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Dream Aria - In The Wake

Dream Aria - In The WakeCanadian ensemble, Dream Aria, got together when Donald Stagg (composer, lyrics, keyboards, arranger, producer) wanted to add drums to his compositions, and got in touch with Garry Flint (drums, bass, engineer) who he had met some years beforehand.  The ideas grew and Jozef Pilasanovic (guitar, bass, vocals, flute) was enlisted, followed by Ann Burstyn (vocals, lyrics, vocal melodies).

In The Wake is Dream Aria's debut album, not that anyone would guess.

The compositions encompass a wide variety of styles from techno to classical in a unique progressive vein.  The opener, Spirit, starts with an Enid 'Tripping The Light Fantastic' beat with a Moroccan edge, Ann's voice floating within the heady mix.  If I have one negative criticism to make it is that this piece is too short.  As the song draws to its conclusion it takes on a Scottish air complete with bagpipes.

Another excellent beat and musical arrangement adds to the aural pleasure of Sungoddess.  The seemingly complex instrumentals and gorgeous chord changes are caressed by Ann's post punk-come-operatic vocals.

Losing oneself in the music and unaware of all else as the tracks roll on, one becomes aware that Ann Burstyn' vocal range would give that of, arguably prog's premier female vocalist, Annie Haslam a run for the money.  Not only does Ann have the range, she also has an enormous versatility in styles, which she sometimes exercises within a single song.  The fast and semi-distorted effect, music and vocals, on Blue Lady is a mix of techno/punk, prog and classical with some great orchestral simulations and guitar and vocals ranging from Siouxie to Toyah to opera diva.

The Latin style intro to Pacis moves seamlessly into an ever-changing techno beat with gentle operatic style vocals and some cracking instrumentals.

The very progressive (with a touch of Goth) Raindrops smacks of a more aggressive Iona and is currently top of my favourites list on this album.  Though the last of the thirteen tracks, 11th Hour, with its underlying heaviness is also a close contender.

In The Wake is a very strong debut album and instantly likeable.  For those doubting Thomases, listen to the samples on the Dream Aria website.  Recommended.

Jem Jedrzejewski

Dream Aria


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