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The New York Room started out as the project of Matthew Ervin in 1991 and while Matthew remains the anchor of the project it has grown to include a number of other members, musicians and vocalists.  After teaching himself to play various instruments and creating his own music he started putting together tracks for the first album simply titled 1991-1995.  A few years and several different band members later, the second album The Colour of Midnight was released which featured the growing and evolving sound of the band.  As more vocalists and band members would come and go, Matthew resigned to the fact that The New York Room would be an ongoing collaboration with many different artists.  2005 saw the release of Courtesan, another excellent work that shows the excellent talents of all involved.  Continuing to explore and create new music, 2006 saw the release of a thematic holiday album titled Ghosts of Christmas Past which features 10 tracks, five tradiational and five original pieces.

The style of this band is impossible to pigeonhole or to describe very well as they cross many genre lines.  The easiest way to describe them is a crossover of goth, ethereal, trip-hop, electronica and dreampop.  Similar bands include Chandeen, Delerium, The Cocteau Twins and the newly discovered similar project Sleepthief.  Contributors over the last couple of years include (among others) Cara Leiurence, Matt Lund, Leslie Boughton, Amy Kozack, Aziza Poggi, Debra Netz and Sara Delinger among others.

A very detailed and in depth history and biography can be found on the band's website, as well as the latest news and further information.  Be sure to drop in and read more about this project and listen to their tracks on the Gothic Paradise radio shows.



1991-1995 - Review

Even though it's been over a decade since this album was released, Matthew was kind enough to send us a copy of this album which I've fallen in love with as if it were released yesterday, and for me and many readers and listeners, it's as good as new and time for the exposure it deserves. This album definitely has a darker gothic approach than the latest works and is beautiful and captivating. The disc contains nearly two dozen tracks for a regular gothic symphony with spellbinding compositions and Michelle Graf lending her haunting vocals.

The album flows so smoothly from one track to the next beginning with "Religion (theme 1)" fading perfectly into "The days of wine & roses" and on to the first vocal track "Maria". All of this has a dark orchestrated feeling to it, though this track and others still keep a dreampop and ethereal feeling to it with Michelle's vocals. We drift along through haunting piano, tantalizing synthesizers, moving beats and soothing vocals.

Though the entire album is captivating, I still have some favorites. Because there are so many tracks I'll just touch on these and leave it to the reader to seek out, listen and enjoy this excellent work. The whole emotional nature of the compositions of this entire work are a definite plus to this album through the introductory tracks and on to "The Mists of Avalon" which is an ethereal masterpiece with hauntingly beautiful vocals soaring over layers of misty piano and somber electronics including some wind in the background for added effect. The introductory piano of "Raven" is entirely captivating and provides a beautiful beginning to this split-tempo piece, the first half is this ethereal beauty and then it breaks out into a somber gothic piece with guitar and background symphonic synths. "Blue Dahlia" is another mid-tempo gothic-ethereal masterpiece with excellent reverberating guitar and mid-tempo percussion providing the backdrop for the angelic vocals. When I first heard "Ethereal Gloom" I was immediately enthralled by this surprisingly dance-friendly piece which ventures more into the realm of female-fronted gothic rock with some solid backing electronics, a moving beat and of course, the prominent siren-like vocals. This piece definitely stands out as a favorite on this album and will be a classic from this group and an excellent twist in variety from this otherwise mostly somber and ethereal project.

As the album moves on, we're taken on something of a geographical and timeless journey through the land of the gypsies and on through the middle east on tracks like "Veils of Baghdad", "The Seventeen-Year-Locusts" and "Minion of the Gypsies", each captivating in their own way and bringing a different feel to the album, out of the gothic realms and into the various ethnic and medieval sounds. As the album starts to wind down, so does the intensity and the tempo as we drift back into some more haunting and spellbinding pieces that slowly wander through an ethereal and dreamy world of angels, sirens and mystical magic. This is an excellent album that should not be missed and that should belong in every collection of anyone that enjoys any of the various ethereal and softer gothic genres out there.

Rating: 5/5



The Colour of Midnight - Review

This is another album that was released several years ago, but to me and many readers and listeners is brand new and never before heard. This album captures more than a dozen pieces of dark, ethereal beauty, this time with Sara Dellinger lending her siren-like vocals for Matthew's captivating music compositions.

We begin simply enough with "Season in Hell" and "Prelude" mixing seemlessly, forming the introduction to this album and flowing right into the dreamy piece "The Anatomy of Melancholy" which is perfectly named and lends a mood-setting ambience to the album. However, once we hit the french version of "Les Portes Du Ciel", my heart nearly stopped with the soft reverberating guitar, absolutely stunning synths and soft, lush, dreamy vocals (the english version follows later as a finale to the album). The music in itself is spellbinding and I just find myself stopping whatever else I might be doing to listen to this piece in detail without interuption. The english version for me stands out more because I can obviously understand it better, but the universal language of music speaks volumes in and of itself. I don't know that I could say enough about the beauty that is portrayed in this piece.

I could leave the review at that and be content. However, there is still much more to this album, despite how much that single piece means to me. In fact, the next piece "Long Slow Waves of Colour" picks up the beat and pace a bit, but just gradually, still presenting that lilting guitar over the percussion and as a backdrop for the soft vocals. But it's "Danse Macabre (Solstice Mix)" that adds some pulsating electronics and picks up the intensity a bit that yanks the listener out of the ethereal dream and into the captivating, but brooding darker gothic world with this excellent piece. Most of the rest of the album moves along in a dreamy haze, with a few exceptions, but I think it's worth making special mention of the outstanding cover of "Paint it Black" done in only the way these artists can pull it off. This piece in itself isn't something that goths around the world will jump up and cheer for, but the way this cover comes off, it easily could be in this light, it fits so well. The album continues on through various ups and downs, all excellent pieces that will remain strong the the test of time. Then we start to come to the end with a beautiful opera piece "O' Mio Babbino Caro" which many readers will be familiar with from other renditions over the years, and finally to the french version of "Lament" closing the "official" tracks on the album, leaving us with the bonus pieces of english version of "The Gates of Heaven" and "Lament" for a perfect ending to a perfect album. Now I just lament that I never picked this up over a decade ago... don't delay, it's lovely and you won't regret it.

Rating: 5/5



Ghosts Of Christmas Past - Review

Just before Christmas time I begin the long and hard search for new and interesting seasonal works.  In years past this search has revealed such gems as the Excelsis albums along with a handful of a few other rarities.  The winter of 2006 was another great year as just days before Christmas I picked up this album from The New York Room. The genres this band explores are perfect for the holiday season, adding a slightly darker and melancholy feel that the winter cold brings to the overall mood offset by Christmas cheer, the tracks on this disc are excellent.

This dark and moody feeling really comes out from the very first piece "Silent Night" with the minor-key tones softly resonating through the synths and vocals.  The dreamy ambience is spellbinding and uplifting as we drift through a number of favorite traditional tunes including favorites "In The Bleak Midwinter", "O' Come All Ye Faithful" and "Welcome Christmas".  A definite favorite is the version of "The First Noel" which is very similar to a version that I love to play which is based on Pachelbel's "Canon in D".  Of course each of these pieces are classics on their own, but coupled with the music and vocal talents contributed on this album, it's really a precious gem.

Besides these traditional pieces, the original compositions "In Winter", "All Through The Night", "Winter Gardens", "December 24th" and "En Hiver" are all excellent pieces.  The instrumental piece "December 24th" is captivating in it's own rite, yet when you throw into the mix "In Winter" and the others with the vocal arrangements they really leave you breathless.  This is a really great album for anyone to add to their collection, so be sure to pick it up for next Christmas!

Rating: 4.5/5



Courtesan - Review

There are countless pop acts that try to capitalize on beautiful voices, but few can captivate and hold a listener like those in the gothic and ethereal genres. With this album, though remaining true to their overall style and refusal to be categorized, the music still falls well within the realms of these genres and is completely captivating.  With fourteen tracks and over an hour of this great music on this album, there's plenty here to enjoy.

The album is one dreamy piece after another, drifting from somber ambience to upbeat, dream-pop sounds.  "I Wear Your Ring" starts of the album in full grace and beauty with slowly building synths and the haunting beauty of Cara's vocals.  Then right on cue we're presented with a fun, upbeat dreamy piece that any Cocteau fan would love in the form of "Baby Blue".  While not every song or every transition is perfect, everything together is very close to perfection.

Along with these dreamy pieces, we're presented with music ranging from the downtempo trip-hop "Chasing the Horizon" to the edgy, driving piece "Frost At Midnight".  This latter piece slowly builds to an excellent climax through heavy percussion and grinding guitars while Tanya Smith lends her vocals to soften the edge.  Other favorites include the ethereal pieces "Inside The Dream" and "In Spite of Everything" with it's slight trip-hop style among others.  The bottom line is that this entire album is great, the content, the way it flows and the pure elegance of the music and vocalists involved.  This one comes highly recommended as a new great in the gothic, ethereal and related genres.

Rating: 4.5/5



Website:
www.thenewyorkroom.com

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