Anthem

Anthem

4.7 4
by Ronan Hardiman
     
 

Well known as the composer behind Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames, Ronan Hardiman shifted to a softer, more soulful tone in 1997 with his solo opus Solas. That exploration continues with the comforting wash of Anthem, whichSee more details below

Overview

Well known as the composer behind Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames, Ronan Hardiman shifted to a softer, more soulful tone in 1997 with his solo opus Solas. That exploration continues with the comforting wash of Anthem, which layers smooth melody lines upon invigorating rhythms, allowing the listener a heavenly textural ride or an energetic engagement with the beats. Vocalist Leslie Dowdall joins in on tracks such as "That Place in Your Heart," which asks the universal question "Why can't we live as one?" Echoes of funky bass create a lonely city ambiance, contrasting with her silky harmonies. The title track flies atop the airy cadence of a Chariots of Fire runner, as Dowdall's voice blows like the wind behind. "Ancient Lands" pounds with militaristic tribal drums, while heartbeats, nature sounds, and choir chants lift the melody to cinematic proportions. "Ready for Life" takes things into a smoother plane with a broad spectrum of strings and lyrical piano melodies, while the lovely "Where Are You Now" begins with the healing sound of rain and hammered dulcimer before it sets into a full-on groove. The final track is the touching "Heaven (Waiting There for Me)," which whispers a longing for celestial reunion. Anthem comes from the heart and should be a delight to all Hardiman fans.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
The greatest joys of composer/keyboardist Ronan Hardiman's spiritually minded Anthem derive from the fact that he cross-pollinates his lilting, ultra-melodic melodies into so many different genre settings. Best known for his score to Michael Flatley's stage show Lord of the Dance, Hardiman draws heavily upon Celtic influences (texturing his hypnotic atmospheres with Leslie Dowdall's Enya-like vocals on the title track), but also creates throbbing trip-hop rhythmic foundations and ambiences which sound reminiscent of Enigma. On "Runaway," he plays a jazz-influenced melody in the vein of Keiko Matsui between heavily percussive, spirited vocal chorus parts sung angelically by Dowdall; however, an operatic vocal interlude seems a bit excessive. Likewise, the spoken voice over the hip-hop-influenced smooth jazz flavors of "Ready for Life" are unnecessary to get the emotion of the song across. Despite this stylistic variety, there is a certain similarity in Hardiman's approach: lay the rhythmic grooves, add atmosphere and vocals, and play great melodies. "Ancient Land," however, opens with dense tribal drumming and ominous orchestral overtones which draw world music and a classical influence into the equation. Listeners might have a hard time creating an exact definition of what Hardiman is doing here, but that's exactly why there's never a dull moment.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/26/2000
Label:
Decca U.S.
UPC:
0601215940329
catalogNumber:
159403

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