Delerium Poem
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Poem is the follow up to the excellent ambient/techno album Karma, which featured guest female vocal parts on a few of the tracks. Much like the last album, Poem also features guest vocals, but this time around, almost every track has someone lending vocal support. Vocals ranger from Matthew Sweet (Daylight) to the Mediaeval Babes (Aria) to Leigh Nash of Sixpense None the Richer (Innocente). While the style of music stays relatively the same, the variety of vocals does add another dimension of variety to the album.

To place Delerium descriptively would be unfair. While they use looped audio samples, drum machines and synthesizers like many other techno acts, they also manage to incorporate more conventional methods, including strings, piano, oboe, harp and live drums. Along with the excellent selection of vocals, their musical choices seem to really be fresh and innovative overall.

Musically, this album is well done. It uses the same formula as past albums, but develops the tracks with enough diversity to keep them from feeling old and stale. In fact, I'd only say a few of the tracks really come across as musically familiar from Delerium's library of work (Myth and Daylight come to mind). Other songs stand out on their own right by the sheer quality of sound. Innocente is a great opening to this album and Aria, while slow in the beginning, has a smooth, moving beat that really works with the enchanting vocals. A Poem for Byzantium feels like the most mainstream of the tracks on the album with more traditional song structure.

I'll be honest when I say that this album feels more mainstream than Karma did. If you enjoy your ethereal music peppered with some excellent vocal parts, then this is for you. For those who lean more towards the non-vocal ambient tracks of prior releases, this might not be exactly what you're looking for. Some of the vocal tracks, and even the way the music is layed out feels very radio-friendly. This is not to say that Poem is a sell-out. It's a good album that might be what some people are looking for while others will wish Delerium was still more into their ambient style.

- - Kinderfeld

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