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Lisa Gerrard & Klaus Schulze – “Farscape” Review

For once I’m at a loss for words and am completely torn. Lisa Gerrard’s latest collaboration partner is Klaus Schulze of Tangerine Dream fame and an electronic maestro with a career spanning over 40 (!) albums. “Farscape” is a two disc journey. Over the two discs seven songs, although they are more like symphonic movements, glide over you in a spacious ambience. Lisa’s vocals float and twist throughout the pieces and what you are given is something that on the surface is lightweight ambience but for those looking for more, can enjoy the lengthy process of ambience song structure.

Each song is entitled “Liquid Coincidence” and then is given a number 1 through 7. “1” is 22 minutes long. Its swirling synths and arpeggio’s dust against Lisa’s ever evocative voice. It’s one of those tracks that once it starts, you forget its there almost and then quarter of an hour later, its still going but nothing much has changed except at half way through chill out beats join in. “2” is 31 minutes long and is a bit more easy listening chill out world music. There’s some excellent use of echo on Gerrard’s vocals here but once again, nothing will be rushed and half an hour later, you feel as if you’ve been somewhere but your not quiet sure where. “3” is 26 minutes long and concludes disc 1 as being somewhere in-between the previous two songs but sounds almost identical.

Disc 2 starts with “4” at a much shorter 18 minutes! There is a noticeable shift in tone and that’s because disc 1 centres around Lisa improvising over Klaus’ music. Disc 2 is the other way around. “4” is darker and less fluffy out-of-body-experienced with discordant stabbing brass samples however by the mid point its turned into a slightly more dramatic version of 1,2 and 3. “5” for some reason works better for me as its a perfect blend of each other’s strengths although again its an 18 minute movement. “6” is 24 minutes long and does little to change what’s already been heard although there is no percussion in this track at all and sounds better for it. “7” is the shortest track at 13 and a half minutes. Who’d have thought that on an album? It basically wraps all the other tracks into one coherent piece which is a lovely feeling track and reminds of swimming with dolphins.

I’m so torn as its brave and at times genius. However quite why every song has to be half an album long is beyond me. It completely depends on your mood. Yes, you can close your eyes and drift off to it if you have time but its all so hypnotically similar so then one track blends into the next and then none of the differences actually stand out. The best track is the shortest one as it packs all the album into one track, which they could have easily done and then changed the electronics about and made some different sounding tracks.  The whole overall sound sounds like a cheap relaxation CD you find from something like Time Life.

I will probably never listen to the album as a whole ever again. It completely devalued itself for me as a single piece. I will only tackle this CD one track at a time and even then only as background music when I’m busy. To have Lisa Gerrard’s voice as background music is something I’d never thought I’d say but alas, that’s all I can see this CD being used for. Sorry!

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