Hector Zazou

Lights in the Dark

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With Lights in the Dark, Hector Zazou set out to create accessible versions of the ominous, sacred music of Ireland. Utilizing a talented cast of vocalists, Breda Mayock, Katie McMahon, and Lasairfhiona Ni Chonaola, Zazou keeps the music relatively quiet. Shimmering bells, plaintive flutes, and Mark Isham's mournful trumpet serve mostly as background noises to the passionate, female vocals. There are moments of great power, such as "Song of the Passion" and "In the Name of the Father May We Gain Victory," and other songs where there's just a few too many hallelujahs for most modern listeners. The title of the album is telling. The vocals are the lights in the dark (the music). The traditional songs are made quite scary, when Zazou isn't taking new age tangents. "Kenning of the Three Marys" sounds downright scary, though its subject matter deals with Christian themes. Most of the songs deal with the Virgin Mary in some respect, but many listeners won't know, since all of the vocals are Gaelic. Fans of Zazou's more gothic Dead Can Dance-like work won't be as interested in this as they were with Zazou's far more accessible earlier albums. Lights in the Dark is nearly overwhelming in its mysterious atmosphere, but there are ample rewards for patient listeners.

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