Had heard the title track to this album on a radio station a few weeks back, but was driving in traffic at the time. It took a couple of days to find this album, then just had to have it.
Had never heard of Bond before (am I culturally deprived?), so cannot comment on their earlier releases, but this album knocked my socks off, so to speak. Then I played the DVD side for a close friend who sings and usually listens to female vocals. She was quite favorably impressed, and we ended up listening to the audio side of this double-sided DualDisc a few times. It became more enjoyable each time we heard it, the way we wish all albums were.
Bond is a stunningly attractive female string quartet made up of Haylie Ecker, Tania Davis, Gay-Yee Westeroff, and Eos (who has no last name). They are based in the UK, are in their mid-twenties, and each has strong classical music training (found most of this from their bios on their Website). Their music seems to be an exciting and original blend of classical, world rhythms and lively dance beats. But underneath it all, one can easily recognize that all of the members of this quartet have a deep love and understanding of classical music.
There's not a single mediocre or bad track on this album, and though some reviewers have commented that certain tracks were better on some earlier releases, this one was enough to convince this listener that purchasing more of their prior releases.
Enough said - on to the tracks.
Victory: Stunning - what a great way to start this album. Strong and brilliant, with a polished orchestral background that blends well with their strings.
Explosive: Lives up to its name - truly explosive - and wait until you see the extremely creative and original performance on the DVD side!
Fuego: Spanish for "fire," and it lives up to its title. Evocative of the Victory track, but with a faster pace.
Viva!: This track starts off with the quartet performing acoustically... and one can hear the strong Vivaldi classical base, then it gets into an almost-joyous dance remix sound. Another bonus will be when view the DVD side that opens in a bullfight arena - joyous sound.
Shine: Lovely track, slightly different from the others. Seems to have an Indian ambiance, yet is still a strong offering.
Wintersun: Fast-paced, an exciting mixture of instrumental and dance rhythm.
Scorchio: Slight break from previous tracks, and it fits in well with a strong opening then going to an easier, softer pace.
Duel: Understand that this track is a string duel" between Eos and Haylie, and it's probably one of the best tracks on this CD. Would love to see this in a video.
Gypsy Rhapsody: Lives up to its title, with a definite gypsy theme. Really rounds out this album.
Caravan: If you're a classical or jazz music listener, then you'll either love or hate their rendition of this one. This listener loved it.
Sugarplum: Young or old, you recognize their delightful adaptation from Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker." Familiar, yet original.
Carmina: Another that classical music fans will recognize, Bond's adaptation of "O Fortuna" from Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana." This was a wonderful way to end this CD, and this listener must confess to having run this track on repetitive replay on more than one occasion.
The DVD side is an excellent bonus. Ran this DVD on a variety of systems, from component surround sound to a PC equipped with surround sound software and hardware, and found the results to be quite pleasing in all instances. The music videos are outstanding, and seem to be mastered quite well. As with most Surround Sound DVDs, you will possible have to tweak your individual settings to get the most out of this disc. As they say, when it comes to stereo equipment or computer hardware, take the time to RTFM (Read That Fine Manual) - enough said on this.
There's a handy discography on the DVD side as well, handy for "Bond Newbies" like this reviewer to determine which album to purchase next.
This quartet offers the kind of music that will please many listeners from ten to those in their sixties. I know, because my 10-year-old son immediately liked most of the tracks (especially "Victory," "Viva!," "Explosive"), and he really enjoyed the music videos on the DVD side.
This is a CD that will appeal to most open-minded music fans. Check out the sample tracks here and find out for yourself, but they don't do justice to the range or quality of sound on the DualDisc CD/DVD. If you like the samples, you won't be disappointed with Bond's "Explosive."