Caroline LaVelle

Brilliant Midnight 2.0

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Improbably, U.K. singer/songwriter Caroline LaVelle's dreamy classical/electronica album Brilliant Midnight was released by Elektra in 2001, probably due to then-hot friend-of-Madonna William Orbit's name among the producer credits. Considerably less improbably, it stiffed and LaVelle was immediately dropped. Remixed, resequenced, and re-released (with three bonus tracks including a ghostly rendition of Ewan MacColl's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face") as Brilliant Midnight 2.0 a year later, it is clear that this is not an album a major label would know what to do with. Pitched somewhere between the post-minimalist music of Virginia Astley or Andrew Poppy (Michael Nyman and Hector Zazou are among the contributors, furthering that connection) and the more accessible art rock of Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel -- with just a hint of Enya's lush prettiness -- these 16 lengthy songs unfold slowly, with LaVelle's quiet, sighing vocals supported by piano, cello, and subtle electronics. Both coolly artsy and downtempo groovy, Brilliant Midnight 2.0 is a record that deserves a second chance.

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