CD Review

Conjure One – “Extraordinary Ways”

By Marcus Pan

Spinning more world beat into ambient textures and smoothe backing synthesizers, music master Rhys Fulber has moved out Conjure One's sophomore album. Extraordinary Ways is as pleasant to listen to as their previous self titled debut(1) and features just as wide a selection of talented vocalists as his Delerium(2) project. While Conjure One took a Middle-Eastern tack, Extraordinary Ways uses world beat infused more closely with the melodies.

Utilizing pulsing, laid back rhythms and solid accoustic movements and keyboard washes, Endless Dream (vocals by Jane) pulses Extraordinary Ways open beautifully. Tiff Lacy's sultry alto vocals through Face the Music carries the track, which morphs into a pop tune with world beat sensibilities and a moving rhythm.

Pilgrimage is funky and fresh with thrilling rhythms changes combined together with a brilliant piano melody. The Buzzcocks remake of I Believe, sung by Rhys himself, is a treat that takes the original and fills it with modern styles, rhythms and affects it with electronic impluses and smoothe progressions. Probably better than ever was meant to be.

Beyond Being gets surreal and wispy in make-up. It's saved from a murky death by a solid bass-driven rhythm that is built into it. Jane returns to providing vocals for namesake of the album, Extraordinary Ways. Rhys can't help to slip into Arabian at times with openings like Dying Light, which brings in a slow piano to let vocalist Joanna Stevens croon against. It reminds me strikingly of work by Studiokraft(3). Nicely done.

Overall? Rhys Fulber (Frontline Assembly, Delerium) is cretainly someone who has a musical capability and gift that far surprasses most individuals. Extraordinary Ways is very different from his most well-known time with Frontline Assembly, and its musical make-up is far more complicated. Some tracks on Extraordinary Ways will drift off and fail to hold your interest, but when Conjure One finds it's groove in tracks like I Believe, Pilgrimage, Forever Lost or Endless Dream it is world's better than most on their best day.

Contact Information:
Nettwerk America
Post: 8730 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 304, Beverly Hills, CA, 90211, USA
Phone: (310) 855-0643
Fax: (310) 855-0658
(1) Reviewed in Legends #131.
(2) Delerium’s The Best Of was reviewed in Legends #147.
(3) Studiokraft’s Binary Soundscapes was covered in Legends #125.

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