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Divine Intervention
Julia Ecklar

Divine Intervention
Julia Ecklar
Julia Ecklar has also authored several Star Trek novels, both under her own name, and co-authored under the L.A. Graf pseudonym. With Kobayashi Maru, she joined the ranks of New York Times bestselling authors. She's also featured in a guest interview for the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - The Director's Edition DVD.

Julia Ecklar Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rob Kane

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Julia Ecklar's Divine Intervention is a CD of music inspired by stories of fantasy and science fiction. Originally released in 1986, it has undergone remastering and has been recently released on CD. Additionally, three bonus tracks have been appended to the original album.

Stylistically, the album a mesh of different of different styles. Primarily folk-based, it brings in elements of rock and orchestral music. The styles mix together on the album to create a texture just right for the content.

Except for couple of instrumental pieces, Julia's voice is the dominant instrument throughout the music, and her primary accompanist is Michael Moricz on piano/keyboard. Julia's voice is full and rich, with good range. Additionally, there is a small orchestral section, primarily horns and woodwinds, used on some tracks. The orchestration makes particularly good use of the horns, often times evoking echoes of science fiction sound-tracks.

Lyrics based off fantasy and SF themes can be a bit of a mixed bag. While they can be quite good, they can often times be embarrassingly bad. Julia Ecklar's thankfully belong to the former category. This is likely because many of the songs are only somewhat abstractly or thematically linked to science fiction. Without being told, it would be nigh impossible to guess that the piece "Fallen Angel" was based on and inspired by Star Trek III. And the piece "Silver" is based around a foolish love, a fairly common theme throughout all music. There are, however, other pieces such as "Terminus Est" and "Temper of Revenge", which are more strongly linked to science fiction.

One of the strong points of the album is its consistency. Any one song is as good as the others both musically and lyrically. There is little temptation to skip past one song to listen others, making this an album that can be enjoyed from end to end.

The CD does have bit of a dark overtone to it, both lyrically and musically. A number of the songs have root in violence and death, based on such concepts as the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, or a warrior's quest to cleanse the world of evil with his sword. The instrumental accompaniment lends a suitable atmosphere to these songs, the heavy guitar on some tracks being used most effectively. Ecklar's voice itself can at at times give the music a sort of brooding or haunting overtone. To balance these darker songs are several lighter songs. Notably the comical "One Man Magical Show", a 20s style tune about a performing magician, a song playful both with its lyrics and style.

Apart from the original album, the remainder of the CD is taken up by three bonus songs. One of the three is a newly recorded piece by reunited Ecklar and Moricz. Stylistically it is similar to the other songs on the album, and quite enjoyable. The other two pieces are unreleased material from the original recording session. Both of these pieces are slightly edited instrumentals based on the songs "Temple of Revenge" and "Lullaby for a Weary World". Listening to these two pieces it is clearly evident that Julia's voice is the crucial element of the music. While the instrumentals are fine accompaniment, they are just that, and do not stand up when they are the focus of attention.

All in all it is a good disc, and holds up well over multiple listenings. Despite two somewhat lackluster tracks, the rest of the CD (and it is a full 75 minute disc) won't disappoint. For those who like to try before they buy, several of the songs can be heard at www.mp3.com/Ecklar.

Copyright © 2003 Rob Kane

Robert learned to read with a litle help from Lloyd Alexander, and he hasn't stopped reading fantasy since then. No matter how busy life gets he can always find time for a good book.


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