Stella Maris — To the Promised Land
(BSC 398.6717.2, 2005, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2005-09-01It can be difficult to review something like this latest offering from Germany’s Stella Maris. The musicians sound so sincere and believe in what they’re doing, and put a great deal of craft and thought into the product. But it’s just frankly no fun, except for possibly someone really into the New Age genre who’s willing to accept a lower standard of originality and interest than the general listener. The basic elements are tech-ed up world beats (along the lines of mellow Afro Celts), female vocals (along the lines of Enya), and tons of keyboards. It’s basically Adiemus with less orchestration. Multi-instrumentalist Dirk Schlömer is the mastermind behind the project, joined by a few other players and a variety of female vocalists from around the world. Unfortunately, Schlömer himself takes a few turns at the microphone, and his personality-free delivery does not help make the insipid lyrics tolerable. The women generally fare better, especially when the lyrics are in French or Latin or Spanish. But it’s all so trite and unimaginative that no amount of production savvy can rescue. Yes, we all know that peace in the world is better than war, but if you want to say that in a song, you have to bring something to the table other than the blatant declaration. In the game of cross-cultural musical fusion, there are too many good examples to waste time on bad ones, no matter how well-intentioned.
Related artist(s): Stella Maris
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more