Kirsty Hawkshaw, you may remember, fronted early nineties hitmakers Opus III, whose single "Fine Day" achieved a certain measure of ubiquity. You remember "Fine Day", right? Here's a hint: "Deeeeeeeeeeeee-da-da-da-da / dough-da-dough-daaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-da-da-da-da." That's right -- it's the song that Orbital borrowed from for "Halcyon", "Halcyon and On", and "Halcyon and On and On Until Everyone's Really Sick of It". For a few months in 1994, it seemed almost impossible to release a single that didn't sample Hawkshaw's vocals.
That was ten years ago. Since then, Opus III have folded, Orbital have walked off into the sunset, and popular tastes in electronic music have evolved to the point where almost anything to which Hawkshaw contributes vocals sounds like it was already released on Nettwerk Records. The imprint has cornered the market on ethereal female vocalist-driven low-impact electronica, so it makes sense for them to add her uniqueness to their own. She's quite a "get" -- a freelance female vocalist who has worked with all of the genre's biggest names. Better than Dido, even.
It's actually a testament to Hawkshaw's success that so much of Meta Message sounds familiar: she created the template. Unfortunately, she may also be guilty of overusing it. While the disc musters a few solid show-stoppers -- WB-friendly non-electronic pop tune "Reach for Me", throbby Tiësto collaboration "Walking on Clouds", and the clichéd but solid Eurotechno romp "Sincere for You" -- and a welcome reprise of "Fine Day" (James Holden's remix), the rest of the material sounds like warmed-over Delerium or fodder for one of Nettwerk's Chillout compilations. As criticisms go, that isn't exactly biting, but if you aren't already in the midst of yoga or Tantric sex, Meta Message is unlikely to move you.