Lisa Gerrard,
The Mirror Pool
(Wea/Warner, 1995)

It begins with an odd dissonance, like an eerie churchyard carnival. The introduction to ""Violina'' launches an impressive, expressive musical journey in the company of Lisa Gerrard, formerly of Dead Can Dance, and her solo CD The Mirror Pool.

This album isn't for everyone. It's opera-like arrangement and lack of discernible lyrics will certainly turn off some listeners. But The Mirror Pool is a symphony of atmospheric music, arias and chants that are usually slow, often melancholy and always heartbreakingly lovely to hear. The music is meditative, yet still engaging, at times conjuring images of courtly entertainment at some long-ago, faraway and perhaps otherworldly palace.

Gerrard achieved some prominence when she and Brendan Perry broke musical ground with Dead Can Dance, but their eclectic, hard-to-categorize sound prevented widespread fame and fortune. Still, the band earned plenty of devoted followers, and some have followed Gerrard's solo career with a great deal of loyalty and appreciation.

Fortunately, Gerrard's distinctive musical style has earned her a place among Hollywood's memorable score composers, with her music featured in blockbusters including Gladiator, Mission Impossible II and Ali. I can only hope more directors take note -- her music would be an asset to many a soundtrack. Ultimately, it should lead fans of her work in the movies back to this and other solo albums from this amazing singer/composer.

Meantime, The Mirror Pool is a reflective, expressive introduction to her original sound. I urge you to take a look.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 12 January 2002

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