Lisa Gerrard Whale Rider

After contributing to the soundtracks of such Hollywood notables as Ali, Heat and most recently Gladiator, Gerrard composed, performed and arranged the entire musical accompaniment to New Zealand film Whale Rider. Like her work with Dead Can Dance, you listen to this and you know it’s of her hand. Although her signature guttural wails are few and far between, she creates grandiose soundscapes with soaring strings and tender piano. The sober compositions convey elements of the Maori legend the movie is based on, and though the CD can easily stand on its own, seeing the imagery that could inspire such music is a must. The short pieces are so calming, so solemn you don’t know whether to feel at peace or weep. Gerrard has proved once again that she is a master at mood-making. (4AD)