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Miriam is the name of a character in a cult 80's vampiric film which this band has taken upon themselves as a portrayal of their own music and style.  The project was formed in 1998 in Rome, Italy, by the trio Daniela Bruno (vocals and lyrics), Carlo Bucciarelli (bass and synths) and F. Sordini.  A year later Massimo Bandiera (guitars and programming) joined the band with his own musical background.  With this line-up the band had a broad range of influences and was able to put together their first official debut album Scents although they had previouly recorded other releases like Im Nebel and Arabesque.

With Scents the band was really introduced to the world and their diverse ethereal electro-pop crossover sound.  With that description, many fans of these two styles of music can already imagine the diverse, fun and beautiful sound this band creates.  Based on electronics with occasional acoustic guitars or piano, they bring together a collage of siren-like mesmerizing vocals to the forefront while the musical soundscapes pulsate and weave the foundation for their music.

The band continues to work and play live and 2007 saw the release of their latest work titled When Beauty Is Invisible.  With this release they manage to captivate perfectly the essence of their crossover style.  Be sure to catch selected tracks on both radio shows, whether your preference is the faster-paced dance tracks, or the dreamy ethereal pieces, this band has plenty to offer through the diversity of Gothic Paradise.

When Beauty Is Invisible - Review

After five long years of waiting, we finally have the sophomore album from this band!  And what a piece of work it is, this is something that fans will be listening to for years from now, still loving, still longing for more. Listeners of Gothic Paradiser radio will already be very familiar with most of their previous album Scents from all of the tracks included on the radio shows.  For others that have their previous album, this has probably been a long anxious wait for this new release packaged in a standard jewel case, containing a booklet of lyrics and info and the disc with eleven stellar tracks.

The music on this album starts out with a haunting mix of electronics that gradually build into a heavy synth piece "I Look Around".  This dance-friendly piece moves along great with heavy, throbbing electronics as the underlying foundation for Daniela's angelic vocals.  The mood remains somber through these moving pieces as well as the slower, mid-tempo pieces that delve into a sort of electronic ethereal style.  However, the move to this slower music is gradual as we first have "Eclipse" with more moving electronics and a danceable beat before drifting off into a sort of smooth, mid-tempo piece "Illusory Signs".

These first three pieces show how diverse and talented these artists are in putting composing and performing their haunting, melancholy dream-pop music.  As the album moves on we get into the dreamier, slower ethereal pieces like "If You Ever", though still portraying a number of eerie synth loops and electronic elements to keep the music moving, though at a slow, somber pace.  The perfect example of this diversity and emotional power is in the next piece, which is the title track for the album.  Starting off with a solemn piano and soft percussion and electronica in the background, Daniela's vocals move along softly until it all breaks down, shattering apart with a thunderous climax of driving guitars and drums picking up at the chorus and lasting the rest of the piece.  These dynamics create something unreal and extremely difficult to describe, but it manages to leave me with goosebumps and cold chills up and down my body as the music pierces deep into the listener's soul, it's simply incredible.

After that piece, it really seems like there's nothing else I could say more to describe this album.  That piece is definitely the climax to the album, though every track carries something spellbinding and incredible.  The mood and tempo of the album continues to move along in a mid-tempo fashion with "Underwater" and it's beautiful acoustic guitar (with a spanish flair), or the stunning piano and mostly acoustic format of "Before The Night Comes".  "My Last Forever" picks up with a bit of electronica flair, but still somber and slowly moving along fading into "Endless" with more somber and ethereal styles and moods.

At this point we're brought to the final two pieces which though they remain slow, "Don't Hide" picks up in intensity with an incredible mix of siren-like guitar and heavy electronics.  And finally, we're left with "Nightporter", another slow piano piece giving us one last taste of Daniela's delicious vocals.  This seems like the perfect ending to a perfect album and so we leave the listener and reader, hoping that this will soon be followed by yet another album without needing to wait another five years.  In the meantime we'll be listening and love this disc for many years to come.

Rating: 5/5

Interview - June 7, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to correspond with the members of Miriam and put together this short interview. Hopefully readers will find the information interesting and enjoyable.

I know in your biography you mention that you really don't want to be categorized in any particular genre of music, which I can understand, most artists want to stand out in one way or another and don't want to mimic others. However, do you feel a certain attachment to fans in the gothic, ethereal and electro-pop scenes? If so, explain your own attraction and feelings about this type of music.

We are different people with different influences that have been evolving throughout these years: our sources of inspiration are not the same as they were 10 years ago! Furthermore, we listen to and are inspired by a number of artists that span across the whole spectrum: our music is an implicit result of all these cross-references and it is not easy to focus on a specific style, it would certainly set some boundaries to our approach. Nevertheless, gothic, ethereal and electro-pop offer massive sources of inspiration: I would mention Cocteau Twins and Cranes from the ethereal side, Ladytron from the "electro" universe. Ethereal bands have represented a strong influence at the very beginning; I met Carlo (Miriam's major music composer) at a Cranes concert, and our first experiments used to be heavily influenced by their minimalism (e.g. Cranes songs such as "Wish", "Tomorrow's tears"). Gothic bands have always been in our players, but probably never been a straight source of inspiration; while electro bands, especially Ladytron, are currently on top of our charts and � altogether with "alien" innovators as Sigur Ros and Bjork � they're probably influencing our current sonic evolution.

On a related note, how do you feel about the music scene in these genres, do you feel that artists are producing innovative and quality music?

For gothic and ethereal bands it may not be easy to truly innovate. Their style is based on consolidated alchemies and atmospheres; on the other hand, I've been positively impressed by Claire Voyant which may be categorized as ethereal under some points of view. In the electro scene, Ladytron is the best act that I've seen since the times of "Welcome to Earth" by Apoptygma Berzerk, which influenced us a lot many years ago.

I agree, and can hear the excellent influence... Let's talk about each of your albums for a minute, while the listeners will develop their own feelings and emotions around the music and lyrics of your work, is there a concept or overall theme for each of your albums Scents and When Beauty Is Invisible?

Our releases have been developed throughout many years; a concept album would probably require a shorter elapsed to be more consistent. For instance, "When Beauty Is Invisible" features songs that have been selected from a large number of possible choices: at the end of the day, we selected quite a consistent set of songs that feature a down-tempo electro flavor, but it could easily have included a number of electric episodes that have been just left behind for further development in the future. Lyrics and vocal style in general help putting it all together: our themes span from visionary and devotional, to introspection and distorted feelings in general; listeners may find an underlying link between all of them.

All of you are from Italy, right? So, I was interested as to why you don't have any tracks with the lyrics in Italian? Luckily music is a universal language, but I feel that hearing someone sing in their native tongue really adds something to an album. Maybe on your next album you'll include something for me? (I would understand it, and I'm sure many of your local fans would be pleased.)

We're Italian: in our second promotional release in year 2000 ("Im Nebel") we decided to include a song called "X", which is more of a poetry built upon an orchestral theme. On the other hand, we also made experiments using other languages such as German, Chinese and French. Language is a tool, and English may help us reach the largest audience; nevertheless, we may decide to use a different "tool" (i.e. a different languages) if there's a point to it; if the overall atmosphere may get a benefit from it. Our previous song in Chinese ("Zai Shui Yi Fang") was influenced by the Blade Runner metropolitan atmosphere, and Chinese lyrics added a lot to it. Therefore, in order to use the potentiality of our native language, we'd probably need the right context, a song that lean towards our classic and unique Italian poetry.

I won't ask you about influences as I think that's covered well in your biography (readers should check this out), but I will ask you about your own works. What has been your most enjoyable moments while writing your music? Which songs have been the funnest to write? Which are your favorites now that the albums are released, which are you the happiest with?

The most enjoyable moments have been in the earliest stage, when pristine inspiration was fueling our work. Singing a new song is always a great experience, and I had strong feelings behind the microphone. There's a funny story concerning "My last forever": it is actually a very old demo-tape recorded many years ago by me and Carlo, and while restoring it, we discovered a version that was actually recorded in a new year's eve night more than 10 years ago: there may still be heard noises of fireworks in the background while I was singing! It is difficult for us to select our favorite songs: "Underwater" is truly introspective and actually preserved its pristine elements of inspiration; "Endless" is deep and religious which makes me think of it as a higher level episode in our production. "Eclipse" is straight and simple, written in one night and produced in few moves: feedback about it has been just extraordinary!

You had quite a break between Scents and When Beauty Is Invisible, what were you doing in that time? Do you think you'll write and release a new album in less time next time?
There are several reasons and some belong to the technical sphere while others derive from our artistic and innermost research.
Technical reasons have lengthened the latest stage of the production process and the final realization, in order to optimize the sonic result and create the best conditions for a positive response from the market; in all of these aspects, the artists' involvement has been really minimal , and it is something that we definitely have to improve for our next releases.
On the other hand, there are several artistic elements that have determined � after the release of "Scents" in 2002 - the need for us to grow in order to get new sources of inspiration and start writing good music again. "Scents" is a release that we are still very satisfied of, but it was the final result of our early years of production, after deep re-arrangement and re-work. The outstanding feedback about "Scents" encouraged us towards a deepest and pristine inspiration that had to be spontaneous, uncompromised and totally free. Our travels for either work or music have been a great source of inspiration for us: Carlo wrote "If you ever" while traveling, while the lyrics for "Endless" have been inspired by a mystic vision.
In 2003 we had started again writing good songs, and in year 2004 almost any track from "When Beauty Is Invisible", in its almost final format, was already in place, right to be optimized by the production process. A good release can't be as such without a highly professional post-production process, and we truly believe that our work has achieved a very good quality; our challenge is to replicate the process in a way shorter elapsing time for our next release.

What do you see your future like in 3 years? In 5 or 10 years?

5 or 10 years is such a long elapsed, but in 3 years we'll certainly have a new release which will include more electric elements; our fan-base is growing and hopefully we may reach a good audience and communicate our innermost feelings through our songs.

Is there anything you would like to add, any words for our readers?

We would like to thank Jacob and everyone at Gothic Paradise, for your continuous and valuable support. I also invite all the readers to check out our music. We are keen to accept suggestions, we look forward to get your feedback in order to get new ideas and continue evolving in our inspiration.

Scents - Review

From the very first moment I heard this album I knew I was hopelessly hooked.  The disc contains ten stunning tracks which vary through musical styles, yet are cohesive enough to make listening to the entire album together very enjoyable.  Also, special multimedia tracks are an excellent added bonus including a video of the title track and some other little extras.

"Scents" starts off the album with a beautiful ethereal style while still maintaining a subtle electronic foundation.  The striking beauty of the combintation of these electronics with the piano and acoustic guitar on this track is amazing.  Of course Daniela's mesmerizing vocals on all of the tracks leave me hopelessly addicted to this album.  This sort of ambience dominates much of the album and really comes out in a sort of dark ambient experimental piece "Space White Stones".  This fades right into the next piece "Daphne" which includes some chill-out trance elements as well, always including at least some minimal vocals that really brings all of the different varieties together.

The excellent variety really shines through on several tracks as well as they pick up the pace bringing to the forefront a couple of dance-friendly pieces which have easily become favorites.  "Evidence" is the first of the pair that really kicks off this style with the moving beats.  In a slightly different style, yet still moving and probably my favorite track on this album is "Always in Danger" which includes some powerful beats providing the backbone of this track while soaring electric guitar rings out in the background among layers of electronics and bass under the distressed, yet angelic vocals.  "Lies" and "Unkind" also follow suit with moving beats and more intense musical structures.

Once again towards the end of the album we drift back into the ethereal beauty that this band can pull together with "Alive".  The ambient structures that are included along with Daniela's vocals make this another favorite piece that listeners will no doubt be very familiar with.  "The Minutes Tale" and "Im Nebel" wrap up the album as the band delves back into the experimental music, though these make for a nice finale to this excellent album without distracting from the overall beauty too much.  With that, it seems there is enough variety here that it will please many different fans, and is definitely a great album to add to any music collection.

Rating: 4/5

Label: Decadance Records

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