Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Dance & Electronic, World Music, New Age, Pop
Ronan Hardiman first gained renown as the composer for Michael Flatley's Irish dance extravaganzas, Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames. On Anthem, his second solo release, he moves away from the relentlessly rhythmic mus... more »
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Ronan Hardiman first gained renown as the composer for Michael Flatley's Irish dance extravaganzas, Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames. On Anthem, his second solo release, he moves away from the relentlessly rhythmic music of his Flatley collaborations, in favor of a looser, more atmospheric style of composing and performing. Hardiman's sweeping synthesizer tones on tracks such as "Ready for Life" recall the ethereal music of Enya while his use of Latin chants on "Salve" sound like a less spooky version of Enigma. Hardiman has a gift for writing great hooks, which give songs like "That Place in Your Heart" and "Heaven (Waiting for Me There)" an unexpected, but enjoyable pop sheen. The songs on Anthem are not explicitly Irish, but Hardiman's strong melodic sense and mystical leanings imbue them with an irresistible Celtic character. --Michael Simmons
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This Album is a Rare Gem
jkarjalainen | New Jersey, USA | 11/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's hard to stop listening to this CD...this is one of those musical collections that will not wear out easily.This music is richly textured and beautifully melodic.I had never heard of Hardiman's solo work, but hey, life brings on a pleasant musical surprise from time to time (but it seems rarely - one needs to buy a lot of CDs to get this good of a surprise in my experience).Hardiman is definitely breaking through to new ground in creating beautiful and melodic, yet energetic and dynamic orchestrated pieces full with rich and skillful instrumentation combined with mystical sounding female vocals. Apparently Hardiman plays all the natural sounding and electronic instruments and percussion himself from his synth/keyboard set-up.His compositions are melodic, not overtly complex and have clear pop and Celtic sensibilities. His use of base lines/synths and synth textures is grabbing. But the sum total much more than that. Somebody could call this collection a fairly good stress reliever, but it's too dynamic just for that. More importantly, I think Hardiman's work on this album Anthem is uplifting, elevating and even inspiring (or should I say inspired). Sort of like a walk in a forest after the rain.I have a quite a collection of new age and world music and my hat is off to Mr. Hardiman for climbing to the top of the stack.I hope he will have a long and productive career.If you have liked for example Yanni, Ademius, or Enya get ready for something magical...and fresh and new.Out of five stars this should get six (a rare gem)."
Hardiman's style matures
curiouslysane | Greenville, SC United States | 04/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While this won't become my favorite CD, it is assured a long and dust-free home in my collection. Like its predecessor, Solas, Anthem is an upbeat mix of driving rhythms, soft vocals, and synthetic instrumentals. It's a bit repetitious, but MUCH more varied than Solas. This is a clearly more mature composition, and the progress it illustrates give me great optimism for future collections from this gifted composer. I've heard Hardiman's style described as a mix of Enya and Enigma, but I don't know if that is fair. It's neither as serious as Enya, nor as moody as Enigma, but it's fun, lighthearted, and should have a wide appeal. Pop this CD in and go for a drive--you'll relish every minute."
Candy for the ears, uplifting for the soul
Mr. J. Stevens | UK | 10/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yesterday I received my copy of Ronan Hardiman's new CD Anthem and I just have to write a review of it! What do I think of it? Its WONDERFUL! But anyone who has ever heard any of Ronan's music must already know it would be nothing less. The album is very much similar in style to Solas , but with a few differences. First of all, the feeling it projects is very different. In general, the tracks on Solas seem designed for relaxation and meditation, and as such works very well... however, Anthem is not only very relaxing, but many of the songs create a very uplifting and joyful feeling that Solas didn't. The opening track "Anthem" is a good example - this is typical Hardiman, with a good, steady beat, beautiful electric piano melody, and some wonderful female vocal work by Leslie Dowdall, with a very upbeat, joyful chant that makes me feel happy. The next track "That place in your heart" is another departure from Solas - this is a real song with real lyrics (very thought provoking ones too) which is beautifully sung. This is followed by "Run Away" which has the distinct Solas sound with the usual piano and beat, with the lead vocals being very Enya-esque. Next is one of my personal favourites "Ready for Life", which isn't technically a song, but has some lyrics... there is something about the mood that this one creates that is hard to describe.... Maybe its just me, but this song makes me feel very happy for some reason, the lyrics, the piano melody...everything about it is just wonderful. This is real mood enhancing stuff! To balance things, the next track "Salve" is a very brooding, powerful piece, which really stands out from the other tracks. This has a very symphonic sound, and features the male choir used for his Feet of Flames work. I have always been a great fan of what Ronan can do with the male choir (his work with them in Feet of Flames 2000 is fabulous - why cant we have this on CD, Ronan?) but he doesn't use them a great deal, which is a shame because they add a tremendous effect. "Never" is a very Solas-ey track, in fact the vocals on it sound almost exactly like "Heaven" in places. Nonetheless, a very nice track. "Worlds Apart" is another great track, which also has the distinct Solas sound. Following this is "Ancient Lands", which is my personal favourite. There are no words to describe how brilliant this track is, its incredibly powerful, very well written, it really conjures up images of ancient lands in the East somewhere... this is also shown by his choice of instrumentation, sounding almost Egyptian in places. The male choir are used again on this in the second half, although I was a little disappointed because they don't seem to do much, their phonetic chanting is very limited, which is a shame because I have heard Ronan do wonderful things with them in the past. But the first part is without a doubt my favourite of all the tracks! "Where are you now" has very good sound effects, conjuring up images of rainfall - this is a nice relaxing, sad piece, which turns into a fairly upbeat tune. The final track is a remix of "Heaven", but this time with full lyrics, and an almost gospel feel to it. All in all a fabulous CD, if you loved Solas then you will love this. If you love good music you will love this. The only bad points are that there are only 10 tracks, which is a shame, because I feel they could have added his "Silver Swans" millennium piece, and maybe even "Dance of the Swans" from FOF2000, as that would fit in with the style quite well, I think!So there's nothing left for me to say but BUY IT! You wont regret it! If you want your spiritis uplifting, this is just the music for you!"