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  Conjure 1 Poem  
  Conjure 1 Delerium  
  Nettwerk Nettwerk  
Release Date:
  17.September.2002 31.July.2001  
Reviewed by:

In any dynamic duo, one wonders if the majesty of the musical creation is based on dynamic interplay between the two members, or does one carry the other. For example, consider the first two post-Uncle Tupelo albums from Wilco and Son Volt. Listen to 1995's stunning Son Volt debut Trace, and compare it to Wilco's far weaker debut, A.M.. Listening to those 2 albums, i would guess that Jay Farrar was carrying Uncle Tupelo. However, as we all know Son Volt never again reached those heights, while Wilco only improved.

By now some of you are thinking, "How does the travails of two alt-country-ish bands figure in the review of two new agey dance acts?" There is a close parrallel. Delerium, at one time, consisted of both Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber. However, Fulber left to make music as Conjure 1, while Leeb retained the Delerium name. And, much like the immediate post-Tupelo albums, one shines and one is better ignored.

Oddly enough, it is Bil Leeb's Delerium who dropped the ball. Even with help from Matthew Sweet, Sarah McLaughlin, and The Medioeval Boebes, this disc is just boring. It is your sterotypical new age beat driven music. It is the kind of stuff played in the tea shoppe in a thousand new age bookstores across this country. It is utterly and completely unremarkable. Which is a shame, because for a few years there, Delerium ruled this genre.

So from this perspective, it looks as if Rhys Fulber was carrying the group. In fact, i would go so far as to say that his debut as Conjure 1 is the best release in this genre that i have heard in a few years.

Fulber, of course, has some guest stars as well, and he uses them pretty effectively. Poe sings lead on the excellent Center of the Sun. This is a nice fuzzy mess of strings, Poe's layered voice, and thwicking beats. She also makes the mellow piano and bass number Make a Wish work. Her voice, subtly layered over the music, really makes this song soar.

And of course, what new age dance album would be complete without Middle Eastern style vocals? Fulber uses these to great effect on Redemption (which almost sounds like a more uptempo take on the sound Dead Can Dance explored on Into the Labrynth) and Years, which also bears the distinction of being the only real male-vocaled track on the album.

There is one downer on the disc: Tears from the Moon is a slow, boring, genre-typical work that squanders the vocal talents of Sinead O'Connor. It's not a bad song per se, just unremarkable, especially considering that you just KNOW that a collaboration between Fulber and O'Connor should be very interesting. Alas, maybe next time...

So, overall, i have to say that it looks like Fulber is the more noteworthy half of the Delerium duo right now. Perhaps Leeb will try to break free of genre restraints just a teensy bit next time, and give Fulber a run for his money!

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