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Caroline Lavelle


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Ambient- and ethereal-feeling electronic music (though not electronica), with several traditional songs

Status:

Most recent release, A Distant Bell (2004)

See also:

Caroline Lavelle's Official website

Comparisons:

Enya; a mix of Loreena McKennitt and Pamela Golden, or Enya, Deep Forest, Sinéad O'Connor and Clannad

Covers/own material:

Own, covers, and co-written material

General comments:

See album comments below

Recommended first album:

Either

Recordings:


Spirit

Release info:

1995—Warner/Discovery Records—77028

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of electronic ethereal music

Group members:

Caroline Lavelle—vocals, acoustic/electric cellos, keyboards, string arrangement, piano, bass

Guest artists:

William Orbit—guitar, pipes, bass, rhythms, keyboards, synth, bass, effects, guitar treatments, organ, juno bass, vibraphone
Lucinda Drayton—backing vocals on 1 track
Phil Hudson—guitar, bass on 1 track
Nigel Kennedy—violin on 1 track
Ingrid Shroeder—backing vocals on 1 track
Sagat Guirey—guitar on 1 track
Maire Ni Chathasaigh—Irish harp on 1 track
Rory McFarlane—bass on 1 track
Damian leGassick—keyboards on 2 tracks, string arrangement on 1 track

Produced by:

William Orbit; Caroline Lavelle (2 tracks)

Comments:

I got Spirit a couple of weeks back and I'm growing rather fond of it. When I first heard the opening track "Turning Ground", I thought "ah, here we go, an Enya clone" and the first song still does remind me of Enya but not much of the rest of the disc does. Rob Dickens is the executive producer so there is in fact some connection with Enya. And when I checked out the web page listed on the back of the CD, sure enough there were a couple of references to her. It's a nice album. I'm glad I picked it up. (kcd@cray.com)

It's a rather trancey album with lots of strings, over-reverbed vocals, and mellow, but semi-intense sounds. Definitely pleasant. Listening to it that time, it ocurred to me that it sounds much like a mix of Loreena McKennitt (traditional songs, interesting string instrument usage, etc.) and Pamela Golden (I'd never noticed before how much the arrangements and particularly the usage of the electronic percussion and synth are reminiscent of a number of pieces on Happens All the Time). Anyone concur, or am I basically just on drugs? (burka@jeffrey.net)

I've been listing to Spirit and am a little surprised how much I really enjoy this—very synthesized but still warm music. Somehow I'd gotten the opinion from the comments about her on ecto that she was New Age-y. Listening to her, yes, the background is electronic, but the sound doesn't seem that way at all to me. Anyway, I probably made the New Age-y part up myself because of the Enya comparison—I can't stand Enya. Anyway, much to my surprise I quite like it—especially "Moorlough Shore" and "Lagan Love" but I'm a sucker for modern versions of traditional songs. Yes, I do hear the Loreena McKennitt and Pamela Golden in her, particularly the Pamela Golden, though I miss Pamela Golden's guitar. I think that might have helped anchor the electronics here. I also hear some echoes of June Tabor on the later part of the disc. (Neile)

I am very much in love with Spirit right now. Anyone else find "Moorlough Shore" to sound similar to "Foggy Dew", the song Sarah McLachlan played with the Chieftains? I know they aren't the same traditional songs, but they do go together well. (paul2k@aol.com)

I bought Spirit, finally, not because of ecto-referrals (the comparisons were unappetizing to me in the extreme: When I'm Emperor, Enya will be outlawed, except as a means of execution reserved for the most heinous of criminals [child molesters, passing-lane plodders, radio programmers, etc.]) but because I learned that it was largely a collaboration with William (Strange Cargo, Torch Song) Orbit; an artist—like Tricky or Stephen Merritt (Magnetic Fields, The 6ths) or Danielle Dax—the inclusion of whose name alone is sufficient to promote an album to the head of my shopping list.
     So I bought Spirit because I needed a William Orbit fix, and was surprised at how much I like it. It made me realize that Enya is not lacking in talent, only taste. Her voice and sensibilities were constantly evoked for me on my first hear-through of Spirit, but never with the throatclenching insipidity that the comparison had led me to expect. It reminded me of something a friend had told me about listening to Caetano Veloso: she'd decided, after hearing him for the first time, that Portuguese was the sexiest language in the world. Then she heard him sing in English, and she realized it was him, not the language. It's the opposite case with Lavelle and Enya: the language turns out to be valid, it's the speaker who'd, up to now, ruined it for me. (lissener@wwa.com)

Yes, it is great. (Dirk.Kastens@rz.Uni-Osnabrueck.DE)

the music is a mixture of straight ballady type stuff and reworked traditional material piped through synths. i *really* like her rework of "moorlough shore," which stands well next to some of mouth music's best efforts. her "lagan love" is trip-hop and lyrically pretty similar to KaTe Bush's, though not the same (no one's should be—the lyrics were lost years ago so everyone has to make up their own words). on the other hand, her "a case of you" is insipidly yucky.
     her voice is husky, but smooth, and sounds classically trained. hmmm. i just realized that, at times, she sounds a lot like barbara gaskin. however, also like the gaskin/stewart albums, some songs' blandness detracts from the strength of her voice.
     in summary, definitely worth cut-out price, but i would not have bought this for full price. (woj@smoe.org)

I strongly recommend her! She's sort of a cross between Enya, Deep Forest, and Sinéad O'Connor. And you could probably throw in some Clannad, too. One of the songs on the CD is called "Lagan Love." Yes, it's somewhat similar to Kate Bush's "My Lagan Love." Check it out! (filmcut@westworld.com)

I have only skimmed it a bit but she sounds a lot like Enya with a bit more percussion. Kinda breathy, not as much as Sade. Kinda like Enya/Sarah McLachlan. Kinda like...kinda like... Some is almost jazzy, some very Enya-ish. I like her sound, she's kinda generic-ecto. Very much the Sade (or female Michael Franks) voice. "Lagan Love" is the old 1 and is done to a medium slow vamp of drums and keyboard. Sade energy levels. Kinda ecto-generic w/ a few gems. Nice is a word and so is pleasant, no burning star here.
     The effect that some cds have that at 1st you don't like them and then they weld themselves to your soul, while some other cds don't hold up to their initial impression has hit me again. This time the 2nd 1/2 of it. I at 1st found Caroline Lavelle to be pleasant and nice and assumed that she would grow on me in lichen-mode. I just listened for the 8th and last time. I just got bored. The initial comparison to Enya faded fast and the rest followed quickly. She has a tuneful whisper, she doesn't really sing, in my opinion. (zzkwhite@ktwu.wuacc.edu)

good description would be a cross between kate bush (her sensual world days), and maire brennan (enya is too produced). very ecto-ish.
     she does a smashing version of "A Case of You". i sort of like it more than tori amos' cover. of course silly me, never heard the original joni mitchell version (shame shame).
     there are parts of it that are perkier, not really dancy, but definitely moments of underlying rhythm. this is no surprise as the producer of the album is william orbit. the guy has remixed and produced bunches of people (madonna, etc) in the disco world. if you ever pick up a 12" single of some random disco diva and it says "the orbit mix" good chances it is william orbit....
     i can give it a fairly strong recommendation. nothing flat-out fabulous mind you. but a strong album. some great songs. worthy of buying on sale definitely. full retail price...well that would be up to you. :) (iflin@speakeasy.net)

I picked that one up too, but I'm not all that big on it. I like some of it, and there's no denying it's quality stuff that worthy of the reviews its been getting, but I need to spend some more time in the right frame of mind with it. (carnivore@bigfoot.com)

Ohmigod! I *love* Caroline Lavelle! Her version of "A Case of You" is soooooo filled with emotion. And I love "Turning Ground" and "Moorlough Shore" as well. (Riphug@aol.com)

Caroline Lavelle's version of "A Case of You" is pretty good, I like the strings in it, but I think I prefer Joni Mitchell's original. (kamesan@geocities.com)


Brilliant Midnight

Release info:

2001—Teldec—8573-84637-2

Availability:

Wide in U.S.

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of electronic ethereal music

Group members:

Caroline Lavelle—vocals, piano, keyboards, cellos, guitar, bass, loops, string arrangement, brass arrangements, piano arrangements

Guest artists:

Charlie May—guitars, piano, organ, keyboards, programming, tuned percussion
Clare Kenny—bass
Hector Zazou—loops, organ, drum loops, fender rhodes
Dave Power—drums
Danielle Lulham, Sara Colling—cornets
Richard Lee—ef horn
Victoria Lasham—euphonium
Pierre Chaze—solo guitar, guitars
Jean-Marc Butty—drunken loop, shaker
Jacqui Turner—backwards bv idea
Carol Isaacs—piano
Patric Manouhuian—guitar
Gerbis Yessayan—vocal coaching
Michael Nyman—piano
Ingrid Schroeder—backing vocals
Jacquie Norrie, Fenella Barton—lead strings
Sal Herbert, Kelly McCusker, Anne Stephenson, violins
Jcoelyn Pook, Clare Orsler—violas
Sophia Harris, Smantha Rowe—cellos
Bill McGree—doublebass

Produced by:

Caroline Lavelle

Comments:

If you like her first album, you will also like this one. (Neile)

I still haven't warmed to it as much as I did her first effort, Spirit. (paul2k@aol.com)


Further info:

See the discography page on her official site for a selected listing of her numerous other appearances.

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2014-03-27 21:22:54.
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