Enchanted Spirits by Magna Canta features the pleasant combination of Gregorian chant with electronica and sensual grooves.
1. Aethera a El Terra – Chant melded with melodic, slow trance rhythms peppered with an awesome groove. Male and female choral chants are utterly glorious. (5 Stars)
2. Hymns – Smooth and lively, this track melds sounds of pipe organs with rhythmic beats. I’m not crazy about the female vocalist saying stuff like “You are far away but still so close. Why did you go?” Still, this is a gentle, soothing groove. (3 Stars)
3. Agnus Dei – Moderately paced electronica with male and female chants, some of this song seems repetitive, but still lovely. (4 Stars)
4. Cantandus – Stars off with a soaring female vocal chant then goes into an awesomely ethereal groove. Expansive and spacey, but grounded with softly insistent synths. (5 Stars)
5. Silentium – Male chorals with a foreboding, tentative beat. (The heavy breathing ala Darth Vader is a bit off putting to say the least!) Then, the tempo picks up with female chorals overlapping a danceable beat. The male chorals “answer”—and there’s a nice change-up in rhythm towards the end. (4 Stars)
6. Recordare – This song also begins a bit ominously, but then switches to a happier melody with female and male chorals. Relaxing. (3 Stars)
7. Offizium – Epic sounding—I could heard this song as part of a space movie score. I like how it picks up the pace towards the end, finishing with lilting synths and piano. (3 Stars)
8. Ritmo – Begins with a glorious male chant. This song reminds me of Enigma. Very cool chill out with synth flutes and cascading keyboards. The male chant is the real star of this song. What ruins the song for me, though, is a man whispering “Be quiet—big boys don’t cry”. It seemed out of place to me. (3 Stars)
9. Gregoria – Rousing male choral with wild dance beat. In fact, the insistent beat is a bit TOO much, but the unusual jungle-like synth effects add interest. Midway, a very cool synth section reminds me a bit of Eiffel 65. (3 Stars)
10. Alleluia – Begins with some chant and flutes, but then some guy with an indecipherable accent begins too talk—sounding a lot like the boozy Captain Jack. The beat is so pronounced, it’s almost headache inducing. It’s certainly not a danceable tune even by trance standards, and the beat is enervating. (2 Stars)
11. Spiritus Sanctus – Brisk, ethereal tune that flows into an intriguing climax that breaks out into a poppy, upbeat celebration of what’s highest and best in mankind. Lovely chorals—but by this point, the pounding beat has all but given me a headache. If they’d only toned down the heavy beats in the foreground and allowed the voices and high-end synths do all their glorious work! It would have made for a truly triumphant song. (3.5 Stars)
12. Sancta Maria – Sounds of surf and gently crashing waves that flow into a slow groove with a way-too-chipper fluttering of instruments.
In conclusion, if the rest of the songs would have matched the caliber of the first song, Enchanted Spirits would have been an outstanding CD. However, some of the disparate elements make the CD never wracking by its end—rather than relaxing or pleasantly energizing.
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