elegance and sublime dreaminess to the music this time. Rebecca Smootz, Lisa Alexander, Heather McCrocklin, Meredith Ruduski, Karlyn McKutchan provide some highly emotive performances, amply demonstrating the lush compatibility of the female voice and well-programmed synthetics. Project master Derek Smootz also takes up singing on a couple of tracks showing him to be man of diverse skills. The programming and playing here has a gorgeous twilight richness to it: tracks like Then and Ghost delivering the kind of enigmatic nocturne that fans of this kind of music will find irresistible. Down-tempo electronic grooves drenched in reverb and punctuated with unusual percussive matter call to mind the more inventive beats of Amethystium. Melodic material is often subtle, yet keening strings (courtesy of violinist Virginia Davis), meandering piano lines and thick flutes along with silky synth layers provide plenty to hold the attention.

IN DEPTH
The album opens with a breezy synthetic texture and crepuscular twinkle of chimes and piano. Soon the liquid clear voice of Rebecca Smootz weaves in multiple layers through the night air in a style somewhere between Celtic and operatic - the perfect soundtrack to a Pre-Raphaelite fairy-tale fantasy epic. Subsequent tracks maintain this tone of lush mythic passion - earthy and firmly rooted in the moss, leaves and branches of the woodlands on the one hand; climbing to heavenly heights of brooding cloud and moonshine on the other. The percussive side of Longing For Orpheus really complements the dreamy instrumentation and haunting/soaring voices: Smootz combines tight electronic kicks, soft crunchy hits, glitchy touches, light hats and taps into patterns of drowsy languor and tranquil reverie. A stand out track for me is the blurry, slow motion Then with Heather McCrocklin's plaintive vocal set deep within the mix as if carried from afar - a deliciously distorted digital beat cracking the reverberating washes and vibes. By way of contrast The Walk has a clear day pop optimism: mid tempo beat, blissful arpeggios and strong chorus hook. Somnia concludes with Ivory Towers - here the bpm drop down low again and the heart tugging sense of yearning wells up strongly ... memorable, catchy, very beautiful.


ARTWORK
Longing For Orpheus clearly has ambitious vision for Somnia visually as well as sonically. The cover art by Consuello Parra is delightfully suited to the music - very cinematic and brimming with dark fantasy associations. A lone lady draped in flowing white stands before a dark lake, the beautiful outlines of leafless trees black against a lustrous, grey night sky. Twinkling like myriad stars a rain of floating seeds drift all around the central figure. The back cover provides track titles upon a backdrop of a timelapse starscape, the arcing tracks rolling into endless concentric circles. The flip side of the single panel insert lists singers and performers against each track, other credits below - a single seed, its delicate filaments lit in chiaroscuro style sits in darkness.

OVERALL
The third full-length release from Longing For Orpheus sees this project really soaring. Having begun back in 2003, almost a decade of musical development and well planned collaboration has resulted in a most powerful release. Operatic and classically trained singers bring a depth of emotion previously hinted at - soporific wistfulness, ecstatic elation, melancholy reverie. The eleven songs are well arranged and delivered in tight unity making for a consistently pleasing listening experience. You can find the album at CD Baby or you can explore the music and other albums from Longing For Orpheus at the project's Bandcamp site. If you enjoy Balligomingo, Achillea or any of the other artists refered to in this review, then you will likely not be disappointed by this rising contender in the genre.

Fantastic vocals and nice melodies

BT Fasmer
The album Somnia by Longing for Orpheus is filled with great vocals and fantastic synths. Its beautiful ethereal sound makes Somnia into an album that’s easy to recommend, both for vocal and instrumental music fans. That is a rare combination.
My favorite song is A Room Full of Stars. The angelic vocal is beautiful beyond words. The light piano and synth is equally impressive. The Walk is more pop inspired, and shows that this is a very versatile artist. The song At the Ending has nice (but sad) lyrics.
If you think there are too few vocals in New Age music, you must add this album to your collection.