Some music has the power to transport your mind to another world. Simply by clicking the play button you get a glimpse into another dimension. The album Secret World by Doug Hammer and Améthyste Spardel has this rare quality. It might not qualify as easy listening, but it is as beautiful as it is unique.
I am, like many others, fascinated by the theremin. If it’s because of Jean Michel Jarre or Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory remains unsaid, but it has such a delicate and refined sound – and Améthyste Spardel is a highly skilled theremin player. On this album she is backed by Doug Hammer on piano, who is brilliant as usual.
Music for the mind
Secret World reminds me of a fantasy novel or movie. It is like the piano is the “realistic” element, while the theremin represents something otherworldly and imaginative. If the theremin had been replaced by a violin, it wouldn’t have had the same effect.
The album starts with the song The Ones We Leave Behind. It has a breathtakingly beautiful melody and an amazing build-up. By the time you reach the end you really feel like you have visited a secret and different place. It really is a marvelous start to the album. Winter’s Last Goodbye continues in the same style. This is music for the imagination.
Crimson Sky, Raindrops and Moonflower are all beautiful and thought-provoking songs. One side effect of the theremin and piano arrangement though is a somewhat cold sound. A gentle synth pad here and there could have added some warmth. But it is not a big thing, and some might argue that it is this freshness that makes it into a special and different album.
In conclusion: Secret World is a great album for thinking, creativity and relaxation. I’m hoping that we’ll see more projects by Doug Hammer and Améthyste Spardel in the future. Hopefully there are other secret worlds to discover.
Score: 92/100 – See how I rate music here
Key tracks: The Ones We Leave Behind, Winter’s Last Goodbye
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