Micah Newman | Fort Worth, TX United States | 05/05/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the first of the "later" Lycia stuff, if one were to split up their discography into earlier, four-track recordings up to and including _...Stark Corner_ (the half that I think is actually a bit better) and latter-half material beginning with this rather momentous double-disc. That would be in keeping with the theme of this album, too, being all immersed in new beginnings and phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes kind of ideas. The trademark single-string guitar parts with their chorused, resonant sound, are kind of buried in the mix amongst the shimmering electronics and atmosphere, which I think is kind of a nice, faraway effect. And, as always, Mike Van Portfleet continues his infatuation with the ponderous 6/8 rhythms which serve his music so well. The two discs kind of offset each other nicely, too, the first being more guitar-oriented and the second being more keyboard/ambient oriented. They really can be listened to like two separate albums, but carry on similar themes, and fit together like two halves of a whole. It's hard to imagine one without the other. Highlights of the second disc include then-newcomer Tara Vanflower's two now-familiar ecstasy-ballads (excuse all the hyphenation), "Nimble" and "Surrender." On "Nimble" she poetically intertwines eroticism and spirituality, and it's a gorgeous song, but the ideas seem to lack direction; it's unclear whether she means to invoke eroticism to express spirituality or vice versa. "The New Day," the final track of this whole opus, is one of the most uplifting Lycia songs ever, with Mike triumphantly declaring the beginning of a new era in life, and an end to frustration and heartache. When I first listened to this, and had gotten through the first five or six tracks, I thought "man, are there no weak songs on this whole thing? " As if having jinxed it, it turns out that about halfway through the first disc the material begins to devolve somewhat into more or less "filler" material, which is still good since it's Lycia and I find they can't go wrong no matter what they've done, but just not quite as inspired as the rest of it. This patch lasts for half a dozen tracks, at most, on the first disc. But overall, Lycia are just so consistent, it always bowls me over and is probably a major reason why I like them so much. They make music just the way they should."
Disc A is reason enough to get both of them
Scott Sweet | Colorado Springs, CO | 02/11/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I like Lycia's music for how strong a sense of weather and environment it creates. Heck, the next album was titled "Cold." "The Burning Circle and Then Dust" can induce an alpha state with its infinite reverb and wet guitar. The songs are slow, except for the Christian-radio viable "Pray," the most uptempo song Lycia ever did. Van Portfleet's vocals are ghostly like always, and most of Disc A is in kind of a waltzy 6/4 time. The blend of church bells, guitars and synth is beautiful. The lyrics are sung slowly enough that you can make them out after a couple of listens. A prior reviewer wrote that the songs sound the same - yeah, true. If you like Lycia, it sounds like the songs are serving a consistent theme. The leisurely pace implies the singer's melancholy; it's soothing but not boring. The drum tracks, especially on this release and on "Ionia," kept Lycia from being lumped in with the Narada new-age market. It's a bummer that Lycia did only three danceable songs among seven albums ("Ionia", "Distant Eastern Glare" and "Pray"). Disc B is alright, but not as good as the first. Most of these tracks are in Van Portfleet's earlier 4-track style. "Silence and Distance" is the standout and could've been the Disc A finale, making a REALLY powerful 1-cd album. It's interesting to hear Lycia's "second sound" develop from "A Day in The Stark Corner" through "The Burning Circle..." to the awesome "Cold". If you've got some time to relax at sunset (or sunrise), this is one of Lycia's best mood albums. Lycia stands out among goth-ambient music because instead of focusing on the darkness and evil in the basement, it invites you look up to the sky and shiver with the thought of how small we really are."
Goth at its best
Jessicka | 08/02/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lycia is a needle in a haystack. Truly one of a kind. The sadness that the music brings into my world is undescribable. I started drinking the first time listened to it."