WELCOME TO ELYSSIA
Hello, and welcome to the new website of Elyssia, the voice of Danish, mezzo soprano
Marianne Lihannah and the music of English composer and guitarist Paul landry.
ALBUM REVIEW FOR ELYSSIA'S "ARCADIA"
A concept album.
Marianne Lihannah - Vocals and lyrics
Paul Landry - Musical Instruments, Lyrics and Vocal
Arcadia, a symbiosis between humans, ecology and nature.
The ancient Greek utopia, Arcadia.
The forest awakens, with a slow and sunny smile. A bright and shimmering guitar sings it’s repeated motif, gentle yet stirring. A reverse pull of sound stretches it’s arms into the daylight. A forest flute sings it’s own pretty melody to the trickling stream and the mossy bank.
A morning mist is breaking through the trees, as a new dawn arises.
Opening their eyes, very tentatively, woodland creatures emerge from their nocturnal homes, to greet the day.
A precise guitar, beautifully plucked, has a forward energy filled with light and shimmer. The creatures with wings, very busy, mutter their whistles of delight, all around them a pulsating vision.
A vocal from on high in ancient modal form emerges like a thousand voices.
The pulsating river still flows.
She sings of shiny water droplets in a canopy of green, all the while a little drum in morse code dances with a basso-continuo guitar.
Arcadia’s vocal begins to build. What rapture!! …….in her mind are endless
dreams, dragon flies with wings that glitter
The whole terrain begins to thicken with intensity and an incredible guitar solo calls to majestic mountains. Life is at one with itself, as echoes of Arcadia overlap and entwine. These beautiful vocals reach higher, and higher with a resonant open-throat totally at ease with itself, allowing the sound to roam free. A perfect intonation is present and correct.
Lovely layering and a contrapuntal stretto abound, before floating above a myriad of forest whistles and whispers just leaving the gorgeous guitar to fade into the distance.
The new day brings an electronic buzz.
A utopia of descending guitar riffs fill the air, wonderful passage work.
Sexy, slidy synths, sing their wavy song, sonic and cosmic!
This next bit really surprised me!......I got taken back to my youth, aged around 18, and getting ready to go out clubbing!! Oh, loving these electronic drum samples and the rhythm guitar at the same time takes me back to a Chic concert I went to in Hammersmith, London ……you know that terrific Nile Roger’s sort of sound. Thank you Paul, I’m literally dancing in my chair here!!!!
A wall of sound hits me as Marianne’s vocal harmonisation fill the air, right in my face, love it.
The symbiotic synths are back again, singing to this ecology and nature, and we humans certainly love it!
Now, imagine everything I’ve just said…..but all at once, it is really going on here!
5.28 da man with out of this world guitar playing, a very fitting concept indeed.
I want more of this Arcadia!!
Pulsating, vibrations rise to polish the stars, and with a percussive terrain I have
not heard yet. Love it!! Oh, you should hear this track through headphones, so well produced.
Swathes of synth poetry,…..then suddenly a piercing electric violin assaults my ears, it’s passage work mind numbing.
Gritty guitar stabs roughen up the terrain, gradually building a natural a natural harmony.
Little punches of drawbar organ sit within the backdrop, now this is rocking!!
Marrianne sings “Stay with me, you harmony of Celadon, through the trees and glades”. This mezzo-soprano can certainly reach Arcadian heights!!
Bam!!, a golden light rebounds from Pauls’ fretwork to take flight, wow, what mastery of an instrument.
A natural and bountiful bass marks it’s territory. Brill Prog Rock!
A bright and shiny guitar pleads with us, snagging on silver strings.
I’m certainly learning a lot about this ‘long-form’ music.
In trip-hop electronica, the green dawn nymph inhabits a tree, where she proceeds with her chanting and whispering. She hopes the whole wood will hear.
Birds of folklore heritage listen intently, and respond with a beautiful yet synthetic melody.
A major deep based drum creates a real focal point and allows itself to be a continued impact for the sound as a whole. It’s thunder blasts me apart.
Dryad awakens, softly spoken, but enough to form golden echoes around the tree she inhabits. I can barely hear her, but she gently whispers “with me”.
A minor tonality meandering solo of electronica, in it’s element, leads us to the first closing point.
A sheer voice comes sharply into focus and has to cope with a defined key change, quite unexpected.
The passion continues to present this Greek mythology, when at last another door closes and all is consumed by upper regions of a naturally harmonising organ, what a beautiful sound.
We are now still and silent, while the Dryad rests from her dawn-chorus, recharging her batteries for another new day.
The sea-jade of the ancient river Celadon is bathed in a misty morning. An awakening is before us.
As her foamy current bubbles, a twangy guitar announces it’s ancient presence.
It strikes a measured alarm, as it does so every day.
A river song with a beautifully open throat, sings it’s pentatonic rise and fall,
disappearing into a Celadon haze, damp and cool.
The continuum of bluebell heather spies a winged messenger on high, harmonising with the stars. Ethereal.
River song sings on the vowels of oh and ah, breathing into a fade, as turquoise gills flash their iridescence.
Birds of blue, green and grey instruct the ritual of twang once more, as lonely bubbles of foam and froth follow a natural ecology of a new age.
Paul has created a lovely swirly-synth introduction, so many different sounds, my head is spinning!!
It’s easy to validate the libretto on this track, because Arcadia really is the land of love. Marrianne sings of ‘setting suns, no more hating, no more killing, now that you are in Arcadia. Wish I lived there.
Paul demonstrates effortless dexterity in a minimalist plucking frenzy, and I’m loving the ‘chromatic-slides-of-descent’ a feeling of falling. Somehow this tracks is at odds with itself……such uplifting lyrics, yet it floats downwards, but it just works!!
Creative rhythmic abundance is before us highlighting a three against four pattern, and played at speed.
I’m clubbing in my chair again, love these dance beats!.....and to top it off, a
seriously virtuosic keyboard solo of great scope and microtonalism!
Marrianne’s harmonious harmonies are exquisitely layered, leading us down the path of ending continuum.
Get ready to cruise down the highway in your convertible Audi!
Oh, this summer breeze, I can feel it on my skin and through my hair, just ‘blowin’.
Elyssia the goddess of Arcadia floats on high with a flock of brown-birds to ride with her. Just underneath, a butterfly unfurls it’s antenna as it’s proboscis smells the sun kissed thermals.
Gentle brushes of guitar and strings, followed by bright and glittering flashes on a fretboard, and a quality classical solo.
A distorted drum rhythm plays around with a four-four measure, as it introduces a glorious male vocal.
“Summer breezes are coming, bound forever young, clear blue skies are amidst us, running free”. What a beautiful image my mind is now conjuring!
A sweet female counters this melodic thread, as man thinks of ‘rivers flowing into seas’.
Such a laid back and comfortable mood, just makes me want to sing, ‘la, lala, la,la’.
A full crescendo is upon us, a thick and full wall of sound, gravitating me backwards!!
A guitar solo, only made in heaven, sings it’s beautiful song.
I wish I knew much more about ‘synthesizers’!! Am feeling frustrated because they are in their element here, I don’t know what words to say!!!!!!
This is ‘prog rock on ecstasy!!!’
“Down By The River”
A vocal proclamation beckons the sun to peep through the trees with silver streaks.
Also in silver, a sweeping chime ripples through the soft ferns down by the river.
A gentle flute with soft edges, sings it’s beautiful melody. A flute that reminds me of a Debussy orchestral work called ‘La Mer’ (the sea), another piece with water as a theme.
Elyssia’s sweet song reflects on long, lovely days down by the river, their swathes of dreams that stay with her.
A strong and wiry guitar, accompanied by a plethora of other instruments provide us with every shade of green you might think of, organically growing. A perfect symbiosis.
Drawn from Paul’s extensive instruments of the cosmos, and some!!
This is Terry Riley on moonshine!!
Do you know, I think this track would also sound great on a manic harpsichord played by Michael Nyman.
Marianne with her long sweeping vocal vowels suit very well, calming such a busy piece. She sings of ‘shutting doors’, is this her exit??
Later on her vocal entries change, and I hear a frenetic fear in her voice, like she’s confused and say’s “I don’t know where I am”. Maybe she is shutting the doors that lead to Arcadia??
Paul plays a mournful guitar with Floydian cries. Voice and instruments in a fugal frenzy.
I wonder, “has this all been a dream?”
I sincerely hope not.
It is where we should all live in our dreams.
A R C A D I A
What a fascinating work of art. It has been my pleasure to review, and I’ve learnt tons about music!
What an amazing team Paul and Marianne are, working in symbiosis with each other. Almost as if they are one.
ALBUM REVIEW BY KERRY BARNES, DVCM ALCM LVCM (Hons) FNCM Pianist, Composer, and Radio Broadcaster
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