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Henriette Kat - 2007 - "Orion Symphony"

(59:38, Dreaming Records)

TRACK LIST:                   

1.  If You Must Go 6:00
2.  La Cathedrale de Metz 7:23
3.  Let the Party Begin 5:37
4.  Messages From Orion 11:37
5.  Seashell Song 6:33
6.  The Gate 5:25
7.  The Lighthouse of Ameland 6:19
8.  Wind of Change 10:44


Henriette Kat - all instruments

Prolusion. Henriette KAT is an artist based in the Netherlands and sees herself as a representative of the expressionist movement in electronic music. "Orion Symphony" is her sophomore release, and like her debut is released on Dreaming, a sub-label of the French Musea Records label.

Analysis. Henriette Kat is an interesting addition to what many will describe as new age music. The music is highly electronic in nature, with layers of synths and synth-produced sounds creating lush, relaxing and soothing soundscapes, but with nerve and tension. On "Orion Symphony" the music has similarities with the works of Greek legend Vangelis and Austrian keyboard wizard Gandalf, whereas atmospheres and structure have more in common with Japanese synth guru Isao Tomita. Combined, this results in some rather unique compositions and a distinct musical profile. Henriette Kat excels in making soundscapes that ebb and flow, where the intensity pulsates and the various musical elements come and go - pretty much like waves going back and forth towards the shore. The soundscapes most times start out on a low intensity, and as they evolve the intensity grows, as if the waves increase in size. At the end they recede into mellowness and silence again, the last part of each soundscape being obviously designed to have a soothing and relaxing effect. A distinct trademark is a general feeling of being in outer space, as the tones and timbres chosen will make you think of the universe and the galaxies. Quite a few of the themes explored seems to be very much inspired by classical symphonic music, creating majestic and powerful sonic textures. Mixed with calmer and mellower themes, and with the structure of the pieces constantly ebbing and flowing, the music has a strong identity. Compositionally, this is a slightly mixed affair though. The structure chosen makes it hard to create compositions that will make an impact above the level of being nice, relaxing music. In this case, there are quite a few strong constructions though, with Seashell Song being the best to my way of thinking. Messages From Orion and The Lighthouse of Ameland also succeed, and while the rest of the tunes aren't as strong they are never boring or uninteresting.

Conclusion. If you find Isao Tomita's works interesting, but slightly too cold and sterile, this is an album worth checking out. Fans of electronic soundscapes that make you sit back and dream of being somewhere in the depths of outer space should also have an interest in checking out this artist in general, and this release in particular.

OMB=Olav M Bjornson: January 12, 2008

Related Links:

Musea Records
Henriette Kat


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