In Worlds Apart, the sophomore release for electronic duo Robert Smith and Billy Walters, better known as Blue Stone, you get an album of soundscapes that do more than please the ear and the addition of Sheyenne Rivers, Samantha Sandlin, and Maura Hurly, soft emotive feminine vocals that blend with the instrumentation and also call to something deeper than the ear. The album follows up their critically acclaimed debut release, Breathe, an album that topped many year-end 'best of' lists focusing on the electronic genre.
Don't let the use of the word electronic confuse you, Worlds Apart is not a synth heavy, beat-pounding, dance club album. It is synthesized, but in a New Age, mellow, tickle every sensation way. A glance at the track list and you begin to imagine just how atmospheric it really is. With titles like "Waters Flow," "Lost Sun," "Dreamcatcher," "Envy," and "Flood" you might guess there is something raw and natural about it as well. As the first track flows from your speakers, it will become obvious how true that is.
The opening track "Set Adrift" sets the tone for the album, and is the quintessential example of how telling the song titles are. It's not dependent on any distinct lyrics, but the rolling chimes, and effects give the impression of a light breeze and a floating. It opens up to the higher toned notes of Samantha Sandlin's voice and a primal earthy drum beat and gives way to something full, rich, and full of character. If you take the time to really listen and pick apart every sound going on, you see just how layered and deep it is, but it's blended so well that it can play in the background and have a calming, soothing effect on the listener.
In much the same way "Waters Flow" translates beyond the sounds you hear and becomes more an experience of sensation. You can not only hear the water flowing but feel it roll over your flesh as both a trickling stream and a rushing waterfall. And so it goes. Worlds Apart on a whole is an album that opens up the listener to something more than what you hear in traditional genres. In many ways it crosses and blurs the lines of those genres and takes music back to its most primal existence, yet enhances it with the technology available today. It's as much about the electronic technology as it is the tribal drums and haunting vocal offerings.
Both as a calming background and as an intricate listening experience, given your mood at the moment, Blue Stone's Worlds Apart is an exceptional addition to your music collection. The album also comes in a deluxe version that offers a second disc, a DVD featuring a video to the song "Worlds Apart (Search for You)" and a twenty minute telling "behind the scenes" look at Blue Stone and the making of the album.