REVIEW: Karda Estra - "Eve"

By Mike Ventarola

Chain Border

Karda Estra's press-kit states that "Eve is inspired by the short novel The Future Eve, written in 1886 by Villiers de L'Isle Adam. The story line depicts that of a renowned inventor and master electrician who creates a perfect mate for his rather disturbed friend Lord Ewald." Musical creator Richard Wileman states, "I find this kind of 'morality' plays just as relevant and chilling today with the ever increasing developments in genetic engineering and artificial intelligence." Wileman points out that this CD is not a musical adaptation of the story line, but rather the impetus for a whole new venture towards atmospheric tragedy and misguided ambition.

EveMany have tackled with a similar theme in film, such as Fritz Lang's Metropolis, to The Bride of Frankenstein and its many adaptations. Back in the 80's Metropolis was also the imagery which inspired an updated score by Giorgio Moroder. This theme of man as creator somehow clutches our collective psyches, possibly for the same reasons that Wileman finds them so fascinating. On a fantasy level, it enraptures us to peer into the world of man playing "God." With an eye towards inventiveness, Wileman and company utilize many smoothly flowing styles, from the progressive to the orchestral, with some layers of anticipation and dread that are not too bombastic.

With the world presently over run with "oontz-oontz" type percussion and compressed shrieking vocals, Karda Estra provides an ethereal/easy-listening piece, crafted with REAL instruments and the delightfully passionate vocals of Ileesha Bailey. The skillful playing is soothing enough, but somehow the calculated structures at just the precise moment allows us to pause and reflect upon the essence and meaning of the notes that are delivered.

An Ordinary Mortal begins rather somberly, coalescing sweet notes with the flux of angst and deep cogitation. The lovely female vocals carry the instruments over into a chasm of simplistic beauty. To some degree, this track is also the sound of floating languidly on the sea during sunset. Andraiad is the name of the android-like woman. The opening foreshadows the heralding of dread via church bell tolls, which bring us deeper into the hollow place of the mind. Spanish style guitars punctuated by the other instruments transport this to a beautiful, but morosely dark carpet ride. The track does not simply stay within an all or nothing confine, but manages to mix the dark with the bittersweet to breathe an essence of a lifetime. It depicts a chilling and barren heart; one that is devoid of a soul. The Pale Ray provides the element of deep thought. One senses a mixture of hopefulness with an essence of dread and anticipation. The minor chords punctuate the meandering thoughts that are capable of seeing reality from the seemingly impossible.

Super Electrical is the homage for the laboratory where the diabolical yet God-like deed of creationism is to enact itself. Initially, the sound indicates the stoic surroundings of the lab itself. Just under the first layers are elaborate structures, which give rise towards the more complex contents within the lab. Harmonic vocals and instruments simply erupt, generating excitement and life as though a living current of electric energy has been carefully created. Remarkable considering it is music and not sound effects that achieved this end. Eve is that ideal that every man dreams of. Wileman is sure to let us know that this may be the "ideal but not the reality" as deftly underscored by the sweet lilting stanza's that belie a certain essence of naïveté and innocence. As an "ideal" woman of the musical realm, Eve can be seen simply swirling barefoot through the verdant landscape, laughing and carefree as the wind gently caresses her hair.

Sparks That Flash and Fall structurally builds a taught and anxious thread. It is the culmination of understanding the depth of the wrong that one has wrought. There is that element of comprehending that some things come with too high a cost and far beyond the time when anything can be done to salvage the errors. Thoughts And Silences somewhat brings us back to the first track. There is a heavier body and structure to the track, indicative of erudition yet with an undeniable yearning. Here, our "ordinary mortal" is still a lone soldier, locked up with his thoughts, memories, dreams and unquenchable desire for everlasting love.

Eve is not meant to pose as a horror soundtrack rip-off in the least. Instead it is a reflective body of work that provides the listener with the many realms of inspiration, genius, madness and loneliness, all within the confines of well-constructed orchestration. Karda Estra composed and executed a healthy musical piece. It certainly deserves the accolades often reserved for cinematic film composers, simply because its movement clearly would accompany a film rendition, yet it is able to stand on its own as well. The work reflects an organic nature, despite its usage of science and electricity as its counterpoint to a world simply gone mad.

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Karda Estra

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