CD Review

Kirsty Hawkshaw – “Meta Message”

By Marcus Pan

Meta MessageI can’t get over the veritable beauty of Kirsty Hawkshaw’s voice. I first heard of her when she added same to the Delerium(1) project and was impressed then. Here on her own with Meta Message, Kirsty takes the helm to be the undeniably necessary core component of the surrounding electronica, creating a danceable yet tranceable collection of brilliant music with her devilishly sultry soprano as guide and confidante. Beginning her career with Opus III fifteen years back, she’s released her debut, O<U>T, and worked with electronic notables like Mr Sam, Pole Folder and Hybrid since then.

Fine Day was a track released in the Opus III days and it took a No. 1 single slot for a while. The James Holden Remix here infuses it with an underground sympathy – a rhythm and beat that while on one hand is drum ‘n bass stylized, but on the other is completely different with its smooth trance waves and progressive melodies. Reach For Me actually turns more rock-centric with strumming guitars and a sad lovesong style. This shows Kirsty’s prowess with popular styles of music as well…reminds me of Chika(2).

Nature’s Kingdom is almost purely Delerium style in make-up – assuming of course you’re ok with me using a band as a proverbial style here but alas, if you know Delerium you know what I mean. It’s smooth, all instruments fuse into a comfortable part pop part trance part electro kind of jiggy. Battleship Grey is subtle but won’t let you ignore it as it waves away the bad karma in the atmosphere. With Sincere For You we pick up the funk level and BPMs a bit – futuristic and Kraftwerkian at the outset, but breaks down into a near vocal-only brilliance.

Blackout is a bit long for its style, and really that’s the only bit of criticism I have for Kirsty. Sometimes they go on a bit long. While this works out great with the 7:26 long Fine Day, Blackout maybe could have been wound up in 3 ½ instead of the near 6. Split is a nice pick up for the rhythm of Meta Message, using a simple but driving bass line combined with a large string (cello?) to pull the track along.

Kirsty’s vocals are beautiful – easily giving such divas as Tori Amos a run for their money. The vocals are bright and she can traipse through the garden of trance, electro and pop with ease. It’s very enjoyable and I really like what I’m hearing. I’ve enjoyed her work with Delerium, and Meta Message is a fine release for a finely gifted lady and vocalist.

Contact Information:
Nettwerk America

Post: 8730 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 304, Beverly Hills, CA, 90211, USA
Phone: (310) 855-0668
Fax: (310) 855-0658
(1) Their The Best Of compilation was reviewed in Legends #147.
(2) Chika’s Little Ship Head was reviewed way back in Legends #85.

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