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  1. And people wonder why this forum going downhill, this is a review thread, keep it that way
    4 points
  2. Hi yeah, we were a bit understaffed and I had my reasons, feel free to check out the Status thread if you're interested. Back now and cleaned it up quite vigorously (at least what seemed reasonable to me, which was most). It should be better from now on that we have a little people more on the team Thanks at everybody for not letting the drama escalate too much, you handled it reasonably, all of you No, we will not make it a rule that a review needs to include links The links always help the people that are interested - and it is nice to play the embedded video and read the text here, I give you that point. But overall, I still put good writing above all and that's well done by the Doctor here, so: no critics. Cheers!
    3 points
  3. Really nice review... ....And a little bit of drama added to keep things interested. You can buy the release here: https://digitalreprints.bandcamp.com/album/human-odyssey And in the meantime check the new 2xCD Elysium's release as well :) https://digitalreprints.bandcamp.com/album/a-journey-through-time-space
    3 points
  4. Psynews has been a cornerstone for all psytrance related topics: from music, party/festival annoucements, new releases news, discussion about various topics ranging from album/compilation reviews/talks, interesting video sharing (interviews, old video-clips), production tips and tricks exchange, general talk about culture, entertainment, spirituality and so on. That being said, my opinion regarding the improvement: Disclaimer: I'm aware it requires resources, mostly someones time, knowledge and some money, but here me out. Two things are here important and both of them can be seen as a great foundation for eventual re-haul/improvement of the website/board. First one is content and second one is user-database. Forum/board should be just one segment of the website. The front-page of Psynews.org shouldn't be board. It should look like a interactive web-page where you can find couple of things: - A nice clean horizontal menu with few sub-menus such as: News, Videos, Reviews, Events, Playlists, Forum. You can add Contact and/or Newsletter info as well - Big horizontal header, Psynews logo or promoted banner for certain release/event/something else - Top 4-6 articles should be right below, in form of a box or as a list, but pinned - Eventually side-bar with latest topics/threads from the board/forum - Everything else is a matter of details - Footer with standard copyright and privacy policy Now to the point: When you have already great content, such as well-written reviews or proper music annoucements made by members, you can use that to put it (highlight it) on the front-page of your website, with nice image attached it's like pro-looking article. For example if you are using Wordpress page, you can make great SEO (search engine optimisation) of each article and attract more visitors to check your website and engage in other content (including the forum). It also gives nice exposure to artists, event organizers, label owners, DJ's as something representative. It's a win-win situation. Turn on some social-media commenting below the article, or link it with board/forum, you have engagement. I'm not that much into technical side of things, especially regarding the server/hosting that Psynews got, but I believe it supports latest version of Wordpress. You can get nice web theme/template in style of blog/magazine for like 50 bucks. Everything else is a matter of details, how you segment your page, what kind of plugins are you using and how you format certain text within articles, what images are you using and so on. But let's be honest, it would look much more professional and more involving for many content creators, no matter are they posting new release infos or putting up some album reviews or just sharing the event details with public, as well to some random visitors or psytrance enthusiasts. Regarding the forum membership: I'm aware that many registered members are inactive, but let's keep focus on active members, lurkers and eventually newcommers. Form a small team of 5-10 well-spoken users who will be in charge of re-posting forum content on the front page. Start with ongoing year 2024 - put up all reviews up in the frontpage, pick couple of festival annoucements, some upcoming releases and create 20 articles. You can, but you don't need to re-post other reviews, news, but it would be great to get each month at least 20-most commented/viewed reviews in form of article (form past years), just make sure to change the date when creating the article (in case you don't want to see it up in the lastest article sections). Add couple of articles regarding the most important festivals, share some nice DJ mixes. You can always edit articles, format images, credit the authors. Instagram reels, Facebook posts and new YouTube uploads by labels or artists can be great source for a fine article. All you need is a engaging article title, 200-300 words, link within article, nice looking photo and of course some links. The best thing is to directly add/embbed a clip or a videot. Put some hashtags and it's good to go. Feature some playlists by DJ's - make it on weekly or monthly basis. Daily throwback - put a highlight on some forgotten artist or release or even label. I can go on for hours with this idea, but in the end, what matters is the will to re-shape this great website, and I'm not sure is that even an option, but if someone from Administration decides to deal with it, I will be first in line to check it on daily basis and support it by recommending it. Sorry for lenghty post.
    3 points
  5. i still listen to and adore Amen from 2003. So if this new album is anywhere close to that, I look forward to another 20 years of sonic bliss Ive watched all their clips from youtube shorts, and there are some very interesting tracks here, so its looking good! im kind of excited! even though its really hard to get excited these days, at 42 😅
    2 points
  6. Yup, that's the case for me personally. Even if I consider the 2014 remixes album a real album, it's been 10 years since that release, the world is moving, people change, taste changes, and right now I couldn't care less of a new Astral Projection album. Great news for the fans though.
    2 points
  7. Finally !! https://www.facebook.com/share/p/BYPATb662ytnXCYe/
    2 points
  8. Next up, track 11. This was finished in early April 1999, almost 2 months after the previous one, and this is where things are getting a bit weird. I'd been spending much of the preceding months completely fascinated by The Lone Deranger, and the Twisted Records Dementertainment compilation. Listening to those on an almost daily basis, here is where my sound took a turn towards more gritty and should I say "dark". This is definitely the most complex track I managed to write in Impulse Tracker, both technically and as a composition. I remember a situation where I described the track as "organised chaos", and that's quite an accurate expression here. The only things that bother me a bit about this one is the rather murky and nondescript bassline (I really wish I could have come up with something better), and the track title feels oddly disjointed.
    2 points
  9. I hope you realize Filteria didn't invent shit. At least Xenomorph has his own style, the story telling (not this album specifically but in general).
    2 points
  10. Nop, but I started a new one, I'm trying to develop my style I started a new one, even the bassline has an arp , I will remake the track Goa ufo and comet with my new skills I have to add more details to the tracks.
    1 point
  11. ohhh this is great news! I'm so happy to be back and get these news first hand. Astral Projection belongs to Goa Trance like Psynews does
    1 point
  12. RA - Visions Altar Records - ARDEP79 Ever since Earthcall came out eight long years ago, to quote from this new EP I have had a Burning Love Desire for RA to release more music, so to say I was excited when I found out about it would be an understatement! This is a downtempo release in a similar sort of style to the stunning album Unearthly (which has recently been remastered- not sure how they could improve on perfection!). Whilst I would have to say this one is not RA's most complex material, as always it's impeccably produced, highly pleasurable and soothing to listen to and a solid addition to their catalog. According to the credits, the Visions EP is a solo work by Lars W. Lind. I believe this is the first release from RA without Christer Borge-Lunde's involvement, so it is an interesting chance to hear Lars' influence on the project in isolation. 1. Enthralled 6:49 2. Mysterious Thing 6:51 3. Visions Of Touch 6:27 4. The Burning 7:18 1. Enthralled A seriously mellow and chilled out opening track. The synths wash over you and seem to melt together in a delicious slow ambience. 7/10 2. Mysterious Thing "The soul understands what the mind cannot conceive." a voice whispers enigmatically. This track turns the tension up just a notch with a more exotic flavor. 7/10 3. Visions of Touch The textures on this title track are delectable to my ears and brain, especially with that bass. That texture of the sound evokes thoughts of the synesthesia suggested in the track title. It's more upbeat, even funky, compared to the opening tracks. At the halfway point we get intense layers of euphoric synths in a mesmerizing chord progression. Now we're talking! 9/10 4. The Burning This has a trippier feeling than some of the earlier tracks with a pulsating ethereal voice and layers of gorgeous soundscape. It's simultaneously mellow, ambient, upbeat and psychedelic, which is a great achievement in itself, I think. We get a female voiceover with an American accent about Burning Love Desire. The theme of love, desire and romance is nice and I believe a change from the more purely spiritual or philosophical wisdoms we get in RA's previous tracks. I'll let you be the judge of how well it works here I think. 8/10 All in all, a great and extremely relaxing release and I hope with all my heart that we will be hearing plenty more from RA in the years to come. 8/10 https://ra-altar-records.bandcamp.com/album/visions
    1 point
  13. Vaporized Human Odyssey 2023 Digital Reprints Human Odyssey 1 1-1Vaporized (2)–Return To The Source 12:51 1-2Vaporized (2)–Circle Of Dust 11:21 1-3Vaporized (2)–Solar Cycles 10:38 1-4Vaporized (2)–Human Odyssey 9:44 1-5Vaporized (2)–Full Moon 9:44 1-6Vaporized (2)–Silverbox 10:54 1-7Vaporized (2)–Enter The Circle 10:37 Human Odyssey 2 2-1Vaporized (2)–Return To The Source (Dig Deeper Mix) 12:51 2-2Vaporized (2)–Circle Of Dust (Red Rock Mix) 10:36 2-3Vaporized (2)–Solar Cycles (In Orbit Mix) 11:03 2-4Vaporized (2)–Red Dust 10:22 2-5Vaporized (2)–Silverbox (Acid Mix) 9:47E 2-6Kristian* & DJ Cosmix–The Vision (Vaporized Remix) 10:00 2-7Vaporized (2)–Artifact 12:22 This is a fascinating double album released in 2023 by Danish artist Kristian Thinning Andersen. He is most famous as Elysium, though he has a variety of other monikers. Andersen made some of the greatest Goa tracks ever in the 90s with a unique mellow, tribal, and hypnotic style. One of my personal favourites is the Sheyba ep on Flying Rhino from 1995: Who can forget the wolf howls in "Ancient Lands" which take the listener deep into the ancestral past. Other notable releases include Spiritual's "Ride the Snake", Kaaya's "Ormazd", Kailash's "Higher", and the two Elyzium albums Dance for the Celestial Beings (1995) and Celestial Sounds and Neurotic Tribal Beats (1997). Evocative, storytelling stuff, more for the inner journey than for 'aving it on the dancefloor, though plenty potent on the dancefloor too. Rather than give a track by track formalist description, I want to try to sum up Andersen's artistic goal and the feel of his tunes, with which I'm sure many of you are familiar. Perhaps the most important thing then is to point out that if you are a fan of his work, as I am, then this is a must. Andersen has not changed his style. This is not to say that he is stuck or lacks variety or experiment or is narrow, but he simply has his own unique style that is instantly recognisable. And what a style it is - poised hovering in the liminal zone between the dancefloor and the chill out area with bpms seldom getting up into the 140s, its distinctive feature is hypnosis. In a sense, then, his music is the very essence of trance, which is a hypnotic state, a state of immersion if you will. There's a deep calm in his music, that is quite different to the ecstatic excitement, even freneticism, of a lot of trance and psytrance. It is more of a highlands plateau than the peaks and valleys of psytrance. It is likely that the Dionysian among us will not like this calm and will find this album boring. If you want high drama, crushing rhythms, major chords, frenzied build-ups, hardcore blastoff, then look elsewhere. For those who can enter this calm state, it provides the meditative bliss of relaxation and acceptance. This music creates the atmosphere in which it is best appreciated. Here are the words of the man himself: "I wanted to return to the way I think trance should be like. To me, trance is a slowly building journey on the dance floor by its hypnotizing patterns and deep soundscapes. Repetitively rhythmic to put you in a state of trance." Andersen emphasises his return to proto-Goa, which was slower and lacked the build-ups and galloping horse basslines of post-millenial psytrance. What I most appreciate about this relaxation is that it tends to grant the space for the mind to expand into fantasy - it is quite easy to be swept to far-off lands with these tunes. This does not mean that Vaporized lacks intensity. Intensity may be provided by tribal vibes through vocals, samples, percussion. Whilst I do miss the tribal vibes a bit on this latest album, they are still there in the background. Intensity is also provided by the microdynamics of texture and small changes. A master of texture, Andersen was always good at making sounds that ranged from silken smooth to ragged ripping. Many of his sounds, showcased by the relatively constant rotating polyrhythms in the background have more pixels per nanosecond than there are motes of dust in the Sahara (though you will need a good hifi to hear this). Part of the sonic magic is the recordings and masterings: no compression wars here and sounds have space to breathe, do not blur together, dynamics are free. I checked out my vinyl and cds and the only information on the mastering I could find was "Prodam" and "Podam" - I searched but nothing came up. This is also true of this new work, which is also produced. This high quality recording and mastering pays off in psychoactive sound with good micro as well as macro dynamics. This is crucial to Andersen because he is very good at small changes, subtle shifts of delicate percussion, unexpected time wobbles - small changes amidst heavy repetition that can tug at your ear, especially when you are in the calm and receptive state of trance. There, in a nutshell, I think you have the spirit of Elysium/Vaporized: hypnotic trance. It is relatively introspective stuff that eschews drama, performativity, grandiosity, hysteria, going instead for meditative calm. This, of course, does not mean that the artist is always so calm himself. Hypnosis is also invariably haunted by the image of the zombie: who is controlling the hypnotised is the question that typically arises. Is it a corporate AI? Perhaps it is the Soviet nostalgia hackers? No, it is definitely the aliens described by Cixin Liu. Whether you are concerned about being hypnotised or not, the questions that have historically accompanied the inner path do flutter about this introspective art. Of course, this means that this is more home music than for the main floor. If hypnotic trance sounds appealing to you, then you won't do better than this excellent album and the stunning back catalogue behind it. ~*~
    1 point
  14. No worries; all apologies gratefully accepted! I've tended to avoid youtube links in the past because so many of them are dubious in both legality and quality, but I'm happy to post bandcamp links in future. 🙏
    1 point
  15. ... and my apologies to @DoktorG it was kinda uncalled for to have such a reaction. my bad. hope you can forgive me 😃 yes its frustrating to not be able to listen to the album then and there but still, overreaction. Pz!
    1 point
  16. Out now! Get the release here: https://pauleye.bandcamp.com/album/once-upon-a-time Tracklist: 01. Time Traveller 02. Satellite View 03. Fomalhaut 04. Liquid Crystal 05. Hyperspaceoids (2.0 Mix) 06. Virtual Trip Into Eternity 07. LumiSaDe 08. Phylogenesis 09. Hallucinative Space Voyage 10. Seven Circles 11. Spiritual Frequencies 12. Meganeura I also updated the first post with this info
    1 point
  17. Hello again, little did I know ... life is super (super!) crazy and turbulent for me these days ... I just wrote that first post, read the first replies, thought a little about what to say - then: boom .... I have been through so much it would fill an entire thread! But I put it short: Two family members in hospital ... still in hospital (it's been months). One of them is my daughter, who came over 3 months early. Second one is my dad. It looked bleak, really bleak and it also affected my psychological health. I recovered, but it was not easy and still is far from it. It's all so easy and shortly said, but I don't wanna spill out all my personal details in a post, I did enough of this in the past and while it would do me good, I do not have the energetic resources to process all the replies ... don't get me wrong, you are all great, but this is something I want to share only little. The situation is definitely a lot better now though and the outlook is positive again So if anybody wondered about admin absence, there you have the reason. Returning to it now though, I am happy that this forum exists and that I can write that here. No, I will not retire Psynews (if Mars keeps the server alive). I will embrace the requests from people who offered mod help and we will continue on, past 2024 and beyond I have a way better outlook now, a new private workplace under construction and I will now finally be able to be here more. And I also have begun to post Videos again on Jungle TV, which is a sign that I am well
    1 point
  18. Agree completely. For reference of how it could work, perhaps look at https://www.psybient.org/ which has managed to stay going for several years now despite not having a working forum section. I would be happy to help out with this project, either on the technical side (I have a software development background) or by assisting with funding. Like Richpa said, with current Wordpress templates I think there is a lot that can be done with relatively low initial effort.
    1 point
  19. Already did that, but instead of OpenMPT, I used XMPlay to export the tracks to stems (and of course I did it my way). Also, I didn't do any "mastering" since I want to keep the tracker sound as untouched as possible. The only thing I did was bringing up the tracks to (somewhat) the same level, and used a very gentle master limiter just to keep the tracks from clipping of course.
    1 point
  20. Thanks and I still keep wondering how I managed to pull off all those tracks back then. And heh, I actually posted in that Ultrabeat thread a decade ago, but as things go, it took me until now to actually get anything done XD
    1 point
  21. And the end isn't near anymore, instead it's literally here. This is the last track from the collection. It was finished in mid-May 1999, and continues from the gritty aesthetic of the previous track. Very much influenced by The Lone Deranger, this is literally my take on Snakey Shaker from that album, although I'm not sure if that was a deliberate or conscious choice I made when writing this track. Also, the 7/4 time signature in the middle part was definitely inspired by the first Shpongle album (which in itself was quite the revelation to me back then). So in that sense this track is very Posfordian, and I think it's quite a fitting closer for the collection. This track was actually released on the Neogoa compilation Celestial Transvibrations pretty much a decade ago, but the mixdown I sent in had some technical issues (I only realised this after the comp was released) so it was actually missing an entire background melody. So this version is the actual real version of this track. Bandcamp release is a week from now (exactly 25 years after I finished this track) and I'm both excited and absolutely terrified about that 😅
    1 point
  22. oh man, do i know what you mean 😃 😅
    1 point
  23. I will have to get back to you about the best one. What I do know is I've been getting real tired of the galloping horse KBBB these last few days, especially if it isn't done too well. What sucks is I have exactly that in the track I am working on. I will do something different next time. Off the top of my head, Hallucinogen always had great kick and bass and they were unique. I think he had the kick and bass playing at the same time as well. I am also reminded of this track, though listening to it now it's the bassy acid that's memorable but the kick and bass were still really good anyway:
    1 point
  24. Xenomorph Netherverse 2024 Suntrip Records 1 Sinister Contours 9:17 2 Dying Sun (Sol Aeternus Mix) 8:03 3 War In Heaven 8:35 4 Negative Time (-L Di/-Dt Mix) 8:20 5 No Beginning No End 8:39 6 Nebula Of Souls 7:47 7 Subdimensional Anomaly 8:38 8 Abode Of The Damned 8:46 9 Netherverse 8:38 So Mark Petrick comes in 2024 with Netherverse, his fourth album and the one to accompany 2023's superb ep "Negative Time". Is it any cop? "Sinister Contours" telegraphs Petrick's self-evident intention: he is for sure following the left hand path. This means a heavily arpeggiated track with a threatening minor melody. There'll be no easy upliftment on this album; and no cheese! But isn't the whole gothic darkness thing quite cheesy? Well yeah, if we are talking Twilight movies with aristocratic pretty boy vampires who bling in the sunlight, or perhaps campy Tim Burton style goth-lite. But we are not talking that here. No easy joy, no happy endings, on this sinister path, but plenty of eerie and other disquieting feelings. A "Dying Sun (Sol Aeternus Mix)" is probably my favourite track on the album. Here we seem to be on a space ship on a quest for a new home and we dive deep into a black hole, or something like that, indicated by the "our sun is dying... we are dust" sample and another spaceship sample (Petrick is a master of the appropriate sample - he really tells stories with his samples, which are carefully chosen). We sense here how cosmic Xenomorph's vision for this album is. The production quality on this track has to be heard on a good hifi to fully appreciate it - mindblowing. EPIC! A+++ "War In Heaven" starts off with a simple four-note melody that summons up fairy tale horror, but at the half way mark the track shifts up a gear and achieves take off with sawing synths. The "war in heaven" sample states succintly Petrick's apparent philosophy that the tension between good and evil is the propulsive force that drives the universe. A dance floor monster! A+ "Negative Time" is from the accompanying ep of that name. Plenty of pretty tinkles and juddering synth melodies here make for a track that is almost progressive trance - a more mellow track than the ones that preceded it, quite blissed out and dreamy. A "No Beginning No End" is an ourobouros in both concept and in big swirling melodies. These melodies do seem like spiralling nebulae. At 3.15 it turns darker with some delightfully chewy bass 303 and then the spiralling begins again, growing out of the darkness. Another epic trancer with massive melodies. Petrick has worked hard on making these melodies as echoing and big in scale as possible. A "Nebula Of Souls" - I love this slightly more minimal track. It features mysterious vaporous synths at the start, which are utterly beautiful and uplifting in a creepy way. There's a whap-whap sound that continues throughout, giving propulsion; it builds to a grinding climax and then ends on moody cello - simply stunning. A+ "Subdimensional Anomaly" starts with twinkling synths (lots of those sounds on this album) and then builds towards twisting leads against a stumping beat. There's a lovely sense of calm and observation behind this track. A "Abode Of The Damned" is as dark as its title, beginning with a sample about a graveyard and its ghosts. There's a great climbing bass arpeggio that kicks things off and then we have minor key choirs so beloved of dungeon synth and black metal and used quite regularly on Cassandra's Nightmare. This track could easily have been from that first album. At the four minute mark the bass goes into double time and here comes the growly acid that slowly morphs into long pads. Yo party people, are you ready to chew your tongue off and lose your shit? I'd love to see what this track would do to a dancefloor. A+ "Netherverse" - the come down track. Vaporous spacey synth, twangy echoes, a slow beat, eventually builds to the expected long and melancholic pads. I'm a huge fan of sloa Goa, but this is not an especially outstanding example, coming across as an unfinished fragment, and is the least good track on the album for me. B So is it any cop? You betcha it is. What I particularly liked about this album is that Xenomorph has not stood still, unsurprisingly perhaps as so many years have passed. This is a unique lighter and more cosmic album in his discography. Terrifying, eerie, haunting, sinister, at moments, but also full of cosmic beauty, Xenomorph's vision achieves maturity here. It seems that his albums are all quite different, despite there being strong similarities (not least the superb production and sound quality of all of them). I characterise them like this: Cassandra's Nightmare 1998: cinematic horror trance Qlippoth 2003: spirit possession Demagoguery of the Obscurants 2007: the conspiracy album Netherverse 2024: cosmic darkness and light In this fourth album, it seems to me that Petrick goes scifi and reaches for the stars, seeing the dialectic between light and darkness, matter and antimatter, creation and destruction, as the cosmic turbine that powers all. His vision has become epic and fully realised by this point it seems to me in that it appreciates all, including the disgusting and repressed, and values all equally. A divinely balanced cosmic vision. Does such a vision appeal to you? It is a bit early in the year, but I have no doubt that this is already one of my records of the year. Actually, my only strong criticism of this album and the ep is the cover art - weak in both cases. Finally, I am inspired to look back over his oeuvre as the body of work that triggered an entire (sub-)genre: darkpsy. You could argue against this notion, pointing out the other great dark Goa albums that helped ignite darker psychedelic trance: Sandman's Witchcraft, Orichalcum and the Deviant Orichalcum and the Deviant, Cydonia Fear of a Red Planet, UX Ultimate Experience, and so on. This would be correct: all played their part. Nevertheless, nothing was nearly as dark and scary as Cassandra's Nightmare and it remains the keystone album. So Xenomorph's latest album deserves to be seen in this wider context as part of the genre that his first album kickstarted. Amazing what can come out of watching a few horror movies and being open-minded enough to meld trance with the gothic, industrial, and metal. ~*~
    1 point
  25. I just want to say that makes me very happy that there is a new album using the real goa trance, psytrance methods, art and skill, then just using new technology in a non sense way, I feel those days many artists should use the technology more wisely, all those xenomorph tracks make sense and seem to tell a story, my favourite track is the negative time.
    1 point
  26. To be honest I doubt most of those Guests on Online Users are humans. Could be bots and AIs. Agree with the contribute comment. Don't agree with "no balls" comment
    1 point
  27. yes youre absolutely right, mods feel free to clean the thread ofc.
    1 point
  28. Sometimes I close my eyes wave my finger and pull out random CDs out of collection, well today I got this one https://www.discogs.com/release/575684-Various-Bali-Trance-Dua-Ribu Got me thinking have stumbled across few random ones like these over years but wondering could this be a kind of bootleg? Has some no name artists in it, plus cosmosis tracks from synergy yet released few years after these made, couple of seeming exclusive or unreleased total eclipse tracks yet one seems familiar? This one in particular on king coconut records,with just this release, so am assuming done from someone's bedroom for something to do. The tracks by limited or unknown artists some actually quite good, but interested in these total eclipse tracks if anyone has any info as they great, anyone else come across these type of comps that don't seem to make any sense?
    1 point
  29. i tried watching dune 2, had to stop watching after about 60%, damn it was boring! im sure it was better at the cinema.
    1 point
  30. Hi all! 🫶 Not active as I used to be, but from time to time I get back here to check new Nhjo music annoucements! 🙃
    1 point
  31. Xenomorph - Netherverse (2024) Suntrip Records 1. Sinister Contours 2. Dying Sun (Sol Aeternus Mix) 3. War In Heaven 4. Negative Time (-L Di/-Dt Mix) 5. No Beginning No End 6. Nebula Of Souls 7. Subdimensional Anomaly 8. Abode Of The Damned 9. Netherverse It's so interesting to read the comments here. I found the the Negative Time EP (2023) fairly monotonous, lacking the visceral, dynamic energy of Mark Petrick's previous albums. A brief recap, Cassandra's Nightmare (1998) was like Goa chapters in a horror film. It took risks and showcased a new approach to Goa. Qlippoth (2003) was more mature and provocative. Demagoguery of the Obscurants (2007) was a concept album reflecting the uncompromising, tragic [old world] vision of the elites (the dark ones via cabal) phases ending with Nuclear Winter. Years later, Xenomorph singles began appearing on Suntrip comps. Petrick's style was more contemporary, less hard edged, technical, more melodic and smooth. It was with Suntrip that I felt something powerful, raw, daring, and organic just did not cross-over that made this artist so brazen, unrestrained, and impressive. Fast forward to Netherworld (2024), the first main album by Xenomorph in 17 years. 1. Sinister Contours starts with strong atmosphere and a solid beat. The synths and samples are catchy, dark (not heavy dark) fun and danceable. The gritty synths in the third minute are catchy too, coupled with tight mixing despite the fairly simple sound design. The second act transitions at 4:15. Little soundscapes fly by as we catch our breath. An oriental synth arrives at 5:53, coupled with supporting synths, darker samples, a throbbing bass line. These elements are good! I like the ice cold ambient at 6:05. By this point however, the oriental sound design has grown repetitive as it crossed the sixth minute. The first two acts were substantially more interesting, fun, arresting, dynamically mixed, and punchy. The last act is too repetitive, as if stuck on a tape loop until breaking out at 7:48 that sounds better before falling prey to the same issue. The third act deserved to be exciting, punchy, developed, fun, and memorable, as any third act should compliment the first two, but it comes across as lazy and pales in comparison, as if the artist threw in the towel, and that's disappointing. I was really into this song beforehand and thought it was good/great, darkly sleek, fun, and danceable despite the simple beat, bass line, and more mainstream-friendly (without being commercial thankfully) sound programming. The song inspired me to listen to the opening track, Prognosis on Demagoguery of the Obscurants (2007), confirming that this artist can produce some of the strongest tracks from start to finish when he commits his mind to doing so. B- 2. Dying Sun (Sol Aeternus Mix) is MUCH BETTER than Sinister Contours IMO, and my top, if not one of my top favourites here. I LOVE the ominous opening, the raspy samples (that somehow work with the), atmosphere and synths. I LOVE the space astronaut sound accent effects (end of first minute), and the sound/melody work is excellent. The song gets richer, more tasty and delectable as it progresses. This is a great example of duality, rather than pure dark-evil-- combining darkness with light. Then a key change at 3:30, and the song does possibly the most beautiful, transformational thing I've ever heard from this artist to date, completely elevating the journey into cosmic, transcendental realms of growth and development before sliding back into the dangerous void. Sure the beat and baseline are pretty standard, and I'm okay with that. It's everything on top of it that's riveting and so unexpectedly strong, evocative, and enjoyable! This (more balanced in duality) song is so innovative, catchy, and welcome from what I'm used to hearing from this artist. It's less hard hitting (beat-wise, synths, grit) than his other songs, and I'm okay with that. Even a transition in the fifth minute gifts us more jewels via sound/melody work. Maybe the second half of the last act could have emphasized more edgier synths, but I'm nitpicking. This is such a well done song. It's imaginative and beautifully helmed from start to finish. Excellent track! A- 3. War In Heaven is a return to harder hitting, darker content with catchy sound/melody designs. This is closer to what I thought the opening track was going to be like from start to finish. I notice some cross-over sounds that remind me of Demagoguery Of the Obscurants (2007) which I love. The sound/melody work is crisp and energetic, though somewhat simple in arrangement, complimented by voice samples and plenty to engage my mind. The music improves as the song progresses. I love the blinking little synth effect at 4:03 (I wish that reprised just once more later) and how a voice sample transitions to catchier terrain. This has punchy (danceable) synths, and I love the little dynamic sound/progression at 5:12. I'm a sucker for catchy transitions to new surprises, sound/melody work, mixing. The contemporary meets nostalgic sound compliments. The last act brings everything together like a dark albeit less dark (than previous albums) approach coupled with melodies had A Nightmare on Elm Street had a Goa song. That said, I feel as if the music is just a bit restrained in power, rawness, grit, and delivery, as if the artist is fairly reserved to unleash his greater potential via fiery power. All in all, I enjoyed the smooth, fluid production, sound engineering, and delivery. Great track! B+ 4. Negative Time (-L Di/-Dt Mix) starts strong. We get a synth lead that breaks through like a tidal wave (beautiful effect) at 0:57 followed by more complexity. The first act is catchy, though repetition starts to sink in just before things shift at 2:40. We reach an interlude at 3:30 via voice sample that sounds like Lance Henriksen in one of his intriguing character roles. I like how the tone grow darker in the fifth minute. The song's synths remind me of the third album to some degree. The third act merges fresh ideas, good mixing and melodies. The end of the sixth into seventh minute features key changes, however they (here) combined with the sound design (arrangement) made the song feel more conventional and formulaic. But that's not make or break despite the song losing its sharp edge in the final moments. Nonetheless, I admire the dualistic rather than being dark-evil approach. I think there could have been more of a finale (edgy climax) towards the end. Otherwise, another great track! B+ 5. No Beginning No End starts promising, for about a minute. The dark tone is decent along with the sound at 1:03, though the synth at 1:30 wears thin along with the second and third minute. The synths around 3:33 is catchy via grittier (something this album lacks), but it's quickly discarded for a more conventional approach going forward, and this is where I start to lose interest. The predictable, redundant sound design builds up before climaxing into a conventional, repetitive, and uneventful final act. This song began with so much potential. Even its title sounds dark and intriguing, but the direction is generic (formulaic), redundant, and forgettable. More fire, grit, variety, complexity, kickass stomping energy and complexity, atmosphere, and just a better more contextualized song to the album would have been wonderful. And is it me or does this feel and sound rushed? The more I listen to it, the less I like it, and the more turned off I am. This artist is way too talented to release stuff bordering on selling out. C 6. Nebula Of Souls starts great like a dark fantasy. I like the atmosphere, enchanting sounds and synths. The first act builds nicely. Little squiggly sounds mingle with soundscapes in ice-cold moving atmosphere. There's a recurrent synth that works. It grows delectably grittier, rougher, more aggressive, and less restrained as the song progresses. That said, the song follows one set path, direction, and conceptually, is pretty one-dimensional. But it packs some of that rough edged rawness I miss. Again though, the structure and sound design grows repetitive, albeit more powerful and emphasized, and I feel like we needed this... something with more visceral and aggressive. Why not add this intensity to a more dynamic, varied, and elaborate storytelling chapter? Doing so could have produced an album selling super song. In Act 3 the synths fall to the back as slow ambient notes carry this across the finish line, and while I appreciate the change, I feel like this was an opportunity to incorporate something more exciting and revelatory to spruce up the finale which otherwise feels somewhat melancholy and anti-climactic, especially after the welcome, harder edged albeit predictable structure/drection. B 7. Subdimensional Anomaly opens with soft ambient, inviting us into the ominous fold. The bass line stands out for once. I like the evocative feel, synths, and key changes, especially the lead synth in the second minute that's accentuated by soundscapes, following a voice sample, stronger energy. Now we're gliding across the dark terrain, though a little more involvement via arrangement (sound programming) would have spiced up the forth minute. The song's second half maintains the catchy synths, combining fresh touches, samples, and punchy synths that remind of Mark's third album that works well here. The ambient notes compliment the last act, reflecting sadness and contemplation. The second half of Act 3 however could have incorporated more spice, intrigue, and development like the song's first two acts. That said, I admire the artist's more pensive direction. B 8. Abode Of The Damned as with Dying Sun (Sol Aeternus Mix) showcases stronger storytelling throughout. The first act builds intrigue, acknowledging the underworld (the Great Below) conveniently excluded from modern academia, as it does not fit in with established associations, hence fiction-fantasy / folklore / conspiracy / advanced ancient civilizations, technology, Shiva, Krishna, etc. The first act is dynamic, offering a variety of tighter sound engineering. The second act has more grit and energy, a thumping beat. I love like the tone, evocative feels, gritty synths, distinguishing acts, and voice samples. But the second half of Act 3 could have gone deeper to more magnetic degrees. That said, this is easily one of the best songs on the album, and my favorite song since Dying Sun. Great, excellent work. B+ / A- 9. Netherverse is an ambient-influenced downtempo number. The first half... we're floating in space, cold atmosphere. No beat. The eerily intriguing opening works well for the first minute. Not longer as not much happens. A synth arrives in the second minute as I start to grow impatient, hoping things will improve. A slow kick drum enters the third minute. It's okay albeit plodding. Again, I wait for this to turn into a powerful, downtempo gem, but the interlude in the forth minute leads to more of the same. There are some nice notes and key changes in the fifth and sixth minute, but to my surprise and dismay, the song ends soon after-- just when it was starting to get interesting and warm up! I would have loved if the artist developed this into a more memorable downtempo gem, condensing the best of the three acts (cold atmospheric-ambient opening, beat, notes, key changes) into the song's first half, before diving deeper into memorable greatness in the song's second half. Act 3 felt like it should have been Act 2 in story so that we can enjoy the feels develop into something more developed narratively, structurally, and more substantial, satisfying, and whole. I like the pleasant feels. Unfortunately, the song feels underwritten, underdeveloped with ideas and execution, and underwhelming. I was left wanting more, and should never feel indifferent or disappointed at the end of a Xenomorph album, especially after 17 years. Furthermore, this is the album's title track. You'd think it would be more memorable and sublime. C+ CONCLUSION So few dark Goa albums release now days that I want to savor what I like here until something better comes along. Its been 17 years since the last Xenomorph album. Mark's work has grown more contemporary via Suntrip comps. If you like this style coupled with some cross-over elements from his third album, you'll probably like this. I like it more than his work on Suntrip comps and find numerous tracks ( 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 ) enjoyable, good and occasionally great. Constructive criticism and feedback: Let's get this out of the way since I like this artist and album enough to end on a positive note. This 4th album by one of my favourite artists did not exceed my expectations like his last two albums. Tracks 5 and 9 feel like write offs. They're underwhelming. There are a some repetitive segments in Sinister Contours among a few other songs that could have been tightened up, as mentioned above. These moments upset an otherwise fun song, though dance floors are generally more forgiving. The overall album is less ambitious, less technical, less dynamic, less hard-hitting, less punctuated, less involved, provocative and unpredictable, less gritty, explosive, powerful, daring, and risk-taking, and less advanced via mixing/sound programming-- his third, more industrial Psytrance album really impressed me outside of the polarizing four songs with vocals. His previous albums felt more organic, unconventional, determined, raw, gritty, rough, chaotic, and unrestrained, and I miss that-- the magnetic, technical wizardry, moments of dark surrealism, build up, climax, awe, inspiration, innovation, evolutionary developments (at times), and complexity. I was listening to his third album this week, noticing how even the second half of its third acts improve, growing edgier, more engrossing in the last two minutes. His sound engineering and how far he took things in the third album was amazing. That's not the case here regarding the second half of the third acts that feel similar (a bit repetitive) to the first half of the third acts. The more mainstream friendly approach often works when it's not conventional or repetitive, but also (at times) feels like more Xeno-lite (not to be misinterpreted with light). I would have loved more complexity, catchy developmental arrangements, advanced mixing, sound designs, atmosphere, variety in baselines, beats, textures, details, accents, and a great closing song that doesn't wait for the second half to grow interesting before ending soon after. The good news is that Netherworld (2024) features a healthy amount of good and great songs. It's smooth, very melodic (at times), danceable, and easy to digest. It combines light and dark well via dualistic sound/melody designs. There is some atmosphere (great when present). Dying Sun (Sol Aeternus Mix) impressed me the most (my wife's favourite song), followed by Abode Of The Damned, Negative Time, and War In Heaven. These songs feature some really catchy synth work, mixing, dynamics via developments, and direction, and that's no knock against tracks 6 and 7 that are entertaining more or less. Even the first song is reasonably solid, though less memorable which leaves only two songs I didn't care for. I like that Mark Petrick's style isn't saturated in bleak, nihilistic dark/evil like his previous albums. Times have changed. We evolve. Well some of us anyway. The praise: "work smarter, not harder" probably makes more sense after 17 years, but how can one not compare the 4th album to the last two considering how top tier-- Qlippoth (2003) and Demagoguery of the Obscurants (2007) represent some of the best dark Psy/Goatrance albums ever released. This artist set the bar so high that not even he can top it. My suggestion is to give this a couple listens and decide for yourself. I like to listen to an album enough to identify the songs by titles, for them to form an identity in my mind like characters in a story, each it's own creative world, but that's me. One way of seeing it... we could have NOT gotten a forth album at all, and now we have something to talk about, which at least brings more energy to the forums! Also, thank you Mark Petrick and Suntrip Records for making a new Xenomorph album happen after all these years. While far from what I consider superb, there IS some superb work here, and plenty solid work in general for me to enjoy. Cheers! Favourites - 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 Least favourites - 5, 9 ... the latter could have been so much more satisfying and engaging with more time in development, and the album is more deserving than having formulaic fillers like track 5. B Stream the full album on Suntrip's YouTube
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  32. I LOVE that they returned to what we LOVE (their first 3 albums) and updated some of their best songs with contemporary remixes, beautiful sound/melody work, and no singing that distracts and robs the music of its fun, visionary, and imaginative feel, essence and divinity. This is one of the biggest, most positive album surprises from IM since.. I don't know. It's been decades. When you do something that turns people off so many times, people lose interest and can overlook or arrive late to something special. In this case, a re-invigoration of old-stool translated to new-skool Goa-Trance greatness! This REMIX ALBUM has numerous songs and moments of pure magic and beauty, fire, heart, and spirit = GOA TRANCE 😍❤️ As always, some remixes stand out more than others. I'm not placing this above their first three albums and everyone has an opinion. That said... Praying this is a sign for something wonderful to come, such as a brand new PURE Goa album with all new musical masterpieces in follow up to their first three albums. REBORN is a huge step in a positive direction either way.
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  33. A long-awaited album by the master of dark goa & psychedelic trance! We got a taster of some of these tracks in Xenomorph's ZNA Gathering 2019 set (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NN3N1BEkHB8) and finally five years later the new album is released. However, not all the tracks from that performance, such as the amazing Atrocity Archive, were released on either the recent EP nor this album - hopefully another release is upcoming. Further, a few of the tracks are mixes of existing released tracks with very minor changes. Why do I love Xenomorph's music? 1) A huge part of why I like psychedelic music overall is its ability to create powerful atmospheres. Xenomorph is almost unmatched at that. His tracks tell stories ranging the whole spectrum of darkness from apocalyptic hopelessness to unhinged lunacy to stony-faced esoterica. 2) Xenomorph's melodies are very strong. Classic tracks like Abominations are surprisingly melodic. The combination of dark storytelling talent with melodic payoffs does much more for me than most later darkpsy. 3) Lastly, Xenomorph kept forging a unique path, each album is novel and just so different to what anyone else was doing at the time. It's no surprise that he's gained many fans with this uncompromisingly creative approach. 01 Sinister Contours This track's name describes it perfectly. The first half feels like an intro to the moment when the sinister contours really kick in at around 5:00 with tense eastern melodies, croaking acid, and spooky samples. The main lead is brought back in and the tension just ratchets up and up with so many intertwining ominous layers. A build up which we might anticipate leading to a break down actually leads to the addition of an off-beat clap along with an echoing foreboding sound at 6:55. A driving new melody starts emerging and and at 7:45 most layers drop away leaving this new theme. The pressure release ultimately happens at 8:00 when a cheeky goa melody drops! At this point I have a huge grin on my face. Despite how much I love this track, some aspects seem a little overprocessed for my taste, such as the main lead when it first comes in. The break at 6:50, which was previously understated in the ZNA Gathering clip with just the clap added, now also brings in another layer which makes that section a little crowded - maybe my headphones need upgrading. 02 Dying Sun (Sol Aeternus Mix) A fantastic song already released on the Gamma Draconis compilation. I didn't do a detailed comparison but it sounds like the bassline has been thickened and some minor tweaks have been made (the original track did have poor mastering for some reason), otherwise everything is the same. The storytelling of the sense of melancholia about the dying sun is beautifully expressed. 03 War In Heaven This one is a cool change of mood and pace, and recalls industrial/EBM artists like Velvet Acid Christ and Hocico when they have dabbled in trance. Less of the high-tech psy leads or Xenomorph's signature menacing atmosphere. The focus is more on danceable high energy with a gothic touch that can actually end up sounding euphoric. The interlacing arpeggiated melodies at 4:00 are absolutely gorgeous!! 04 Negative Time (-L Di-Dt Mix) Again, it says this is a mix but the version sounds pretty much identical to what was released in the Negative Time EP. The track takes off like a rocket with a bouncy bassline, and at 0:55 comes a massive and absolutely delicious lead. Then a slower response section with more metallic sounds, which finally runs out of energy at 2:40. Suddenly to be replaced by another massive resonant lead, mirrored by a shimmering second melody, I could listen to this section all day as the modulations sound so nice. A series of acid melodies slowly build up the energy back to a metallic section, it's clear we're heading for something big. At 6:40 there's a spine-tingling breakdown leading to a very old-school goa climax! 05 No Beginning No End Not such a fan of this track personally, feels like it's perched between the styles of the last two tracks. Lots of interesting ideas but not structured with the urgency of previous tracks nor with any real stand out sections. The only dud on the album. 06 Nebula Of Souls Yet another change of style, this track is more of a slow-burner compared to the others and evokes the mood of hopelessness and weirdness most similar to the Qlippoth album. Intriguing start feels like being in a space station drifting through freezing space. Again the title is fitting. At 3:00 a crunchy growling lead starts to takes the fore. The track builds up in intensity until at 5:45 a sad stringed instrument melody comes in. I can see why for some fans this would be the top pick of the album, it's easily the darkest track here. 07 Subdimensional Anomaly Time for another more trancey track, but with a pensive mood. Big sweeping pads and a lot of more subtle layers over the top take us all the way to 3:00 where we get a radiant psy lead along with a big snappy snare. The track doesn't evolve in any major way from here but doesn't need to. It's absolutely beautiful. 08 Abode Of The Damned This one heavily reminds me of Cassandra's Nightmare, still my most loved Xenomorph album. The first half has the twisted horror style with a playful array of spooky squelchy sounds. The second half breaks out into powerful melodies that just get better and better on top of a pumping bassline. The melodies aren't particularly memorable however unlike the previous track. 09 Netherverse Wow a rare psybient track from Xenomorph, this one also wouldn't have felt out of place as the last track on many oldschool albums. The first half is deeply atmospheric and intriguing, similar to Koxbox's Searching For Psychoactive Herbs. Unfortunately the change of direction that feels like it's coming at some point never does arrive, besides a small modulation near the end. Still an enjoyable track but could have been more. Overall, there's a large variety of styles here, and at first I think this makes the album as a whole difficult to comprehend. It's harder to fully appreciate tracks 7 and 8 after you've just listened to the nightmare tour de force of Nebula of Souls. After repeated listens I really appreciate the quality of each track and there's only one that I feel is weak. Perhaps the biggest surprise is how euphoric a few of the tracks are, especially Negative Time, one of the least dark songs Xenomorph has produced. But still has that signature intensity and urgency and I love it. I'm a sucker for the big psychedelic leads used and production level is high as you'd expect. I expect the range of styles is due to the long time period this album took to put together, and my only disappointment is we didn't see more new tracks instead of a few minor mixes of existing songs.
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  34. Where else on the internet can one find lists / topics of Train related Psy/Goa-Trance tracks!? #) And Reggae, and so so much more 🙃
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  35. Saw the post and felt like commenting because it is important to have this place going. I remembered my old password🙃, it has been a while..
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  36. I think it would be sad if the forum closed despite being used less. We cannot know or control the future, there is a chance there is a mass movement towards, not away from forums in the future. May I ask.. how come the gigging artists of the scene do not come an invigorate a forum that would be in their interests to invigorate ? Their absence is quite loud. We can all say we have no time. We prioritize and make time for what we like and what benefits us most, as is natural. Like many genre specific forums there are the fans side to discuss music and producers sub forum. I believe one factor for the production side is that making psy trance sound as a top level production is extremely difficult, we may as well not lie about this and it takes long term practice and dedication. It can be disheartening, I bet 95pct give up and even if you pay for the courses available it does not make a great track for you. Maybe some big producers will see this and they could spend a little time to engage and support something that will be missed if/when gone. Even just a little personal presence, not giving away their top kick and bass secret sauce. Just saying hello once in a while. In any event things go where they go, we cannot control all. In life a little spreading of bets is no bad thing.
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  37. I personally would prefere it if the forum keeps running. I'm only posting once in a blue moon but I do read it way more. And I've been able to discover some amazing tracks/artists/albums through this forum lately so it is still very helpfull for me. I don't think it's that bad if moderating the forum only happens with a delay. Considering the forum is not very active anyway I don't see any harm with that.
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  38. Yes keep it running, I have some spare time if you need help I think I can help too forums still have some advantages no pub and not so distractive.
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  39. All i want is fewer smileys i miss the old few n selected Psynews emojis. Now -at least on my phone- it's hell opening up the smiley selections... So much lag n crash .. :posford: 😛h34r: ..... Love your dedication to the forum, RTP. Keeping it alive.
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  40. thanks RTP! whatever u chose its all good. it is kinda dead, but thats just a reflection of the internet in its entirety. we are getting ancient and the new kids are just into their tiktoks. the golden age of the internet is long behind us, still remember the first time i got connected back in 1994 on a 28.8k modem. those were the days i support the goa constrictor to become a mod 😃
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  41. I love this place and if you need any help with Mod/Admin'ing, I'd be happy to support. 😃
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  42. i'm reading psynews since the beginning and registrated in 2010, but i never posted a thing until 2024 but i was reading everything and discovered a lot of fantastic music trough the years because there isn't a lot of acitvity the last years, i decided it's time to start posting better late then never! over here (belgium) we are very lucky with parties, all were less than 50 km near my house there were (and still are, but less) parties every weekend with a lot of big names, i went (sometimes i could go on my bike) to acts as dimension 5, chi-ad, asia 2001, astral projection, hallucinogen, xenomorph, ka-sol, texas faggot, osom, kindzadza, x-dream, ubar tmar, ra, kox box, crossing mind, procs, infected mushroom, ... 20 years ago there were never ending party weekend with acts like that every weekend, insane if you think about it, sometimes i went to a party friday night, saturday morning to other party in a forest and then saturday to the last party untill sunday afternoon.......all with great acts..or great dj's we were very lucky over here with a lot of people who organised a lot of parties. now i release how lucky i was to be part of that time of partying....and also lucky that i survived that period😀
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  43. For me personally, life is very different at 50, no longer listen to much new stuff and very happy to keep listening to the classic dinosaur music on Flintstone tech, with no party's this part of the world, not part of the scene, hence not much to talk about, however still like to stop by from time to time and whittle, and see what all you youngins are doing, and drool over the amazing old school artists doing retro sets I could only ever dream about attending, occasionally some new music takes my eye, but in general think I past the boom boom! It's indeed a very different place here now, and while not for me with to much engagement, I can see how others still love to be here, think this post is important everyone addresses to move forward, certainly wouldn't want to see it archived,however it costs time and money to continue so needs to be a balance if to continue this way. RTP you and other mods have done an amazing job to continue and keep our Goa paradise alight, thanks for doing this, but if the time came to retire psynews, would certainly support that decision
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  44. This aged like milk. 20 years late and the MS-20 now goes for 2500$ lol
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  45. the whole internet = 5 people who visit psynews forum in 2024 😉
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  46. Since getting married I haven't had much chance to listen to Goa on CD or through speakers in the house. I had to change to mobile listening and I don't think I did it very well for a while, then smartphones became a thing I ended up streaming music. It became mostly background. I recently bought a dedicated DAP, full sized headphones and a high quality cable to connect the two (this thing is a lot thicker than I was expecting, I don't think it's meant for headphones 😆) and I'm rediscovering all my old favourites.
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  47. Humbled, and amazed. It's truly a great honour to be able to release this powerful Dark Psychedelic Forest Trance Album by the one and only, Proxeeus. KER-BC: https://kaliearth.bandcamp.com/album/perversion-and-insanity KER's FB RLS Event: https://m.facebook.com/events/280011267387904 Spotify: The release will be spread worldwide to shops like Juno, Beatport, iTunes, Amazon and all other places - and also if you use Deezer, Tidal.. It should be there as well. Enjoy!
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  48. RA - Unearthly Altar Records 2012 1. Floating Shrine of Inanna 2. Rain No Water 3. Ascend 4. Shift 5. Lifethread (Serene Mix) 6. Lightspark 7. Unearthly 8. Celestial Slice RA is one of the leading pioneers of Goa-Trance. Christer Borge-Lunde of RA is also known for producing some of the best chill tracks in the past few years, mainly on elemental compilations by Altar Records. Unearthly is the latter with all new songs. It's the first downtempo album by RA and one of 2012's best albums! 1. Floating Shrine of Inanna is a beautifully optimistic, harmonious piece with catchy female hymns. Initially I thought it could have developed a little more. On return listens, I find it just right, a song that gets better with repeat listens. The strings in the second half are creatively utilized and reduce the sense of repetition. The warm mood and atmosphere, violin, and various other instrumental sounds add to the immersive, downtempo feel. This is a great opening track. A- 2. Rain No Water is an ambient driven epic that's floating, contemplative, dreamy, and evocative. The first half to two thirds is pure gold, magic. Sometimes I feel like it goes on for several minutes longer than necessary; that it could have ended at around 7:47. In the end, that's probably a nitpick. The song oozes with passion and beauty. It's like a masterful opera track for ambient. Overall, this is a wonderful song filled with love and light. I could easily see it complimenting a great scene in a film. A / A 3. Ascend begins with a sample of living in the present, NOW. I love the opening sounds; they fit the track title perfectly. The mid if not uptempo song reminds me a little of those upbeat, infectious tunes from those futuristic F-Zero racing games for Nintendo. The overall track sounds eons apart, more natural, harmonious, and well orchestrated. The ambient support is fantastic, and oozes life into the digital body. My hesitation to give a solid A relates to how engaged I am from beginning to end. I love how optimistic and positive these tracks are. A- 4. Shift is more Egypt/RA-influenced. This is more psychedelic and combines creative, tasty sound/melody combinations. At least one layer music is manipulated to create an energy-like, skipping (I don't know what I'd call it) wormhole (?) effect. It's very catchy! The Goa influence (touches?) work extremely well. The song keeps moving, developing. It's arresting throughout. Excellent work. A 5. Lifethread (Serene Mix) is a chill version of Lifethread on the Shaltu compilation. The song has an intriguing opening and some beautiful ambient to boot. I like it a lot more than the uptempo version that felt too safe to me. I simply find the synth work catchier on the other tracks, comparatively speaking. Nonetheless, the warm, emotive touches stand out. The lighter approach brings balance to the less light numbers (before and after this one). I can't help but find the other songs catchier, but this adds variety, has some great elements, and is a welcome song to the canon. The last third develops nicely too. B+ 6. Lightspark has more energy than the previous tracks. It's more dynamic too! Once again, the ambient is different and supports the catchy synths. I love the first half of this song; it's refreshingly gripping. I like how the song develops, growing catchier as it moves forward. Unfortunately I find that it begins to feel a little repetitive around the fifth (to 5:50) minute, just before the interlude. The song felt more zippy and tight leading up to the 5th minute. The interlude is very good as well as the beat's return. To me, the last act could have stood out more and incorporated greater development, as it grows a little repetitive to me (again) by the seventh minute. The song's homogenous though; it's very nicely composed and some may prefer the song this way. I love the tempo and the accents on and around the beat. This is another solid number. I simply expected more based on the first half. B+ 7. Unearthly is another Chill-esque number that's fairly upbeat. The kick drum produces more of a dance-friendly feel and atmosphere. The ambient notes and harmonies are pleasant and catchy. The key changes are nice too and support the piano. Towards the end, an almost mini-climax or rush takes place. I wonder if this was intentional. The rising sound effect of a particular sound enhances the track, as it leads up to new ground and as the horse continuously gallops. I'm a huge fan of the melodies too; they're emotive and contemplative, beautiful and gripping. They develop in arrangement which is one of the artist's many talents. To me this has more variety than the previous two tracks; it keeps my attention more, due to a greater sense of development. Great track. A- 8. Celestial Slice is another beautiful gem. The song begins with a magical and floating opening. The ambient produced has a surreal feel that for me, enters the realm of fantasy. I love the melody/sound work throughout this song. The interlude is seamless and gripping, connecting a gentle flute to the fluid whole. The song has a feel to it, as if its been crafted to near perfection. It's full of emotion and harmony, and makes me feel hopeful, optimistic and loving. The flute segments, and the song's progression and development is beautiful. This is a terrific song from beginning to end. Well done! A Unearthly is beautiful, engaging, imaginative, and magical downtempo album. This is easily one of the best downtempo (chill) releases of 2012 along with Akshan's The Tree of Life, and few others from the ones I heard. Unearthly has some wondrous, magical numbers. The songs develop in ways similar in spirit to Goa-Trance. Some evolve more than others. Some of the evolutions I find catchier than others, but everyone will have their favorites. It's a rare treat from some of the most talented artists, a downtempo album full of catchy, innovative numbers. At times, melodies comes across like feelings oozing into the songs. Furthermore, the album has soul. There's even a few infectious mid-tempo tracks to boot. If I were to be more critical, constructively speaking, I'd say that Lifethread (Serena Mix) and Lightspark, though good, are the least strong (magical, memorable) tracks on the album, to me anyway. They're more or less interesting and add variety. All in all, Unearthly is a gem. Highly recommended. Favorite tracks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 A- Sample / Order http://www.altar-records.com/ra.html http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=ra+unearthly
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