Ronan Hardiman: Ronan Hardiman has moved on from the traditional sounds he created so seamlessly in Riverdance, and has found a new expressiveness on Solas, adding a human nuance to electronic sounds that only the most gifted exponents of the synthesized craft are capable. He has largely spurned conventional lyrics, preferring phonetics based on the Irish language so as not to intrude on the music. He used one female vocalist, and multi-tracked her up to 70 times to create choral effects, or used her solo for chilling ballads.
Moby: If Play were a theatrical performance it would be in three acts. Act one finds Moby building his music around field recordings of rhythm and blues music from the early 20th century. Act two features Moby himself on vocal duties. The final act is represented by the quietly reflective instrumental tracks. The glue that holds this entire performance together is provided by the breaks of hip-hop ("I listen to a lot of commercial hip-hop like Jay-Z, Noriega, Timbaland and Busta Rhymes"). Fear not because the overall effect is often moving, occasionally spooky and always breathtaking.
Balligomingo: Producer/composer Garrett Schwartz has been around music all his life, and came up with the Balligomingo concept in 1998 when he met and began working with Bill Leeb and the group Delerium. He and fellow producer Vic Levak design a lush sonic landscape layered with ethereal angelic vocals. Balligomingo vocalists have been compared to the best in the pop and electronica genres, elevating the spirit of the ethereal world electronica sound on their debut album. Visit Balligomingo's own website at www.balligomingo.com.
Thomas Newman: Thomas Newman has scored dozens of films and is considered a giant in the film music genre. We chose one track from his recent soundtrack to the film American Beauty to exemplify film music in its current state; reflecting the evolved listening tastes of the moviegoing public. Newman uses a large variety of eclectic instruments to create an ambience at the forefront of modern film scoring such as tablas, kim kim drums, appalachian dulcimer and lap steel guitar, as well as a ukulele, flute and electronic wind instruments.
Pilgrimage: Pilgrimage is the of famous DJ Junior Vasquez, but he is not the only star on this great DJ/ambient groove/spiritual album. Besides the brilliant vocals sung by Catherine Bott and the New London Consort, DJ Spooky joins a very talented cast of instrumentalists behind each track on the album. Female vocals soar through these melodies while trip hop beats and electronic sound samples occupy the mind and take the lsitener away on a great journey.
Govinda: Govinda's use of hip-hop rhythms and vocal chant provide an upbeat and erotic vehicle for this international journey. Lead melodies are composed and played on violin and Govinda accompanies himself on acoustic guitar. The music includes layers of soulful chant vocals and trance-type rhythms coupled with studio production that draws its influences from artists such as Dead Can Dance and Bjork.
Faithless: Faithless is a true musical gift from the UK, whose concerts are transcendent. In the course of one live hour, the group defies categorization as it wickedly traverses from stadium trance-rock and pumping house jams to melancholic folk and sinister hip-hop. In the remix department, Bliss and Rollo provide treadmill-ready landscapes. On the flipside, remixers Sharam Jay and Grant Nelson offer two radically different approaches to house music: Jay's is dark and haunting, Nelson's is jazzy and soulful.
Soma Sonic: Dominic and Francois Paterson combine cavernous layers of music to offer a powerful dose of deep listening. Featuring primarily lush and funky downtempo numbers, Soma Sonic has that proverbial (but often elusive) "live, organic feel" due to the expert layering of beats, synths and natural-sounding electronic instrumentation, from sweeping strings to jazzy horns and organ riffs.
Ikarus: Based in the heart of Europe, Ikarus combine all sorts of ethnic music with electronic downtempo tracks, from trip hop to ambient. Ikarus also includes guitars, didgeridoo and shakuhachi (a Japanese bamboo flute), and has a smooth groove electronica track in Bassment from their debut work, Touch The Sun.
Yasue: Life as it is expressed through the music of the cosmos is Yasue's inspiration. She finds this inspiration in the Earth and its inhabitants, focusing on her experience within the Asian culture. Her songs express travel, moments and emotions in the lives of people in the eastern nations. Her vocalizations are a mixture of sounds blended to reach each individual in their own realm of understanding. She uses the music to relay her message in a way that is agreeable to all, be it pop, dance music or new age.
Phobos: Spirituality can take on many forms. Sensuality is one. Soul Of Desire was written in almost complete darkness. Aco Takenaka created the vocals surrounded by just candles and Tibetan incense. She was told to simply stare at the words "soul of desire" scribbled on a piece of paper and let her mind and voice take her on a journey. Phobos create a pop ambience in front of trip hop beats and well-placed vocals. Although new age by genre, Phobos have great sense of multi-genre music on almost every track of their self-titled album.
The Spirit Of Eden: "Spirit Of Eden's debut set creates lush multi-cultural soundscapes that mine the same seam as Deep Forest and Clannad" � Billboard. The album travels the world with the sounds of the Middle East, Africa, Spain and Australia soaring into a canvas of distinctly Irish music. Crossing over the world, new age, Celtic and ambient formats, these innovative grooves feature guest artists like singer Donal Lunny (former member of the pioneering Bothy Band), Uilleann piper Davy Spillane and vocalist Sean Keane.
Dagda: From their album Celtic Trance, Dagda use a variety of sound to form a modern Celtic style on this track, Shades Of The Otherworld. This album has engaging music, combining Celtic melodies with tribal drums and sporadic vocal touches. Dagda take modern Celtic music to a new level of rhythm, groove and ambient feel. The listener is sometimes reminded of Delerium's Semantic Spaces album, though the beats are a bit more toned down, hence the trance in Celtic Trance.
Clair Marlo: From her forthcoming album, The Voice on Earthtone Records, Clair's music is a unique combination of traditional Celtic vocals and instrumentation with a modern, 21st century pop groove approach. Clair's musical diversity began at an early age, spending her childhood all over the world in places like Croatia, Morocco, Senegal, Scotland and Hong Kong.
Alkaemy: Medieval ambience and Celtic styling coupled with lush orchestral soundscapes and a touch of Brit-pop sensitivity resultin a unique and inspiring musical blend from Alkaemy, which appears on The Merlin Mystery album, accompanied by a book of the same name in 1998. The music features UK-based producer/composer Julia Taylor Stanley, vocalist Miriam Stockley of Adiemus, and Celtic singers Shelagh and Sheryle Gwynfar.