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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
Other reviews from The Sounding Board by R J Lannan:
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The Dawnseeker
By Sleepthief
Label: Echotone Records/Neurodisc Records
Released 6/27/2006
The Dawnseeker tracks
1. Eurydice  
2. Desire of Ages  
3. You Did A Good Thing  
4. Just Say It  
5. The Chauffeur  
6. Tenuous  
7. Sublunar (Sweet Angel)  
8. Nightjar  
9. Fire From Heaven  
10. The Metro  
11. Kiss to Savor  
12. Afterthoughts  
13. Entre Ciel Et Mer  
It All Began With Toys
You do not expect it, but there it is. The ghost in the machine. As you collaborate, cooperate and conspire, a project begins to take on its own persona. Such is the result when composer Sleepthief (Justin Elswick) teamed up with a plethora of vocal talents to produce the exceptional album The Dawnseeker. Each song is a story with poetic lyrics and intensely vivid music. I compare this album to the works of Fallen You because it is just as astounding, mesmerizing and somewhat similar. The author has wedded his music to a number of talented brides such as Jody Quine, Nicola Hitchcock, Caroline Lavelle, and San.drine to form a perfect musical union. Sleepthief's music is dramatic electronica that tends to be adventuristic.

Nothing is more tragic or more heartbreaking then love that is lost. Eurydice is the story of how Orpheus traveled to the very depths of Hades to recover his beloved Eurydice only to lose her in a moment of doubt. Jody Quine croons about the power of love and its ability to go beyond the physical. The tale is as fresh today as it was when the ancients first scratched it on papyrus. Kristy Thirsk delivers a poignant song on The Dawnseeker called Sublunar. Appearances can be deceiving, especially a shallow smile. It is the story of a mangled, broken heart that is disparately trying to go on. Thirsk may break more delicate hearts with her beautiful rendition.

One of the liner pictures is a slate etching of a nighthawk. The song Nightjar, another name for a nighthawk, a bird that has fascinating nocturnal habits is an electrifying tune of English traditions and romantic tragedy. Caroline Lavelle croons a haunting tune of unfaithfulness. All is lost when the lover discovers she has been used, her emotions trampled upon and her love betrayed. Fire from Heaven is a most notable track featuring Roberta Carter Harrison of Wild Strawberries fame. Somewhat funky, part bluesy Harrison's gutsy contralto belts out a ballad somewhat like the legend of Prometheus. Was man better off with the gift? Did we displease the Gods?

Other notable tracks are The Metro with Jerri Eckert, Afterthoughts with Lauren Edman, Desire of Ages featuring Harland and Nicola Hitchcock on You Did a Good Thing. Hauntingly beautiful is the groove tune Just Say It with an exquisite vocal by Kyoko Baertsoen. When you give of yourself freely, completely you always hope it is for passion requited. This song is full of passion, afterglow and the hope that the morning brings with it the love promised.

The angelic voice of Sandrine Ligabue a.k.a. San.drine chills the heart with her song Etre Ciel et Mer (Between Sky and Sea). It is the best track on the album for me and I played it quite a bit. It is sung in French, but the passion, the depth and the poetry need no translation. But here it is.

“Like immobile debris, I will remember. Your invisible face, I will remember.
Between sky and sea, I fall, between sky and sea I dance, between sky and sea I fall, between sky and sea I wait (for you).”

San.drine’s breathless voice is like sweet flowing wine as the passion pours from her heart.

If Justin Elswick had not received a toy phonograph at age four perhaps his curiosity for music might have gone unsatisfied. Despite his law degree, his passion for music is self-evident. Invoking poetry, mythology and passion Sleepthief has managed to create a work that, like a musical kaleidoscope can be heard over and over again and each new experience is quite unlike the first. Every voice, every song is a story with a dream. Some are in color, some are in sepia, while other are in stark black and white. His flamboyant electronic music is the contrast that completes the images.
Rating: Very Good +   Very Good +
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 5/21/2007
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