Lisa Gerrard

Duality

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Having already worked with Pieter Bourke on The Mirror Pool, Lisa Gerrard created her second album, Duality, with him as a full partner. It's literally just the two of them, recorded at a home studio in Australia. Bourke's work in Eden -- which had often been tagged with a Dead Can Dance wannabe brush -- actually meant that he knew more than most where Gerrard was coming from with her all-encompassing vision of music from different locales and times. Compared to the often overwhelming feeling of The Mirror Pool, Duality is no less mysterious and captivating, but still maintains a more intimate, close atmosphere. The echoing depths that characterize Gerrard's work again appear, as much a tribute to excellent production as it is an artistic choice, and there are wondrous parts with haunting string arrangements, but there are no huge, heavenly orchestras or the like dominating this time out. Meanwhile, the mysterious folk/dance side of Gerrard's work remains intact, percussive instruments of all sorts to the fore, blending Arabic, Mediterranean, South Asian, and other styles into a mystic whole, as on tracks like "Shadow Magnet" and "Nadir (Synchronicity)." Where there are rhythmless tracks, such as "The Unfolding" and the minimal beauty of "The Circulation of Shadows," the scale is less dominating, more directly connecting. As always, Gerrard's voice is simply breathtaking, the vaunted and well-earned reputation for her singing range completely intact. Perhaps most surprising is when she sings in clear, straightforward English on "The Human Game," compared to her usual glossolalia when singing her own lyrics; in context, it's a fascinating switch. Bourke's own contributions -- it's not immediately clear if those include vocals, given Gerrard's own abilities in both high and low registers -- mesh excellently with her instrumental work and, since no specific credit appears instrument for instrument, everything works as a true partnership.

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