The Nine Worlds by Achillea The Nine Worlds

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Highly acclaimed co-producer and guitarist of the multi-platinum group Enigma, Jens Gad brings you a spellbinding downtempo musical odyssey into the ancient mythology of his Scandinavian homeland. He is joined by the entrancing classical vocals of Helene Horlyck, to co-create a sophisticated and hypnotic chill-out journey through "The Nine Worlds" of archaic legend. At once stirring and calming, entertaining yet relaxing, Achillea achieves a vibrantly new and hauntingly beautiful musical vision that artfully blends evocative ambient New Age atmospheres with European dance club electronica. Achillea elegantly weaves the mystery of ancient myth - a world of seers, elves, and rune masters, into a lush, richly layered sonic landscape with velvety melodies of delicately bluesy guitar playing, slow sensuous grooves and silky smooth vocals sung in Latin and ancient Swedish. Both intimate and cinematic, this uniquely transcendent masterpiece is full of deep beauty and mysterious wonder that will nourish your soul.


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 Track Title Time 
1. Achillea - Prelude 0:59
2. Ragnarok - Twilight of the Gods 5:57
3. Odin's Hill 7:09
4. The Monks of Lindisfarne 3:12
5. Cape Porcupine 4:38
6. The Seeress Prophecy (Daydreaming) 4:26
7. Land of the Elves 2:24
8. Shears from Scar 4:37
9. The Nine Worlds 3:56
10. Staraja Ladoga 5:00
11. Othila - The Rune Masters 3:03
12. Achillea - Exodus 1:19

Release date: August 1, 2005

Published Reviews
Achilleas debut album, The Nine Worlds, is the latest project of Enigma co-producer/guitarist Jens Gad. With fellow Dane, classically trained vocalist Helene Horlyck, the two give the listener and intensely beautiful, hook-laden New Age/Down-tempo European trip-hop fusion that is really a very lovely experience. The compositions have been written around Horlycks voice, whom Gad had sing improv for hours, mixing it up between ancient Swedish and Latin, which gives this album its unique and wholly enticing flavor. It is, in a word, otherworldly.blues-rooted guitars, deep, spiritual keys, and shapely, groove worthy beats, combined with Horlycks passionate vocals and amazing range evoke images of dark, ancient vistas, flowing with the watery, passionate elements of life. I have been unable to go 20 minutes in my car without putting The Nine Worlds in and being truly, utterly blissed out. This is a damn near perfect CD.
   — John Dunphy

All Music Guide
Achillea combine bluesy guitar, deep molasses grooves, and passionate vocals that form a rich tapestry of Nordic atmospheres. Formed by fellow Danes Jens Gad and Helene Horlyck, Achillea base their songs on archaic poems and mythology. Gad, who contributed to Enigma's 1991 global smash "Sadness," builds the music around Horlyck's classically trained voice, resulting in a unique sound that's equal parts precision and spontaneity. Together they created a sophisticated song cycle called The Nine Worlds, which takes the listener on a journey through the different levels of Norse mythology.
   — James Christopher Monger

Daily OM
The mastermind behind Achillea is Enigma cofounder Jens Gad, who here departs from the more uptempo dance tracks of Enigma to bring us The Nine Worlds, an excursion into the world of Nordic mythology. Helene Horlyck is on board to add ethereally beautiful vocals and Gad surrounds her with subtle beats, towering beds of synthesizer, and ambient nature (water droplets and swishing, whooshing orchestral touches that should make Enigma fans right at home, especially when they hear Gad's signature electric-guitar solos). Sung in ancient Swedish as well as other ancient languages, this is a heady concoction of fairy dust, runes, Norse gods, and fairies. Leave your inhibitions at the door and climb on board for romance and adventure.

"Ragnarok - Twilight of the Gods" is the beautiful opening track, beginning on Horlyck's long drawn-out classical vowelizing, as cascading clouds of synthesizer drone draw her out like a streak of nimbus clouds against the red of the setting sun. Things get upbeat toward the album's middle, with the slow dance-floor grooviness of "The Seeress Prophecy (Daydreaming)," over which Horlyck sings operatic high notes that soar over a midtempo beat and keyboard grooves.

The nonvocal tracks are all interesting, but it's the presence of Horlyck that elevates the music into something ethereally, intangibly lovely. Just listen to her mournful echo over the romantic strings of "Othila - The Rune Masters"; the effortlessness of Horlyck's operatic high notes and how perfectly the ambient noise of rain and waves mesh into the sounds of guitar, percussion, and synthesizer. After helping create the ambient-electronica genre with Enigma, it's clear that Gad knows what he's doing, whether perfecting the paths already traveled or striking out into bold, new mountain territory. Not unlike the fearless Vikings celebrated in the album, Achillea is no ship that passes in the night, but one that lands and takes you over, body and soul, before bringing you along on further journeys.

Steve Ryals, Nationally Syndicated Music Columnist
In all the years I've been reviewing music (now 15 and counting) one of my favorite labels has always been Sequoia Records. David and Steve Gordon have consistently released a plethora of cool music, both their own and that of numerous other artists, with dozens of titles available. In fact, the first CD I ever received and reviewed, way back in 1994, was a Sequoia release called Music of the Tarot. As if their music wasn't reason enough to celebrate them, the Gordon's also have a strong "green" ecology ethic, and it feels really fabulous to support what they do.

Having said that, I must add that they have recently stepped up their game. As evidence, I present Achillea: The Nine Worlds, by Jens Gad, who is a core member of Enigma, one of my very favorite groups of the past fifteen years. Those acquainted with Enigma's music will instantly find Gad's sound deliciously familiar. A master of the guitar as well as a studio wizard, Gad's Achillea: The Nine Worlds is gorgeous, sensuous, hypnotic, juicy and full of delightful surprises.

Signature dance rhythms, wicked bass and awesome synthesizers cage Gad's guitar. The most brilliant facet of all is the classical vocals of Helene Horlyck. Gad weaves all of these musical elements into Achillea, The Nine Worlds, a worthy addition to the library of Enigima fans, or anyone who appreciates world-beat dance grooves and musical adventures of the spirit. Free sound samples are available on Sequoia's website. Check out the whole catalog, they have much to offer the discerning listener.

Sounds From the Ground Up
The Nine Worlds caught my attention right away. Singer Helene Horlyck and producer Jens Gad draw from their shared Viking heritage to explore the stories of their ancestry in Latin and ancient-Swedish lyrics. Gad moves listeners with haunting, emotive electronica and guitar.
   — Mara Applebaum

Music Design In Review
Achillea is the new project for producer/guitarist Jens Gad, co-producer, co-writer and one of the central creative forces behind popular group Enigma (alongside Michael Cretu). For his first solo project, Gad presents an atmospheric album of tunes themed after Danish myth. Enigma fans should definitely take note, as there are many common denominators between both groups: the same laid-back "Enigma-style" beats, Gregorian chant, whispery vocals and Gad's signature electric guitar. Achillea differs by offering an album steeped in dreamy ambience. This album slower paced and more ethereal, making it better suited for the mind than the dance floor. Adding to the appeal is the wispy, sensual vocals of singer Helene Horlyck, who sings on many of the tracks. Serene, slightly trippy and sure to bring on a bout of Enigma nostalgia, this is a must for worldbeat/chill music fans.

Music & More
Achillea is a group whose name has crossed my desk several times and I am happy to have the chance to review. From the unearthly voice of Helene Horlyck on the opening cut Achillea Prelude the group sets the tone for a musical adventure into Norse mythological lore. Achillea has been categorized with Enigma, and though I can see the comparison and hats off to Enigma for practically creating this genre Achillea takes the elements and runs with them, bringing a sophistication to both instrumentals and vocals . . . especially to the vocals. Helene Horlyck is a marvel in the opening cut. Just when youre sure shes hit the ceiling, she soars even higher. World-beat, dance, tribal, electronica, and new age are just a few of the colors which Achillea uses in its palette to paint this successful musical offering.
   — Mark Maxwell Abushady

As a writer and co-producer with Enigma - Jens Gad (the man behind Achillea) clearly contributed much to the Enigma sound ... that sound is apparent again here on The Nine Worlds under a fresh guise. Achillea though is no pale imitation, Jens' composition methods and solo guitar techniques work along with the heavenly vocals of Helene Horlyck to give this album a distinct character whilst at the same time professionally wielding a number of the sounds and techniques that Enigma fans will instantly recognize. The singing on Nine Worlds is crystal clear, pitch perfect and of angelic range, the beats are deep, imaginative and constantly evolving and the electronics are state-of-the-art yet subtle and engrossing.

A sense of enchantment pervades Achillea as classical vocals and monks' chants embrace the theme material of Norse legends and Viking myths. There are moments swelling with beauty, heaven high in clouds of ethereal bliss and others spell-bindingly gentle, buried in magical twilight and timeless serenity. The promotional material aptly claims that this is a "sophisticated chillout journey" it is indeed emotional, uplifting, serene and sensual; Jens and Helene have certainly crafted a top quality product.

Danish artists Jens and Helene "have combined their remarkable talents to explore their Viking roots and put it in a new musical perspective". So each track on the album carries a story rooted in Viking mythology and archaic poetry. Interestingly, Jens apparently had Helene improvise for long periods in Latin and in ancient Swedish in order to develop a basis for his sensitive compositions, forming his music around the vocals. Comparisons with Enigma are inevitable, but then, there is no reason why Jens Gad should avoid using and evolving the stylistic methods that he so clearly had a large part in developing. Personally I find female vocals ideally suited to this style of music and the choice of a classically trained singer was spot on, adding to a level of professionalism that Achillea exudes from every angle.

Customer Comments

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These comments are from the Compact Disc version of the album:

Jens Gad and Helene Horlyck make a stunning duo!! Their experience in creating music with a world flavor is unparalleled and can really be seen in the blends of instruments and sounds they put into their work. Bravo! — Marty Jacobs

Enchanting and Enticing!
I guess itís been a while since I first heard this and I can say Iím just as in love today as the first time I heard it. There is a very primal feel to this, it gets in your blood and you just want more. — Cherry Dean Lansing, MI,

You have to check this out!
This is the best electronica album Iíve heard for unwinding, really cool. Another favorite that should not be missed is Amadas Estrellas Ė a latin vibe and just as breathtaking. — Scott Paine Rockford, IL,

Achillea is Enigma all grown up with more intensity and sensuality. The Nine Worlds is a work of art. — Terry Schwartzen

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