Yanni

Voices

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This is a time when the title truly does say it all. Yanni's Voices finds the contemporary instrumental composer collaborating with singers for the first time, and if that wasn't enough of a risk, Yanni and producer Rick Wake picked four unknowns to contribute lyrics and melodies to existing pieces and new songs alike. Upon first glance, singing gives Voices the appearance of pop, and there are some tracks that are structured like pop in a way that Yanni's music rarely is, but this isn't greatly removed from the increasingly rhythmic worldbeat that he's made in the decade preceding this 2009 album. This still has a deliberately exotic, multi-cultural feel with the emphasis on texture, not melody, so the singers -- Leslie Mills, Nathan Pacheco, Ender Thomas, and Chloe -- tend to fade into the tapestry, often to he extent that it's not immediately clear what language is being sung. This vocal transparency is not by accident, but by design, because this is still a Yanni album: he may have singers but he is the frontman, the man responsible for the form and feel of the sound. And Voices is surely an album where the sound, not the song, is a paramount, and that's what makes this first-ever Yanni album with singing not all that different from his other albums after all.

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