Music: Delerium

Delerium is a Canadian musical group created by Bill Leeb in 1987, as a side project of his influential industrial music act, Front Line Assembly. The band's musical style has a broad range, from dark industrial soundscapes and ambient music, to electronic pop and trance hits. They are best known for their 1999 worldwide hit "Silence", which features vocals from Sarah McLachlan. The Tiësto remix of "Silence" has been hailed as one of the greatest trance songs of all time, over a decade after its initial release.

The band started as a duo between Leeb and fellow Front Line Assembly member Michael Balch. Their debut, Faces, Forms & Illusions, contained sample-heavy collages of industrial and dark ambient music akin to Skinny Puppy and FLA, of which Leeb and Faces collaborator Rhys Fulber were members. Fulber took over for Balch in time for Delerium's second album, Morpheus – a position he has held until the present, barring a brief absence that resulted in the 2000 album Poem, made instead by Leeb with Chris Peterson (also an FLA alum.)

Delerium's early work is considered pioneering in the field of dark ambient music. Over time, ambiance took prominence over industrial noise and voice samples from films, culminating in Spheres and Spheres II in 1994, which focused squarely on ambient music and dub techno. Sandwiched in between these albums was Semantic Spaces, the first album to feature a singer (Kirsty Thirsk, who would be credited as "The Voice of Delerium") and a sharp swerve into the realm of worldbeat and ethnic electronica. Delerium's output since 1994 has grown ever poppier, receiving comparisons to the works of Deep Forest, Future Sound of London and Enigma (Semantic Spaces even uses many of the same samples Deep Forest's debut did.) Delerium have scored a few decent radio hits since the 1997 release of Karma, with "Aria", "After All" and "Innocente (Falling in Love)" still in rotation on some pop stations.

Aside from Thirsk, Delerium features a long list of female vocalists, including Sarah McLachlan, Leigh Nash (of Sixpence None The Richer), Elsieanne Caplette (of Elsiane), Lisa Gerrard (sampled only), Jaël (of Swiss band Lunik), Camille Henderson, Nerina Pallot, Emily Haines (of Metric), Jacqui Hunt (of Single Gun Theory), Isabel Bayrakdarian, Shelley Harland and Mediæval Bæbes. Male featured vocalists include Matthew Sweet, Greg Froese, Michael Logen and Leeb himself.

Although it may be argued that Front Line Assembly has the largest cult following of all of Leeb and associates' projects, Delerium is undoubtedly the most financially successful. In addition to these two mainstays, Leeb, Fulber, Peterson and Balch have all created a variety of similarly veined projects such as Conjure One, Fauxliage, Equinox, Intermix, Noise Unit, Pro-Tech and Synæsthesia.


Discography:

  • Faces, Forms & Illusions (1989)
  • Morpheus (1989)
  • Syrophenikan (1990)
  • Stone Tower (1991)
  • Euphoric (1991, EP)
  • Spiritual Archives (1991)
  • Spheres (1994)
  • Spheres 2 (1994)
  • Semantic Spaces (1994)
  • Karma (1997)
  • Poem (2000)
  • Chimera (2003)
  • Nuages du Monde (2006)
  • Voice (An Acoustic Collection) (2010)
  • Music Box Opera (2012)


Tropes that apply to Delerium:

  • After the End: The music video for the track "Angelicus" as it is revealed bit by bit as the video goes along. The orphans seen in the video are what's left of Humankind.
  • Cherubic Choir: When they're not sampling them, Delerium does make use of them.
  • Follow the Leader: Semantic Spaces caught the band some flack for re-using the beats from Enigma's "Sadeness" and Coil's "Windowpane", as well as the same sample library Deep Forest used to create their debut album. Their followup, Poem, avoided this.
  • I Am the Band: For most of their career, Delerium was comprised of Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber. After Fulber left in 2000 to create Conjure One, Leeb remained the sole member of Delerium, until Fulber's return in 2003.
  • One-Woman Wail: Used on Semantic Spaces due a few songs incorporating a wordless vocal track. Averted elsewhere: despite the prominence of female vocalists throughout their more recent albums, no album has been saturated with this trope since.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Very prominent in their earlier works, including a rather stereotypical usage of the trope on Spheres.
  • Rule of Symbolism and Shout-Out: The works of Delerium are infused with this, as well as the many side projects of Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber.
    • Many of the track names on any given Delerium album and any album of the related side-projects by Bill Leeb and/or Rhys Fulber are symbolically tied into the track itself, or a thematic shoutout related to the track.
    • Spheres and Spheres II featured prominent sampling of NASA missions, as well as dialogue and score from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • Sampling: A very common mainstay in the works of Delerium, especially due to their roots in vocalless industrial dance music. Early period sampling mainly came from films and documentaries; mid- and late-period Delerium focused on sci-fi films and obscure Middle Eastern and European folk songs.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Averted big time with Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber. Despite their popularity and their success, both men have remained very humble and private. Fulber is one of the most sought after producers in the music industry and has gone onto producing and working on countless albums. Leeb has contributed to various other projects, and provided the soundtracks for the video games Quake III Arena (as a part of Sonic Mayhem) and AirMech.
  • Urban Fantasy: The music videos for the tracks "Dust in Gravity" and "Monarch".