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Various Artists — A Dark Noël
(Projekt 198, 2007, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2008-01-01
Christmas is my least favorite holiday of the entire year, a month-long season of unbridled commercialism and indulgent spending, nearly completely stripped of its original meaning as the birthday of Christ, and now becoming even more annoying as it rapidly encroaches on what really is my favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving. Call me a Scrooge, but it’s only fair that the reader of this review has full disclosure from the writer. All that said, this magical little disc from the folks at Projekt captures the essence of what was once wonderful and special about the season, and even turned a Grinch like me around in early September (as I write this). The songs presented are a combination of traditionals, covers, and originals, but all presented in that lush and warm atmospheric style that is Projekt’s trademark. Nothing goofy, poppy, or shallow here; the dozen songs are at once beautiful, shimmering, and reflective, capturing that magical mood of the season before it all got out of hand. Featured artists include Faith and the Muse, Voltaire, Unto Ashes, Audra, Autumns Grey Solace, and others. Rhea’s Obsession with Athan Maroulis presents a middle-eastern flavored take on the timeless traditional “We Three Kings.” The Crüxshadows cover John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas – War Is Over,” while Black Tape for a Blue Girl offer a hauntingly beautiful “Chanukkah, Oh Chanukkah.” My favorite: the stunning “Welcome Christmas” by Love Spirals Downward, with its echo chamber production, multi-layered female voices, and jangly guitars. Now if we can just get this issue of Exposé out before the big day…
Related artist(s): Voltaire, Attrition, Autumn's Grey Solace, Unto Ashes, Lovespirals / Love Spirals Downwards, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Various Artists, Audra, Bobin Eirth / In Gowan Ring, Sam Rosenthal / As Lonely as Dave Bowman
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