Fans of Hyperium’s Heavenly Voices compilations will love this new collection from Projekt. With tracks from thirteen groups — over 70 minutes of music — ranging from ethereal to gothic, shoegazer to experimental, Seireenia has something for anyone who appreciates the sensuous warmth or achingly lonely chill of the female voice paired with dark musics. Most of the tracks have been previously released, but several can only be found here.
Like any good compilation, Seireenia provides a mix of old favorites and new discoveries. Love Is Colder Than Death’s “Questo Mostrarsi” is a perfect example of their gorgeously decadent baroque witchery, and Stoa’s special mix of “Maare Illucescend” has incredibly lovely vocal harmonies and cello melodies. Black Tape for a Blue Girl’s new version of “Overwhelmed, Beneath Me” washes over you with waves of guitars, synth, and violin, then envelops you completely with the beautiful sultry voice of Elysabeth Grant. The cuts by Switchblade Symphony and Amber Asylum are also outstanding.
In the new discoveries category, Rajna’s self-titled track, drenched with an awesome variety of hypnotic percussion, hammered dulcimer, and flute, felt like being lost in a Middle Eastern bazaar, with Jeanne Lefebvre’s wordless vocals dark and mysterious as the flashing eyes of a beautiful young woman glimpsed above her veil as she weaves her way toward you through the crowd. Frolic’s desolate “Skin” sent chills up my spine, and new Projekt signee Mira does an excellent job framing Regina Sosinski’s gorgeous breathy singing with strummed guitar, real drums, and synth on “Divine.”
The only real disappointment here is the closing track, Carl Stone’s more than fifteen-minute-long “Shing Kee,” whose endless repetitions of staticky synth and heavily treated female voice wore quite thin quite soon. I would have much preferred tracks from two or three other bands in its place.
Projekt/Darkwave, P.O. Box 166155, Chicago, IL 60616; http://www.projekt.com