Music Reviews

Artist: Dandelion Wine (@)
Title: All Becompassed By Stars
Format: CD
Label: Ars Musica Diffundere/Black Rain (@)
Rated: *****
It seems the Australian band Dandelion Wine in the intent to modernize their sound (and in order to do it, they've chosen to get out of Australian exterminate boundaries and wisely move to Berlin where they organized a recording studio in a small apartment in Kreuzberg, surrounded by snow and ice during the last severe German winter) managed to translate ancient emotions into a simple but up-to-date musical language. Attaining to the most voluptuous side of electronic music as well as to the beatitude of ethnic (mainly sprayed with Middle Eastern and Arabic heady scents'¦) elements reminding me of Sufi tradition, Dandelion Wine sinters eastern and western themes and music , ethereal sounds and cranked electric guitar lines, unconventional acoustic instruments (whose impressively furnished stores include nice freaky rarities such as medieval lutes, dulcimer, sansula ' an instrument similar to the African marimbula - or the bell cittern ' a medieval 12-string sort of mandolin -) and contemporary machines (mainly recognizable analogue synths and big beating drum machines!) but above all gravitational pressures opposing soul raisings.

The swaying melodies and the subtle ethnic percussions of the title-track All Becompassed By Stars is going to set the stage by wrapping the listener in the emotive field you could perceive when staying in the middle of a desert surrounded by star-light spotted sky, whereas the electronic tentacles and the bizarre intertwining between a tribal percussion set and a march-like movement introducing Gravity ' a superbly mixed track! - seem to broke that dreamy flight by giving voice to somewhat mysterious gravitational pulls inspiring the moaning-like way of singing by Naomi Handerson and the roaring guitars by Nicholas Albanis! A snake-charming guitar riff reminding to me some guitar sample I heard in Juno Reactor's Shango introduces the intriguing mixture of eastern suggestions and electronic pop song's catch in Shards and it's nice the moment it turns into a sort of framework for the prog slides emerging up to the dust just before the song reaches its peak through an enjoyable pressing rhythm. The snake-charmer put temporarily away the guitar in order to play a flute to start the flaming electronic belly dance of Nowhere ' one of the catchiest track in my opinion! -, while Sidereal and Early Warning Sign ' an entrancing mournful ballad, perfectly interpreted by Naomi (which lacks of a certain dramatic grip in other passages of the record'¦) on a Spanish guitar melodic web, exploding in an energetic but plain goth-rock song structure, which stands as the better crafted track of the whole album ' could be considered as the highest emotional peaks (nearby those stars becompassing everything!) of this album even if both of them are quite plain and lack of woolly sound treatments. Dandelion Wine's rustic, but kind-hearted medieval vein strongly pulses in the sweet tapping of Orbit, a track introducing the last part of the part featuring a less intrusive presence of electronic buzzing devices, followed by the bittersweet lulling ballad of XVII containing the hypnotic sound of what seems a glockenspiel.

In Seven Times As Bright the twinkling voice of the stars weaves a crystalline and glassy melodic garland over the spectral vocal moaning by Naomi and the mystical breathe pervading the closing track, Seven Times As Bright, being the most abstract of this interesting release. It's quite difficult to give an exact definition of Dandelion Wine's style and even these Australian sorcerers usually make fun of a similar attempt by describing it as medieval trip-hop, but it's quite easy to recommend some listening to it even if they lack of the intellectual fervour distinguishing similar bands such as Dead Can Dance or Ataraxia and Naomi has not the same mystical eagerness of singers such as Natacha Atlas!

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