Songs of the Alchemist
All Music Guide Alex Henderson BARNES & NOBLE The term electronica has, in the '90s and 2000s, been used to describe a wide variety of electronic music; electronica could be anything from the most harsh and abrasive techno to something as hauntingly ethereal as Aurah's Songs of the Alchemist. This ambient disc is far from abrasive; Marc Dold and Judith Martin (who comprise the duo Aurah) show listeners how dreamy electronica can be. Dold and Martin wear different hats on this material, some of which features Martin on lead vocals and some of which is instrumental. In addition to singing, Martin provides synthesizers and flute; Dold, meanwhile, helps with the synthesizers and contributes acoustic guitar, bass, violin, and percussion. Some electronica experts might wonder whether a CD that uses so many acoustic instruments is really electronica -- if an album is only partly programmed instead of totally programmed, should it still be called electronica? In Aurah's case, yes. The synthesizers are quite prominent, and they are an integral part of the sound that Martin and Dold bring to ambient, atmospheric tunes like 'Dreams Come True' and 'I Can See.' Those are among the tracks that feature Martin on lead vocals; the instrumentals are equally noteworthy, and some of them incorporate elements of Spanish flamenco and North African music. Songs of the Alchemist was inspired by the work of Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, who is best-known for his book The Alchemist. But one doesn't have to be familiar with Coelho's writing to appreciate Aurah's CD. Regardless of how much one knows -- or doesn't know -- about Coelho's work, Songs of the Alchemist stands on it's own as an appealing example of electronica's calmer, more peaceful side. MUSICDISH.COM By: Ben Ohmart Aurah has bridged whatever gap remained between pop and electronica music. Their laid back blend of lite melody and night charm have landed them at the top of the heap. You may've already heard their pieces on the top shows: Charmed, Felicity and Sex in the City. There's a reason. What do these shows have in common? The symbol sex and the sex symbol. Head straight for the rich FM easy listening sound of 'Sand Beneath My Feet' and you'll hear what happens when Manhattan Transfer and Spyro Gyra meet the healing dreams ofDean Evenson. Explaining the opening track, 'One Night,' Aurah says, 'Everything is possible at the beginning of a journey just like on a blank page. All we have to do is allow ourselves to be open and willing to experience what might happen if we let go.' Not repetitious Myst game looping music. Not swirling soundtracks filled with John Barry-inspired bland instrumentals. Often Aurah turns toward the sharp edge of progressive rock, as the 6 minute 'The Phoenix' shows judicially. Frankly, it is a brilliant album, inspired by the best-selling book The Alchemist by Brazilian author Paul Coelho. Judith Martin and Marc Dold are the players of this mostly instrumental CD. It is strictly wonderful, and for a change these two deserve all the success heaped upon them. Lavishly produced, it will take your breath away like mystic incense, and will turn your household into a sensual resting place. NEW WITCH MAGAZINE, Illinois May 2003 SONGS OF THE ALCHEMIST Sounds like a recipe for disaster, as far as I was concerned. An album of electronica about a book I've never heard of is not exactly the sort of thing that fills me with great optimism for it's excellence. Good thing I was wrong, huh? Aurah's Songs Of The Alchemist is a brilliant, beautiful voyage through music, spirituality and literature, and definitely worth checking out. Aurah is essentially a duet between Judith Martin and Marc Dold, who may not be household names, but you've probably heard their work. Dold is a record producer whose credits include Enya's 'Only Time'. Martin is a studio vocalist who has CDs to her own credit as well as having done vocal work on TV shows like 'Sex In The City.' Together, their alchemy produces Aurah, whose melodic work is head and shoulders above the morass of boring, repetitious electronica. Aurah took their inspiration from the best-selling work by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist. I admit I've never read this book; I also admit, cheerily, that Aurah's musical tribute to it makes me want to, very much. The CD captures the exploratory, spiritual, and brave themes that seem to weave their way through Coelho's work. The production and engineering on the CD is exquisite. Unlike many electronica works, there are acoustic instruments used; and instead of being buried in the mix, they're given prominence, so that you can hear the vibrating strings of the acoustic guitar clearly. Vocals are at a perfect level to be heard without being either lost or overemphasized. Dold's production is clear, simple and crystalline, letting the music speak for itself. The musicianship is competent to excellent; nothing disrupts you from the total experience of the music. Tracks worth noting include the serene 'One Night,' the CD's opener; the haunting 'Crazy'; and the triumphantly joyous 'Dreams Come True.' Aurah's Songs Of The Alchemist is a definite must-have for fans of the elctronica genre. RATING: A MIDWEST RECORD RECAP Feb 2003 Chris Spector, A pair of commercial smarties that have done well for many others have decided to go their own way and do it for themselves. Taking their riff from the best selling alt. Chick bock as their launch pad, this is a sprightly impressionistic set that grabs the ear nicely and pulls you into the same styled web they created for Enya and Celine Dion as well as 'Sex and the City'. Tasty set that seems primed to be the left field, underground hit of the season NEXUS MAGAZINE, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming Feb 2003 SONGS OF THE ALCHEMIST Based on Paulo Coelho's best-selling book, the transformative music of SONGS OF THE ALCHEMIST by Aurah (2003 Very Music) frees the imagination by interweaving lavish vocal textures and insightful lyrics with scintillating sound layers and exotic accents from around the world. Gorgeous and enlightening CD! SONGS OF THE ALCHEMIST Music artists are influenced by the everyday elements and experiences of the life around them. Usually they are quick to name similar sounding artists as their music influences. In the case of artists AURAH, Judith Martin and Marc Dold, they will tell you that Paulo Coelho is their main influence in their latest release. You may ask, 'who is Paulo Coelho?' To millions of people around the world he is best known as the author of the International Best Selling book, The Alchemist. AURAH was inspired and has taken the influence and power of the messages in the book to create their own work which can best be described as a 'soundtrack to real life.' Their new CD, Songs Of The Alchemist, brings together their own beautifully crafted, internationally flavored organic electronica music with their gift of non-traditional songwriting. Their image generating orchestral style brings to life the reflectionary and meditational ideas captured in the pages of the book. For example in the single Dreams Come True, Judith Martin and Marc Dold capture the daydreaming fantasy of the boy in the story who seeks his treasure and desire for a new adventurous life. While in Crazy, they musically portray the moments of loneliness and self doubt the boy feels about continuing on his quest to realize his dream. Finally in One Night, AURAH not only communicates the tone of the character in the book but for us as well. A challenge to explore everything in your life. Dare to go somewhere or do something that you have never done before. Even though you wouldn't recognize him walking down the street, Marc Dolds' creativity as a producer has given Enya and Celine Dion each a number one hit, Only Time and A New Day Has Come. Peter Gabriel and Orgy are also among the ones Dold among other producers helped in their efforts to bring their music to their audience. Judith Martin and Martin Dold are extremely rare and unique artists. Not solely from a musical point but that they live the philosophies they have learned and preach. Look within yourself to find what's missing in your life. Instead of judging or limiting yourself, understand that life is a journey. Go explore it!