Rhea's Obsession

Re: Initiation

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This Canadian duo has become a darling of the Canadian goth/darkwave scene since the release of their first album, Initiation, in 1996. In 2000, they followed up with Between Earth and Sky, and 2001 saw the reissue of their debut as Re: Initiation with new artwork, two remixes, and four tracks unheard on the original album. The band's sound continues to be moody, dark, and very pretty; singer and percussionist Sue Hutton is influenced by Celtic and Balkan styles, while multi-instrumentalist Jim Field brings a certain heavyosity with him from his previous work in hardcore and experimental groups. The combination is a good one: imagine a (much) less pretentious Dead Can Dance, or a (much) less funky Transglobal Underground. True, things do get almost boring at times -- "Tsunami" consists of one chord for over nine minutes -- and the lyrics sometimes get a bit out of hand (check out the words to "Hymn to Pan"). But this album's overall combination of the lulling and the disconcerting is an interesting one, and Hutton's voice is a constant delight. And the remixes are very nice; the Mudra remix of "Ocean" introduces a new level of rhythmic interest, while the Haujobb remix of "Cun Lacoudhir" turns what was originally a dreamy piece of pan-European ambience into a bracing slab of house music. Recommended.

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