Karma Preview

[Karma Cover]

Gavin Stok April 19 1997

In 1994 Delerium made a name for itself with the release of Semantic Spaces. Part atmospheric, part dance, and with heavy use of electronics, it presented the user with a unique sound which drew upon other artists styles such as Enigma, Deep Forest, Vangelis, and The Orb, yet added its own elements of musical style and instrumentation. It also marked the first Delerium project in which the female voice was used for singing and as an instrument.

Three years later, Delerium present us with Karma, a 75 minute album comprising 11 tracks. As with Semantic Spaces, this album has an overall atmospheric feel to it, employing samples from many & varied sources, and making great use of electronics to create rhythms and sound effects. The pygmies and gregorian chants are still around, with Twilight, Enchanted, Euphoria, and Duende using samples from the Baka Forest Pygmies album Heart of the Forest. Gregorian chants are also scattered across varying tracks, though in a more subtle manner than on Semantic Spaces.

What differentiates Karma from Semantic Spaces is that Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber have used more percussion and dance beats. So much so, that some tracks from this album can be compared to their Intemix project. They have also given this album a much stronger eastern influence, with some samples on two tracks credited to Dead Can Dance (Forgotten Worlds, Remembrance). What differentiates Karma the most from other Delerium albums, however, is the use of female voice. Six of the eleven tracks use female vocalists, including Kristy Thirsk from The Rose Chronicles (on Enchanted, Wisdom, Til the End of Time), Sarah McLachlan (Silence), Camille Henderson (Duende), and Jacqui Hunt (Euphoria). On each of these tracks, the vocalist has written the lyrics, and it is the strong use of these vocalists which has made Karma as much an album of songs as an album of instrumental tracks. For this reason, fans of Semantic Spaces may be disappointed for the female voice is no longer predominantly used as an instrument. This is particularly so for Silence which is destined for radio airplay.

Overall, Karma is a very good follow-up to Semantic Spaces,and further shows Delerium's mastery in using samples and the latest in sound technology. While it differs greatly in its sound and influences from their other albums, it shows a continual progression for Leeb and Fulber which ultimately provides a rewarding listen.

My full review of Karma will be presented in coming weeks.

Karma is released by Nettwerk Records on April 22, 1997. It will initially be available in a limited edition 2CD set featuring a bonus multimedia CD which has 2 additional tracks.

Thanks go to Nettwerk Records for providing me with this CD for preview.

Track Listing

  1. Enchanted (8:31)
  2. Duende (5:23)
  3. Twilight (6:05)
  4. Silence (6:33)
  5. Forgotten Worlds (7:33)
  6. Lamentation (8:32)
  7. Euphoria (Firefly) (5:27)
  8. Remembrance (7:28)
  9. Wisdom (4:48)
  10. Koran (10:06)
  11. 'Til the End of Time (4:36)

All music written by Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber.
Produced by Delerium and Greg Reely.

Lyrics for Enchanted, Wisdom, and Til the End of Time written and performed by Kristy Thirsk.

Lyrics for Duende written and performed by Camille Henderson.

Lyrics for Silence written and performed by Sarah MacLachlan.

Lyrics for Euphoria written and performed by Jacqui Hunt.

Read my Semantic Spaces review