- - - - - -

Lindsey Stirling - Lindsey Stirling

Lindsey Stirling – CD Review
Lindsey Stirling

Lindsey Stirling

CD Info
Re-released 2013
Bridge Tone Records / We Love Music
12 Tracks + extra tracks on special editions
Score: 9/10

Lindsey Stirling isn’t a vocalist and there are no full vocals on her album. We’re including her in our pantheon of female musical goddesses, however, because she has a magic violin that sings as beautifully as any human voice.

It’s difficult not to know Lindsey. She came to prominence when she appeared on America’s Got Talent in 2010 and became known, rather misleadingly, as The Hip-Hop Violinist. Although she didn’t win, she went on to become an Internet sensation. She has about 50 videos online. According to the stats for her YouTube channel, she has more than four million subscribers and her videos have notched up 520 million views.

Lindsey’s achievements as a recording star are enviable for any artist who performs music out of the mainstream. Her self-titled album has sold half a million copies, with her largest buying public being in the USA and Germany.

As an indication of how diverse and internationally appealing her music is, the album topped the US charts for both classical and dance/electronic albums. It peaked at number 2 on the US independent albums chart and 23 on the Billboard 200. In addition, the album went platinum in Germany and Austria, and gold in Poland and Switzerland.

She is indeed a hip-hop violinist, but only because hip-hop is one genre in the huge range her music covers. She’s so versatile that it’s difficult to peg her to any genre. The album is an entrancing mix of dubstep, neo-classical, electro, house and dance. Whatever style she plays, she totally owns it.

Actually it’s not quite true to say Lindsey isn’t a vocalist. She does her own back-up vocals. However, her voice appears to have been processed along with all the other synthesized backing. What you hear of her singing is gentle and pleasing.

No other musicians are credited on her album notes. Instead she has a mighty capable team of producers and engineers inserting the keyboard and drumming synths. This in no way lessens the pleasure or hearing her play. The album is totally about Lindsey and her magic violin.

The first two tracks, “Electric Daisy Violin” and “Zi-Zi’s Journey,” are light-hearted escapades in dubstep and dance (with the violin doing almost as much of the dancing as Lindsey herself!). The deeper side of her music begins to show itself on Track 3, “Crystallize”. This is a slower number played soulfully in a lower range. Here Lindsey resorts greatly to the arpeggio style made popular in violin concertos by classical composers of the Romantic era. As often as not, pop violin gravitates to Baroque rather than Romantic in neo-classical compositions.

Track 4, “Song of the Caged Bird”, is another neo-classical composition, slower, haunting and melancholy. The synth keyboards add to the mood by sweeping in with their own string section.

Ms. Stirling, who is in her 20s but looks 16, would be a prize acquisition for any Gothic metal band. This is powerfully evident in her mastery of the Gothic horror style on Track 5, “Moon Trance”. To enhance the tension in this number she shows off her pizzicato skills (plucking instead of bowing the strings). The music remains similar but much jollier as she launches into Track 6, “Minimal Beat”.

I’d like to hear Tracks 7 and 8, “Transcendence” and “Shadows” respectively, used as platforms for symphonic metal songs. Lindsey does turn to Baroque style in these compositions. I can imagine a pure metal soprano like Simone Simons soaring to the heights with that type of melody propelling her. By contrast, Track 9, “Shadows”, flares with the heat and passion of Celtic folk.

There is a poignant and an almost cinematic sweep to Track 11, “Spontaneous Me”, with a return to dubstep and lively action. Track 11 follows the same style. The backing music becomes rather orchestral, although still digital.

To round things off, Track 12, “Stars Align”, draws us into a dance club for some trance intermingled with a jig a and a shanty. Like every other track on the standard edition, it is immensely catchy and foot-tapping.

The special editions of Lindsey Stirling include four alternative versions of tracks on the standard edition, three of them orchestral. They’re so much richer and fuller that they are worth having as well as the originals. The special bonus on the deluxe edition is Lindsey’s take on “My Immortal”, the Gothic metal hit for Evanescence. It’s simply enchanting, like Lindsey herself.

Lindsey must be seen to be appreciated fully. In addition to being the queen of the violin, she is an extraordinary dancer too. How she finds the right notes while she goes through her hip-hop or ballet dance routines… well, it’s spectacular.

Here’s her original version of “Crystallize

For “Transcendence” with full orchestral backing, go here

Lindsey Stirling gives me goose bumps. While she’s playing her music, she’s harmonizing with your emotions.

Score: 9 / 10

Official website