I am not as familiar with this album as others because it doesn't have as many standout favorites, and nearly all of the songs are supersized at 6-8 minutes. I do know that with the notable exception of Bonny Swans and perhaps Santiago, this is by and large a very slow and peaceful collection of ballads, lots of high vocals and fewer easily identified lyrics. According to The Internet, she "drew her inspiration for this album from 15th century Spain, where the cultures of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam coexisted uneasily, tied together by a common tradition of religious mysticism."
* denotes a CD highlight
* The Mystic's Dream: All kinds of musical frills from different regions and eerie instrumentals, as well as Gregorian-chant type vocals, combine for nearly 3 minutes of mysterious introduction before her voice kicks off the heart of the song with some of my all-time favorite phrasing -- "a clouded dream on an earthly night / hangs upon the crescent moon / a voiceless song in an ageless night / sings of the coming dawn." The music at this point reminds me a little of a slower Mummer's Dance. I've always linked those two in my mind as being similar.
* The Bonny Swans: Still one of my favorite songs ever -- not just of hers, but in general. Super awesome music with the rare addition of electric guitar, weird-but-cool lyrics about sororicide and dead girls avenging themselves after being turned into harps...see, if you didn't know what I was talking about, you'd want to know what kind of trippy stuff Loreena was into. But on a serious note, I always get such a triumphant thrill when it gets to "and there does sit my false sister Anne."
Dark Night of the Soul: And by the secret stair, I quickly fled -- a romantic, poetic ode to two lovers. Secret lovers. (Off on a secret mission.) (To DO IT) (I'm
* Marrakesh Night Market: Delivers what the title promises, in conjunction with the album title. "Would you like my mask / would you like my mirror..." (cries the man in the shadowy hood)
Full Circle: Another slow and frequently high register ballad; I've never been entirely sure what it's about but it brings a great sense of peace, and in perusing the lyrics and commentary now it seems.to be an appreciation for different kinds of religious devotion. The lines I remember most prominently are "elsewhere, a snow fell, the first in the winter" and the closing line, "Did you find peace there?"
Santiago: LUM LA LA LA-LA LEE / LA LA, LA-LA, LA-LA-LA-LA-LA. You feel me? (Well, you should. That's pretty much the whole song, with a few extra bars of syllables.)
Ce He Mise le Ulaingt?/The Two Trees: At 9 minutes, it's always been hard for me to keep track of what's going on in this until I realized the title indicates that there are two parts. It starts with an incredible 90-second Uillean pipes solo (or so I'm told that's what the instrument is) and then calms down into the part I forgot, a Yeats poem. Said poem and I have not yet bonded, in part because I have not yet looked up the words. I hope one day this changes. It works as part of the CD, though, as it's very calming.
Prospero's Speech: I have a really hard time remembering this because all the words blur together (also I had no idea what the speech was or was from prior to 5 seconds ago), but I'm fairly sure this is the best Prospero has ever sounded.
Stay tuned for the fifth, final and favorite album, coming soon to a queue near you!