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Jon Cocco

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  1. Jon Cocco

    MFG - The Prophecy

    ILLUMINATION!!!!!!!
  2. I'm hearing this full album TODAY for the first time and to my surprise, it's actually not terrible. There is a singing track late in the album that made me almost jump through the window, and before that I was tempted to slash my wrists once or twice. Past that however, there may be hope. This is the most old-school sounding IM style album I've heard by them since maybe B.P. Empire... (!!!) Of course it's no B.P., Classical, or Gathering. The GOA isn't there anymore. But COMPARED to the ASHIT we've gotten from them for the last 1-2 decades AND in relation to being a stand-alone PSY-influenced electronic album, it's pretty good! Hmmm.. I guess that's what happens when you mix cocaine with LSD and some sativa weed. There were shrooms in there too, somewhere, I think. I just---- Fuck me. What year is it?
  3. Jon Cocco

    E-Mantra - Stapanii Timpului [Suntrip Records]

    E-Mantra - Stapanii Timpului (2018) Suntrip Records After almost five years since Nemesis (2014), fans wondered if Emmanuel Carpus, the artist behind E-Mantra would ever release another Goa album. NOTE: E-Mantra's songs are generally difficult for me to appreciate and enjoy right away. The songs usually sound different to me, to some degree, the more I listen to them early on. I think this is due to processing so much taking place. Like anything, songs take time to grow. I spent days refining (after posting) my review and that was after hearing the album a handful of times. Just a suggestion. Give the album a week. Let it swirl around inside your mind to see what you think and then post whatever you think of it. Okay let's begin With the visionary debut album, Arcana (2009), we were introduced to a distinct and otherworldly approach that placed atmosphere and moving textures over leads. The world-building tracks were praised by many listeners, while others including myself felt that the album relied too heavily on soundscapes, and that it lacked leading synths to excite and drive the music forward despite a few songs having those aspects. The album gained cult status among Goa enthusiasts and remains a favorite for many to this day. The second album, Pathfinder (2011) was more mainstream friendly in that it incorporated a greater emphasis on leads, melodies, buildups, and climax. It was a solid release that many people liked. However it lost some fan appeal due to reducing the impressive moving walls of soundscape textures and atmosphere that made Arcana such a hit. Furthermore, it lacked super songs, though most if not all were solid. While some listeners including myself enjoyed having leads to hook on to, the inevitable question arose: What would an E-Mantra album sound like if it combined the best of both worlds?, conceptually anyway, to some degree. The third album, Nemesis (2014) seemed to close the gap that Pathfinder left open. It combined strong atmosphere and moving texture/soundscapes with synth leads. The album was more imaginative, ambitious, and intricately layered than Pathfinder, though not as alluring as Arcana. Certain songs sounded a bit too cluttered with higher pitched sounds while others, e.g., Ayahuasca, Orphic Hymn, Shae Nab (vs Suufi Astrolab), and at least one or two others were great! It was announced that Nemesis would be Emmanuel's last Goa album, which brings us to -- Stapanii Timpului (2018) 1. Rusalka with a running time of 7:20 never overstays its welcome. Unlike some of the artist's work in the past, the song doesn't linger in a wall of soundscapes. Combining Psytrance with Goa-- the song cuts through various segments of terrain, engaging our interest. The build up at 2:50 progresses the storytelling aspect of the track, thanks to an Eastern-Indian synth that is enhanced by a strengthened baseline synth. Wave after wave, the song remains interesting and dynamic to some degree. For a stand alone track however, Rusalka sounds fairly minor to me. Fortunately, its approach is surprisingly punchy, energetic, and varied enough to keep my interest throughout, and to be fair, this is just the opening on an album by an artist who seldom reveals his best tracks right away. B+ 2. Ghosts in the Mist opens with evocative ambience, as if something paramount is about to begin. The song is more immersive and Goa influenced than Rusalka. The synths in the first act are sleek, albeit simple along with the overall sound design. They're accentuated with echoes, like vehicle lights blurring by at night. A sense of purpose begins as we progress into the second act. A sustained hum arrives in the fifth minute, adding character. It's here that the song evolves into something more delectable and arresting. There's a sweet little buildup effect at 6:30, increasing the energy of the music and opening the door to the finale. Like a futuristic city, we enter a technologic band of sound. The last act is intelligently rhythmic, meticulous, fluid, and driving. The artist continuously evolves the music with supporting synths, soundscapes, alterations, and a subtle layer of moving atmosphere. The first few times I heard this song, I didn't know what to think of it due to all of the elements. The song never feels overstuffed IMO, nor is it dependent on one star synth that at times reduces the sense of feeling immersed in the world created. Rather than building up to a sensationalized climax, the artist rewards listeners with what I'd describe as a climax with brains. Although I enjoyed the opening track and consider it a part of the whole (album story), I consider this the first chapter in the more visionary Goa storytelling aspect arc of the album. A- 3. Ravenmocker is a more melodic and danceable. The first act is fairly atmospheric, producing somewhat of a fantasy vibe at 0:13. The atmosphere ambience early on reminds me of the trance-inducing, atmospheric backdrops on the surreal dark Goa fantasy album, Chi-A.D.'s Anno Domini. I'm a huge fan of melodies, e.g., D5, AP, Electric Universe, etc., so I may be a little biased. The dark undercurrent synth beneath the sounds works well here. We're given our first stand out melody at 1:55. It's good! I simply wish there was more development in arrangement, a catcher tune sculptured out of it somehow. The second act via 2:44 is a lot catchier than the first. A subtle ICY synth arrives at 3:34, most noticeable at 3:45. It's excellent, so sleek. The song evolves further at 4:38. The melody lead that arrives is fantastic. This is what a new D5 album could sound like to some degree (I imagine). The last act is refreshing/great too, blending warmth with sleek sounds. The transition at 7:00 takes us into deeper into the sea of melodies. Each act sounds distinct and as catchy, if not catchier than the one before it. If Emmanuel gets more involved with the infectious storytelling "tune" arrangement aspect of his more melodic Goa tracks, e.g., D5's Deep Space 5D, Pleiadian's Maia, AP's Kabalah and Liquid Sun, Cosmosis's Gift of the Gods, MFG tunes, etc., he has potential to produce some of the best Goa tunes. Ravenmocker develops into a healthy and immersive ULTRA MELODIC Goa song! A- 4. E-Mantra - At The Foothills Of Kogaion is another characteristic track. It begins with a robot-esque sound that somehow works, and gives us something to hook on to. I'm happy to see the artist experimenting with fresh sounds that add character and enhance the songs with something different. The energetic melodies that join the robot accent are strong. The first half is fairly simple (too simple? Just right? I go back and forth) but catchy, and the tornado surging effect at 3:42 is awesome. In the past, I felt that parts of E-Mantra songs (not all but many) sat with melodies swimming and swirling around for too long. It slowed down the excitement of the songs at times, making them feel arguably aimless or less clarified and sure of itself. But not here. Once we break out of the first act, this thing moves! The music is charged, tight, and carefully constructed to avoid shortcomings. The repetitive -- in a good way, robot synth compliments the world created around it. It disappears in the last act (smart, not overused). We reach a transition that moves us forward. What follows, the finale is fluid, engaging, and full of life. The sparkling synth selected is superb, lifting the song higher. I love it! Our little robot friend returns, jumping in the mix and it works. This is another memorable, fluid, and engaging number. A- 5. Typhon's Wrath continues the characteristic/accent approach that has been featured well on this album so far. The accent here is Darth Vader-esque in nature, and probably my least favourite of the stand out accents thus far, as it isn't the most ingenious thing but it works and I currently don't feel that it's overused. The deep, dark breathing conveys a sense of hopelessness in an intergalactic fight for survival (I imagine) as conveyed by the storming music. The atmosphere feels hostile and chaotic. The synth work is sleek, intense, dark, and captivating. We move through each of its three chapter acts like a Sci-Fi movie without ever sounding sound-tracky. The music immerses us in a black hole of movement and soundscape debris, yet has synths to hook onto as it moves through this dualistic cluster of the Universe. To some degree, the song feels like we're in a hurricane or tornado. A brief but sweet little beeping melody accent at 5:35 provides a boost of adrenaline to the high octane ride. Conceptually, it may not be the most original approach to Goa music, but the sheer epic feel, coupled with bells and whistles makes for a dynamic and exciting endeavor, whether this relentless tidal wave is your cup of tea or not. This is an exceptionally well done track. A 6. E-Mantra - Rise Of The Dacians begins with sound conveying a sense of apprehension. It sounds like something right out of Bladerunner 2049. The synth at 0:50 is catchy, providing a sense of direction. The 1:52 synth is a nice touch (very signature/nice) and the crunchy accent at 2:33 compliments. A floaty harmony emerges at 4:15, and this is where the music feels more realized and alive. The first few minutes were darker, and having a more harmonious track after previous dark megalodon makes sense. A part of me feels that the floaty melodies from 4:38 to 5:30, though pleasant, sound pretty basic and rote. They take us to a nice combination of sounds at 4:27 and 4:38. The crunchy accent returns, helping to maintain a nice balance. Again, the floaty melody at 5:10 sounds simple by itself. Fortunately it's here to accommodate the band at 5:38 that improves the music crossing the sixth minute. The last act grows tastier and surprisingly takes off. My favourite part is from when the 6:50 synth arrives forward, accentuating the GOA aspect. Overall the placement of this track between two darker ones makes sense. This allows us to catch our breathe and cleanse our pallet. Although I felt that the lighter melodies in Track 3 were more memorable, the balance of light and dark here is attractive and provides something different. This is a very good track elevated by a great finale. B+ 7. Terp Muronivid Aivlsa returns the album to its blazing glory. This fireball of a track moves with such fluidity and determination. The overall structure, sound design, sound/melody work, arrangement, and direction is fantastic! Synths cut through soundscapes like a cosmic samurai sword slicing stars. I'm not master of hyperbole and don't want to overstate, but this track is crisp, sharp, adventurous, exciting. There's a arcing synth throughout; it's visionary, adding a relentless, almost overture aspect to the song like Juno Reactor, but through the distinct vision of E-Mantra. Thankfully there's no floaty, echoey sounds to take us away from the gripping ride. I consistently feel like we're going somewhere. This track and the overall album has broken free from something holding the artist back (from achieving zippier work) to some degree in the past. This is another top favourite for me on the album, and what I consider an album seller. Awesome track! A 8. E-Mantra with XOA - Amorok Rising From Black Sea is a DARK and CRISP Psy/Goa influenced DOWNTEMPO piece. The overall beat and mechanical accents are great. I really like this track, and I'm happy to see the artist continuing to experiment, innovate, and release songs reflective of his high standards. Not since Arcana do I recall enjoying a DARK downtempo Goa track by this artist so much, though to be fair he's released some great work on his down/mid-tempo (psy/goa) albums over the years. It took me a few listens to really enjoy this song, as it's very distinct and almost fairly simple in nature. Giving time to revisit tracks (preferably at night with E-Mantra) allows our minds to perceive more so that we better understand and enjoy the music on repeat listens. I imagine others will really like this track too. It's consistently dark and visionary, and most important of all, the song is CATCHY and GRIPPING. This is a wonderful return to form and makes me want to revisit the downtempo tracks on Arcana! A Conclusion Stapanii Timpului not only met but exceeded my expectations. The album does many things that a good sequel should do, and that is build and expand on the world that preceded it, just as Nemesis did with Pathfinder. Often times in the past, I felt that the artist's work was too floaty and echoey, with melodies arriving (already developed); the music to me (at times, back then I felt) lacked drive and direction. That's not an issue this time around. As the album progresses, the songs grow sleeker, more visionary and infectious to varying degrees. Stapanii Timpului continues to break away from the swirling, echoey tracks. It focuses more on the intriguing synth-driven terrain coupled with moving soundscapes and atmosphere. It's no Arcana, but then again nothing will ever be, and quite frankly I find the overall synth (sound/melody) work in this release to be the most varied of all the E-Mantra albums, making for an engaging, imaginative, and fun ride. Stapanii Timpului builds on E-Mantra's more determined and exciting sound. The production design sounds clearer, more crisp than ever, and the melodies (when they arrive) sound more flavorful. I enjoy listening to the album from start to finish over Nemesis, in part due to a similar synth in many of the tracks. Something about the music on Stapanii Timpului feels more a little more flexible, fluid at times and dynamic. The songs are better paced. The song's are never overcrowded, though the first acts in a couple could have been a little more interesting, e.g., Track 2.. I love the edgier, more determined synth work that [to an upgraded degree IMO] began on Nemesis (2014), the infectious bands, the increase in flavorful melodies (hitting when least expected), and the overall structuring, mixing, sound selection, accents, pacing, and direction, despite some taking time to grow on me and warming up to Track 7 right away. Constructive Criticisms + Closing Words There could have been a few more surprises. Also Track 6 in context of storytelling, could have dropped the floaty, echoey melodies, e.g., 5:11 for catchier, punchier ones reflecting the less dark aspects. I don't want to come across as a dictator with what sounds the artist uses, as this is his vision. I'm just trying to discourage anything that's less captivating considering all of the progress he has made as one of the top, most underrated and talented producers in electronic music. Last but not least, I feel that the melodies at times could have been more memorable in arrangement and song, tune. I was critical of Morphic Resonance album, Perplexity for the same thing. I'm referring to melodies via tunes as are on some of our favourite Goa songs that have been more memorable, stuck in our heads, so to speak. As far as the length goes, almost 70 minutes without any fillers to me is great. We've gotten used to Goa albums pushing 80 minutes but it's really unnecessary here IMO, as I'll take quality over quantity almost any day of the week. Oh, and what a cool little cover. Nice artwork! All in all, this is one of the best Goa albums (personally it's my favourite to date) in 2018. Some of the artist's best work is on his main albums and this is no exception, as it showcases some fantastic work, no fillers (well duh! it's E-Mantra). The artist continues to upgrade, refine, and improve in various ways since Nemesis (2014), resulting in another high quality release in the genre of Goa Trance. Highly Recommend!! Favorite tracks: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 A- Samples / Buy https://suntriprecords.com/release/cat/SUNCD51/ https://suntriprecords.bandcamp.com/album/stapanii-timpului
  4. Jon Cocco

    Unknownium - Self titled LP (BMSS Records)

    It's refreshing, inventive, and very melodic. The accents really compliment. It seems like the artists were having fun. The result is a more open sound in GOA. Definitely one of the most solid releases of 2018. I could see why some are praising it. Some of the tracks really grabbed me while I liked others. Stream it on Bandcamp here: https://bmssrecords.bandcamp.com/album/unknownium
  5. Jon Cocco

    Dimension 5 - Transdimensional

    Love Psychic Influence. Love this old sound!
  6. Jon Cocco

    Morphic Resonance - Perplexity [Suntrip Records]

    1. Intro 2. The Creature 3. Return of the Bad Dreamer 4. Outer Limits (Limitless Mix) 5. Vektogram (Remix) 6. Twisted Reality 7. Hallucinatory Acid 8. Unreal 9. Ouija Morphic Resonance's former album, City of Moons (referred to as CoM here) was a rejuvenating landmark in post 21st century dark Goa Trance. Nitpicks aside, CoM is considered by many to be one of the best dark Goa releases in quite some time. As with Tandu's Multimoods and later Cybernetika's Scythe of Orion, Morphic Resonance is known for incorporating strong atmosphere with magnetic sound/melody [synth] work, buildups, climaxes, twists and turns, and more. A full review ensues. 1. Intro is very dark and ominous. This atmospheric, mid-tempo opening resonates a sense of danger. The dramatic tone stands out. Intro is so dark that it may give the impression that the album is darker than it is. Not that the album's not dark, it's also fun and exciting! Intro is only 3-4 minutes. It's interesting, different from what we're used to hearing, and never over-stays its welcome. This is a unique and moody little piece that curiously builds up to -- 2. The Creature is more of my kind of dark Goa. It's atmospheric and thrilling. The synths are exciting and the transitions often lead to segments as good, if not better than the ones before it. Kudos on the accents, impact effects, ambience, alterations in tempo, and the overall development and direction of the song. It's very dynamic, e.g., 4:00, switching between ideas and momentum to keep us captivated. I was never bored for a second. If I were to nitpick, I'd say the synth at 5:00 reminds me of a lead in CoM's Procyon. It works well here. It simply felt less fresh to me. The last act is fantastic via 7:27 and when the energy picks up at 7:56, so catchy, exciting, and fun! Something great happens when the track could have otherwise ended at 8:35. The Creature is an adrenalized, dynamic, and darkly fun little gem. It's as if the essence of [the holiday] of Halloween via darker than we celebrate and Alien(s) [the film sequel] morphed into a Goa song, thanks to cinematic/impact effects, chilling atmosphere, and more. The synth work is so edgy, driving, and catchy. The Creature is more refined than the opening track on CoM, Psychedelic Hell. What a way to start off the album! I go back and forth between A- and A but overall what an opening. A 3. Return of the Bad Dreamer is where the album dips a little for me despite some great segments and an amazing finale. The first several minutes are strong, featuring bouncy textures reminiscent of Hux Flux's album, Cryptic Crunch. The music gets a little muddled from 3:45 to 3:58 and is soon corrected with a healthy lead in the forth minute. Lacking are as many tempo breaks and transitions (bells and whistles basically) as on The Creature. The former track was more dynamic, crisp, and tight in that regard. It had more of a whiz-bang sound whereas this involves less jump cuts, so to speak. Things get a little over-stuffed/muddled again in the fifth minute. Fortunately the last third, e.g., seventh minute forward is superb featuring crisp sound/melody work and an elaborate and cohesive thrilling climax. I wish the middle act was as enjoyable. Also the mixing goes off the rails in the last 1-2 minutes. It's pretty wild and unpredictable (in a good way!). This song would have benefitted being shorter and cleaned up a bit in parts mentioned above. I enjoyed The Creature more in that regard. There are parts in the first two acts that are great, and the finale is fantastic. B+ 4. Outer Limets (Limetless Remix) continues the crunchy atmosphere. The first minute features a catchy, almost angry/determined synth tone and the sound work at 1:20 is great. The first two minutes are good until a synth leaves at 2:25. It's here where the song grows repetitive. A transition brings us to a captivating part around 2:45. It's short lived though, as the artist doesn't build on this dark, powerful tone. Instead another lead arrives, fairly exciting at first. It grows less interesting as it progresses. Same with the lead crossing the forth minute. CoM's, In the Mouth of Madness was in-our-face too, but that was so much more dynamic and engaging compared to this. Why go backwards? The returning, less in-our-faces part at 4:30 is intriguing. I suggest building a song on the most interesting, best elements. For whatever reason almost every lead and arrangement here grew samey to me. The idea of a climactic song is great, but not with this sound/melody approach and design. The song gets good again from 5:35 to 6:16 -- it's less busy, more intriguing. The tone from the opening minute re-appars via 6:02 and sounds great, but even that part soon grew uninteresting. Same with crossing the sixth and seventh minute that felt too samey. I don't feel like this song is up to MR's standards, or what we've come to expect, but then again, the artist included Mindwarp on CoM so riddle me that! The last minute has a nice little energy boost/climax, though it's unremarkable compared to the finale on the former track. This is the least impressive song on the album for me. It kept me hoping that the next transition would evolve things, and not bring us back to what was less catchy, e.g., various similar sounding leads and/or arrangements around the super catchy (and much better arranged) moments. This could have been an amazing exploratory track in that regard. *Sigh* ... And yet, even a less than great MR track is still better than many dark songs releasing each year. But that's no excuse in my mind because this artist is capable of producing songs that blow this arguably entertaining/lazy track out of the water. B 5. Vektogram (Remix) sounds more distinct than the previous track. Talk about a metallic, futuristic sounding track! I love the two-minute mark where the tempo changes up. That's dynamic, unpredictable, and gripping, excellent! Soon after however, I begin to notice a similar sounding arrangement. The 3:45 transition adds to the dynamic feel (so nice to hear these things!) and overall sound design. Development in the middle act elevated the whole, e.g., 5:45 is terrific, bending, conditioning, and exercising our brain, mind. What follows showcases more greatness. Nothing sounds over-stuffed or too busy. The sixth minute takes us further, higher. There seems to be no end to how meticulously catchy and well composed the track is more often than it isn't, despite a few brief, albeit fairly repetitive segmented arrangements here and there. This song takes the album in a more refreshing direction, though we initially stormed out the gate with The Creature to bonkers and infectious degree. The rest of the album didn't live up to MR's greatness until this track IMHO. This is a smart, inventive, and articulately composed track, and one of the best GOA songs I've heard all year (along with T1 so far!) A- 6. Twisted Reality releases a very catchy accent (love those) early. The door-hinging (whatever that is) effect reminds me of something out of Semsis' album, Letting Go. We're quickly tripped into the electricity current and take off early. The accents work well as the artist builds a twisting band of electrical layers that grow increasingly psychedelic and complex. The overall album sounds newer to my ears since the previous song, and Twisted Reality, as with the previous track seems more advanced on the technical side, though an infectious melody lead that jumped out over the others would have been nice. The track is technically sharp and beautifully-- very well mixed. There is a part at 8:35 that reminded me a little of Tandu's album, Multimoods, excellent work. If I were to criticize anything, it's the final moments that sound a little too busy for me. A catchier lead and/or some refining could have improved the final moments from feeling as over-whelming (over-layered to the point I lose grip of the catchier elements). Conceptually I'm thinking I.F.O., Hallucinogen, Semsis' track, Seven, inspirations that could have benefited this track in its final moments. Although the ending felt less fresh to my ears, the overall song is great! A- 7. Hallucinatory Acid is not as dark as the others and that's okay! This thing's pretty electric and catchy. I remember by this time (Track 7 on CoM) we had the disappointing track Mindwarp. Hallucinatory Acid is so much better by comparison. The atmosphere and acid in the first minute is great, and the synth lead at 1:22 is excellent! The arrangement sounds bit simplistic and samey from roughly 2:05 to 2:39 and is soon replaced by another less than stellar segment. The arriving synth work at 3:35 is better, as well as the less layered segment in the forth minute. The last act becomes increasingly psychedelic, acid-induced, and delectable. The arrangement is fairly simple, but by now we've acclimated to that. The artist blends synths in the last act to infectious degrees. I just feel like certain segments in the first two acts were a lot more effective (edgy, exciting) than others. It's okay to have a simpler track. Not every song has to be a big event, and I like that this song adds variety to the track list. It's a different shade of dark and it works. The last two songs simply sounded more distinct, inventive, and impressive to my ears. Still, Hallucinatory Acid is a very good, if not great track. A- 8. Unreal begins with more organic sounding melodies! Filteria's album, Daze of Our Lives expanded to incorporating more organic sounding melodies and the result was amazing. I'm suggesting MR evolve more to what works best for MR's evolution too. The song returns the album to being darker. The first albeit least strong act is crunchy and atmospheric, solid. The ambience creates feels via 2:42 (rare on the album so far). The female samples are catchy and a few of the transitions are quite suspenseful. The forth minute produces a beautiful blending of sound/melody work. The song gets a little busy from 4:50 to 5:05. Fortunately it improves at 5:25, and again as we cross 6:00, infectious work. I savor the more organic melody work around 6:38 before we shift back into the edgy, dark, and adrenalized (albeit simple in arrangements() zone. The finale's combination of sounds is strong, with an accent so simple and catchy. Unreal has a healthy dose of melodies. It even has a few feels to boot! The ending is sharp and engaging. One of my only gripes is the lack of developmental melody arrangements. The arrangements are so short and simply. They come and go so fast at the expense of the story, and this lessons the chance of a melody or a segment being as memorable past the coolness of it in the moment. For example, take Pleiadian's, I.F.O, earlier Infected Mushroom, and Filteria's DoOL and LitW albums (at times!). As with tracks 1, 5, 6 -- Unreal is punchier than tracks 3+4 (with exception to the ending of Bad Dreamer 2). A- 9. Ouija is less dark and in-my-face with exception to some whizzing by effects, a bombastic little element. Just to note, I miss the album having unhinged tracks to the degree of songs 1, 2, 3 on CoM. For being more fluid and refined, this final song here stands out. I love the dark foundation, the arrangement (similar in concept to Juno Reactor but in MR's style and approach). The song's energetic and moody, in part because of the synth that reprises around 7:05, complimented by an accent of some kind. The song is crunchy, determined, and full of tasty sound/melody work, developmental changes, soundscapes, and atmosphere. It's a fluid, cohesive ride that grows to be more fun on repeat listens. And yet, I can't help but feel like something is missing. The song took time to grow on me and I wasn't quite sure initially what to rate it. Maybe it's because I don't want the ride to end. Or my lofty expectations. Maybe that's it. The problem with the album is that it ENDS. No. -- I'm relieved that Perplexity doesn't end with a remix. It gives us wholly new, strong, and healthy, more refined (in some ways) tracks to follow up the masterwork on CoM. This is a surprisingly focused and somewhat restrained, yet meticulously crafted, well organized, and deliciously executed closing track. The last two minutes are excellent, though the final enhanced layer to a synth lead doesn't make or break anything for me. Again I'm between an A- and an A which was the case for numerous songs on Perplexity for some reason. What a way to end the album! A CONCLUSION Perplexity is a strong, dark Goa album. It's intelligent, exciting, imaginative, and exceptionally well produced, mixed, and mastered. The sequel to CoM is darker (at times, same with CoM at times), more atmosphere, refined, fluid, and psychedelic, the latter in the second half. Not every track was super dark (thankfully, I enjoyed the shades of dark) and variety. The album is less chaotic and bombastic than CoM, and virtually every song featured if not dominated with excellent work. if you enjoyed CoM, you'll enjoy Perplexity. If you didn't, CoM won't convert you as the sequel is very much in the essence, a sequel to CoM. I highly recommend listening to Perplexity at night. Criticisms and Feedback: Perplexity [in some ways] feels like a refined and updated continuation of CoM rather than a full upgrade or evolution, as if some of the songs were made around the time of CoM, whereas Vektogram (Remix), Twisted Reality, Unreal, and Ouija sound more refreshing to my ears. There is evolution on Perplexity and it does break ground, but not to the degree of CoM (I feel). The album is great (!), but it never hit me as hard as In the Mouth of Madness and CoM (self-titled track!), the latter I found more bombastic than anything on this album. Speaking of evolution, the second half of MR's track, The Sphere on the compilation, V/A - The World Behind was very unique and different. I'd love to hear more evolution. A few more "feels" would have been nice too. Cybernetika's, Scythe of Orion and Penta's Pentafiles are just two examples [of dark Goa albums] that incorporated feels well. More organic sounding melodies (we get a few in Unreal) in the future would be cool considering the upgrade in atmosphere which is amazing here at times. Track 3 and especially 4 could have been better. T-4 could have been replaced with something grand. And more development (like telling a story) in musical/melody arrangement would be nice, as segments at times begin to show their age just before being replaced with a fresh one, so to speak. There are times when simple arrangements work for fast paced, kinetic energy. But without more substance, there's less to dig into for the more experienced Goa ears and mind. Final Words: Perplexity is a darkly psychedelic, rich, and satisfying follow up to CoM, but it's not perfect. Certain things could have been better. This is a sleek, edgy sequel to one of the best dark Goa albums in years, possibly decades. Perplexity showcases some of the artist's best songs to date and should hold over fans of dark Goa until the next tidal wave arrives. The album retains the visionary, adrenalized approach that worked so well on CoM. There are fewer, but still plenty climaxes by comparison. I expected a little more of an evolution at times and am overall pleased with the whole. I'm excited to see what evolutionary work comes next. Nitpicks aside, Perplexity is highly recommended for fans of dark Goa Trance. Favorite tracks: 2, 5, 6, 8, 9 ... (plus the last acts of 3 & 7) A- Sample / Buy https://www.suntriprecords.com/release/cat/SUNCD49/
  7. I cannot think of a Goa album (let alone ALBUM) that I'm looking forward to more this year than Perplexity by Morphic Resonance. The sequel to my kind of album just released. Few nitpicks aside, City of Moons is AWESOME.. it's so DARK, EXCITING, and EDGY... SLEEK and EVOLVING... INFECTIOUS and POWERFUL... hmmm.. kind of like THANOS in Infinity Wars!!!!!
  8. Sometimes haunting and surreal. Other times... well I'll save that for the review. Fans of CBL and the Ambient/Chill/Downtempo genre may want to check this out. 1. Accede is an ambient-influenced downtempo number. It starts off the journey atmospherically. Soundscapes drip like PSY drop rain and a gentle beat begins to take shape. The song grows catchier with the entrance of melodies, moving higher both energetically and euphorically. The simple approach, direction, and lack of any WOW ingredients IMO may prevent this song from being a favorite for more than a small percentage of listeners. It's a soothing, light, and harmless opening that opens the door to the grander work. B+ 2. Derelicts really moved and inspired me. I love the organic sounds combined with the beat, the ingenuity, creative usage of unconventional sounds, the sound/melody work, evolution, and direction. I could go on and on expressing how catchy, evocative, and unique I think this song is. But you'd be better to hear it for yourself. The track is ethereal and fantasy-esque like a fairytale for adults. Excellent work. A 3. Clouds is the first ambient song here. It reminds me of little of the softer music in Mirror's Edge, the videogame (Soundtrack by Solar Fields) but not ripped off. The song feels fresh, inspirational, harmonious, and breezy. It has feeling and pulls the listener in quite easily. Very good! B+ / A- 4. Nattväsen is ambient influenced with a beat (downtempo of sorts). It's melancholy, atmospheric, eerily catchy, and haunting, if a bit repetitive. Still a great track. It's rich, yet simple, beautiful yet sad, and very memorable. B+ / A- 5. Equilibrium is a simpler albeit pleasant and smooth downtempo number. The unique voice bits, as well as the GOA-esque synths (in downtempo like Goa in slow-motion) compliments. Good song! B+ 6. Path of Least Resistance certainly takes the path of least resistance. The song seems good to be played in the background or for meditation. Generally speaking, the song seems little more than nature sounds, atmosphere, and ambient notes. Some people are into this floating and peaceful, cloud-walking albeit more minimalistic approach. By being so soft in nature however, it comes across as almost too uncharacteristic and uneventful, and this is where I begin to lose interest with the album. That said, the track is placed as a gentle transition between two more characteristic numbers, so it varies things up. B- 7. 780 Days begins with ambient, but with more feeling and direction, and soon takes off into downtempo beautifully. The picks up roughly halfway through, growing catchier, more uplifting, and engaging. It's beautiful, ethereal. I like my songs to go somewhere, not just float in pretty colorful puddles for 7 minutes, and this thankfully does exactly that. A 8. ~42° is another magical number. Female voices briefly speak among the enchanting backdrop that can be described as an evocative fairytale. Gentle and yet emotionally riveting, the entire number is AMBIENT and captivating from start to finish. For ambient, I much prefer this direction with more memorable arrangement and ingredients over softer, almost too-light numbers, e.g., Path of Least Resistance. This song's a magical treat. A 9. Rayleigh Scatterers is slow and begins very nicely via melody/sound arrangement. There's a cloud-walking transition in the middle act that allows a resurgence of the returning (welcome) sound with some growth and development. It's very nice and a less grande song around even the grander softer tracks. A- 10. Dodecahedron enjoys a warm, ambient-esque opening before lifting off into another downtempo/Chill-Out gem. The song is accompanied with a catchy beat and beautiful sound/melody work, e.g., arrangement. The same goes for many songs on the album. Virtually all elements of the song are great. I love the uplifting sound and of the overall album, and CGL in by and large, making vibrationally raising music, influencing our state of mind, inspiring our thoughts. The ambient adds to the driving melodies that are again, full of beauty, inspiration, and energy. A- 11. Loss Aversion is captivating. The ambient, sound/melody design.. the atmosphere, buildup and female hymns is gorgeous, creating a heavenly body and climax of ethereal rhythm that sound that nearly overwhelms the senses with heart and soul. This is one of those tracks that redirects my attention from whatever I'm doing upon hearing it. I feel completely still and at peace and surrender, as if I'm melting into the music. Despite it's fairly short length at five minutes and thirteen seconds, I'd rather artist(s) know when to end a song rather than overstay its welcome. This is the last characteristic super song on Derelicts and it's a diamond. A 12. Everwave took time to grow on me, but I've come to like it. For me the album has all but ended, and now we are left to enjoy this epic 14+ minute aversion of warm albeit ambient bliss and serenity. It's a pleasant song to have on in the background, to meditate or close your eyes to. Its placement seems most appropriate here too as the energy comes down and settles out into a straight line, so to speak. This would have been a challenge to sit through earlier in the album as it nearly puts me to sleep (in a good way) and that may have been my challenge with Path of Least Resistance which seemed to hold me down in quiet clouds after everything previous to juiced my positive outlook, energy, and imagination. Here the essence of the album comes home, to its place in eternity some call Heaven, of permanence.. that being [Heaven] outside the Universe considering the Universe is a projection of the collective "split" mind according to physicists and a growing number of spiritualists considering nothing in the Universe (or our bodies, planets, etc.) is preeminent and "consciousness creates reality". B+ / A- CONCLUSION Derelicts [the album] is magical and wondrous. Parts of it sound like a powerful fairytale, and showcases some of my favorite work by CGL to date. It is a bit gentler at times however when compared to their previous albums. Sometimes this is for the best. Other times though not often, a less than intoxicating ambient track will arrive before the album picks up and becomes more engaging again. This was most noticeable to me in the middle act on first listens, and the reason I find CBL albums like World of Sleepers, Hydroponic Garden, and Interloper easier to listen to straight through. That said, there is greatness in the middle third and the last third, with exception to Everwave that did little to stir my interest, iI found strong. Albums this enchanting we rarely seem to get now days, imaginative worlds oozing with dimension and beauty. Overall and few weaknesses aside, this is one of the best albums I've heard so far in 2017. A- Order/Buy https://www.blood-music.com/store-us/67-carbon https://carbonbasedlifeforms.bandcamp.com/ FULL ALBUM STREAM
  9. Jon Cocco

    K.O.B. - Identity Mash

    I browsed this thread in June and was surprised to see so few reviews. Identify Mash is the best Goa-influenced album I've heard in 2017 to date and the year is almost over! The album is wildly creative and inventive, energetic, dark, complex and UNCONVENTIONAL, mechanically infectious and yet melodic -- the album starts off good and gets increasingly catchy. Before this released (I missed the Promo thread) I was wondering when we'd get a new visionary work of art from Jannis considering four years had past since the last Filteria album... feels strange -- it doesn't feel like FOUR YEARS has passed since Lost in the Wild released in 2013. It's almost 2018. Time seems to be escaping us with each year that passes. As the album progresses, Jannis releases some powerful fireballs with nothing but strong numbers all around. Each track has so much distinct elements going on that each time I return to hearing Identity Mash, it feels somewhat new to me. It's certainly refreshing, even when compared to previous KOB songs. The artist has evolved Filteria and now he's evolved KOB, both in good ways I feel. It's just too bad that the album's been overlooked by the general Goa/Psy Trance community on here. I'm hoping more people become aware of it as the year(s) progress, and whether those years even feel like years when they do pass. 9/10
  10. Good album.. It's fairly dark, atmospheric, and moody, and unique. I'm glad it's not all ambient. I tend to gravitate towards music with beats. Even the tribally drums early in help to liven the music for me. I don't mind ambient introductions and find them good here. I do miss your more uplifting, mid-tempo work showcased on previous album. This is an interesting excursion into something also creative and different. Thanks producing quality visionary albums!
  11. Beautiful album full of heart and feeling, spirit and depth, vision and ingenuity.
  12. Jon Cocco

    PharaOm - Tesseract

    First time hearing this now. I must say wow, what pleasant surprise. Tesseract is dark, mystical, fantasy-oriented, atmospheric, imaginative, and encompasses a healthy amount of catchy sound/melody work. It's a beautiful release with moments of power, sadness, inspiration, love, strength and freedom. The songs are never too long or drawn out, but tight! Stream the full thing here. It's free to download thanks to Ektoplazm. Download link: http://www.ektoplazm.com/free-music/pharaom-tesseract
  13. The full album is now available to stream on YouTube! I heard it in its entirety. At this moment, I think this is the first GREAT goa album by a main artist of 2017. https://youtu.be/_tTrr8495Hw Suntrip Order Page http://suntriprecords.com/release/cat/SUNCD46/
  14. Jon Cocco

    VA - Inti (Suntrip Records)

    V/A - Inti Suntrip Records My initial review disappeared when I went to update it. 1. Ovnimoon - Invocation starts interesting with cool atmospheric FX. The music begins to drag by the end of the second or early third minute. Fortunately at 4:27 it breaks out. The song is revived. The second act is an improvement, though for a Goa song, the overall whole feels fairly progressive-influenced. The track finishes off with a nice climax. Hmmm.. This felt too safe to my ears. I enjoyed the energetic (energy boost) moments but as a whole, the song lacks depth and feels a bit too long. On the other hand, it's smooth and digestible, a more mainstream-friendly approach to Goa with less of an exploratory element. In that sense, it will probably sound great on the dance floor. B 2. Triquetra - Renkinjutsu is more aggressive, acidic, psychedelic, and dark. The skipping "accent" FX are great, so catchy! There's an exciting climax at 5:19. The structuring of the song is fairly simple. In other words, layers come and go unlike the song morphing into what seems like other songs or rather evolutions to the degree of say Filteria, Morphic Resonance, etc. But it's tight and gripping throughout. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album and of 2017. Great work! A- 3. Jagoa - Perverse Polymorph starts promising with dark atmosphere and synths. The first minute is intriguing. It seems like things are about to pick up. Instead however, the song grows repetitive until 2:35 where the rhythm changes up. The song would have benefited from this a minute back. What is it with these drawn out segments? A fresh part arrives from 3:39 to 3:53, but is quickly off-set by an annoying effect that sounds like the music is being pulled down. I found that distracting and unnecessary. Things improve at 5:00 until the energy retracts at 5:40. *Sigh...* This song could have taken off numerous times. In the end, the parts are stronger than the whole. As my girlfriend said: "The song did nothing to impress me." B- 4. Morphic Resonance - Varese Dream showcases a moody, atmospheric, and darkly melodic first two minute opening. It's very good and I hope that the next album has moody/atmospheric elements like this. The second act incorporates dynamic segments and variety. The music isn't too intense, though I wish the opening melody returned like a chorus at some point with new work built on top of it. The artist allows the music to breathe between climaxes, something Filteria learned from but didn't seem to perfect until his third album in 2009 via Daze of Our Lives. Speaking of climaxes, there are two in the last act. Is the second climax at 8:33 just a bit too much?, or too close to the previous climax? Maybe it's the rolling synth. Something just seems too much or crammed in regarding the overall sound or placement of the finale considering all other segments flowed so well. Few nitpicks aside, this is strong, sleek, and edgy track. Well done. A- 5. Triquetra - Destroying Dinausor is another tight song by the artists of #2 (not even gonna try to pronounce that). The atmospheric opening is warm and euphoric, very catchy and intriguing. Although the second act (earlier on) could have developed a little more, a mechanical synth varied it up, complimenting the rhythmic design. There is a transition breathing space of sorts (since the beat remains) at around 4:52. The music breaks out a minute later, igniting a flavorful and exciting final act. MR's song was obviously more dynamic with twists and turns, but I loved the overall sound, mixing, and melody work here that gave me more feels. That said, I think the artists' previous song is stronger or at least it's punchier via stands out more (comparatively speaking), but I really like the less intense approach, and (like I said) the warmer sound/melody design here. Great track! B+ 6. Celestial Intelligence - Distorted Visions starts mysterious and mystical, catchy before a typical melody arrangement (segment) arrives. Please avoid typical stuff. The middle, more complex and mechanical (robotic) segment is good (finally breaking away from the typical), and the last act is great, very catchy! The song could have ended slightly sooner but I love the less layered Goa tune part just before that. Find a way to end the song there, so it doesn't spend forever chilling down but doesn't feel about either. This artist has done better numerous times before. This is a good track with some really great work. B+ 7. Mindsphere - Harmonic Garden starts great before getting too busy sounding IMO. The middle act has some very nice tunes that stand out, great arrangement, sounds, etc. Then things sound over layered to my ears again. There's a catchy, harmonious tune in the last act that adds focus, euphoria. Keep the melody arrangement juicy and interesting! This is a pretty good track with some beautiful elements. B 8. Crossing Mind - Entropy (First Edition) took time to grow on me. It's very melodic, and not too complex or technical to the point I admire more than enjoy it, as my issue with some songs by the artist. The melodies smooth. They stand out. I enjoyed the euphoric feel in the song, but felt that the arrangement in the forth and fifth minute grew fairly typical and repetitive. Why not have magic in place of this? Take us higher? There's a sweet maneuver in the sixth minute that refreshes the whole. The song feels more varied and alive here. Overall this is an elegant, enjoyable track and one of my favorites on Inti. A- 9. Sykespico - Glimmers of Sunrise is an uplifting, morning track. The female hymns aren't too frequent (thankfully) and grew on me on repeat listens. The song has a pleasant vibe, nice melody/sound work. For a sunrise song, it's not at the level of Astral Projection's Liquid Sun, but then again, what sunrise track is? The track does waver close to mainstream trance, but basks close enough to Goa shores to not sabotage the album. The climax towards the end lifts the mood higher. This is a solid way to end a compilation that goes from dark (aggression) to light (positivity), something we can all experience more of in our lives. B+ Conclusion Inti is more atypical not. Nearly every artist offers something different, interesting, and catchy. Both songs by Triquetra are very great! Morphic Resonance delivers another dynamic, exciting track, though maybe crams in a bit too much via super climax towards the end. Crossing Mind offers a surprisingly elegant (not overly technical stylized) track. Sykespico ends Inti with an upbeat morning sunrise track. There are no filler songs, though a few segments of songs I found to drag or have slightly typical arrangement before breaking out into more refreshing (imaginative) work. These moments were few and far between. That said, Perverse Polymorph should have been more cohesive and satisfying considering its terrifically dark, crisp atmosphere and synths. It never seems to go anywhere and appears to be the least favored song here by general consensus. As with any compilation, everyone seems to have their favorites. Check it out and decide for yourself. On a side note, the album's theme appears to be energy going from dark (aggression) to light (colorful, uplifting without sounding cheesy, positive) and while the colorful placement of the Mindsphere track may seem a little jarring, I enjoyed the theme for the most part since so many compilations remain dark and intense throughout. This gave me variety and some very beautiful, crisp tunes within the last few numbers. Overall Inti is a very good / great compilation in my opinion. Check it out and report your thoughts back. Favorite tracks: 2, 4, 5, 8 B+
  15. Jon Cocco

    Virtuart- Virtuart & Friends

    Virtuart and Friends DAT Records 2016 1. Virtuart & Chronomyst - Vashisht 2. Virtuart & Franky - Wakatoom On The Road 3. Virtuart & Kshoo - Esprit Libre 4. Virtuart & Chronomyst - Sacred Drop 5. Virtuart & Nagar Bhatti - 2068 6. Virtuart & Kshoo - N2 O 7. Virtuart & Maël - Neverending Party 8. Virtuart & Manitù - Red Spirit 1. Virtuart & Chronomyst - Prospector M 2. Virtuart - Light Lifter 3. Virtuart & Chronomyst - L'Karnaj 4. Virtuart & Manitù - Indian Summer 5. Virtuart & Nagar Bhatti - Svadeshi 6. Underhead - Orejuna 7. Virtuart - La Sorcière Des Sables & L'Homme Libre (Sandoz Mix) 8. Virtuart - L'Annee Des 13 Lunes (Galactic Time Mix) DAT Records released one of the best compilations of 2016, e.g., Mind Rewind 3, yet Virtuart and Friends was undoubtedly IMHO their best album of the year. For starters, it received #4 in the Psynews "Best of 2016" Results. I think it had a good chance making #3 if more people heard it. Update: After posting my review, I saw that these songs were made in the 90's! So I reviewed it like they just finished production. I suppose that's a good thing. Anyway, we occasionally talk about a certain sound we miss from the golden years (1996-1998) of Goa-Trnace. Fortunately, we get to experience that with this fresh double album that would have been a classic then, had it released then. CD 1 1. Virtuart & Chronomyst - Vashisht incorporates some very nice drum work before the arrival of a catchy, low grinding synth to drive the vehicle at 1:46. More world building ignites after a brief transition, and we climb again. Detailed textures emerge in the second act, creating an infectious rhythm. A soft spot approaches, fronting a second lead. The last act incorporates some nice sounds and arrangement, though it sounds a bit similar (safe?), possibly due to the music rebuilding on its general 0:16 sound. But that's the worst I can say. This is a solid track, and this is just the beginning. B 2. Virtuart & Franky - Wakatoom On The Road is more complex, melodic, and ambitious. Early effects, like nuts and bolts add to the mix before a lively sound via 3:00. The first act is good, showcases a mechanical passage. There's a gripping lead at 4:20 that is soon complimented with a more aggressive, stacotto synth. Brief transitions front new ideas that keep this path unpredictable and interesting. The song climaxes with a beautiful lead at 7:16. This part reveals heart, the one ingredient I felt was missing. This is a strong, creative, and energetic track filled with variety! I find it more fulfilling than the previous one. Nice work! A- 3. Virtuart & Kshoo - Esprit Libre accents early on with a brief voice sample. It's not bad, though tastier accents exist in the track and overall album. The zippy synths add intricacy, engaging us early within the effect-ladden structure. There's a sweet, echoed sound at 2:12. The ear candy backdrop takes the forefront around this exciting fusion of energy. The sound selection, arrangement, and mixing in the second act is juicy, dynamic, and tastefully rhythmic. A little synth suddenly appears, enjoying the spotlight before the artists press the ignition at 5:38, a terrific sequence! The third act maintains the high energy. I love the skipping (hypnotic) sound towards the end, and the return of the music after the song seems to peter out. This track is so dynamic, pumping, and psychedelic. And this never-released-thing is from the 90..?! So cool! Kudos to the sound/melody work, mixing, and direction. Super track! A 4. Virtuart & Chronomyst - Sacred Drop is more raw, driving, and acidy. We get a neat, little synth melody in the first act. But what really stood out to me, besides the vibrating atmosphere is the energy emphasis that occurs when new synths arrive, e.g., 3:34 and 4:01. That aspect is fun! I'm not a fan of the Indian chanting. I'm just a huge cosmic nut. What can I say . Also, the middle Eastern melody at 4:16 sounds a bit childish to me. The song grows ridiculously trippy from 5:10 forward, as if we OD'd on psychedelics! The last act is strong with exception to the returning melody from 4:16. It takes away from the otherwise sleek, edgy feel. Otherwise, great song! B+ / A- 5. Virtuart & Nagar Bhatti - 2068 has a dong-esque accent early on that develops into a melody. The accents on this album are so catchy and this is no exception. Another plus is the synth at 1:10. Here the song has a sort-of skipping, hypnotic feel that Espirit Libre first introduced, conceptually anyway. The first act's arrangement could have used more variety, but that's a nitpick. Also, the music gets a little repetitive by 5:30. Fortunately, the interlude at 5:50 changes things up, restoring intrigue and appeal. Things grow catchier from there thanks to a gripping final act. An emotive wave hits at 7:26, adding harmony and improving the whole with beautiful sound formation. Despite a few nitpicks, this is a very good track. B+ 6. Virtuart & Kshoo - N2 O is another psychedelic albeit darker vehicle. There's a drumroll at 1:37 and the plot starts to thicken. A little more could have been added (for me anyway) by 2:30. Not to worry. A synth arrives in the third minute, though it isn't the fire. It lights the wick. A stronger lead suddanly enters at 3:41, and everything lights up! The forth and fifth-- basically the rest of the track is exciting, full of energy. It's excellent. While the song's first half took a while to get going, the second half turned this number into a psychedelic cocktail. Enjoy! A- 7. Virtuart & Maël - Neverending Party has a curious, arguably mischievous opening. Remember a while back, I praised the usage of "accents" on this album? Well this thing accents very well, multiple times, e.g., the beeping at 0:26. The song showcases more energy too. The synths are fast and involving. The character's personality has attitude. The song's more dynamic and magnetic than the previous tracks. And that spinning, spiralizing accent effect from early on is sweet! There are transitions that front new accents, killer synths, and some crazy voice FX that add to the unstoppable carnage of this Joker-esque ride! Not only does the song excel on the mixing front (like many of the songs on the album), it's daring, determined, and intense. Never mind that this never-ending party starts strong and keeps getting stronger. Even the last minute is FANTASTIC. Can we order more of this please? Neverending Story is one of the jewels of the year, and in years. The unhinged nature of it coupled with an experienced set of mixing skills, solid direction,and risk-taking are just a few things that make this song top notch and so much fun! A 8. Virtuart & Manitù - Red Spirit opens with cloud walking atmosphere. After the inclusion of a fairly harmonious and catchy albeit incoherent vocal-esque accent, the song begins to develop. I wasn't as engaged as I wanted to be in the first act. There's a strong buildup in energy across the 4th minute, peeking our curiosity. This follows the energetic release, a attractive braid of melodies. The second act is elegant. The music crosses a second mystical barrier (transition) which takes this dragon to new heights, encompassing improved sound/melody work coupled in warm atmosphere, and the song's signature, harmonious accent to boot. My favorite part is the re-collection of energy around the 8th minute, resulting in a beautiful, infectious climax. This is another highlight on the album. A- CD 2 1. Virtuart & Chronomyst - Prospector M combines layers of euphoria with bouncy, infectious tunes, immersed in warm and euphoric atmosphere. Sounds good? I hope so because this song's excellent. The first act incorporates a very catchy, be it gentler melodic approach before the relaxing interlude. The music returns refreshed, with a very catchy tune, arrangement at 3:45, and is complimented with stronger synths and energy at 4:52, the latter is superb. The beat soon disappears to introduce something new (and very nice) in the 8th minute. The final act evolves into an arresting, exciting, and captivating rhythm, ending the chapter on a refreshing high. The sound/melody work, development, and direction throughout this song was wonderful. The first track on CD 2 is already one of my favorites tracks. If you like catchy "tunes" in your Goa, you're going to love this. Superb track! A 2. Virtuart - Light Lifter has a mystical opening thanks to lush female hymns and atmosphere. I wish the overall song built on this sound (earlier on). The promising introduction fades at 1:20. Here the song basically starts anew. The first act is decent buildup. From around 3:50 forward, the song grows increasingly catchy. Things really jelled for me at 5:09. The sound/melody work really stands out in the second act; it's great! The last third sees the change up of music. I liked the progression initially, but felt that the music could have developed more, encompassing more variety, as it's not eventful. I feel like the artists could have developed the fantasy (more infectious, detailed) aspect towards the end, in that sense. This is a solid track with a really good second act! B / B+ 3. Virtuart & Chronomyst - L'Karnaj begins darker, more atmospheric. The first act engaged me more than the previous numbers first few minutes. After an ominous (beat-free) interlude, the music breaks out at 2:47. The rhythm here is less predictable and quite catchy. The next clearing is brief. It fronts a homogenous continuation. More development would have been more refreshing I feel. After the drumroll at 4:30, an elegant lead enhances the vehicle. The atmosphere grows increasingly thick with soundscapes and dripping, psychedelic ooze and treats. The transformative final act of the song is sneaky relative to how trippy it becomes. The sound/melody work keep us hooked, thanks to the creative direction. By the time we reach our destination, the vehicle is drenched in psychedelia. B+ / A- 4. Virtuart & Manitù - Indian Summer begins with a danceable, stomping sound. It's a little atypical, but let's see where it goes. A flying saucer effect cuts through the air, across the third minute (very cool). The lead at 3:54 is strong too, elevating the vehicle through an intriguing transition. This song improves considerably since the stomping opening. Another area worth nothing is at 4:50. From the midway mark forward, the creature grows like a tornado, gaining strength and delectable details as it moves forward. From the halfway moment (roughly) we're flying through in an exciting wave of immersive wonder, color, complexity, and imaginative psychedelia. The sound work in the last act is fantastic! Infectious soundscapes nearly jump out of the speakers, infecting our senses like bursts of cosmic delights. The first act seemed like a very different song from how this evolved. I suppose it could have been more homogenous, but what a wonderful ride this turned into. Great track! A- 5. Virtuart & Nagar Bhatti - Svadeshi teases us early, keeping us at bay around friendly voices, atmosphere. The song takes off at at 1:55 and doesn't look back. The music is rich and engaging! This is just the beginning and it's about to get so much better! 2:52 sees the involvement of a gripping lead before becoming increasingly catchy across the third minute. The brief interlude leads to juicer, more infectious synths and soundscapes, gorgeous ear candy! The sound work in the second and third act are delightful, ultra melodic, so good you can nearly taste! To top if off. the artists incorporate a stellar lead in the last act. It's awesome. This is one of the catchiest Goa tracks I've ever heard! Another super song! A 6. Underhead - Orejuna​ has an interesting opening coupled with ambient/atmosphere. An intense burst of energy electrifies the atmosphere at 1:23, kicking this thing into high gear. The music does remind me of Pleiadians' side project, Crop Circles 3:43. The second act is harder edged, more acidy and complimented with a softer (less aggressive) tune. The last act continues the high octane and cosmic approach. This was one of my favorite tracks for a while, but the adrenaline has since worn off. As a whole, it seems like the artists were going for a super/killer (and danceable I presume) Goa song. Either way, it has the energy, the leads, climaxes, etc. That said, the direction and the overall sound/melody design never quite reaches the heights of I.F.O.'s finest songs, Elektra, Alcyone, Asterope, etc. Nonetheless, it's high energy approach is bound to appeal to many Goa listeners and dancers alike. A- 7. Virtuart - La Sorcière Des Sables & L'Homme Libre (Sandoz Mix) begins hard, acidy, and stomping. The darker tone adds variety to the previous track. The second act introduces hard synths to punctuate the aggressiveness. What's missing to me is more variety within the song's structure, sounds, and overall direction. This concept happens to some degree when a new lead is introduced at 5:56, restoring interest. Crunchy psy butterflies pass by, and I can imagine the psychedelic nature of the song will please psy/goa listeners alike. The overall song to me, while being effectively hard, acidy, and rough, also feels uninteresting, fairly repetitive, and lackluster. Conceptually, the dark heavy nature of it will appeal to some for the same reasons I don't care for it. But it's not bad! B 8. Virtuart - L'Annee Des 13 Lunes (Galactic Time Mix) is a distinct closing. The driving feel has an atmosphere nearly unseeable from the amount of thick psy pollution via textures and soundscapes. I imagine the artists wanted to end the album with a very psychedelic track, and I give him (them) credit for sticking to their vision. This chapter adds to the imaginatively exciting and more often than not elaborate chapters played beforehand. The song reminds me of a group of malevolent, extra-terrestial saucers, scouting neighborhoods for potential subjects. The song is moody and dark, and the ambient adds to the haunting vibe. This is a solid closing to an excellent double album. A- CONCLUSION Virtuart and Friends is a surprisingly strong Goa album that would have been in the red section for Classics here on Psynews (for those who remember back then) had it been given an official release in the 90's. The old-school style is style. It's getting better as the album progresses. A few things to boot include the sound/melody work, mixing, creativity, and complexity. We get a handful of terrific numbers on CD 1. The album climaxes with Neverending Story (energy wise IMO) and then follows that up with the traveling, elegant, and mystical journey of Red Spirit. CD 2 continues the healthy trend of super songs, starting with the infectiously harmonious, Prospector M. This is DAT's best release IMO of 2016, followed by V/A - Mind Rewind 3. The double album is a newly re-mastered, previously unreleased (for sure, destined to become a) classic from the golden era. Only for our time now. It's one of the best Goa albums of 2016 and one in... well I'll let you decide after its grown on you. Highly recommended! Favourite tracks CD 1: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 CD 2: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 A- Sample / Order https://datrecords.bandcamp.com/album/virtuart-friends http://classic.beatport.com/release/virtuart-and-friends/1959583 https://www.psyshop.com/shop/CDs/dat/dat2cd009.html Stream a full track off the full album!
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