Kirsty Hawkshaw came to prominence as the voice and face behind the 1992 Top 5 dance classic 'Fine Day' by Opus 3 and in the aftermath of this success lent her tonsils to club and chart hits by a plethora of respected leftfield artists including Orbital, … see full wiki
The hard part about being a fan of Kirsty Hawkshaw is that she's hard to keep track of. She has only one album of original music of her own (the excellent 'O.U.T. - On Ultimate Things'), but the majority of songs featuring her lovely, ethereal voice are done as collaborations with other artists, with a fairly strong emphasis on dance music and electronica. Trying to collect all of her music can get a little expensive, which is what makes 'Meta-Message' such a wonderful find -- it collects some of the best of her collaboration songs on one album.
Many of the songs I already knew and loved are here. Kirsty's own version of DJ Tiesto's 'Just Be' leads the album off perfectly. This version is called 'Just Be Me,' and showcases a steady rhythm and upbeat tone. Next is 'Fine Day,' a complete re-imagining of Opus III's dance-hall anthem from the early 1990's, 'It's a Fine Day' -- Kirsty's new version is at once familiar and fresh. Delerium's 'Nature's Kingdom' is on this CD as well, probably one of Kirsty's sexiest songs, a sensual landscape of sound and voice. Further collaborations with Tiesto, Lange, Hybrid, and others are also included, and all are excellent.
Through it all, even with all the different musicians and styles represented, Kirsty's voice provides a common thread. Sometimes strident and powerful, sometimes sweet and whisper-soft, her vocals lend just the right tone to each song. She's the reason I got this CD in the first place, because I know her voice can make a good song into something magical, and every song on this album feels that way, for one reason or another.
Two songs deserve particular notice. I had never heard either of these before, but they struck me immediately and are now among my favorites, the ones I can listen to over and over and never tire of. The first is 'Reach For Me,' an unexpected direction in the realm of pop music, with simple lyrics and a strong tone. It's a beautiful little gem of a song, a song that can make you feel good and want to reach for the one you love.
The second standout song is 'Whisper,' the final song of the album. This is the perfect way to finish out the CD, ending with a soft rhythm and sweet words: "When I feel my world falling down, I think of you, I think of you. When I feel I can breathe no more, you speak to me, you speak to me." This is a song you can just close your eyes and listen to and imagine those closest to you, and how good it feels to be with them, and how they are there even when they're not.
In music, a voice can make all the difference...Kirsty Hawkshaw is an excellent example, a voice that can create magic in the music of others. 'Meta-Message' is a near-perfect compliation of the music she has made with other musicians, and when she says "This world will be shaken by a whisper," you'll hear exactly what she means.