Conjure One
Exilarch


3.5
great

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
November 9th, 2010 | 14 replies | 9,863 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Rhys Fulber finally proves that Conjure One isn't just a cheap Delerium knock-off.

The reason for Conjure One’s existence has always been a mystery to me. It just didn’t seem to make sense that the man responsible for some of Delerium’s best albums would leave in order to create the exact same music, albeit never as good, under a different name. Of course, there’s the artistic autonomy and all of the freedom that it brings – but the fundamental fact is that the music was never up to par compared what he had done in Delerium. Conjure One’s third album, Exilarch, will finally change all of that. Exilarch drops the overt pop references, the extended world music plod, and the blatant Delerium aping in favor of a sound that skirts the limits between darkness and beauty, and does so in a very direct and concise way.

For long-time Delerium fans, it would be easy to describe this album as a blend of Semantic Spaces and the Spheres albums, but that is just an easy reference point. The layers of dark, flowing synth and deep bass that make up the foundation of each track is just the beginning of what Exilarch offers. Those electronic elements share time with chill, sensual trip-hop grooves, Middle Eastern influences, enchanting female vocals, and even the occasional bit of electro-rock. Lead single, “Like Ice,” offers all of those elements and displays just how seamlessly they work together. “Like Ice” features the vocals of Jaren Cerf (CMJ) and spends the first few moments of its duration building an exotic and alien soundscape before moving directly into a smooth electro-pop beat with layered synths and gorgeous vocals. The surprising moment of this song – and the proof that Rhys Fulber has finally developed Conjure One’s own identity – comes about half way through when it suddenly introduces a distorted guitar riff and begins to feel more like the electronic rock of Essence of Mind than the world music of Delerium.

That electronic rock element found on “Like Ice” makes additional appearances later in the album, but, Exilarch isn’t just a one-dimensional album relying solely on hooks and guest vocalists. Songs such as “Places that Don’t Exist” display another side of Conjure One’s identity – a side that focuses on creating slow, trance-like grooves over which a variety of Middle Eastern and Turkish influences are allowed to shine. These types of songs still contain female vocals, but the voices are generally more abstract and used the same as any other sample or synth loop. All of these various elements come together flawlessly on the track, “I Dream in Color” – easily one of the best (if not the best) Conjure One songs to date. That’s not to imply that there aren’t catchier or more atmospheric songs in the band’s discography, but as far as bringing together everything that makes Conjure One what they are, “I Dream in Color” is definitely near the top. It has the excellent layers of melodic synths, gorgeous and catchy vocals, the slightest bit of an electro-rock edge, and a pervasive atmosphere.

There are always going to be those that disagree or that believe that Conjure One has always been better than Delerium, but in my eyes, this is the album that finally proves that Conjure One deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Delerium’s best works. Rhys Fulber has finally moved beyond simply copying the formula that made Delerium great, and has also fixed a lot of what previously held Conjure One down. The songs are direct without a lot of needless build-up, they’re catchy without succumbing to blatant pop references, and the music is finally totally fleshed out thanks to a return to the electro roots of Rhys’ past.



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user ratings (12)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
November 9th 2010



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

3 Songs are streaming here:

http://soundcloud.com/nettwerkmusicgroup/sets/conjure-one-exilarch

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

Xenophanes
Emeritus
November 9th 2010



10584 Comments


Awesome review, you've piqued my interest...hmmm

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

Willie
Moderator
November 9th 2010



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was surprised. The other albums are good, but nothing special. This one actually stepped things up a little -- although people that aren't into this kind of music still aren't going to see what's so great about this.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 9th 2010



30863 Comments


Will be getting

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

pizzamachine
November 10th 2010



12571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

If the first song is any indication, I'll probably love this album.

Willie
Moderator
November 10th 2010



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yep, 3.5 seems about right. I think if they had made an entire album similar to the first track it could have been more around a 4.5

sexpoi
November 10th 2010



599 Comments


sounds quite interesting. I shall give this a listen. great review btw

Mikesn
Emeritus
November 10th 2010



3709 Comments


I'm liking Like Ice. I'm really liking Places That Don't Exist.

Also speaking of Delerium... for some reason I didn't realize they released so many albums before Semantic Spaces. Are any of them worth checking out?

Willie
Moderator
November 10th 2010



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

None of the pre-Semantic Spaces albums are like the ones after it. They're minimalist electronic ambient music... kind of dark, but it's definitely an acquired taste. Try one of the Spheres albums if you're curious.

DoctorNurse
November 12th 2010



475 Comments


really enjoyed like ice, nice way to start the day while reading boring uni crap

Also, website says the album is out digitally October 19th. Cant find it. or am i just being an idiot?

Willie
Moderator
November 12th 2010



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I saw that the website had an early digital release, but I don't think it ever happened. The album should be out now, though.

Taoboxer9
February 1st 2011



167 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Trey. Just what I was looking for. Also, thanks for the Collide rec. as well. Great .

Willie
Moderator
February 1st 2011



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cool. If you like Collide and Conjure One then you should try The Birthday Massacre.

DisplacedRefugee
October 20th 2012



1 Comments


Excellent review Trey! I find it difficult to single out individual efforts within Delerium and Conjure One releases (I am not suggesting that Trey has done this). Both Leeb and especially Fulber are Masters at "setting up" the listener for an entire experience. Much like the Moody Blues were in the 60's; Conjure One creates a work in toto. A paricular element that I enjoy within C1 and Delerium is that Leah Randi is used extensively; her father Don Randi is a pioneer of the music that we all enjoy. He was a first call member of the Wrecking Crew as he, Al DeMolay, Larry Knetchel and Leon Russell laid down the keyboards for virtually all of the music that was engineered and produced in the late 50's to mid-70's. Thanks again, Trey!



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