Music Reviews



Saito Koji: Prayer

 Posted by Barton Graham   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (5768)
May 24 2010
cover
Artist: Saito Koji
Title: Prayer
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Taâlem (@)
Distributor: Taâlem
Rated: *****
Saito Koji's 6th release is presented here, entitled 'Prayer.' It is one 23 minute piece of ethereal, ambience. It continues the entire 23 minute span almost completely unchanged. Only very subtle tones and textures are introduced and faded away into thin air throughout the piece. It is very light and angellic in nature and could very easily be a backdrop for prayer, meditation or Raiki. Let this one envelope and flow over and around you as you breathe deep and exhale slowly.

Nature of Dislocation: Elements

 Posted by Barton Graham   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (5767)
May 24 2010
cover
Artist: Nature of Dislocation
Title: Elements
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Taâlem (@)
Distributor: Taâlem
Rated: *****
Debut CD 'Elements' by Japanese multimedia artists Nature of Dislocation is an intense, sonic journey. 'Atmospheric Current' brings you to the heavens for a look around. Droning tones growing and fading throughout seem to elevate you throughout. From the calm, serene beginnings to the rumble of dark clouds over the horizon and electricity in the air, Nature of Dislocation courses through you like a current, with an opposite, elating effect. Just as the darkness begins to roll in, 'Daylight' breaks, giving way to thick, lush layers of textures that build just a hint of tension, hold it, then slowly melt away into an uplifting soundscape just in time for the 'Lagoon' to open the senses. It's slightly darker mood is built around deeper drones creating a bed for more almost angelic textures the writhe upon. As the darkness gradually melts away, the angels are allowed to sing, but it seems a song with just a hint of sadness. An amazing release from this group of multimedia artists leaves only one thing to be desired, the visual aspect of their work. I'd love to see what kinds of imagery they put behind the music of 'Elements' to create a complete, aural experience.

Pollypraha: Jule

 Posted by Barton Graham   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (5766)
May 24 2010
cover
Artist: Pollypraha
Title: Jule
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Taâlem (@)
Distributor: Taâlem
Rated: *****
Here Takeyuki Hakozaki's Pollypraha offers 'Jule,' it's sophomore effort. With 'Jule 0' we begin with soft, ringing layers dancing slowly throughout each other, evoking a very soothing feel and (at least for this listener) oceanic imagery in slow motion. This could very easily be the soundtrack to the right piece of film. As we continue on to 'Jule #' we continue the aquatic journey beneath the surface, looking up toward the world above. The longer you watch, the more you realize you're sinking, farther and farther from the surface, drowning slowly, yet beautifully. As 'Jule 1' begins, we step through the light, warming our salt-water soaked bodies, as we enter a plane of existence where everything is beauty in slow motion. Through feeding back of textures, watery field recordings and droning textures, this release transcends.

Chihei Hatakeyama: White Sun

 Posted by Barton Graham   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (5765)
May 24 2010
cover
Artist: Chihei Hatakeyama (@)
Title: White Sun
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Taâlem (@)
Distributor: Taâlem
Rated: *****
In his 2009 Release 'White Sun,' sound artist Chihei Hatakeyama takes the listener on a journey through a single, 23 minute track of textured feedback washing into a canvas of acoustic guitars painted very carefully, very delicately to create virtual dreamscapes. If you haven't been to the beach or flown over snow capped mountaintops... you'll feel like you had; you might even question the reality of these images if you let yourself go in this beautifully rich, warmly ambient piece. With it's morphing landscapes and flowing layers, it doesn't get stale, only more entrancing and after these 23 minutes, even the most savage of beasts will be properly soothed.

The Synthetic Dream Foundation: Mechanical Serpent

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (5763)
May 24 2010
cover
Artist: The Synthetic Dream Foundation (@)
Title: Mechanical Serpent
Format: CD
Label: Mythical Records (@)
Distributor: Mythical Records
Rated: *****
A long while back, I reviewed Synthetic Dream Foundation's 'Tendrils of Pretty' 2006 CD release, and although I found TSDF to have some promise, there were so many things wrong with that release that I just couldn't rate it very highly. Well I must say that 'Mechanical Serpents' is such a drastic improvement that it's mind-blowing! There is still the TSDF Delerium-like flavor, but the quality of composition is absolutely superior. There is quite a similarity to Frontline Assembly and Delerium, but where Bill Leeb chooses to keep those entities separate, TSDF's Brett Branning fuses the industrial FLA elements with the more ethereal vocal and orchestral aspects of Delerium. The combination is dynamic, and 'Mechanical Serpents' will take you back to the halcyon days of Delerium circa 'Semantic Spaces' and 'Karma,' with less emphasis on World Music stylistics.

Although Branning is the backbone of TSDF (has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?), what skyrockets this effort is the female vocals he incorporates. All four vocalists ' Marcela Bovio, Summer Bowman, Susan Siren and Tamara Kent are a bit different, yet all work so well for the feel, pace and mood of the different tracks they sing on that it's absolute magic. A bit of genius on Brett's part too, matching the right vocal with the right musical piece.

The album begins with an aura of sweetness and innocence with vocals by Marcela on 'Glittering ripples from the depths,' with a multi-layer harmony on the chorus, like the prologue of some epic fantasy film, but soon enough TSDF is 'Invoking the Beast,' as any good fantasy trip needs its monsters. It's a relatively brief transitional instrumental track but a really amazing one with complex orchestration that keeps building. TSDF picks up the pace with 'Auf dem see,' with stellar vocals by Summer Bowman. That's followed by another instrumental track that is cinematic is scope titled 'On whom the dreadful claw'. You can just picture the cauldron of malevolence being stirred by foul denizens of the underworld. Perhaps the most striking vocal track on the album is by Susan Siren on 'The spectre's masquerade'. Siren's glorious operatic angelic voice is somewhat reminiscent of Maureen O'Flynn. It's a superb melding of classical and modern. 'The one eyed maiden' is another dramatic instrumental track with excellent complex multilayered orchestration over an industrial rhythm. It could have gone on for twice as long as it did and I would still have been happy. 'Puzzlebox' is sung by Tamara Kent, whose wispy voice ranges from a whisper to a lilting fairie fluttering through the etheric ambience. 'Ascent to heaven's eye' has a killer dance beat, and would make a great transitional track for any DJ to incorporate in a dance club set. It has a cool, orchestral denouement too. Last track, 'A silvered freeze' is no less driven (perhaps even moreso) with fitting industrial-style vocals from Mr.Branning. This track, with its driving intensity might be better suited to the Goth-Industrial dancefloor. A little over 44 minutes with this album, and you find yourself just wanting to play it again. That doesn't happen very often.

What I really like about 'Mechanical Serpents' is that it is accessible without being commercial or mainstream. I've heard other projects that have done music along these lines, and for me, there was always something that didn't gel properly; either tracks didn't go anywhere, something stuck out like a sore thumb, it ended up sounding too New Agey, or clichéd Electro-World Music. It's real easy to succumb to the bland with this type of music, but TSDF never give you a dull, sappy moment of that. I doubt you will find 'Mechanical Serpents' becoming a staple CD in aromatherapy salons and New Age massage parlors.

Something further should be mentioned ' Brett Branning also designed the cover of the CD (and others; you should really visit The Synthetic Dream Foundation website) showing that he also has a talent for visual fantasia. This is one of those albums that I would certainly buy if I heard a track or two from it. Lucky me, I already have it, so I don't have to, but YOU DO. Definitely a contender for Best Album of the Year for 2010.


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha