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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Cathedral of Sound

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Jan
Cathedral of Sound
Sounds like … mostly ethereal trance (electronic dance music) similar to the work of Andy Hunter, Moby, Apt•Core, Paul Oakenfold, and MandalyAt a Glance … the majority of the album's ten tracks serve as an excellent and meditative soundtrack for Scripture study.

Trance (softer-edged electronic dance music) is said to be a rapidly growing genre around the world. However, trance/electronica has been rumored to be on the verge of growth for five years now, though it's not exactly burning up the charts. Truth be told, it's a genre that will probably continue to grow very slowly around the world, and will likely remain a fringe genre in the U.S. Nevertheless, it can be a popular and effective genre, considering the success of such artists as Moby and Fatboy Slim.

Late last year saw the international debut of up-and-coming British DJ Andy Hunter°, a Christian using his music to minister to the club scene in his own unique way. The year before saw the release of Rhythms of Remembrance, an album by Apt•Core (aka Will Hunt) that merged Moby-esque electronica with spoken-word Scripture. Both of those projects demonstrated the artistic effectiveness of fusing the musical genre with contemporary worship, so Worship Together now jumps aboard the "trance-worship" bandwagon with Cathedral of Sound.

The so-called Global DJ Experience refers to nine up-and-coming DJs, one from the U.S. and eight from the UK. One of them you already know — Andy Hunter° is represented here with "Amazing," a track from his recently released Exodus project. Featuring the angelic vocals of Christine Glass (Glassbyrd), it's an enjoyably upbeat dance groove with simple inspirational lyrics.

The remaining tracks are more instrumental, with occasional splashes of vocals. Drawing upon Scripture for inspiration makes them no less interesting or inspiring. Daniel Lozinski's "Phaze One," an ethereal trance piece inspired by the first chapter of Genesis, is a good match of ambiance and source text. The same could be said of Node's contemplative and beautiful "Reflux," which draws upon Psalm 104 as its inspiration. Mark Edwards's "Free at Last" uses a low-key dance groove and Gregorian chanting reminiscent of Enigma's "Sadness Part I" to express Psalm 84. He also contributes "Vision of You," a praise-inspired rendering of Psalm 34 that mixes a hip-hop groove with theater organ, choral sounds, and gentle guitar effects to create a mysterious and wonderful soundscape. The majority of the album is contemplative and relaxed sounding, with only two truly fast-paced and energetic tracks: Andy Hunter's "Amazing" and Doug E. Ross' Pentecost-inspired "God Screams."

Only two of the tracks fall short on Cathedral of Sound. "Waiting," by Adam Skillz, sounds awkward with its choppy electric piano sample that makes your CD player sound like it's skipping, and Kenny Mitchell's "Wonder" is simply too repetitive and uninteresting. Overall, though, the album makes for a terrific soundtrack of ambiance for scriptural study and prayer time.

Skeptics may wonder at the album's relevance, but all you need do is read the corresponding Bible verses while listening. Sure, you could listen to other trance or new age albums to enhance your quiet time, but this album was created specifically to glorify God, and there's nothing sensual or pagan in the mix. It still would have been nice if there were more nods to the source Scripture in the songs, however brief or subtle. Cathedral of Sound represents another successful entry in a new sub-genre of modern Christian music designed to create worshipful ambiance or enhance your quiet time with the Lord.