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Cousteau's Dream CD Cover
Image © 2000 Real Music 

(04 September 2000) Terrence Yallop, founder of Real Music, formed the EarthSea Institute to promote global environmental awareness. His latest compilation is a benefit album entitled Cousteau's Dream (Real Music (USA) RM4114, 2000) that features thirteen tracks from the most popular new age artists. While largely instrumental, the album includes selections from female vocal fronted artists as well. Nautical themes dominate electronic and traditional instrumentation; production, artwork and packaging are tops as we have come to expect from Real Music releases. "Ranging from tribal to operatic, poignant to passionate, Cousteau's Dream is a musical voyage of hope and inspiration fo what one person can do to change the world." Several ocean sound passages within the album evoke the producer's desired effect.

The album's instrumental selections include two electronic excursions from Vangelis ("West Across The Ocean Sea" and "Eternity"), Kamal's "Shakuhaji Tales" and Richard Burmer's "Sun's Comin' Out." Instrumentals are rich and blend nautical themes with new age arrangements. No new age compilation would be complete without a contribution by keyboard impressario Yanni or his Japanese counterpart Kitaro. Yanni's richly orchestrated "Secret Vows" from Out Of Silence (1987) and Kitaro's nautical Japanese flavoured "Nageki" are both included. Female choir sounds interplay with the flute (effect) melodies in Kitaro's track. Kenny G's unmistakable saxophone delivers the lovely melody in "Theme From Dying Young." "To Sleep on Angel's Wings" by Kevin Kern is played softly on harp which gives it a Celtic feel. "Future of the Sea" by Frederic Delarue concludes the album blending whale sounds with light electronic instrumentation.

Aria's "Un Bel Di" (from their debut recording) is perfectly situated on this compilation with operatic vocals joining new age style tribal rhythms. "Stella Maris" by 2002 from River Of Stars (review) is an upbeat track and perhaps the richest vocal number on the album, with lots of harmonies and light strings—violin, acoustic guitar and harp—and flute carrying portions of the melody. A delightful track with construction and vocals that make it very Enya-like. A richly produced vocal choir joins an epic range of orchestral and ethnically oriented instrumentation in Tim Wheater's "Circle's Edge" from his 1999 album Incantation. Vocals effectively exchange melodies with low whistle and other instrumental parts and should delight Miriam Stockley's fans. Heidi Fielding's soaring soprano vocalise dominates the otherwise orchestral arrangements of "Lachrymosa" by Michael Hoppé.

You can find further reviews, listen to sound samples and order Cousteau's Dream from amazon.com here. From each purchase of a CD, approximately $2.50 will be donated by Real Music's non-profit EarthSea Institute to the Cousteau Society and organizations with similar goals of protecting and preserving the earth and its inhabitents. A notable compilation of new age tracks certain to please enthusiasts of this genre, we think it's worth further exploration—a relaxing listen!

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