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dot_clear.gif (43 bytes) 4 out of 5 (by PJ)
Return to Music Page Sarah Brightman
A Whiter Shade of Pale / A Question of Honour (CD Remixes)
Former Broadway star Sarah Brightman is making a name for herself once again, only this time it's in the dance arena. Best known for her work in CATS and Phantom of the Opera. Brightman has made a successful transition first from Broadway to pop, and now to dance breathing life back into Procol Harum's 60's hit, "A White Shade of Pale," based loosely on a Bach cantata. It also introduces us to her follow-up single, "A Question of Honor" which mysteriously does not appear on her current album, La Luna. Angel and Capitol Records have teamed together to bring remixes from some of the hottest remixers of the moment including ATB, Delerium and Tom Lord-Alge.
NAJM Dance Culture
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Track 1 (Radio Edit - 3:09) is an overtly sounding theatrical cut, with lots of emphasis on string solos. This melodic production nicely showcases the essence and soul that Brightman represents so well with her Soprano overture. Track 2 (ATB Remix - 8:33) ATB takes on his trance journey next with a smooth beat that will seize your attention from the first note. Although ATB spices up things a bit with it's shifting grooves, the vocal production hasn't changed much, leaving the listener with the urge to sing faster, but only the beat remains true to the desire.

Track 3 (Delerium Remix - 3:13) is a sort of faux, nu school ambient jazz number that is reminiscent of the middle 70's before rock really took off. Track 4 (Paralyzer Mix - 6:06) is the stand out cut of this mix with it's bevy of oscillating vocal samples and frantic percussion intro, which sets the stage for this multi-dimensional mix. Knowing the true vocal range of a singer like Brightman - it must be difficult to "dirty" the vocals somewhat, but this mix keeps the energy flowing over and over. ATB rounds out the set of "A Whiter Shade of Pale" with Track 5 (ATB Radio Edit - 3:58) and leaves us with a sleazy, pulsating bassline and melody that will make you want to conquer the rhythm.

Track 6 is the first mix of "A Question of Honor" (Radio Edit - 5:19) starts out with Brightman singing in her signature operatic voice. The vocal is suddenly dropped over a shuffling beat, mixed with a touch of snappy percussion and even a rock inspired guitar riff. The backing choir is somewhat over the top and the music borders on the cusp of a rock musical. Track 7 (Pech Remix - 5:18) injects a bit of "Las Vegas MGM" testosterone into the jumble - using snippets of boxing matches throughout the song…"and in this corner"! Used around deep drum lines and Brightman's cleverly inserted vocals, the ploy somehow works. Track 8 (Knock Out Mix - 8:15) reminds me most of a ditty that might have been inspired by Prince's "Erotic City" many years ago. It has that nasty, moody attitude that glides through the night and makes me reminisce about what we did before teen pop took over Top 40 radio. Essentially, the intro of this cut is the only part that probably will work for dance fans. The second half of the song is spersed with Brightman's vocals, which are sung primarily in opera, but all the same it works for me.

Track 9 (Damage Control Mix - 6:04) bounces right into a Cyndi Lauper-esque vocal riff - pumping in at 148 bpm, this Italian house sounding mix has taken on an almost chipmunk sound as the vocals have been sped up too much or not stretched enough. Couple this with lots of breaks and a high-energy keyboard trilogy - your head is likely to spin. Track 10 (Tom Lord-Alge Mix - 6:39) is a sleek ditty that will make your head bounce up and down without even realizing it. Alge uses plenty of panning effects for both music and vocals to make his point and drives it home well. Sound samples of older stuff, infused with spine shivering opera notes by Brightman morphs into what sounds like one mean gospel anthem.

This soundscape of brilliant remixes are bound to make you twist your torso on the floor. Brightman is cleverly infiltrating the dance scene with her unique sound. DJ's out there take note, if you like Emma Shapplin and her brand, give this collection of crowd motivators a try!

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