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Estrella
CD Album 2005 | Silber 040
11 tracks 57 minutes
$12 ($18 international, $5 download (256 kbps, ~102 megs))
: Listen to the track El Diablo
: Press Release
Track Listing:
Clouds In The Southern Sky, El Diablo, Tainted, Tongues, Estrella, Dome, Silver Sliver, The Canal, The Kite, Orion, Distant Fading Star
Reviews:

Estrella, originally released in 1998 by darkwave pioneers Lycia, has been brilliantly remastered by Mike VanPortfleet & includes the original intended artwork for the album.  Being the owner of the original & the re-issue, the difference in sound quality is nothing short of astonishing.  The wailing keyboards of “Tainted,” to the screaming sirens of “Dome,” to Tara Vanflower's most amazing vocal performance on “Estrella,” the album shimmers with renewed quality & brilliance.  This re-issued album is, in my opinion, Lycia's finest moment, & hopefully not final hour.  This album is an absolute must have for everyone.
~ David Poseidon, Gothic Beauty

As well as releasing solo albums by Lycia's Mike VanPortfleet and Tara Vanflower, Silber have also put out Lycia's final unfinished album Empty Space, and are now reissuing all five of Lycia's previous studio albums. A remastered version of Estrella is out now on Silber, accompanied by the artwork the band had originally intended for the album. This album combines the darkness of gothic music, the grandiosity of orchestral-oriented progressive rock (there is no real orchestra on here, but it just has that feel about it with its lushly textured and extravagant atmosphere), the ethereal nature of dreampop, and ambient washes of sound. All this is added to with a variety of vocal styles from both band members, from sombre murmurings to impassioned wails. The vocals are used to express words and to provide wordless vocalisations, using the voice like another instrument. The sound here is more musical, less overtly experimental than Tara and Mike's solo material, but is still loaded with creativity. Whether Lycia opt for an elegant atmospheric sound or one that's more menacing, the music is always engaging.
~ Kim Harten, blissaquamarine

It is interesting to hear the lengths to which a band will go to convey an intended mood.  Some bands growl and bark at the listener, hoping, with often feigned sincerity, to share their torture.  Some musicians pluck an acoustic guitar and sing with their eyes closed.  Others don’t sing at all.
It might anger some musicians to realise the simplicity with which a given mood can be established.  It doesn’t always take an excessive repetition of a line or a blunt condemnation of vague lies and that ever-present darkness (if you’re going for an upbeat atmosphere, then that’s an entirely different story.)
Lycia consists of two people: Tara Vanflower on vocals and Mike VanPortfleet on guitars, drum and synth programs, and vocals.  While there are certainly multiple layers to the music on this remastered version of 1998’s Estrella, there is a simplistic quality – the steady drum beats, the carefully articulated guitar notes, the breadth of Vanflower’s voice – which outsmarts the overly deliberate efforts of heavier music.  I listen to this album and believe, without Vanflower or VanPortfleet necessarily telling me, that there is some tiny anguish lines and illustrated by the intentionally obscure imagery within the album booklet (based on a painting by Armando Norte): soft glows and a woman cloaked in black, her eyes punctuated by a blue-green haze.
Of course, I could be completely wrong; Lycia might not be sad, pissed, or frustrated at all.  But their music provokes melancholy with only a few light brushes, a couple small notes, and that ability is truly impressive.
The album opens with “Clouds In The Southern Sky”, its engaging keyboard line a well-chosen introduction to Estrella.  Vanflower enters on track two, “El Diablo”, singing in her delicate voice, “See the serpent twine / wrapped around her spine / coils inside her mind / bleeds her eyes so blind.”  Vanflower’s style, marked less by precise enunciation and more by moody voice inflections, creates a layer among the percussion, synths, and guitars.  When her lyricism suffers from sloppy wordplay or stale imagery, Vanflower’s voice helps sustain the mood and purpose of the song.
Track five, “Estrella”, is a beautiful display of Vanflower’s vocal range and of VanPortfleet’s ability to complement and enhance that voice with synths and percussion.  The two create a captivating melody, moving around each other in constant dialogue.  “Silver Sliver” features some of Vanflower’s most intriguing lyrics: “Aqua smile blue rhythm pulse me you / Molten syrup flows through veins / Twilight sprinkled a zillion eyes shine few / Lava consume cool numb and trancing view.”  The distinct images, laid among VanPortfleet’s synth lines and a wonderful rhythm section, create one of the strongest songs on the album.
The album closes, like it opens, with an instrumental track, “Distant Fading Star”.  Its deep melody and curious drum beat conclude the album beautifully.
If Estrella benefits from its atmosphere and consistency, then it is those same qualities which may deter some listeners.  Melodies blend among the tracks, and one, even two, listens is not enough to discern the differences among the songs.  If it were though, would Estrella be as acclaimed an album as it is, described in the press kit as “a classic that transcends genre barriers”?  Certainly Lycia has achieved what so many bands constantly struggle to create: a complex mood delivered simply.
~ Brad Hirn, SickAmongthePure

Rarely do I find myself so positive about a release, with the re-issue of Lycia's latest in a re-mastered version I have re-encountered te pure aural pleasure I had when first hearing this album.  The band which holds obvious references with Cocteau Twins brought with this album the closing chapter of Lycia delivering such pearls as "Tainted" which remains the perfect Lycia song.  Perhaps not surprisingly "Tainted" handles about Mike VanPortfleets health falling apart & its emotional impact on him while it was happening.  Estrella is already because of this one of the most personal albums from this seminal USA act.  Out on Silber Records you can also expect the 4 other Lycia albums to be re-released, all in a re-mastered version.  Obligatory for every Cocteau Twins fan & beyond.
~ Bernard Van Isacker, Side-Line

In many circumstances, when the word "goth" comes up in discussion among fans of indie music, there is an intense shutter and dismay. Most likely, this is due to the culture goth music has indirectly spawned. Yet, as many people forget, there is a goth culture, like its cousin punk, that's deep rooted in music as an outlet for those who are musical genuises and social outcasts. So please, read on, as the gothicness of Lycia is has nothing to do with Hot Topic and preppy, whiney teenage girls (or boys) hidden beneath a few layers of black makeup.
Estrella is a classic gothic darkwave album from Lycia that has been recently remastered and rereleased. Its original 1998 release already made it a somehat classic. Yet, with the remastered work, supposedly how it was intended to be originally released, them album is, in my opinion, on of those cult albums for genre completists. In this album, Lycia, which has always been led by Mike Vanportfleet, delivers with a trippy and hauntingly beautiful album complete with chilling vocals from Tara Van Flower. Vanportfleet was very Eno-esque in the production of this album. In fact, Estrella is just as much of an ambient/electonica album as it is a darkwave album.
For instance, the opener, "Clouds in the Southern Sky," begins with an Eno-esque hum then clears way for soundtrackish sounds that are best described as an anxious yet soothing build up of sounds, similar to what made the Cocteau Twins so popular. The opener then transfers into "El Diablo" so brilliantly. Van Flower's vocals expand like a siren's; even Odysseus would have never been able to resist. The rest of the album is an ambient fest complete with Vanportfleet's and Van Flower's vocals, synths, drum loops, and effect-driven guitars. My favorite song on the album is "Orion," a slow scorcher best suitable for cold late-night stargazing.
As with Eno, turned up really loud or practically muted, this album is a listening experience that only few bands can accomplish without going the traditional rock route. With this remastering, Estrella has become a cornerstone for all of Lycia's releases, and it remains as one of the best ambient gothic darkwave albums I have ever listened to.
~ Jason Wilder, Delusions of Adequacy

Already more than a week I intensely enjoy listening to this album late at night before i go to bed.The music is deliciously languid and relaxing. The vocals are enchantingly beautiful and sometimes seductively cool. The guitar-walls are lush, yet breakable and the atmospheres go into ethereal darkwave and more exotic regions. Lycia makes orchestral guitarmusic of a hypnotic beauty for years now. Estrella is a re-release of the original last proper studio album from 1998. This release has been fully remastered by Lycia frontman Mike VanPortfleet and looking back in time this release could be labeled a real classic. It is on this release that Tara VanFlower fully took the role of primary vocalist enhancing the fanbase of Lycia more and more. This is a recommendation for anyone not yet familiar with this cd or the work of Lycia but who does have a love for the sound of the once popular 4AD bands like Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance or Lush.
~ TekNoir, Gothronic.com

The first time I heard Lycia, it was on a free sampler I received from Projekt, perhaps the premier darkwave/goth label of the 1990s, and perhaps the only label that was making a very serious attempt at following in the footsteps of esteemed British label 4AD. I don't remember what Lycia's song was, but I do remember that they sounded quite different than their labelmates, and that unlike other bands, they really didn't seem concerned about fashion or image, and the song sounded more like Aphex Twin than The Cure or This Mortal Coil. I thought their song was rather stunning and beautiful, but admittedly, I never did follow through.
Listening to the recently-reissued , the band's final album (and the first release in a Lycia reissue program), it's quite clear that Lycia was a different sort of band. The duo of Mark VanPortfleet and Tara VanFlower combined their strengths to make music that was haunting, beautiful and stunning, and in this goal, they were quite successful. Estrella found the band at a creative high, and the result was a record that lured the listener and took them into other realms of aural ecstacy. From the tribal "Tongues" to the Harold Budd-like "Clouds in the Southern Sky" and from the transcendent bliss of "Estrella" to the melancholy "The Kite," Lycia exploited the term "atmospheric" to the hilt--and the result was heavenly. Comparisons to The Cocteau Twins were and are inevitable, and while VanFlower's voice never quite reached to Liz Frasier's vocal heights--that's an impossible goal, anyway--her voice, in combination with VanPortfleet's stunning Robin Guthrie-inspired accompaniment, certainly justfied the comparison.
If you're not familiar with Lycia, Estrella is as excellent a starting point as you could find, because this record's beauty is a perfection that most bands could only dream of obtaining. Hopefully the forthcoming reissue series will illuminate this gorgeous darkwave band, and deservedly so.
~ Joseph Kyle, Mundane Sounds

Lycia’s classic darkwave album Estrella sees a re-release and re-mastering in 2005 courtesy of Silber Records. Mike VanPortfleet himself has re-mastered the album to give it a much more state-of-the-art sound, which I’m assuming the original slightly lacked. Unfortunately I never heard the original version of the album so I really can’t say whether or not it sounds different. Either way though its good that Lycia’s albums are being re-released as Silber plans to release the other studio albums from Lycia as well.
After releasing Cold my favorite Lycia album in 1996 the band returned in 1998 with another excellent album titled Estrella. Although the band stuck to there same distinctive darkwave style with this album I still can’t help but think it has a much more different feeling than some of their previous releases. To me Estrella has a much more mysterious atmospheric feeling to it whereas Cold for example had a very, well Cold sound to it. Estrella also at times has more of a calm tranquil soothing sort of quality to it, which I really like. Another interesting aspect of the album is that Tara Vanflower‘s vocals are a much bigger part of the recording since they appear on nearly every song, while Mike’s voice isn’t used much at all. David Galas also for some reason disappeared from the band for this release, but then returned to the band in 2003.
There really are quite a few good songs on this album, but I tend to enjoy the wordless ones where Tara just uses her voice as an instrument the best. Songs such as ‘Tongues’ or ‘The Canal’ are really mystifying and eerie sounding to me. I also like ‘The Kite’ since its one of the better songs with Mike at the vocals and again it is very dark and unsettling, but still has a serene feeling to it. In general though Estrella is a great album from Lycia and again it’s nice to see their releases getting re-released and re-mastered.
~ Blackwinged, Lunar Hypnosis

Lycia has re-released their last album, Estrella. This album is breathtaking, to say the least. Called “Dark Wave” by Silber Records, this album recalls the glory days of the Cocteau Twins. Lycia released their final album at the end of the 1990s. Being made up Tara Vanflower and Mike VanPortfleet, Lycia creates dark, moody ambient pieces that are enigmatic and emotive.
“Clouds in the Southern Sky” begins the album and leads the listener into the world of Estrella. It is a slow tempo track with simple drums and wonderful layers upon layers of wistful keys that create a luscious soundscape. “El Diablo” also has a beautiful, haunting melody. Vanflower offers her vocals mixed in among the waves. The drum work and vocal work remind me of those Cocteau Twins moments when they were most haunting. This track is about a serpent, the Devil, who has a woman captive in his convincing grip. What is awesome is the ability, not only of the lyrics to convey darkness, but the lush, haunting darkness that is contained in the music to match them. “Tainted” is a slow, patient piece that creates a somber mood with VanPortfleet on vox. His vocals feel very gothic amidst the dramatic mood created by the music. The song is about the loss of innocence and hope.
“Tongues” starts with tribal-like drums. The spacey sounds come in and then Vanflower releases the power of her voice. It’s gorgeous, especially when she really lets it go. In this track, her voice is used as an instrument among the floating keys. “Estrella” is a heavenly song that actually brings a bright spot in the album. The lyrics speak of love and, perhaps, being intertwined with another whole-heartedly. “Dome” is epic sounding, with what sounds like angelic voices floating through deep, low hums. This track really has a breathy feel to it that is beautiful. This is perhaps my favorite track on the disc. “Silver Silver” starts with a light feel. Perhaps, having found love, the bliss continues for Lycia. Again, this is a breathtaking take that floats along and is light and really counter-balances the dark parts of this album.
”The Canal” begins with some drum work and works into a more ambient, listful feel that is powerful and epic. There are even some eastern sounding chords and tones in this track. Vanflower really lets her voice soar on this track and it’s amazing. “The Kite” flows back into the moody, somber tone that was prominent in the first part of the disc. VanPortfleet lends his dramatic voice to the track. The lyrics have a desperate feel, with a Kite as the central point of the imagery. “Orion” is spacey and Vanflower sings about love again and uses imagery of the stars to describe her moments. It’s really an intricate, beautiful track that sets up the track that anchors this fabulous disc. “Distant Fading Star” is just a beautifully executed ambient track. It really ends the disc in a perfect way and finishes the feel of the whole disc in an epic style.
This is a completely coherent piece of art. It is a very dark album, but it has moments where the light peers through the cracks and crags of the mournful, sorrowful ambience. The landscapes are bleak at times, but they are oh so beautiful. Estrella is a brilliant piece of art.
~ Jason Lamoreaux, Somewhere Cold

Remastered from the original 1996 recording, Estrella is an 11 track collection of darkwave and ethereal melancholic bliss. For fans of Cocteau Twins, The Cure, and Aarktica, Estrella mixes lush orchestral sounds with more up-tempo rhythmic styles to create a sound that is part dark ambiance, part gothic. On Estrella, the spanning atmospherics courtesy of Mike VanPortfleet are complemented with the beautiful yet haunting vocals of Tara VanFlower. Key tracks include "El Diablo," "Tainted," and "Orion."
~ William Reed, EchoMag

Softened, deep, dark rich color...I find some interest in some of the vocal performances and the beautiful, slow-shifting synths, but in the end it is a bit too static for my tastes.
~ Static Signals

Lycia’s calling card is ambient despair. With VanPortfleet’s ability to tap the vein of fear and hopelessness and Tara Vanflower’s vocal paintings overlaying the soundtracks, Lycia’s ventures into the netherlands of all that shouldn’t be is like a passport to human void and waste.
Lycia’s masterpiece of Cold revealed a band that breeched the last frontier of originality as it was deemed that no musical originality existed. Yet VanPortfleet created and explored a soundscape that we have never heard before. After Cold, Lycia worked on and released Estrella, their final new album, while not the equal of Cold, certainly provided a stunning musical journey that engulfs you rather than filling ear-space and sending sound messages to the brain to decode. No, like Cold, Estrella seeps into your marrow and accesses the nerve bundles like a mainliner looking to shoot the euphoric fear deep into the cortex of your understanding and then deliver directly to the root of your desolation. It succeeds.
Previously released by Projekt Records, VanPortfleet has resurrected the sound quality of this album and elevated it even further by cleaning the original tapes and thus re-creating the world of Estrella. Silber Media has reissued the resulting remaster giving the audience of Lycia yet another chance to re-enter the strangely unreal world of terror that is uniquely Lycia. The tour for Estrella convinced the band that communication with its audience was lost in the translation of a live setting. Audiences were detached from the completeness of Lycia’s world because of it and thus the band discontinued live touring. Regardless, the albums continue to be effective.
“Clouds in the Southern Sky” begins like a sundown where the light of day is all but depleted. While none of Estrella works as a conceptual journey as Cold does, its 11 songs combine to offer a stitched fabric of the edges of sanity where darkness understands no light, where fear and the unknown walk with legs and immediately attach to any who enter. Tara’s gorgeous and yet unsettling vocals are captivating in their detached, yet warning-like delivery such as is found on “El Diablo.” “Tainted” employs the frightening whispers of VanPortfleet, found to evoke hopelessness on Cold. Tara’s haunting jump on “Tongues” is quite unnerving yet so ethereally beautiful that it is enticing.
“Estrella” benefits greatly by the remastering, as I heard, for the first time, a mournful keyboard with the same melody working throughout the song thus adding to the lyrical eeriness of the song. Tara’s vocal here is wraithlike. There are many more moments just like these in the remaining six songs not addressed making Estrella a commanding reissue. With the remastering, subtle nuances are brought to the surface making Estrella an even more compelling listen.
The insert is a 4-page colour set that enhances the photographs making them less hypnotic and more easily discerned. However, unlike the original release, there are no lyrics included. Not that they’re necessary; certainly Estrella exists quite well without the need for them but they are nice to have.
Lycia is a band of immense sonic power. Their haunting musical soundscapes leaves impressions and linger far after they have quit whispering into your ears. This reviewer is excited to hear what remastering does for the ambient classic, Cold.
~ Matt Rowe, Music Tap

Estrella by Lycia was originally released in 1998. Now it is remastered by Lycia frontman Mike VanPortfleet and re-released in this definitive version on Silber Records, with original artwork. Estrella was the duo’s last proper studio album.
I’m not familiar with much darkwave bands, but I guess this album perfectly defines everything I thought darkwave was about. The guitars on Estrella are enforced by many dreamy effects that make it hard to believe that there’s actually guitars playing, and the synths are creating never-ending and multi-layered soundscapes that slightly come in and go away like waves of sound. The drums, guitars and synths thus create a sound that clearly owes a lot to The Cure. Tara Vanflower’s vocals are on the foreground, beautifully enforcing the ethereal feeling this album creates.
This is a very atmospheric album that needs some time to grow and that’s only to be played when you’re in the right and dark mood. It makes the mind drift way into the unknown. But the many repetitive sound effects and the voice that’s practically doing the same thing throughout the whole album start to get uninspiring and tedious near the end. When all-round effects creator Mike VanPortfleet is doing the leading vocals on a track near the end of the album ("The Kite"), it is welcomed at first, but soon reveals the most boring track of Estrella.
Imagine yourself standing outside in a cold winternight, in one of the few woods left in your country. You’re shivering and you’re all alone, while snow flakes are melting on your skin. By the light that comes off of the candle you’re holding, you can see the bats come closer and closer... This album would make the perfect soundtrack to that storyboard. The fact is, I’m not much of a fan of darkness, lip gloss and bats. So, honestly, apart from a few highlights, this album bored the hell out of me.
~ Thomas Byttebier, Semtex Magazine

Usually reissued albums that are remastered are simply a companion to the original version.  Yeah, it sounds a little bit better, but not so much to really choose one version over the other.  It's more of a necessity to buy both versions.  This is not the case with the newly repackaged version of Lycia's 1998 release, Estrella.  This remaster, which was done by the band themselves, brings out the ultimate best in this release, so much that it outshines the original version.  In my opinion, the remaster of this album NULLIFIES the original release.  This is the exactly the version, inside and out, that Lycia intended to release in the first place, without any outside/record label honcho influence.
First off, the artwork.  On the front cover is still Tara VanFlower, one of the band's vocalists. The picture, though, is not only different than the original, but the tone is subdued, darker, and has more of an astral, ethereal filter and mood.  On the original, extremely giant block letters bracketed the cover with a bright, sol-esque picture of Tara smiling that took up the whole album cover space -- devoid of any real atmosphere that Lycia's album covers were known for.  The restored artwork, in hindsight, is a perfect progression from their 1996 masterpiece Cold.  Now it has been realized for all to enjoy and revel in.
But the remastered sound?  Isn't that going to take away from the original mood of the album?   On the original release, the production was surprisingly flat and sterile, which was a first for the band.  The bleak-yet-brilliant Lycia riffs and melodies were still present, but the way it was presented sounded like a bland gothic dance album.  The second chance prevails, to our delight, as a wash of reverb has been added to all the instruments, making the production sound extremely similar to their prior releases, but at the same time, a progression is still shown.  It's like a new life was breathed into this album completely.  Tara's voice is still abundant, but lower in the mix as it had been on her previous albums with the band, and Mike vanPortfleet's trademark cool, soothsaying desperation whispers have been pushed up in the mix, making a perfect, harmonious balance.  Finally, the mix of vapor-like psychedelia and slightly upbeat tempos of their early material -- which the band originally intended -- isn't just a dream that could have happened.
I advise any and all fans of dark, atmospheric music to pick this up now.  Don't download the mp3's.  Don't be satisfied with an iPod version.  You must have the artwork present with the uncompressed, full-waveform music on this one, as it is as important and just to the release.  As a rabid, die-hard Lycia fan, I have always liked Estrella but put it on a back burner to all the other releases.  Now I can actually say I love Estrella just as much as any Lycia album I've heard, and is just as important in the world of music altogether.  Mandatory.
~ Cody Maillet, twoblock.net

Estrella is the remastered Silber Records reissue of the last Lycia album from 1998. The band is the duo of Mike VanPortfleet on guitars, drums, synths and vocals and Tara Vanflower on vocals. My introduction to the band was the Empty Space CD (see AI #26), a very nice set of dark, Gothic, atmospheric synth-pop songs. I enjoyed Empty Space, but Estrella is a thoroughly seductive space symphonic set of ethereal Goth music. To call this music hypnotic would be an understatement. I'm not too clued into the Darkwave/Goth scene, but I love the way Lycia wrap heavy walls of spacey keyboards around gorgeously melodic flowing instrumentals to create a slow, dark, ambient intensity. Both VanPortfleet and Vanflower contribute vocals, though they really serve a function equal to the instrumentation. The music is deeply spacey, sometimes bringing to mind something Tangerine Dream might sound like if they were a Goth band. Mood and ambience are key elements, and Lycia excel at creating an atmosphere that is just as haunting as it is uplifting. Songs like "El Diablo" and "The Canal", those with the heaviest symphonic keyboards, were among my favorites, as these also tended to be the most cosmic tunes and the ones with the most bewitching melodies. "Tainted" is a similar highlight that includes cool alien electronic embellishments. And "Silver Sliver" is like a spaced out Gothic kind of torch song. A hauntingly beautiful album.
~ Jerry Kranitz, Aural Innovations

If you're at all into darkwave, you've probably heard of Lycia. Started in 1988 as a solo project by Mike VanPortfleet, the band reconfigured several times as various people joined and left. The most recent incarnation (the one appearing on Estrella) consisted of VanPortfleet and Tara Vanflower. Around 1998, Lycia petered out as its members pursued other projects and VanPortfleet dealt with health problems. Estrella was their last proper album, now all shiny from a remastering by VanPortfleet himself.
Lycia specialized in moody, sweeping soundscapes, built around soaring layers of synthesizer and heavily treated guitar and spiced with Vanflower's enigmatic vocals. VanPortfleet contributed his own voice too, but less frequently. Lycia's music is doleful enough, but the album title and the names of the first and last songs suggest a preoccupation with the heavens. "Clouds in the Southern Sky" is a solemn intro, leading in with ponderous rhythms and a descending melody, and Estrella winds down with "Distant Fading Star", a sinuous mood piece in which VanPortfleet's fricative breath noises are the only vocals. In between, highlights include the baroque "The Kite" (in which VanPortfleet seems to be channeling a Bauhaus-era Peter Murphy) and the title track, on which Vanflower's depressive harmonies appear in unusually high relief against shimmery clouds of keyboard. Occasionally the mix has an overcompressed feel, with the guitars chiming a bit too piercingly, but more often the instruments undulate hypnotically, the voices a distant mutter. Estrella's songs are quite repetitive, but the effect is less tedious than soothing -- a mournful lullaby easing you into bittersweet dreams.
~ Sarah Zachrich, Spledid

Lycia should be considered one of the most important acts in goth rock, but has not yet gotten the publicity it deserves. With the re-release of Estrella, these wrongs can finally be corrected. Lycia starts out Estrella with “Clouds in the Southern Sky”, a very ethereal, instrumental track that meshes well with the backdrop for “El Diablo”. “El Diablo” showcases the haunting vocals of Tara Vanflower even as the instrumentation on the disc simultaneously strives for organic and inorganic perfection. Tara plays the role of the flag-girl during a dragrace (in all those crappy 50s teen movies) as this dynamic tension fuels greater and more impressive constructs. This album was originally released in 1997 and the general sound present during tracks like “Silver Silver” really reflects that. “Silver Silver”, as with a number of other tracks on Estrella, looks towards the dominant ethereal paradigm and really make a beautiful go at it. The incorporation of an atmosphere, bleak and dark as it may be during “The Kite” really shows the psychological dominance of Lycia throughout; much like tribal rhythms played on drums, a listener’s psyche is changed throughout. Lycia’s sound might be a little dated, but what the music on Estrella does has not changed in the near-decade since the album was first released.
~ Neufutur

Silber continues their love for all things Mike VanPortfleet with this, their latest Lycia-related release. Previously, they've released Lycia's final "album", Empty Space. Last year, they released Mike VanPortfleet post-Lycia debut, Beyond The Horizon Line (previously featured over on the HiFi), which found Lycia frontman Mike VanPortfleet moving into much more ambient, atmospheric territory. And now Silber is re-releasing Estrella, VanPortfleet's last real album under the Lycia moniker.
Estrella arose out of a fairly troubled time for the band, as well as a period of transition. Plagued with band tensions and health problems, VanPortfleet had essentially shelved Lycia in 1996, and had begun an acoustic side-project titled Estraya with vocalist Tara Vanflower (the two would get married later that year). However, by late 1997, work on Estrella began following an extensive tour.
Estrella continues in the same vein as Lycia's previous releases, utilizing VanPortfleet's Cure-inspired guitar work and drum programming - indeed, Lycia is probably one of the few modern bands to truly capture and continue the sounds captured on such seminal discs as Faith and Pornography without sounding like mere copycats - as well as Portfleet's menacing whispers.
However, by the time work had begun on Estrella, Vanflower had taken over the lion's share of vocal duties, and her ethereal range actually brightens up the duo's sound - relatively speaking, of course. The overall mood remains as dark and ominous as ever, as is the case with "El Diablo", which finds Vanflower's vocals spinning round lost and dazed amidst coiling, serpentine-like guitar riffs. And on "Tainted", VanPortfleet's guitar soars against harsh drum machines and alien synth textures - not surprisingly, the closest comparison might The Cure's "Fear Of Ghosts", only more barren and forlorn.
On "Tongues", layers of both Vanflower and VanPortfleet's vocals practically assault the listener - Vanflower's wordless, "little girl lost" vocals soar high overhead while VanPortfleet's vocals simmer just below the surface. Together, the two sound like a case of glossolalia gone horribly wrong - or the Cocteau Twins slowly going mad inside some abandoned asylum.
But there are moments where Lycia's sound lightens a bit, and a few rays of starlight actually make it through the gloom. One such example is the aptly-titled "Silver Sliver", one of the disc's strongest tracks. It stands in stark contrast to the rest of the disc's more oppressive sound thanks to Vanflower's softer vocals, cosmic lyrical imagery, and the sparse piano melodies that trickle down throughout. Honestly, this might be one of the finest Lycia tracks I've ever heard.
I was a big Projekt afficianado back in the day, but strangely enough, the one Projekt band I never fully got into was Lycia, arguably the label's flagship band after Black Tape For A Blue Girl. As such, I'm quite enjoying this new attention provided by the good folks at Silber, simply because I feel like I'm getting to catch up on a band that I should've checked out years ago. What's more, listening to Lycia now, years after these releases came out now, I'm impressed at how well VanPortfleet's music manages to transcend the cliches so often associated with goth music despite it being so firmly rooted within those genres.
~ Jason Morehead, Opus

Re-release of this long deleted Lycia album ( originally from 1996 ) with new artwork and in re-mastered quality. One of the true ethereal darkwave classics ! Estrella was US act Lycia's last proper studio album with songs originally written in 1996 and fleshed out over a fifty show tour. Eight years later, lycia mainman Mike VanPortfleet has revisited these songs to remaster them to make a definitive version of the release uncompromised by the hands of others. The artwork has been restored to the original version, unaltered from the artistic vision meant to match the music. The goal of Estrella was to mix the lush orchestral sound VanPortfleet had developed over the previous eight years that had culminated in Cold with the more up-tempo rhythmic style of Wake. Estrella also marks Tara VanFlower's move to primary vocalist and lyricist, the results delivering a transcendental, genre-defying, darkwave/ethereal classic.
~ Chain D.L.K.

Lycia should be considered one of the most important acts in goth rock, but has not yet gotten the publicity it deserves. With the re-release of Estrella, these wrongs can finally be corrected. Lycia starts out Estrella with “Clouds in the Southern Sky,” a very ethereal, instrumental track that meshes well with the backdrop for “El Diablo.” “El Diablo” showcases the haunting vocals of Tara Vanflower even as the instrumentation on the disc simultaneously strives for organic and inorganic perfection. Tara plays the role of the flag-girl during a dragrace (in all those crappy 50s teen movies) as this dynamic tension fuels greater and more impressive constructs. This album was originally released in 1997 and the general sound present during tracks like “Silver Silver” really reflects that. “Silver Silver,” as with a number of other tracks on Estrella, looks towards the dominant ethereal paradigm and really make a beautiful go at it. The incorporation of an atmosphere, bleak and dark as it may be during “The Kite” really shows the psychological dominance of Lycia throughout; much like tribal rhythms played on drums, a listener’s psyche is changed throughout. Lycia’s sound might be a little dated, but what the music on Estrella does has not changed in the near-decade since the album was first released.
~ James McQuiston, Altar Magazine

Inutile continuare se gli stimoli si assopiscono, meglio morire e dedicarsi ad una “sana” attivitŕ di ristampe nel tentativo (mai vano) di riportare in auge dischi immortali e di ostica reperibilitŕ. ‘Estrella’ non č il capolavoro dei Lycia, schiacciato dalla responsabilitŕ di eguagliare capolavori come ‘Wake’ e ‘Cold’ tant’č che lo stesso Mike VanPortfleet dichiarň di essersi ispirato, durante la fase di stesura di ‘Estrella’, proprio a quei due capolavori del passato. Ne nacque un album, a cui oggi č stata fornita una nuova copertina e masterizzazione, meno angosciante e depresso rispetto ai consueti canoni stilistici dei Lycia senza perň privare la loro darkwave di quelle riconoscibilissime sfumature ipnotiche rintracciabili in ‘Tainted’ ed ‘Orion’.
~ Kronik

Silber réédité cet album de Lycia datant de 1996. Pure darkwave éthérée avec un chant féminin, réminiscent des débuts des Cocteau Twins ou de Dead Can Dance, planant, sombre, noir, glacé et définitivement new wave.
~ Derives

Re-edición de este album de culto del genero darkwave/gothic y que de paso se mete en buena medida con el ambient/ethereal/electronica. Wow. Entonces, a que suena? Sombrio, obscuro y melancólico, con elegantes arreglos de sintetizador, guitarras líquidas y beats electrónicos persistentes. No soy muy docto en el género, pero puedo entender claramente porque este disco tiene el status que se le ha dado entre los seguidores de la música obscura. Elementos de Brian Eno, This mortal coil y algo de los Cocteau Twins mas sedados se conjungan en composiciones sencillas, casi minimalistas con vocales que parecen susurrarte aventuras del pasado.
Me atrevo a decir que si no conoces nada del género pero tienes esa firme intención de contar con algo en tu colección, este es el disco indicado. No busques más.
~ Jesus Diaz, Eufonia

Mike VanPortfleet sta rimettendo mano ai suoni una profonditŕ che le edizioni originali su Projekt non avevano.  Non per demerito dell'etichetta di Sam Rosenthal ma perché al tempo VanPortfleet registrava spesso solo con mezzi casalinghi poco professionali.  Ora che le sue abilitŕ da ingegenere del suono di tutto rispetto, č un piacere riascoltare le profonditŕ delle sue orchestrazioni curate nel minimo dettaglio.  Anche in un album come Estrella, al tempo della sua uscita criticato perchč piů vicino ad una versione gotica dei Cocteau Twins (grazie anche all'apporto vacoale di Tara VanFlower) che alle atmosfere intrise di pessimismo cosmico che avevano popolato i suoi album precedenti (su tutti il capolavoro A Day in the Stark Corner).  Ma č proprio all'aspetto ipnotico delle atmosfere sognanti che giova il nuovo trattamento: un album da rivalutare.
~ Roberto Mandolini, Rockerilla

Na rozdíl od pozitivisty Jamie Barnese je Mark VanPortfleet muž stín? a tmy. Pokud bychom m?li naprosto neznalého poslucha?e pou?it, jak zní darkwave rock, Lycia by m?la být vždy hned po ruce. Automatický bubeník, hory syntezátor?, elektrická kytara, vemlouvaný, trochu zimom?ivý Mark?v vokál a oproti tomu výrazný, barevný, na citové odstíny bohatý vokál Tary VanFlower - to jsou hlavní a tak?ka jediné zbran? hudebního arzenálu této arizonské kapely. Vezm?te esenci Sisters Of Mercy (p?edevším z jediného alba Gift bo?áku Sisterhood), p?elejte jí louhem ranných, ješt? extrémn? zasn?ných Lush (nebo Cocteau Twins okolo alba Heaven Or Las Vegas) a p?idejte ?irost minimalistických melodických postup? Ulricha Schnausse. Pokud vše d?kladn? promícháte, máte v kostce výsledný neveselý, ale z?eteln? pozitivní nad?jí prosv?tlený sound Lycie rok výroby 1998, kdy poprvé album Estrella vyšlo. Remastering alba si vzal na starost sám Mark a krom vypulírovaného zvuku album opat?il i p?vodním návrhem obalu. V??ím, že po vleklých zdravotních problémech, které donutily Marka p?erušit ?innost až do p?edlo?ského roku, je znovuvydání tohoto posledního ?adového alba (Empty Space bylo posléze zve?ejn?no v nedokon?eném polotovaru a Tripping Back Into The Broken Days bylo zpo?átku nahráváno a mixováno jako druhá deska bo?ního projektu Estreya) p?edzv?stí nových, temn? zá?ících darkwave slastí.
~ Pavel Zelinka, FreeMusic.cz