|The artwork cover of Holiday on Ice' Xotika (1998).|
|René Dupéré, composer of Xotika.|
There are so many fantastic pieces on this album. For the instruments, 'Windspirits' is an ingenious piece which utilizes a sampled windpipe and crafts a whimsical arrangement around it and 'Finale' (Fire/Eroe) is a whirlwind of strings which produces a thunderous climax. 'Snow', the best of the instrumentals, is a light and gorgeous piece which incorporates an entire string orchestra for waltz which evokes romance, yearning and searching. 'Passione' is utterly stunning, beginning as a subtle paean to evolve into an amalgam of striking brass with entrancing strings topped with Velle's vocals for a phenomenal tour-de-force.
The three suites on the album showcase a variety of shorter tunes that are bound together by themes (Earth, Dance, and Freedom) and each piece unite had a standout piece. For the most part they're upbeat and vibrant, and craft quite a visual through their varied textures on their corresponding theme.
|Élise Velle, featured vocalist on Xotika. LOOKIN' CRAZY!|
Anyway, any mistake on the album is forgiven and forgotten once the middle of the album is reached. 'Femininity', which is unparalleled in terms of its complexity, melody and the emotions it evokes. Words can only describe so much, because 'Femininity' is ineffable. It is like a journey, a stunning, fantastical and lyrical journey. Velle's soaring vocals reach unbelievable heights while being backed by a medieval wood-nymph like instrumentation, evoked by flutes and harps in combination with the grandeur of a complete symphonic orchestra. The result is an indescribable joyous, magical feeling (if that's what you're thinking, yes). It's probably one of the best songs I've ever heard.
Fans of Dupéré's work with Cirque du Soleil or his signature sound, fans of Velle and cinematic soundtrack lovers will all enjoy this work. Xotika has some spectacular numbers and overall the album is a solid experience. It's a shame that more people don't know about the record and its a crime in the music world that people don't know of Dupéré in general.