Stemming from mutual careers rich in outstanding work, Immortal Memory confirms Irish composer Patrick Cassidy’s profound knack to weave subtle, dramatic arrangements around vocalist Lisa Gerrard’s instinctual ability to evoke authentic feeling. Sung in ancient Gaelic and Aramaic (the language spoken by Jesus), Immortal Memory is a captivating score distinguishing the accomplished craft of two of the most prolific forces in music today.
Gerrard first met Cassidy while working in Los Angeles on the soundtrack for Gladiator. Cassidy, a “national treasure,” is the composer of a number of full-length albums and various film scores of his own, notably, Hannibal and Broken Harvest. The two kept in touch and planned to eventually work together. When the pair discovered a shared two-month break, they reconvened at Gerrard’s rural Australian studio and began to record. The result is Immortal Memory, a considerable movement in the greater picture of their careers.
Drawing on thematic elements that recall her work with Dead Can Dance and her award-winning soundtrack compositions, including the Gladiator, The Insider, Ali, Whale Rider soundtracks, Immortal Memory is accessible and somewhat familiar, but it is not overdone. Sweeping string arrangements, tantric vocal arias and an emotive ambience secure the album inthe realm of the operatic. But Gerrard’s collaboration with Cassidy and their stunningly orchestrated synth-instrumentals arguably make this creation timeless.
Gerrard’s deep contralto steps in and out of haunting, dramatic sequences like a voice from the past. It’s as if her soul is singing. The impression is understated, moving and often emotional. Immortal Memory moves through itself effortlessly, a reckoning of innate ideas and ancestral themes with a mysterious and unknown spirit. At times mystical — even holy — Immortal Memory is not, however, a symphonic litany or psalm. It is a gentle reminder of our fragile human condition as we all struggle to find peace and understanding in our daily lives.
Gerrard has said, “Through the surrender of mind and flesh we find sacrifice. Through sacrifice we understand our birthright; the ability to love absolutely.” Immortal Memory is a sensitive exploration of that which is universally shared: life, love and loss. It aims to interpret that bridge between what is certain and what is unknown, and it simply and beautifully chronicles the ambiguity of life itself.