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World Music CD Reviews North American


Published March 3, 2006

Beneath The Surface
Windham Hill/RCA Victor/BMG

Canadian composer/programmer/producer Garrett Schwarz soaks in Steve Roach, Enigma, Robert Rich, Delerium, Massive Attack and a host of gothic/ethereal vocals, and under the exotic moniker Balligomingo, debuts with Beneath The Surface. Deftly juggling electronics and vox, Schwarz offers up a worldly wall of sound, sharing and balancing ambience and percussion. The thread tying the smashie-bashie together with finesse is the predominance of female guest vocalists Jody Quine (Art Bergman, Ron Sexsmith, Kevin Quain, more) on “Purify” and “Privilege”; Cape Breton-born Colleen Coadic (“Escape”); Beverly Staunton (the Staunton Family) maxing out on “Falling,” “Beyond”, “Marooned” and “Lust”; Jennifer Hershman (a.k.a. Chic P.—worked with Gunter Schultz, KMFDM, Mark Ellis, D-Cru) crooning “Sweet Allure”; Dallas’ “Wild Butterfly” Jennifer Baldwin; Camille Miller (The Man With The Yellow Hat, Dr. Tongue, Ozone) warbling “Lost”; and Kristy Thirsk of the Rose Chronicles and [quelle surprise] Delerium, with “Heat.” Balligomingo’s dream-time sonics are augmented by acoustic guitarist/songwriter Vic Levak, string arranger Graeme Coleman and the Mark Ferris Orchestra, drummer James Kaufmann, and mixologist Greg Reely. Schwarz admits to making trip-tapes as a kid—now his Balligomingo is an adult soundtrack for those on the go.