06/11/2003 9:30p PT
Matt Rowe - Reviewer
I've been mesmerized. It doesn’t take more than one complete listen to Mary Fahl’s The Other Side of Time to realize that something extraordinary and lasting is happening. In fact, you only need to hear the first 4 songs to become as mesmerized by a voice that resonates in your mind long after you have put the disc away.
With Sony Classical/Odyssey Records’ introduction of Mary Fahl into the stream of musical consciousness there arises a captivating and commanding voice. Originally a part of the lamentably absent October Project, Mary Fahl has re-emerged as a solo artist by being inserted into the soundtrack of Gods and Generals, ending up pleasing many who have heard her contribution. Mary Fahl’s debut, The Other Side of Time, is a collection of 14 songs that showcase the broad expanse of her style explorations.
Mary Fahl’s voice gives credence to the selection of songs that are on the album. Her range and quality brings to mind an inevitable comparison to Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance fame. But where Lisa Gerrard concentrates on Euro flavours, Mary Fahl lends her talent to a much wider examination of genres. There are Celtic, Country, and Middle Eastern echoes throughout the disc.
The album starts out with “In the Great Unknown”, a lyrical approach to self-realization that is highlighted by piano and is backed by soft orchestral fill. “Going Home” is the extraordinary piece that highlighted the soundtrack of Gods and Generals so its inclusion here is a bonus. “Want To” is a dark fear of separation that is gorgeously wrapped by not only Mary’s entrancing voice but a spare mix of drums, piano, and orchestral fills that ends all too abruptly. It leads into what may be the album’s most unique track with her eerie and authoritative voice singing “Ben Aindi Habibi”, a song that is rooted in Middle Eastern tonality. And it is with this song that the comparison with Lisa Gerrard is the strongest.
But Mary Fahl is a unique talent; one not to be ignored. Her songs are well written and convey a quest for answers that emulate the basic need of man to know things usually beyond our understanding. The fact that she delivers these philosophical lyrics on the engine of great melodies and the thrust of her vocal talents make this an album very difficult to put back into its case.
“Redemption” is a look at a place in our hearts where an inability to understand the depths of forgiveness leave us stranded on islands of guilt. “Paolo” recognizes our frustrations with our fight against what’s good and what’s evil. She intones “..say a prayer for me. I’ve been dancing with monsters perilously…” When she changes to other languages, she does so with an effortless glide. She has several songs where she does this and her ability is astounding.
In addition to the other songs on this album of spiritual airing, she closes the disc with another bonus, a track from another movie, “The Guys”. The album does not lose its flow, yielding intriguing songs gracefully. You may find your favourite songs shifts from one to the other. I will be listening to this disc for quite some time.
This disc provides a ConnecteD feature that, when placed in your PC, yield up bonus content via the internet. The added bonuses are a video for “Going Home”; a “Behind the Scenes” video; exclusive interviews with Mary Fahl; and a Mary Fahl featurette.
The album provides an insert of photographs and lyrics to the songs. Mary Fahl has had a hand in the composition of most of them revealing her spiritual depth. With the release of The Other Side of Time we have been blessed with beauty. She reflects in the credits that “part of you pours out of me”. And I believe her.
Copyright © 2002-2003 Matthew Rowe. All rights reserved.
The Other Side of Time
Released: May 27, 2003