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Claire Hamill — Voices
(Blueprint BP308CD, 1986/2001, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2002-04-01

Voices Cover art

Claire Hamill's notoriety as a female vocalist in the singer-songwriter genre is unfortunately not widespread. Possibly her most recognizable contribution was carrying the lead vocal for Steve Howe on "Look Over Your Shoulder" from his 1979 self-titled album. Voiceprint negotiated with the artist to re-issue her entire catalog this year. Voices (1986) is the eighth album in the set and was Hamill's first take on the New Age sound, but with a different compositional slant. The emphasis set was primarily in layered vocals with no lyrical content. The technique had proven viable to other composer's arrangements including Mike Oldfield (on Hergest Ridge) and Jade Warrior's backdrop for sections of Kites (where the approach was used sparingly but to great effect). This disc's ten tracks are linked to a theme development that is seasonal and sensory without being ponderous or gimmicky. One of the best tracks is "Tides," which relies on a repeated phrase with a lucid melody line and a pillowed chorus. The only lyric on the disc is on "Moss," which sports a dizzying sexy German narrative. Sampling capability was in its infancy in this time period, when the new Prophet 2000 was the "must-have" toy of the era and the album exploits use of the tool (similar to Kate Bush or Jane Siberry). The album predates both Enya and Karl Jenkins’ Adiemus, while holding firm as a collection of vocal acrobatics and keen arrangements.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 24, 2001 releases, 1986 recordings

Related artist(s): Claire Hamill


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