Artist: Kirsty Hawkshaw
Title: Meta-Message
Label: Nettwerk Productions
By: Simon Jones | 11 October 2005
  1. Kirsty Hawkshaw - Just Be Me
  2. Kirsty Hawkshaw - Fine Day (James Holden Mix)
  3. Kirsty Hawkshaw - Reach For Me
  4. Delerium - Nature's Kingdom
  5. Tiesto - Walking On Clouds
  6. Tiesto - Battleship Grey
  7. Lange - Sincere For You
  8. Hybrid - Blackout
  9. DJ Sam - Split
  10. Kirsty Hawkshaw - All I Want
  11. Kirsty Hawkshaw - Beautiful Danger (Future Funk Squad Mix)
  12. Slovo - Whisper

Kirsty Hawkshaw "Meta-Message"Kirsty Hawkshaw "Meta-Message"

Out Now on Nettwerk Productions

From her early days as the lead singer of Opus III, through to collaborations with Drum Club, Orbital, Spooky, Steve Hillage and Global Communication, Kirsty Hawkshaw's name has been a mainstay in the music scene for well over the last decade. With the aforementioned collaboration with Global Communication leading to Marc Pritchard producing much of her 'On Ultimate Things' solo album (undoubtedly some of her most personal work to date), her career has continued to progress.

With the past few years having seen her work with a who's who of artists and collaborators, 'Meta-Message' is in some ways a retrospective of this work, but at the same time focuses on her work as a solo artist in her own right. With the album opening with the original version of 'Just Be Me', Kirsty's ongoing partnership with the Judie Tzuke has created another dramatic yet heartfelt song, and it's worlds apart from the "cover version" by DJ Tiesto, with the subdued grooves and backing instrumentation really drawing out the full potential of the lyrical content.

'Fine Day' of course needs no introduction, and James Holden's reinterpretation of the track is still one of his finest pieces of work. With the original now well over a decade old, it's inclusion in a way serves as the prelude to this retrospective of Kirsty's extensive body of work, and this excellent remix more than earns it's right to be included here.

'Reach For Me' is the first of several new tracks exclusive to the album and highlights a side of Kirsty's ability that casual fans may not even be aware. A catchy ballad built around some solid live bass and drums give the track a contemporary feel and it's little surprise that this has been used as the lead single for the album.

Collaborations with Delerium and Tiesto fill out the centre of the album, contrasting tempos placing focus on the diversity of Kirsty's ability as a vocalist, with the mellow ambience of 'Nature's Kingdom' and 'Battleship Grey' sitting comfortably alongside the driving dancefloor beats of 'Walking On Clouds' and Lange's hugely popular 'Sincere For You'.

The final quarter of the album holds some stunning downtempo moments, Hybrid's 'Blackout' still undoubtedly one of the best tracks Kirsty has put her name to, the cinematic arrangements and emotional strings still managing to send a shiver down the spine. This is followed by three brand new tracks. 'Split' is a collaboration with Belgium's Mr Sam, it's trip hop style beats and evocative piano solos creating a beautiful chilled out backdrop over which Kirsty sings in an almost acapella style that is truly mesmerizing.

'All I Want' is a definite high point of the album, as this long awaited collaboration with Hybrid (who produced the track) finally makes it's appearance. As one might expect, it's a track of grand magnitude, big piano solos and a superb free flowing vocal performance cementing it's status as yet another potential future classic in Kirsty's long running career, and with the sublime 'Beautiful Danger' and Slovo's 'Whisper' bringing the album to close, we are given time to reflect upon the last 70 minutes of music communicated through 'Meta-Message'.

My own reflection is that throughout the album, Kirsty Hawkshaw communicates a predominant message, one of a dedicated artist with creative depth and musical diversity who can traverse the genre divide with relative ease. Be you a fan of her dancefloor work or someone with a deeper appreciation of her career over the years, 'Meta-Message' is much like chapter one of an autobiography, that documents the past, and offers a prelude to the future that lies ahead.

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