Reviews: E.S. Posthumus ~ Unearthed|
Contributed by Anonymous on Saturday, October 08, 2005 @ 06:42:18 UTC
Artist: E.S. Posthumus
Home: Los Angeles, California
Quote: "The entire album was obviously made with very high standards; the production quality virtually demands a high-end -- and loud -- audiophile system to wring every last nuance from the music."
By A.J. Van Beest
Unearthed has all the elements of a wildly successful, even epic album -- rich sound, high production values, extensive use in the motion picture industry -- except one: soul.
The recent album from E.S. Posthumus, aka Helmut and Franz Vonlichten (which may or may not be the artists' names) is a beautiful and powerful, but ultimately flawed, reworking of ground already covered by other artists and groups such as Enya, Deep Forest, and Enigma.
Unearthed flaunts its movie lineage from the get-go. Each of the album's 13 tracks evokes a different feeling from lover's calm, to heart-pounding, life-or-death showdown. The entire album was obviously made with very high standards; the production quality virtually demands a high-end -- and loud -- audiophile system to wring every last nuance from the music.
The album also seems to be telling a story, and even though there are no words in the music that someone without a serious classical education will understand, we all know the story. In fact, it's the same story that Hollywood's been selling for the last thirty years: Average person finds above average ability that brings him or her into conflict with evil and ultimately forces both internal and external confrontation that is bested by the breadth of a hair, but which brings glory and love and everlasting contentment.
In fact, it's because Unearthed tells this story so nimbly that the album falls short. Instead of stretching to a new angle or covering new ground, the brothers Vonlichten settle for that which is easily within their grasp. Unfortunately, the music is almost the epitomy of the negative side of Hollywood: This story is the same as the last one, except it has more gloss and the explosions are bigger; Instead of creating a mood and inviting the listener along for the ride, the artists cold-cock their audience with manipulative musical intervals (oh, it must be the villian's theme because there are minor seconds and thirds!), throw them in the back of the unmarked van, and drive them down to the river.
Not that any of the preceeding factors have kept Unearthed from being a major commercial success, especially from an indie perspective. The album is CDBaby.com's fith all-time highest seller, and tracks have been used in movies such as Matrix Reloaded, Minority Report, and Ali, and trailers for Planet of the Apes and Spiderman. Television audiences have heard their work as the themes for CBS's Cold Case and NFL Zone.
Maybe big-budget movie music is too pervasive and undermines the merits of Unearthed. Maybe the album is so good that it actually fits flawlessly with cultural expectations. Ultimately, listeners will just have to judge for themselves.
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