(30 March 2003) The new release by Llewellyn entitled Sacred Circles (New World Music (UK) NWCD 534, 2003) is a nine track ensemble of cinematic soundscapes again featuring Juliana's lovely vocals. Our interview with Llewellyn provides extensive insight into the album's themes and development. The album includes Chris Conway on Irish whistles and guitars and Tori Donovan on low whistle and recorders.
The opening track, "Stardancing (into the Light)," is an upbeat track with excellent vocal work sung by the two artists. Whistles, recorders and piano with warm keyboard washes take over in "Sacred Space," and characteristic of Llewellyn's new age style album include layers of Juliana's vocalise for texture and harmony. Read about the artists' work together further in the interview.
Juliana's layered vocals play a larger role in the three parts of "Celtic Triple Goddess," and work well along acoustic percussion, harp, whistles and piano. Despite numerous tempo and mood changes, the parts of the 13+ minute suite blend together seamlessly. Texture, percussion and the vocal layering are--as typical of these artists' work--all superb.
"The Ritual" is a dramatic and moody new age track with lush keyboard washes. Dark in parts and bright--from lovely acoustic guitar riffs and varous woodwind sounds--in others, the complex and cinematic melody is certain to draw the listener in. "Casting the Circle" is an upbeat and atmospheric instrumental epic incorporating a variety of world instruments, lush keyboards and whistle melodies that cruise atop crisp percussion. Juliana's lovely vocals conclude the track.
Instrumental and vocal layers join lovely whistle solos in "Release," with keyboard sequencing and water sounds contributing additional atmosphere. The album concludes with the lushly produced track "Silver Wheel," a lyrically oriented track that serves as the second bookend, perfectly complimenting "Stardancing." While the vocalise and instrumental material between them is lovely, the opening and closing tracks will be viewed by many as the most accessible of the album.
While Sacred Circle is a heavily-themed album, it has all of the modern Celtic musical elements we now expect from Llewellyn and Juliana. The team's website is available by clicking on the album cover. There you'll find photos, soundbites, further information and video segments. The album is generally available. We will provide an amazon.com link to it as soon as the listing is created. Clearly worth a trans-Atlantic journey, the newest album from Llewellyn and Juliana is a must listen!