This really is the sort of side project / collaboration that music lovers dream about. This record sees The Cure’s Roger O’Donnell and Anthony and the Johnsons’ Julia Kent joining up to create a series of three-part musical pieces, each inspired by the classical stories Tristan and Iseult, Scheherezade, and Orpheus and Eurydice.
While Roger O’Donnell may well be best known for his work playing keyboards for The Cure, this record is pretty much as big a departure from the Cure’s sound as you could possible get. Instead this is more closely aligned somewhere between Mike Oldfield’s more organic moments (such as Ommadawn) and My Friend the Chocolate Cake’s instrumental tunes. Across the nine tracks, the music consists entirely of piano (played by Roger) and cellos (played by Julia).
Tristan is a soft but beautiful offering. The cellos glide by painting a relaxed soundscape while the piano keys fill in the gaps to add an extra atmospheric layer. Isolde continues in a similar vein only this time round the cello and piano sounds are playing off each other in a kind of tag team approach, creating an intriguing back and forth journey of textures and feelings. Marke takes on a subtly chilling vibe with a relaxed cello sounds contrasting against a soft but suspenseful piano.
Le Roi takes on a colder vibe to it, feeling like you are wondering round on a chilly Autumn day. As it continues the music gradually builds in suspense to create an unnerving tension. La Princesse continues the tense feeling courtesy of the low piano sounds. Les Deux takes on a more melancholic emotion, with a slow sensation of heartbreak dragging its way through.
La Favola is a soft, relaxing tune. The gentle sounds create a rather comforting feel with everything drifting along nicely and without rush. Romanza is a simple, minimalist offering with the elements working in a subtle fashion, creating a beautiful ambiance. The album closes with the bleak but vivid Il Regno Dei Morti.
This is quite a stunning collection of songs that capture feeling and imagery beautifully. Followers of the members’ previous work may be in for something of a surprise with this record. However those open to the classical sounds will find something quite amazing here!