Cinnamonia - The scarlet sea - 2002
The first product of the collaboration between the German duo Sandra
Werner (vocals) and Thomas Koehler
(instrumentation) is a very relaxed album entitled Cinnamonia
- “The scarlet sea”. Instrumental support on this album
comes from Gerd Weyhing (guitars and soundscapes),
Walter Parks ( e-bow and electric guitars)
and Robert Alan Frost (guitars).
The thirteen songs on this album, among which two Irish traditional's, feature recurring instrumental themes (mostly played by piano), floating rhythms, warm keyboard layers and intriguing melody lines with atmospheric sounds and melancholic vocals. I very much like the instrumental sounds on this album, especially the sustained guitar sounds (or is it all synthesizers?). Sustain is an effect that is used much, but this surely fits the songs and overall atmosphere of the album. It find it however very difficult to get appreciation for the vocals of Sandra Werner. I like her spoken and whispered vocals, but her normal singing sounds quite flat. This really has its effect on my appreciation of this album. It probably is a matter of taste.
At first glance and also because of the presence of two Irish traditional's, a comparison with bands and artists like Clannad and Enya is obvious. The typical Clannad feeling is present in the opening track of the album “Splendour” (5:15), that has a not so gripping melody and is certainly not one of the best tracks of the album. The same feeling applies to the aforementioned Irish songs, “She moved thru the fair” (5:45) and final track “The parting glass” (3:15), where the last one is probably more like Enya.
Best songs of the album are tracks 3, 6, 7 and 10. Track 3 “Seaweed
days” (7:12) is very atmospheric, with nice harmonic and
whispered vocals and has beautiful soundscapes in the finale. Track 6
“Song of the dark man” (5:56)
sounds almost as a piece of minimal music, with its fascinating, almost
swinging counter melody over the ever repeating piano theme, intriguing
percussion and partly spoken lyrics. Partly soft whispered vocals can
be found on the “floating” track 7 “The
brightest day” (6:28) with ambient sounds, a soft rhythm,
a spacey guitar theme and nice wah wah and tremolo guitar effects. “Remnants
of summer” (5:21), track 10, is in the same style and has
even more warm guitar solo parts.
The remaining tracks of the album are less grasping, although track 2 “In the nick of time” (5:00) has a pleasant instrumental part.
As mentioned before my opinion about this album is heavily influenced by my appreciation of the vocals, because I very much like the instrumental atmosphere. Nonetheless an interesting product for lovers of warm and atmospheric, “new age”like music with “ethnic” and “world” influences.