Halcyon [Bonus Tracks]

Halcyon [Bonus Tracks]

by Ellie GouldingEllie Goulding

CD(Bonus Tracks)

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With her 2010 debut, Lights, and the expanded Bright Lights, British vocalist Ellie Goulding bridged the gap between the soulful adult contemporary beltings of Adele and the more primal indie rock gospel of Florence + the Machine. Gifted with a disarmingly throaty -- yet still resonant -- voice and attractive, girl-next-door charisma that combines Kate Bush's cherubic art pop croon mixed with the asymmetrical half-smile charm of Drew Barrymore, Goulding stood out among the sea of post-Imogen Heap synth folk songstresses such as Little Boots, La Roux, and Lykke Li. On her sophomore effort, 2012's Halcyon, Goulding moves in an even more arty, electronic direction. Where Lights featured a handful of well-crafted singer/songwriter-styled singles such as "Guns and Horses" and the disco-bliss number "Starry Eyed," Halcyon keeps the singer/songwriter lyricism, but expands upon the electronic and symphonic palette. Aside from a few songs like the gutting, bittersweet piano ballad "I Know You Care" -- which itself brings to mind her smash 2010 cover of Elton John's "Your Song" -- Halcyon is largely built around epic long-form anthems and shimmery moments of gargantuan synthesizer drama. Tracks like the baroque "My Blood" and lustful club-groover "Figure 8" have a crisp, pulsating electronic buoyancy that, as with all of the songs on Halcyon, vibrate with a palpable dramatic tension. Also in keeping with the arty-electronic atmosphere of the album, Goulding dresses up her powerful lark of a voice with a delicately laced veil of digital effects. She sets these sparkling, multi-tracked vocal sections against roiling arpeggiated grand piano lines, the digital pluck of harps, echoey orchestral samples, and the ever present hum of deep bass synth. Goulding has a strong enough voice that when she toured with the decidedly more rootsy blues and country-influenced American songwriter Lissie in 2010, they brought the house down with several pitch-perfect, soulful duets, so the move toward a more atmospheric, sonically layered approach feels decidedly more like a conscious aesthetic choice. In that sense, she seems to be striking a balance between her more arty inclinations and a kind of adult contemporary, Annie Lennox-style professionalism. Perhaps Goulding illuminates her strong suits best on her enigmatic single "Anything Could Happen," in which she belts out a kind of post-traumatic affirmation for letting go and moving on to brighter things. She sings "Letting darkness grow/As if we need its palette and we need its colour/But now I've seen it through/And now I know the truth/That anything could happen." An ambitious work by an artist intent on developing her total sound, Halcyon finds Goulding poised at the edge of artistic and career possibilities. [Halcyon was also released with four bonus tracks.]

Product Details

Release Date: 08/08/2013
Label: Interscope Records
UPC: 0602537509386
catalogNumber: 001908702
Rank: 85741

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ellie Goulding   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Sally Herbert   Choir Conductor
Greg Kurstin   Guitar,Keyboards
London Community Gospel Choir   Choir, Chorus
John Fortis   Keyboards
Ash Howes   Drums,Keyboards
Fiona Bonds   Viola
Ian Burdge   Cello
Sophie Harris   Cello
John Metcalfe   Viola
Justin Parker   Piano,Background Vocals
Richard George   Violin,Leader
Natalia Bonner   Violin
Gillon Cameron   Violin
Nate Ruess   Background Vocals
Hannah Dawson   Violin
Kate Robinson   Violin
Natalie Holt   Viola
Jonny Byers   Cello
Jim Eliot   Synthesizer,Percussion,Piano,Drums,Background Vocals
Max Baillie   Viola
Rick Koster   Violin
Nina Foster   Violin
Gareth Griffiths   Violin
Richard "Biff" Stannard   Bass,Keyboards
Emma Parker   Violin
Oliver Langford   Violin
Fin Dow-Smith   Synthesizer,Piano
Kirsty Mangan   Violin
Rachael Lander   Cello
Matty Ward   Violin

Technical Credits

Sally Herbert   String Arrangements,Choir Arrangement,String Conductor
Greg Kurstin   Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer,Vocal Producer
John Fortis   Composer,Programming,Producer
Ash Howes   Composer,Producer
Mike Spencer   Additional Production
Ariel Rechtshaid   Composer
Noel Zancanella   Composer
John Hanes   Engineer
Justin Parker   Composer,Programming,Producer
Ashley Krajewski   Programming,Engineer
Nate Ruess   Composer
Ryan Tedder   Composer,Vocal Producer
Monsta   Producer
Jesse Shatkin   Engineer
Rob Katz   Vocal Engineer
Billboard   Producer
Brent Kutzle   Composer
Calvin Harris   Composer,Producer,Instrumentation
Graham Archer   Vocal Engineer
Alex Pasco   Engineer
Jim Eliot   Composer,Sound Effects,Producer,drum programming
Hannah Neaves   Art Direction
Ellie Goulding   Composer,Producer,Art Direction
George Murphy   Engineer
Richard "Biff" Stannard   Composer,Producer
Cassandra Gracey   Art Direction
Starsmith   Producer
Jonny Lattimer   Composer,Vocal Producer
Fin Dow-Smith   Composer,String Arrangements
Mima Stilwell   Composer
Ben Baptie   Engineer
Patrick James Grossi   Composer
Joel Peters   Assistant Vocal Engineer
Rocky Morris   Composer,Instrumentation
Rufio Sandilands   Composer,Instrumentation
Steve Malcomson   Programming
Joe Kearns   Vocal Engineer,Vocal Producer

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