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Lisa Gerrard and Jules Maxwell – Burn Review

Igniting a flame of passion from the deepest of musical wells.

Sounds like…

The world music equivalent of seeing life in bright colour for the first time.

The review

‘Burn’ is a fascinating album the centres around unlocking the passion from within and setting it free. Letting it burn brightly. It is the kind of album that only a handful of artists could make and Lisa Gerrard seems particularly inspired by this new album.

For ‘Burn’, Lisa Gerrard collaborated with Jules Maxwell, who has been playing keyboards for Dead Can Dance on the last couple of tours. He co-wrote four of the tracks on Boocheemish, the stunning album Lisa made with Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares. James Chapman from MAPS joined this project as producer too. This should give you an insight into how genre-bending ‘Burn’ ends up being and it is one of its main strengths.

The second strength is the way how each track is designed to ignite a flame of passion within. Every track starts small, builds itself up into a frenzy or climax or sorts and unveils its fully-formed version to the listener. Lisa and Jules have created music that grows up in front of your eyes (and ears) and so each track feels hugely emotional. That is helped by the huge scope and dramatic production. Whether it is the enormous drums and synth orchestra of ‘Orion’ that blooms into a celestial organ and echo chamber of voice or the meditative celebrations of musical waves crashing in ‘Heleali’ – they all have an emotional pull.

Lisa Gerrard and Jules Maxwell – photo by Robbie Perry

‘Keson’ and ‘Deshta’ both pull you into a more electronic state of mind. ‘Keson’ has some beautiful synth work that lets Lisa Gerrard wax and wane over the drones. It sounds like a dreamscape and Lisa writes that the track is about living in your dreams to befriend your soul. ‘Deshta’ is about a dream of eternity and the ever-spinning riffs of music and time entwine perfectly. It has a really curious hook to it that feels mystical in a ‘be careful what you wish for’ vibe. The most electronic track on the album is ‘Aldavyeem’. The track is about waking up through a gentle trance. Its melodic arpeggios trickle constantly over an uptempo beat as Lisa’s voice calls to you then flickers around the speakers like a lost thought.

‘Noyalain’ – the title track of the album, is about igniting that passion within. I pair it with the closing track ‘Do So Yol’ which is about spreading knowledge with happiness and openness as they evoke the same wonderous feeling. Both tracks are alive, primal, Earthy, full-bodied and passionate. They both convey a joyous celebratory feel too. The bells and triumphant drums and organs work a treat and Lisa is as powerful as ever. Jules Maxwell’s influence can be heard throughout. He has a great way of creating music that truly supports Lisa’s vocals rather than hoping she can do the heavy lifting. If you enjoyed the songs he wrote for Boocheemish, you’ll love this too.

‘Burn’ has taken a while to get to us. Indeed, Lisa, Jules and James were all separated due to the pandemic and so an extra 18 months on from its original release timeframe, we now have this beast in our hands. It is a beast. A proud, joyful beast that really lights a fire underneath you. It has been absolutely worth the wait and upon each listen, I feel inspired to dive back into life wholeheartedly again. Superb.

Recommended track: Heleali

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Lisa Gerrard and Jules Maxwell - Burn

9.5

9.5/10

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