In a time when the music industry all but demands strict adherence to genres, labels, and categories, the great glory of Kate Price's creative spirit is that even the artist herself has a tough time coming up with the perfect definition of her music. The Isle of Dreaming, Price's second recording for Omtown (Higher Octave Music's vocal division), features her exquisite vocals and beautiful hammer dulcimer melodies surrounded by violin, cello, classical guitar, Irish pennywhistle, Penyck leharp (a Swedish fiddle), sitar, electric sitar, tabla, and Nigerian Udu. The Isle of Dreaming opens with the seven-and-a-half-minute title track, which evolves as a series of rhythmic and melodic movements. Beginning with a haunting and mystical atmosphere behind a soaring vocal melody and hypnotic hammer dulcimer harmony, the song then becomes an exotic and energetic swirl of Price's amazing string work, violin, and percussion. Price crafted the lively and lyrical "Andalusia" around the theme "Spain" by Ahmad Jamal, offsetting a vibrato string harmony line with a thoughtful and graceful melody. A fascinating ten-minute exploration of the "Voices of My People" features an insistent mystical sitar line and a playful dual excursion for spicy percussion and the Irish pennywhistle. The swaying, joyously percussive "The Phoenix" finds Price dreamily singing about surrendering to the fire and then emerging triumphant, while "Kate Counts Eight" is a mournful and seductive piece whimsically named after the constantly switching rhythmic pattern from seven to eight and back several times. "The Sea of Silence" uses a ship as a metaphor for Price's journey into darkness, with her operatic voice soaring over flute, sitar, and plucky hammer dulcimer lines.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran