Wednesday, September 1, 1999

Sounds of dream life

Posted By on Wed, Sep 1, 1999 at 12:00 AM

Debussy understood that a work of art, or an effort to create beauty, was always regarded by some as a personal attack.

Sometimes, music speaks for itself. Claude Debussy, the composer whose music was the articulation of things ethereal, has never really been explained musically. And where, on The Seduction of Claude Debussy, John Hurt’s narration provides borrowed insight into the life of the mysterious composer, the music is the dreamscape that guides us through realms words could never explain.

Debussy may be the musician whom the Art of Noise musicians emulate most. They have never bowed to convention and, like Debussy, their sound has never validated the established. They took both hip hop and soul music into uncharted territory with "Beat Box" and "Moments in Love." And now jungle, techno and drum ’n’ bass must answer to the group’s ethereal ethos.

The Seduction of Claude Debussy captures moments in music. It writes riffs that enrapture the right brain. It explains the life of an enigma with minimal talk. It rolls the voices of Rakim Allah, Sally Bradshaw, Carol Kenyon and Donna Lewis over hypnotic tracks like billowy clouds. It invades and, yes, seduces the psyche.

"… featuring the heart of the nineteenth century on a twentieth century sleeve with a twenty-first century gleam in the eye…," the group boasts on the CD jacket. No statement could be more true. This project marries two frames of thought, from neighboring eras, into one stream of consciousness.

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