Dark Sky Island
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Dark Sky Island
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After 75 million sales; four Grammy Awards; six World Music Awards; an Ivor Novello, an Oscar nomination, a Golden Globe nomination; and seven studio albums (plus the ‘Paint The Sky With Stars’ compilation) which have hit the upper echelons of charts all over the world, Enya will embark upon a new chapter in her spectacular career with the November 20th release of her new album Dark Sky Island. The Enya creative triumvirate – Enya, producer and sound engineer Nicky Ryan, and lyricist Roma Ryan – started work on the album in the spring of 2012. Inspired by Roma’s work on a series of poetry books themed around islands and specifically the island of Sark’s decision to be designated as a dark sky island, the album’s title track was the first song to be written for the collection. The album’s buoyantly optimistic first single ‘Echoes in Rain’ possesses an irresistible surge of globe-trotting euphoria which made it an obvious choice as the album’s lead track. While it shares the adventurous themes of Enya’s breakthrough hit ‘Orinoco Flow’, its rhythmic march instead celebrates the anticipation of a journey’s end. ‘Echoes in Rain’ also shares another coincide with its famous predecessor. Back in 1988, ‘Orinoco Flow’ was the final song that was recorded during sessions for the ‘Watermark’ album and it went on to become a global success. This time around, ‘Echoes in Rain’ was the final track to be completed for the album and has also been chosen as the lead single. Sonically, Dark Sky Island is a collection that’s both incredibly diverse and innately unified by the production: almost Spector-esque in its lavish, wide-screen multi-tracked layers of sound. Opening track ‘The Humming’ is an immediate highlight as it subliminally works its infectious magic within the course of a single listen. By contrast, ‘Even In The Shadows’ pulses with an insistent rhythm; the hymnal ‘I Could Never Say Goodbye’ is sparse in its reflective beauty; while ‘Sancta Maria’ blends synthesisers and classical instrumentation to create an ethereal soundscape that comfortably sits in both the past and the future. It’s almost a history of sound encapsulated in four hypnotic and otherworldly minutes. “This album has a theme of journeys,” states Enya. “Journeys to the island; through the length of a lifetime; through history, through emotions; and journeys across great oceans. So although it’s not a ‘themed’ album, as such, we nevertheless have an underlying connection between songs.” That concept can be demonstrated in ‘The Humming’, a song that muses on the cycle of the universe and how change affects everything. Such intergalactic exploration also extends to ‘The Forge of the Angels’ and ‘The Loxian Gates’ which continue the use of the Loxian language that Roma created and popularised with three songs from 2005’s ‘Amarantine’. It’s a futuristic narrative with a genesis that dates back to 1986 and Enya’s debut album / soundtrack to the BBC documentary The Celts.
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And thankfully Enya has stuck to her sound giving us yet again another haunting, gentle and atmospheric album. It is perhaps nostalgic to some of us who kind of grew up into adults in the 80's when Enya and Clannard seemed to far more prevalent on TV and on the radio. Regardless, this is a wonderful addition and I thoroughly enjoyed it all the way through. It acts like a sorbet between courses, cleaning my musical palette ready for another onslaught of thrash.
Anyway, great stuff that will appeal to anyone who has already got some Enya music and it would work well as a late evening chill out record.
It really is a beautiful album. As much as I love Enya and her music, I always hope her new album will be one which I like less to begin with and which needs to grow on me, in order for me to be as objective as possible and to appreciate it more. "And Winter Comes" was like that and so is this. In fact, I am only now starting to get used to "The Forge of the Angels", which is a very, very slow grower. However, the rest of the album has now hit me hard and the beauty of the tracks are now very apparent to me.
There are no doubt those who think that Enya needs a change of direction. I don't think so. Enya does what she does - slow ballads, multi-layered vocals, beautiful music put to Roma Ryan's beautiful lyrics and sung in a number of languages - English, Gaelic, Latin, Loxian. I don't want rock 'n' roll Enya, country 'n' western Enya or any other Enya than the Enya on this album. It is different enough for everyone to love what she does. It is also sad in some places and happy in others, unlike the new Adele album, which is the same as ever but very depressing.
Enya does it again - another brilliant album, one which grows on me the more I play it. I have the deluxe album, so 14 tracks. Perhaps I will never fall head over heels in love with the one track I mentioned earlier, but the other 13 are lovely - and I'm a happy man.
This Enya album takes you on a Journey to Dark Side Island and you can just imagine this happening to yourself. It is also good background music as well.
If you enjoy Enya's earlier work, you will certainly enjoy this album.
I have a quibble with the tightness of the packaging. Many CDs are likely to be broken getting them out of the holder.