Pardon? I couldn't hear you over Ella's psychobabble lyrics.
MSam | Queensland, Australia | 10/14/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Typical of Cirque du Soleil's idiosyncratic musical scores, Zed's music, composed by René Dupéré, has been described as a fusion of multiple styles under the brand of 'World' music. Caucasus, Mediterranean, and Irish flare combine for a result that is sometimes an exquisite and enchanting score, presented by virtuostic musicians and singers to produce one of the best Cirque du Soleil scores to date.
Most of the tracks on the CD manage to stand reasonably well on their own. Personal favourite tracks include Johanna Lillvik's ethereal vocal work on 'Birth Of The Sky', the gentle and intimate melody of 'Blue Silk', and Kevin Faraci's powerful voice in 'Mirror Of The Two Worlds', a piece that evokes a deep feeling of nostalgia and excitement that I feel I could never tire of. The pinnacle of the album is the finale song, 'Hymn of the Worlds', which is a gorgeous, elating anthem that reflects the spirit of the show, perhaps rivalling Dupéré's masterpiece 'Alegría' for the finest Cirque composition. The majority of the musical cast of the production are outstanding. Vocals on the CD are provided by Scandinavian soprano Johanna Lillvik and American musical tenor Kevin Faraci, who both possess phenomenal voices. Another highlight of the CD is the beautifully expressive duet of 'The Worlds Meet', where the alternation between the singers vocals presents a gentle lullaby. The musicians also interact frequently with the score by providing incredibly talented solos in most pieces.
However, no Cirque CD is ever complete without disappointments. Fans of the show should note that the Lasso number has regrettably been omitted, and I want to cry buckets of angry tears at the loss of Lillvik's enchanting vocal improvisations near the beginning of 'Birth Of The Sky'. The CD also only runs at around 56 minutes, which is quite inexcusable when the show runs for around 2 hours, and also possesses some strange feedback and crackle sounds that can be heard throughout. These sound very unprofessional and quite careless.
Despite soaring with positive feedback, the score is only as strong as its weakest link. 'Kernoon's Fire' is the piece that ultimately betrays this otherwise excellent soundtrack. I cannot bear to listen to Martin Lord Ferguson's vocals. In comparison to Kevin Faraci's fierce vocals, Ferguson projects with such a thin timbre. The unstable vocals are totally out of place, and overall detract from the experience of the soundtrack. Ella Louise Allaire, another producer of the record (who also features on KÀ) also makes appearances, prominent on several tracks muttering repetitive vowels affectionately labelled 'psychobabble' by a fellow Cirque fan. The mumbles heard ultimately ruin several compositions, with spoken word overpowering the principal vocals and melody in 'Vaneyou Mi Le' and 'Fiesta' verge on being unbearable. Both are unacceptable, and make a severe and misleading representation of the live score.
With some exceptions, and perhaps not as captivating as the live score, Cirque du Soleil's 'Zed' is by far one of the company's better products to date, with a range of musical styles and moods ranging from the exhilaration to pure joy. With some consistent strong performances from the musicians and singers, and the vision of an experienced composer, 'Zed' is a great CD that I do recommend. However, if you're familiar with the live score, be prepared for some disappointment."