Rhythms of Remembrance
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2001 1 Jan
There is a sub-genre of music called trance, which is a form of electronic/techno music popular in the club circuit. It's an odd form of music in that the programmed beats and droning keyboards will either induce you to dance or enter into the meditative state of its namesake. To me, it's a sort of cross between new age and dance/club music—though you usually dance to it, trance is more about the mood and atmosphere it creates and how it emotionally affects those listening to it. It rarely has spoken word in it, however, and because this music has Scripture being recited throughout the album, I'd call the music of Apt•Core semi-trance, or better yet, electronic meditation. Producer Will Hunt came up with the idea for the album when he saw how much the music seemed to affect people at the dance clubs. Intrigued by the idea of blending the drawing power of this music with that of worship music, Will assembled a team of musicians and artists together to make Rhythms of Remembrance. For those wondering, the name Apt•Core stems from the idea that "the center of our being is made sufficient in Jesus," which means that those in Christ literally have an "apt core" in the eyes of God.
The resulting album is a blend of electronic trance with world music influences and spoken word Scripture. There's no perfect comparison to make with Apt•Core. They're not as techno or refined as Moby, nor is it as moody and progressive as Radiohead's recent works, or as dark and noisy as Nine Inch Nails. About the closest artist comparison I can make is the group Enigma, whose sound is far more simplistic and pop sounding than Apt•Core. The trance music scene is really more of an underground movement than an artist driven genre. This stuff is actually very big in the United Kingdom right now, both in mainstream as well as the Christian youth groups. Lots of aspiring DJs and producers create this sort of electronic music to use in clubs, and at youth worship events in the case of Christians. Strangely enough, the appeal of electronic trance music hasn't quite taken off here in the States—I'd guess it's because the club scene is much more open and active among teens in the UK than here in the States. Perhaps Rhythms of Remembrance will make it the next popular thing in Christian music.
This is not an album I can easily give a track by track breakdown on, because I really don't have the words to distinguish the songs. That's not to say each track sounds like another—far from it! Each track has its own scriptural focus (except for "Creed," which is taken from the Apostle's Creed) and no two tracks sound alike, but it's pretty much all electronic/techno music and it's not worth going into too much detail over. One track that will standout for people, however, is "40." It's a cover of the classic U2 song, based on Psalm 40, that is infinitely more interesting than the recent dc Talk live track of the song. It is also sung by Ginny Owens and is currently a single on CHR radio stations. "40" is a great track, but it is also the least interesting in the sense that is the only unoriginal song on Rhythms of Remembrance. On the other hand, it's the only track that is completely sung, but if you like "40" I suspect you're really going to like the rest of this album.
Rhythms of Remembrance is a very cool album, though it is understandably not going to fit everyone's tastes, nor is it the first of its kind. About a year or two ago, there was a project released called Bedouin that attempted the same thing, focusing specifically on the words and life of Christ. It was a very good idea, but poorly executed, bogged down by so-so music and flatly read Scripture. Apt•Core on the other hand sounds very professional, passionate and creative, much like the mainstream genre that it draws upon. There's a lot of ear candy to digest here, and I find that I am still discovering new musical elements in it with every listen.
But what strikes me most about Rhythms of Remembrance is its functionality, its usefulness. Several of my co-workers agree that this a good album to listen to at work, because it's energetic without demanding your attention. It doesn't quite make you want to get up and dance like some trance music, but it is often exciting. Strangely enough, I also find it a relaxing album, especially when you focus on the Scriptural elements in it. Rhythms of Remembrance works as a worship album as well, in that it draws the listener into a worshipful/meditative state. I find this album also serves as a nice pre-service album to play for my church's youth worship service (again, because it draws the listener into worship). I know I'm beginning to sound like an infomercial at this point, but hopefully you can see what I mean by this album's multi-functionality. I believe the youth of this country could potentially catch on this genre and we may see several more projects like this in the next few years (my only fear being that they're not as good). Only time will tell, but what is certain is the creativity of the first Apt•Core project and my hope that they will make more music for years to come.