Originally posted on my new review website: http://psyreviews.tr...of-a-drop-2009/
This is my first review. Thanks for reading.
Album: Sense of a Drop
Format: CD (Digipak)
Label: Waveform Records
Catalog #: WAV 09101-2
Release Date: 9/09/09
1. The 9 (6:57)
2. Myth (7:53)
3. Galvanizing (7:45)
4. To See I (7:02)
5. Illusion Hill (7:44)
6. Mindfulness Intention (5:56)
7. I Still Know That I Know (7:03)
8. Mundi (7:37)
9. Golden Orb (9:04)
10. Zero One Blues (6:58)
Total Time: 74:23
If you're into psychedelic ambient/chill/downtempo then you've probably heard the name Capsula. If not, now's the time. Capsula is Yosef Shamay of Israel and is one of a handful of artists that truly define what "psychedelic electronic music" is all about. I also believe he's been completely influenced by the video game music programmers of 20 years ago, especially the music from Road Rash 3 on Sega Genesis. But that's just me.
His first full-length album, Synthesis of Reality, was released on Ajana Records in 2005. He's had tracks on compilations from Ajana, Peak Records, Moonstone Records, and Liquid Records. After four long years, he's out with his second album, Sense of a Drop, on Waveform Records.
Here we go...
#1 - The 9
The album begins with a sound of a mechanized covering opening up and we are immediately ascending. Welcome to the world of Capsula. The first of what is to be many vocal samples comes in. The song takes off with the beat and bass line at :42. We are now surrounded by the (hopefully) familiar Capsula sound: psychedelic stretching, squelching, and scratching sounds floating and spinning in all conceivable directions, many layers of effected rhythms, heady bass lines, and vocal samples that spring up from the ether, pitching up and down, up and down, making the left hemisphere of your brain work just a bit. The entire song feels like an unmedicated but happy, schizophrenic watchmaker is winding up a million clocks for 7 minutes. A good primer to set the mood and style for the rest of the album.
#2 - Myth
Track 2 begins with arcs of electricity circling above, while another sample, this time about personal mythology, plays. A surprising and smokey trumpet line comes in around 3:10, which wasn't expected at all but it's lovely as the sounds of computerized beetles skuddle around in the background. The electricity arcs resurface with another sample. A few minutes later the trumpet reappears and then we're treated to a gated-melody line that will be instantly recognizable to those familiar with Capsula's first album. The song completes with a fade to silence. This is psychedelic downtempo at it's best.
#3 - Galvanizing
Galvanizing: "to stimulate or treat (muscles or nerves) with induced direct current; to startle into sudden activity".
How appropriate that this track follows the last one. Both meanings of the word are utilized in this track. The bass line and signature sound effects are definitely stimulating and for some reason the word pulverizing comes to mind too, probably because of the bass! The samples of Stephen A. Hoeller take care of the second definition: about the electrifying feeling of non-ordinary experiences. Here is our first taste of some chest-thudding bass on the album. The bass line is deep. A pleasing pad develops along with some piano melodies that will play throughout the majority of the track. At the 5:23 mark we hear a melody line that reminds me of a similar but sped-up sound from Road Rash 3 on Sega Genesis, which I mentioned at the start. It's akin to the same sounds on Retro Inversion from Capsula's first album. The song concludes with a delayed, solo piano melody. Definitely the best track of the first three.
#4 - To See I
Funky opening. Sounds are everywhere, as usual. More piano again at 1:45, wonderfully placed, especially the high notes. Some more Road Rash-effected sounds (this is a compliment!) emerge, taking us to the last third of the song, which eventually fades out with another piano melody. A nice and relaxing track that moves effortlessly the whole way through.
#5 - Illusion Hill
Track 5 begins a lot slower than the previous tracks. It's more groovy and the psychedelic sounds are held back a bit and don't really take off until about 3 minutes in. The track takes a different turn around 4:00 with a humorous sample from Futurama:
I went to another Universe and fell in love with a Giant Octopus; and now I'm Pope of a new religion.
The song then picks up steam and now we're really rocking here. The whole sound field is alive now and an electric guitar line materializes to take us to the last third of the track. The song slows back down again with some high pitched whirring sounds that pan back and forth. I really like this track. Lots going on.
#6 - Mindfulness Intention
The shortest track of the album, track 6 begins somewhat mournfully or at least more serious. The beat comes in 15 seconds later, bass line following. I really like how Capsula can create emotions with the bass lines. It's pretty unique. Around the 2:45 mark we get the requisite synth work that's Capsula's staple. Nicely played, pleasant and works well. This, however, is the weakest track in my opinion. It's the least interesting of the bunch and it's a shame that he puts it ahead of the powerhouse that is the next track. Something is missing here, but then again, maybe I'm just not being mindful enough.
#7 - I Still Know That I Know
I'll admit, as soon as I saw the track listing for this album, this track was the one I wanted to hear the most. It's the sequel to I Know that I Know, from his first album. That track was one of my favorites too. This track is immediately recognizable as a sequel because Alan Watts begins it. I'm a huge fan of Alan Watts and anytime an artist can incorporate his words successfully, it can work great. The samples are new, not seen in the first track, but the original sample is also included to remind you of it, a nice touch. This entire song has something going on at all times. When I think of Capsula, this is what I hear in my head. There are layers upon layers working here and they all belong here, everything works. The same melody lines are present from the original but expanded upon.
A second set of samples comes in half way through which, not surprising at all, are an extension of the original sample. On the original the Watts says:
We are all so fascinated with recording things. Taking photographs, writing them down and above all remembering them. Because you see if you don't remember anything, you don't know you're there. A person who has total amnesia and lived in a split second only wouldn't know he was there.
The sample here builds on the concept:
The in and the out, the raw moment and the memory.... See memory, if you didn't remember it, you wouldn't know there was going to be a tomorrow, because there isn't one. "Tomorrow" is an illusion. It simply isn't here, where is it? Now this is perfectly marvelous!
As soon as the sample ends the track kicks it up a notch and the whole sound field is alive. There's really a lot going on here! The track ends with another sample of Watts. Highlight of the album...by far.
#8 - Mundi
This track is the most interesting one of the entire album. It starts with some interesting live bass and transitions into a nice piece of music, with some ethereal female vocals singing softly in the background. I wasn't sure exactly where this going to go but it took me by surprise. The bass line is still playing underneath everything but the whole emotional tone of the song has changed. It's not at all what I expected and I like it, I like it a lot. It's very mystical and alive. I think without the bass line the track would be entirely different. It's the anchor that won't let the song, or your mind, drift off into the unconscious clouds. It keeps you grounded and focused on all of the other sounds that are playing simultaneously.
#9 - Golden Orb
Track 9 has already been featured on the Liquid Records compilation, Soul Vibration 2. Here's what Capsula had to say about the track on the Isratrance boards:
The 'golden orb' track is remastered and re-edited, minor changes in kicks and speech samples so the sound is much better and coherent with the rest of the tracks but i would say its basically the same and not a remix.
The track itself is strong. Great samples, steady guitar throughout. Squelching, hairy sounds revolving around space at all times. Again, there is a lot going on in this track, but it all fits together perfectly. A fantastic track, even if it's already been released. Who cares?
#10 - Zero One Blues
Perfect track to end a damn great album. This is about as "chilled" as I think Capsula will get. It's got some crafty guitar work from Salient Dummy sprinkled about half way through the song and to end the song, the guitar returns and returns by itself. The track ends on a sample stating:
Reality is what you make of it.
Hopefully you've picked up on the idea that I absolutely love this album from start to finish. It is utterly unique in almost every aspect you can think of. This album is the very definition of psychedelic and I'll be playing this for years to come, no doubt. Do yourself a favor and pick up this album as quickly as possible. Only $10 at Waveform!
Top 3 Tracks:
I Still Know That I Know
Waveform Records: http://www.waveformhq.com/