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Labyrinthine Heart

SleepthiefAudio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 12 Songs, 2009 $8.99  
Audio CD, 2009 $19.57  
Audio CD, 2009 --  

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 31, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: 2009
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Neurodisc
  • ASIN: B002HWUU9K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,583 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Here I Confess
2. World Gone Crazy
3. Skimming Stones (Reprise)
4. Labyrinthine Heart
5. A Kind of Magic
6. A Cut from the Fight
7. Rainy World
8. Ariadne (The Dividing Sea)
9. Reason Why
10. Fire King
11. Reversals
12. I Know There's Something Going On

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of 2009 September 3, 2009
By Tim
Format:MP3 Music
The original Sleepthief album was an intriguing blend of electronica and female vocals, similar in style to Delerium and Balligomingo. Each track had a different vocalist, and the result was spellbinding. That CD didn't leave my player for weeks and I still listen to it occasionally. A few of the songs sounded a bit "cluttered" to me - too many things happening at once, so while I loved the album, I felt there was room for improvement.

Three years later and we have "Labyrinthine Heart," the sophomore album from Sleepthief. I can't even begin to discuss how fantastic this album is. Gone are any traces of "clutter," and here we have proof that Sleepthief has realized its own sound. If forced to describe it using other artists, I would say it's like Delerium marrying Enya, honeymooning in classical England, but stopping briefly in the 80's to grab a few synthesizer effects. Almost all tracks have ridiculously beautiful multi-tracked vocal harmonies, allowing every vocalist to showcase his or her voice to the best of its abilities. This is one of the first albums in the different-vocalist-on-every-song electronica genre which feels like a cohesive piece of work rather than a mish-moshed collaboration fest.

The new album is much less "dancy" as the predecessor, and in place of such upbeat tracks are more sweeping/filmic/classical pieces. Many of them have minimal percussion, the beat being kept by strings and electronic pulses. Opener "Here I Confess" immediately displays this new style, with Joanna Stevens' heavenly vocals supported by a majestic orchestral backdrop.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relax, it really is as good as the first one.....!! August 25, 2009
Format:Audio CD
I won't pretend I wasn't a touch apprehensive, as a debut album the quality of The Dawnseeker was always going to be a tough act to follow, as like the first Conjure One and Balligomingo releases it is up there in my top 10 favourites ever and whilst I do love both their 2nd albums they never quite reached the same soaring heights but Labyrinthine Heart could well be joining the Dawnseeker up there pretty soon. The digipak packaging with it's atmospheric 'Amadeus' inspired images a perfect introduction to the music.

Both Joanna Steven's tracks with their multi-layered vocals have such a wonderful Celtic, Enya-like, quality to them and are so sweeping you'd think there was a full orchestra in the studio, 'Here I Confess' is so very lush and 'Ariadne' is equally haunting. Knowing 'World Gone Crazy' so well by now I was expecting it to stand out so much but it fits right in there as a stirring segue to 'Skimming Stones (reprise)' where the addition of classical guitar and the interplay between the guitar, piano and harp is genious - with the angelic choral vocals this has the feeling of a classic Christmas song almost. Next two tracks are my favourites - the title track with Jody Quine is both moving and evocative with the koto and melancholic violin and Zoe Johnston's voice on 'Kind of Magic' as always is so beautiful and haunting. Consequently I wasn't expecting the Yazoo/Trans X stylings and live drums of `Cut From the Fight' but it's amazing to hear Kristy Thirsk deliver this slice of 80's dare I say 'pop'? It certainly snapped me out of my reverie.... 'Rainy World' is so lyrical and almost like a Parisian tango with the accordion and strings passages.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I was a big fan of Sleepthief's first album, The Dawnseeker, because it was an excellent combination of haunting and stirring music that seemed to seize your emotions and take you on a ride. And the lyrics - if this album were an instrumental, it would stand on its own but the inclusion of some of the most amazing (and yet unheard of) female vocalists made The Dawnseeker stand out as an amazing album and placed Sleepthief in the realm of Delerium and Conjure One.

So naturally, I was fearful of the sophomore slump with Labyrintine Heart. However, where most musicians would have taken this opportunity to feel like they need to "dumb down" their music, Justin Elswick did the exact opposite: he made it more complex, rich and the result is blissful.

As for the vocalists, Elswick kept Jody Quine, who literally made my jaw drop on The Dawnseeker for two songs, showing how much of a treasure she is with her unnatural voice and how clean and precise it is. It's like a lyrical scalpel. Elswick also kept longtime trance vocalist/musician Kirsty Hawkshaw, who seemingly can do no wrong, and whose voice ages like fine wine and shows us how special she is. "Skimming Stones" was a song that makes you want to fall in love with her voice. I have a soft spot in my heart for the underappreciated musicians in Zoe Johnston and Caroline Lavelle, which every serious music lover should rush out to buy their albums. Rainy World with Lavelle was an amazing song. As for Zoe Johnston, any album with her vocals is a delicious treat. And her duet with Coury Palermo even worked out well in a genre that doesn't favor male vocalists.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars 2nd Effort not nearly as good as first.
I LOVED Dawnseeker and still do all these years later. It was beautiful. Labyrinthine Heart seems forced, unoriginal, dull, boring.
Published 12 months ago by James VeShancey
5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL
I have several CDs from Sleepthief, this music is easy listening with a zip. Lovely voices sing to orchestral pieces that will float you away. I use this one in my massage work.
Published 22 months ago by Michele R. Mather
4.0 out of 5 stars I Love This Style of Music
Sleepthief came to me years ago as I was seeking companion music to my Conjure One/Delerium collection. This is pretty music. Read more
Published on June 28, 2012 by Gary J. Figueroa
5.0 out of 5 stars Love at first listen!
I was listening to an internet station yesterday when Eurydice came on, I couldn't check for who it was fast enough!!! Read more
Published on February 22, 2012 by Lau-less 1
2.0 out of 5 stars Reminds Me Of Delerium's "Chimera" Album, Which Is Not A Good Thing
What a terrible follow up to a solid album. "Dawnseeker" had at least 6 very good songs (Eurydice, Desire of Ages, Just Say It, The Chauffeur, Sublunar, and The Metro) but... Read more
Published on January 24, 2011 by Anticlimacus
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent, not as good as first
I absolutely loved the first album. Unfortunately, I wasn't as pleased with this one. I'm not sure I can pinpoint why - more of a gut feeling type of thing. Read more
Published on October 3, 2010 by David Markowitz
5.0 out of 5 stars To know this man is to respect and admire him. This work is brilliant...
I will freely admit: I'm just shy of being a Justin Elswick groupie. Justin is one of the most talented, gracious, down-to-earth musicians I've ever had the pleasure to know. Read more
Published on April 21, 2010 by M. Hargreaves
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing album!
Back in 2006 the world was introduced to a wonderful music project called "Sleepthief" and it's talented creator, Justin Elswick. Read more
Published on April 5, 2010 by Michele J. Raffaele
3.0 out of 5 stars Delerium knock-off aims for the stars, falls short, but not without...
Tracing the heritage of Sleepthief is not difficult to do: Inspired by Balligomingo, which was inspired by Delerium, which let's be honest, is inspired by the Grandaddy of them... Read more
Published on February 23, 2010 by Daniel Sweeney
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece of Symbolism and Ancient Mythology with a Modern Twist
Sleepthief... just the name alone evokes mystery and the secrets of a timeless wisdom. But who is the man behind the title? Read more
Published on February 19, 2010 by Allen
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