This incredible theme album focuses on ice-covered parts of the globe – the Arctic, Anarctica, Greenland, and the remote northern parts of Norway. The compositions and orchestral mixes embody the frozen splendor of the landscapes.

The instrumentation is a mix of traditional instruments blended with synthesizer. Title Track 1 – Arctic Sunrise opens with a stately piano theme backed with warm strings punctuated with soft gongs. Track 2 – Ice Kingdom begins with a gentle string introduction featuring violinist Wilfred Sassen and celloist Joep Willems. Twinkly synthetic ice bells add sparkle to the mix as the piano adds more melodic material. This number is elegant and restrained.

Track 3 – Far Away from Home is a tribute to Captain Scott and the team he led to Antarctica and the South Pole in 1911. They reached the Pole but perished on the return journey. The music moves through different parts of this exploratory voyage. It captures the nobility and strenuousness of the trek into the perils of the southern-most continent as well as the team’s tragic end. Tubular bells are again used to punctuate the melodic themes.
Track 4 – Norway is a low-key song with a distinctive melody first expressed by the piano. As the theme is developed it becomes more romantic and lush. Track 5 – Drifting Ice may be familiar to listeners as it’s received some air play. It’s an accessible piece with a finely balanced orchestral mix. Track 6 – Aurora Sky features an ambient-space introduction that unfolds into a string section theme. Kerani provides a wordless vocal track that adds to the haunting feeling of the song.

Track 7 – Discovery is a more up-tempo selection with a slightly funky rhythm-and-bass bed. Track 8 - Spirit of the Last Wilderness opens with a quiet spoken-word introduction. The piano supplies the role of percussion with a light ostinato. The melodic theme returns to the stately, elegant feel of the first track, making this a suitable conclusion to the album.

Other musicians include Jan Mertens on flute, Lars Wachelder on horn, and Romain van Beek on guitar.

This CD is reminiscent of the soundtrack for the Ridley Scott film "Prometheus.” Kerani achieves a sensitive blend of melody and harmonic movement as well as a good balance of instruments and synthesizer. This will appeal to those who prefer live musicians rather than strictly synthetic music. The judicious addition of various bells in the background add to the icy feel of the music without ever feeling intrusive. This is a terrific concept album from a female composer – I’m glad to see more and more worthy material being released by women in the genre.

Arctic Sunrise features incredibly beautiful and evocative music. Some of the songs would work well for processions (investitures and initiations). The music conveys the feeling of the unexplored, mostly inaccessible frozen wilds that will appeal to pagans who have polar bears and other arctic animals as totem spirits. The wonderful melodies and orchestral blend are top notch. Highly recommended!

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Kerani
Kerani, 2014
8 tracks, approx 58 minutes
MP3 download $8.99
Audio CD $11.91.
Available at CDBaby, Amazon, Cduniverse, Greatindie, and Tradebit in the US.