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Lilium - Short Stories

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 5 / 8 / 2004



Lilium - Short Stories
Label: Glitterhouse Records
Format: CD

intro

Spectacular re-release for debut album by 16 Horsepower side project, Lilium, which has been given an upgrading in 5.1 DTS surround sound treatment and had three extra tracks added as a bonus


Originally released in the U.K. as a regular CD in June 2003 this album by Pascal Humbert and Jean-Yves Tola of 16 Horsepower (with contributions from dEUS' Tom Barman, the Czars' John Grant, Morphine's Dana Colley and Billy Conway plus 16 Horsepower' band mate David Eugene Edwards) has now been given the 5.1 DTS surround sound treatment and had three extra tracks added as a bonus. Those bonus tracks, ‘Leaving’, Water’ and ‘End’ are original music from the film ‘The Rain Has Forgotten Us’ which was directed by Mary-Lyn Chambers. They are not presented here in the 5.1 surround sound format and do not share the photos nor the information regarding the musicians or composers which the main body of work does, but nonetheless all three tracks are some of the most hauntingly beautiful soundtrack music ever released, particularly ‘End’. The three tracks were also included in a limited U.S. only release of the original CD. Of particular interest to 16 Horsepower devotees will be the track, ‘Whitewashed’, which reunites Humbert and Tola with that band’s frontman and singer, David Eugene Edwards. With the music by Tola and Humbert and lyrics by Edwards the track really is 16 Horsepower in all but name. It’s the darkest ballad on an album where bleakness prevails, and all the tracks are best described as song-sculptures. It’s an atmospheric collection of sounds, full of melancholy and loss. There are three instrumentals, ‘Angels’, ‘Cavalcade’ (both jazz tinged with ‘Cavalcade’ sounding slightly like it could soundtrack some spy type movie) and ‘Miles Away’. It’s a smart move using a variety of different vocalists on the other songs. Apart from David Eugene Edwards on the track mentioned above, Kal Cahoone adds unexpected husky vocals to the first track, ‘If They Cheered’ and also to ‘Sorry’ along with Tom Barman on the latter. ‘Lover’ has Jim Kalin doing the vocal duties, ‘Locked In Tight’ and ‘Sense and Grief’ features Daniel McMahon on vocals and on ‘The Trap’ John Grant takes the honours. As a year's worth of reviews are available for the original CD issue of ‘Short Stories’ it’s worth spending this opportunity to concentrate on this 5.1 mix of the album. Not enough albums are being issued on this relatively new format and it’s a mystery why. Without going into all the technical reasons why the sound is so good (and if the format is good enough for Neil Young to release his back catalogue on it, it should be good enough for anyone!) albums such as ‘Short Stories’ are made for 5.1 surround sound. While the album obviously doesn’t have all the studio trickery used on say The Flaming Lips ‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots’ it does use the new technology in a more subtle and possibly more effective way. Of course, it makes more demands on the listener. One obviously can’t really hear the benefit of the surround sound mix if walking around or going in and out of the room, so it does require the listener to do just that; listen to the music coming at all angles from the speakers. One of the most effective tracks is ‘Lover’ with vocals by Jim Kalin. With the vocals coming out of the front speakers only at the beginning of the track, it’s not until later in the song that they also emerge from the rear with the percussion. With bottleneck guitar blasting out of the centre speaker it creates a stunning sound. Another track where the mix really shines is ‘Sorry’, the duet by Kal Cahoone and Tom Barman, sung mostly in Spanish by Cahoone with Barman singing the English parts. With Cahoone’s vocals coming from the centre and rear it’s unsettling in a good way when Barman’s vocals appear all around the listener with the exception of the centre channel. It’s very effective and shows that the mix has been done with some care and attention and not just as an afterthought. ‘Sense and Grief’ with vocals by David McMahon is also very impressive in this mix. I’ve made much of the vocals on this album but that’s not to take away any credit from the musicians playing the actual instruments. Anyone with just a passing interest in 16 Horsepower will know of the high standard of playing by both Humbert and Tola and when they are joined by musicians like Dana Colley of Morphine on saxophone it goes without saying that the music they create is going to be something above the normal. This is an outstanding album, one to sit and listen to and absorb. The 5.1 mix adds another dimension to the listening experience and makes a stunning, thought provoking album become even deeper. Full marks to Glitterhouse for having the courage to release this album in this format; it should be used as a benchmark for others to follow.



Track Listing:-
1 If They Cheered
2 Locked in Tight
3 Whitewashed
4 Lover
5 Miles Away
6 Sorry
7 Sense and Grief
8 Cavalcade
9 The Trap
10 Angels


Label Links:-
http://label.glitterhouse.com/
https://www.facebook.com/GlitterhouseRecords
https://twitter.com/glitterhouserec
https://www.youtube.com/user/GlitterhouseTV



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