ES Posthumus’ debut CD, Unearthed, is a collection of world orchestral dance electronica, not foo far from the territory pioneered by groups like Enigma and Deep Forest. E.S. Postumus manages to top both these predecessors with convincing orchestral writing, dynamic percussion work and creative synth work.
While Enigma’s best-known work combines gregorian chant with dance electronica, and Deep Forest explores world music in an electronica context, E.S. Posthumus draws on romantic influences, like the choral work of Verdi and Orff. The use of a full choir and orchestra on some tracks lends an emotional depth to the pieces that is missing in many of these blends. Because of the eclectic influences that E.S. Posthumus draws upon, you never know what’s going to pop up in a song, or what direction that the tracks may veer off into.
The most exciting tracks on the CD are ones that combine full orchestra, choir, rock rhythm section and electronic effects. The resulting sound is huge and unexpected.
Harappa puts dance percussion and electronic effects, didgeridoo, orchestral strings and choir together, giving the music a massive cinematic scope.
Ebla has the feel of a romantic homophonic choral work, sounding at first like something from a late 19th century reqiuem. That is, until the Bonham-style rock drums and synths come in.
One of the highlights of the CD, Nara, begins with a lyrical orchestral section in waltz time, building intensity until the end of the track, where it makes a shift into more of a world music feel.
The final track, Isfahan, provides a pastoral ending to the CD. It starts with relaxed percussion and some synth drones, and then moves into choral string writing. The string work has the gentle feel of some of John Barry’s later soundtrack work. Halfway through the track, the choir joins in, building the final track to a satisfying climax before dying back down to slow percussion.
The music on Unearthed freely mixes and matches genres, with unusual skill. In a few places places, the music feels a little constrained by the fact that the orchestral writing is locked to a metronomic tempo and relatively limited dynamic range. Nevertheless, Unearthed is an enjoyable hybrid of classical and modern influences. Fans of neo-classical blends found on many modern soundtracks and in the music of groups like Enigma will find E.S.Posthumus a compelling and interesting set of genre-bending music.
- Lepcis Magna