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Karma CD Cover
Image Nettwerk Productions 1997

More Kristy Thirsk
Interview and Photos
Dead and Gone to Heaven
Shiver
Happily Ever After
Semantic Spaces
Karma
Odyssey
BootLegs
Balligomingo
  (30 June 2002) Karma (Nettwork Productions (Canada) 0 6700 30113 2 7, 1997) is the stunning follow-up to Delerium's successful Semantic Spaces. Fans of the the earlier Semantic Spaces will not be disappointed by Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber's second journey into the haunted realm of Delerium. Both musically and vocally stronger than its predecessor, Karma spawned several international hits including "Silence" featuring the incomparable Sarah McLachlan, "Heaven's Earth," featuring the amazing Kristy Thirsk, and "Duende," featuring Sarah McLachlan's touring backup singer, Camille Henderson. In fact, "Silence" reached the top of the charts in Europe and has been re-mixed by some of the world's most renowned DJ's.

The increased appeal of Karma is no doubt in part attributable to the corresponding increased use of female vocalists. While Semantic Spaces (review) featured Kristy Thirsk prominently on only three of that album's nine tracks, Karma includes an array of incredible female vocalists who provide vocals for eight of the eleven tracks on the original release. Fans may do well to note that multiple editions of Karma have been released. Bonus editions have included various remixes of "Silence" and "Duende" as well as the non-album tracks, "Heaven's Earth" and "Window to Your Soul." "Heaven's Earth," featuring Kristy Thirsk at the vocal helm, is especially worth obtaining and is one of the highlights of the entire album.

Some of the notable tracks on Karma nclude "Enchanted." This premiere track is a trip-hoppy masterpiece through which the vocal samples of various indigenous tribes and Kristy Thirsk's eerie (almost sinister) keening weave. Both dark and majestic, "Enchanted" provides a gripping opening to Karma.

The now well-known number, "Silence" is probably the best track on the album. Engima-esque Gregorian chants circulate and meld with Sarah McLachlan's always distinctively beautiful vocals and Flamenco guitar flourishes. Of course, all of this is backed by propulsive percussion and saturated string textures. Sarah's voice cannot be praised enough, and "Silence" truly allows her to exercise her vocals skills to stunning effect.

"Euphoria (Firefly)" is the most straightforward pop-friendly track on Karma and provides a foretaste of the similarly more radio-friendly Poem (Delerium's latest release). Jacqui Hunt of Australian band Single Gun Theory delivers a knockout performance sounding like a sophisticated Madonna backed by funky jack-swing percussion.

Using vocal samples of the inimitable Lisa Gerrard (formerly of Dead Can Dance), both "Forgotten Worlds" and "Remembrance" delve into Arabic-tinged regions. These exotic numbers are powerful both because of their dense instrumentation and as a result of Lisa's "echos of the ancients" style of singing.

The Kristy Thirsk companion pieces "Wisdom" and "'Till the End of Time" are both intriguing numbers. The mesmerizing melody of "Wisdom" is almost lullaby-ish and bittersweet. The light piano accompaniment and bouncing eclectic synths combine perfectly with Kristy's vocals. "'Till the End of Time" begins with a truly unusual single tribal vocal sample that sounds almost Asian. Delerium cleverly lifts the driving drum track from the Tori Amos hit "Caught a Light Sneeze." In this song, Kristy maintains her voice in a hushed, almost spoken manner during the verses, but then makes full use of her high-end range as the song enters the chorus section.

With Karma, Delerium have created a singularly fascinating album that is both emotionally and sonically enlightening. From start to finish, each track invites the listener to open his or her imagination and journey into strange and wonderful places. Superb.--Justin Elswick

Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here. Worth a transAtlantic journey, this one is a must listen!

 
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