Hector Zazou

Songs from the Cold Seas

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A smorgasbord album, the cast list includes Bjork, Siouxsie Sioux, Brendan Perry, and long-term sidekick Barbera Googan. As expected, the mood is cold, often somber in tone. Only on "The Long Voyage," a springy ditty fronted by Suzanne Vega and John Cale, does the album ascend from the depths. Some of the gloom works, like in "Havet Stomar," a brilliant slow burner with B.J. Cole's pedal steel guitar and ECM artist Lene Willemark's chilling howls. "Annukka Suaren Neito" presents what must be the closest to an Eskimo rap you can get. Mark Isham provides freestyle trumpet that almost sounds like seagulls swooping the skies. The Jane Siberry-fronted "She Is Like the Swallow" is a beauty, as soft as it is light. Hector Zazou's electronics are in fine check too. The canvas expands to new textures, such as metallic percussion in "Adventures in the Scandinavian Skin Trade."

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