I’m a sucker for lush electronica, reveling in waves and sweeps of organically inorganic sound, sonic colors alien but not unwelcome to nature.
The operatic electronica of Operatica (get it?) offers a fascinating and generally satisfying backdrop for traditional Christmas carols and hymns as sung by soprano Maureen O’Flynn. Variously produced and performed by Lord Vanger, Aaron Jaffe, Nicky Holloway, Gregg Mangiafico, Jamie Lewis, and others, “Silent Night” is otherworldly yet respectful and O’Flynn’s multitracked vocals are clear and pure.
The trip-hop take on “O Come All Ye Faithful” is less effective, feeling somewhat awkward in its attempt to force a beat on a hymn written in 1751. Vanger’s instrumental “Nutcrackeratica” is charming and one of the best nontraditional takes on Tchaikovsky’s oft-recorded suite I’ve heard.
“Deck the Hall” is sprightly but a little too flutey for my taste, a syncopated beat works surprisingly well with “What Child Is This?,” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” is pure as the driven snow. If you inclined toward electronica at all, this is a worthy addition to the Christmas canon.