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Dream Aria - In the Wake

Toss 'N Turn Solo

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating


Dream Aria - In the Wake

Dream Aria - In the Wake

"What was that? Eww!" I thought to myself after my first listen to this CD. The problem with "In The Wake" [unsigned], by the aggregation Dream Aria, or a concept like it is, noble as it is, very seldom can artists be all things to all who seek to enjoy their craft. This is true with music as well. As a person who zealously holds on to my utopian and idealistic dreams of yesteryear, I applaud the mindset that has produced this CD.

Blending vocals that seem middle eastern with synthesized instrumentation and the basic elements of any three piece band, Dream Aria seeks to break the "rules" in the 21st Century musically, uniquely, and globally. I am not sure they will succeed, though, in becoming popular moneymakers with this approach. It falls short of grandeur, while sounding like a movie soundtrack; anything is possible. Ann Burstyn wails forth as lead singer here, backed by Gary Gray on drums, Jozef Pilasanovic on guitar, and co-writer Don Stagg on keyboards.

This sound, no doubt, is great to listen to and watch "live." At home, you gotta pump up the volume to fully appreciate it. This is not the club dance music that I usually write about, my reader. After a rousing start with "Spirit" (complete with bagpipes) whose intro reminded me of the Biddu Orchestra's "Rainforest" back in the day, the work is hard to take seriously by the time you get to track three, "The Wake - Soul." Am I at a movie? My musical consciousness and senses search for a pyramid, desert sand, the mummy? The title track's second movement, "The Wake - Body," cut three, has the feel of jungle and drum n' bass as does cut five, "Blue Lady," and may be the most danceworthy in a café like those in NYC's Soho.

Going to Ann's website, www.annburstyn.com, I began to understand her sound when I read that she had written and recorded Egyptian-styled vocals for a museum exhibit in Ontario. Admirable that she draws upon those sessions, but incommensurable as most people I know cannot dance to that nor can I play it at any club I have ever played with the exception of New York City's Rainbow Room, and that was when the party included a belly dancer as part of the show!

Tracks six, "Snapshot" and eleven, "Opus Dei" are slow jams that are mysteriously better showcases for Ann Burstyn's honey-mellow yet syrupy vocals. Cut ten, "Raindrops," has great guitar riffs and orchestral movements. Maybe "smooth jazz" radio formats might hear something they can go with on this CD.

All vibes considered, this album is not so much a dream as it is an incubus. I feel they should focus on one fruit or another, and grow it to perfection. Yes, it is not the idealistic utopian musical oasis we oft entreat, but the high priestess Ann and her merry men shall live to play another day. Dream Aria should have a bright future doing music with drama: writing and playing action movie and TV scores or jingles. Something tells me that this style may be the next "big thing," and you'll be telling me, "I told you so, Jimi!" I resist for now.

Dream Aria's website, www.dreamaria.com, is very functional and informative.

I bestow two-and-a-half operatically jammin' stars.

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