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Jon Cocco

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Jon Cocco last won the day on September 22 2018

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  1. Jon Cocco

    Tim Schuldt - Single-Collection

    Great album. This is a reminder of how talented Tim Schuldt is for those familiar with his name on the back of Suntrip's albums via mastering @ 4CN Studios. Outside of this and a few other singles, some of Tim Schuldt's best work is also on his main album by Four Carry Nuts called Mechanical Age (2004). 01. Cascara is a gentle, uplifting morning trance number. The song is fairly simple, but pleasant and positive. It's ironic because this is a warm world of sunlight just before a very dark, hard-hitting STORM that the album quickly turns into. 02. Orange Acid seems to be a FAVOURITE for almost everyone who digs the album. What do I like about it? I like the darker approach coupled with the WONDERFUL (Goa influenced) sound/melody work not throughout. The artist incorporates key notes, smart transitions to expanded storytelling terrain and development, buildup, climax, and more. In some ways, it's an ideal Tim Schultd track because it covers so many bases all at once. Awesome track! 03. Red Hair Hospital is another edgy dark Trance/Electronic number with some great melodic sounds and choices. 04. Animatronic is less intense, a different shade of grey with some nice sound/melody work. 05. Ohm Shiva combines industrial influence to psytrance, resulting in a hard-hitting track. The last act gets a little repetitive, but this is a stand out track. 06. Pretty Poison is rough, at times haunting and melodic, even somber yet emotive. The alterations to organic sounds and instruments are catchy. I liked it. 07. Evil Playground becomes more dark and twists as it progresses, utilizing distorted/dark samples, percussion, guitar.?, etc. It's heavy, industrialized Psy with hints of Goa, and a last act that showcases more musical progression and development than I was expecting. 08. Absurd combines an occasional 80's-esque synth tune with darkpsy, psytrance, goth/industrial, guitar, and opera via samples. It's very experimental, hard, and electronic, different from the previous tracks. It's an odd handful of elements. The hard approach doesn't always gel for me with the more sustained tunes and the opera FX remind things the New Age group Enigma has done. Overall a less favorite track (for me), but not bad. Listen to the full album here. Do NOT judge based on the gentle (arguably dismissible) opening morning track.
  2. Jon Cocco

    Overdream - Wonderwise

    I'm not even a fan of darkpsy and I like this! It's a great album! Very unique, catchy, and underrated!
  3. Jon Cocco

    Median Project - In The Depths of Space

    I love how smooth, sleek, melodic, and fluid the overall sound/melody work (album) is. It's digestible and enjoyable! The songs are full of energy and the atmospheric and other (visionary) elements compliment. Sounds blend well in every song for the entirety of the album, and that leads me to... My constructive criticism, as with the opening track that's catchy, is that the songs lacks more memorable storytelling sound/melody work, creativity, and structuring. It's a fine balance between catchy and memorable. As someone pointed out, the songs rarely buildup to anything to reward the listener, e.g., climax, evolution, etc. It's enjoyable, and as someone said, we're sometimes left hungry for more. Kometa showcases some really good (more memorable) storytelling, sound/melody work that takes a moment to hit us with deeper feels and ingenuity. The songs develop, but it's after track 3 or 4 maybe that more aggression, substance, variety, and vision becomes apparent. Artifact303 - Life Support System (Median Project Remix)´╗┐ has a more structured, storytelling vibe for instance. Music isn't about just being catchy, but saying something meaningful, having substance, leaving listeners satisfied and happy to share with friends. We can go through rotations with catchy sounds, or we can compose stronger arrangements and world-building tracks that leaves us enamored, excited, and satisfied. Over the Horizon is another track that incorporates memorable ingredients, more substantiated development, and key changes. Kometa´╗┐ stood out more too, specifically the last third--- it's beautiful and very memorable. I wish more of the album was as satisfying and enjoyable as the last third of Kometa, for instance. But I do enjoy the zippy, kinetic sound and style of the songs in general. The last track just has a segment towards the end that's so euphoric and free-feeling, and that's something I love. Not just catchy but MEMORABLE (I love it) sound/melody work. There is a fantasy vibe running through the journey that's uplifting, inspirational, exciting, and fun, even futuristic and cosmic. I'd just work on substantiating songs more in the future, so that people can better distinguish some of the tracks, especially as the album progresses.I love the energetic, melodic (with touches of euphoria) style, the increasing or decreasing atmosphere, and more. The album does so many things well. The music becomes a little more dramatic and substantial as the album progresses, and I keep coming back because of how good it all sounds. But some of the songs also sound a bit similar throughout, despite the infectious nature of the sound/melody work that almost always attracts me, even when it's repetition immersed in conscious, clean sounds. This is a great album IMO, and one of the most underrated, best sounding releases of 2018. Lastly, Median Project released a track on 2018's (end of the year) Suntrip's V/A - The 50th Parallel (CD1). The song is full of storytelling. It's more memorable in that sense and is one of the best songs on that double CD compilation! In the meantime, stream the full album, In The Depths of Space here
  4. 1.1 KhetzaL - Garden of Nyagrodha Trees 1.2 Cosmic Dimension - Deviant Behaviour 1.3 Triquetra - Electronomic 1.4 Sykespico - Visit Earth 1.5 Hada - Emaginary 1.6 Crossing Mind - Over Time Frame 1.7 Clementz - Trilafon 1.8 Median Project - Life Line 2.1 Battle Of the Future Buddhas - Faster Than Light 2.2 Cosmic Serpent - Fractal Colors 2.3 Everything Turns - Darkness Falls 2.4 Proxeeus - ...But the Joke's On Mankind 2.5 Triquetra - Torturing The Machine 2.6 Morphic Resonance - Wonderland 2.7 Ka-Sol - Hysterical Mass 2.8 Hada - Magic Of Nature NOTE: Each track review is being updated as I hear this more over winter break. The 50th Parallel is a 2 CD compilation that celebrates Suntrip's 15th year as a Goa-Trance label. The first CD is dedicated to the sun, and is more melodic. The second CD is dedicated to the moon, and features darker Goa-Trance. CD 1 1.1 KhetzaL - Garden of Nyagrodha Trees has such a clean, organic sound. The song includes almost everything you'd expect from one of Suntrip's most beloved artists, e.g., crisp melodies, sounds, and harmonies in healthy, warm atmosphere. The song is very homogenous, developing gradually. A part of me feels that the first half could have been punchier and more memorable despite the elegant Eastern-Indian influence and attention to detail. There is a beautiful interlude in the forth minute. The energy increases at 5:48 and is accented at 6:18, and this is where I felt most immersed, thanks to the exciting, psychedelic development. At 6:44, the artist alters the arrangement, adds fresh sounds, and key notes. It's beautiful. Before the journey's end, the listener is rewarded with a beautiful, climactic finale that's almost too good for words. All in all, the first two acts were solid; they could have stood out more. Thankfully, the world grew into something more enchanting and enjoyable as we progressed. Great track. B+ / A- 1.2 Cosmic Dimension - Deviant Behaviour begins with a beautiful, ambient-influenced opening. It sounds like it should be in a Castlevania film and deserves its own [non Goa] song. Act 1 is more psytrance oriented (to some degree) until an attractive synth enters at 2:47. It's very nice! After a beat-free transition, Act 2 begins. It starts out similar to Act 1. Actually, 3:42 to 4:35 could have developed more; it got fairly repetitive, but the second part of Act 2 (forth minute) is curious, more exploratory. Here the acidic synths fade for a more traveling, unexpected, and atmospheric offering, and although my girlfriend felt that the middle act was less memorable, I liked the non-acidic shift in sound. Variety is good, and this middle act, though lacking in a star sound or element to punch it up more, made the song more interesting to me. The last act is solid too. I enjoyed the climactic, dance-friendly synth at 7:17 that elevates the energy in its final minutes. Good track! B+ 1.3 Triquetra - Electronomic -- I just reviewed Triquetra's Ecstatic Planet (2018) album that included some of my favourite songs of the year. The first two minutes alone are great. An intense synth arrives at 2:31. It's too in-my-face loud, but ignites the music. The supporting synths is creative. The music is varied, and the 2:31 lead thankfully disappears at 3:38. A brief transition takes us to Act 2, a trippy segment with an edgy synth at 3:57. It's smart and punchy. The brief accents and nuances are delectable, strengthening the second act. After a brief drumroll via 5:25, I feel like the artists' missed an opportunity to elevate the final act. It's catchy, but the last few minutes (I feel) did little to improve the whole, as if the artists' ran out of ideas or ingredients early. Musically I like the complex, punchy sound/melody work and mixing. This is a tight track that ends with a tight continuation in development rather than a bang. That said, the song takes risks, sounds distinct. It's engaging and stands out. Strong track! B+ 1.4 Sykespico - Visit Earth has one of the best dramatic opening tunes (like a symphony) I've ever heard in a Goa song. It's so simple and captivating. It adds FEELS (!!!). As the beat kicks in, so does the empowering tune that grounds the music emotionally. The first act is excellent, simply in that it merges the dramatic (epic/backdrop) tune with strong sound/melody work and atmosphere. After the 3:11 transition, I would have loved if the middle act maintained the feels, taking us to new, dramatic highs. The artist(s) remove the emotive theme however, opting for a punchier, higher octane approach and it works! The Hallucinogen-esque synths at 3:37 are excellent, maintaining an infectious sound across the forth minute that knows when to end via 4:30. The second part of Act 2 (4:51) involves new synths and sounds. It's catchy, though it feels like it could have been in a different song. The Eastern-Indian melody from 5:58 to 6:25 I could have done without. Some of these elements are underwhelming to the wonderful, dramatic opening that seemed so storytelling perfect. Fortunately, the signature tune returns for Act 3 at 6:25, anchoring us with the hook and feels before the terrific synth at 7:19. The song took longer to fade out than necessary, but that's a nitpick. Although the middle act (at times) could have been a little more congruent and complimentary to the opening/closing acts, this is one of my favorite tracks on the compilation. Well done. A- 1.5 Hada - Emaginary reminds me of Ka-Sol. No intro. Hard beat and accompanied sound. The first 2-3 times I heard this song, I didn't like it. I can't deny that the core sound though is pretty hypnotic, psychedelic. Around it, creepy FX echo across the soundscapes. There are some catchy synths in the first act, but the music gets repetitive and less interesting by (somewhere in) the third minute. A much needed and improved change takes place at 4:32 where the music feels more confident, congruent, and satisfying. We soon return to less memorable sound/melody work (by comparison), but the creepy atmosphere is very nice! The seventh minute on grew increasingly more interesting and warped. Weirder doesn't always mean better, and by the eighth minute, the song becomes a little too dependent and repetitive on the distorted effect, before switching gears to something more solid that avoids repetition from being shorter. I'm back and forth with how good I think this song is. It has some very good/great elements, but it's one of the less interesting and engaging songs on the album for me. That said, this is a pumping dark number for the less conventional crowd. B- 1.6 Crossing Mind - Over Time Frame begins with an enchanting opening. It's like something out of a romantic sci-fi film or fantasy fable. Is it possible for the artist to develop a track with the more enchanting sound developing throughout (I wonder)? I'm thinking Chi.A-D. for inspiration but taking it further. Occasionally I hear an intro by Crossing Mind, and it's so sublime that I wish the song was mid or down-tempo to increase its chances of retaining the warm sound throughout. I've been following CM ever since the release of their album, The Inner Shift in 2012. hoping that one day they'd return to the futuristic and super funky candy land of sounds that made their Inner Shift album so memorable and endearing. The first act was decent. It could have been more interesting and varied with ideas, as it became fairly monotonous until a tune arrives at 3:00. The transition at 3:25 led to more gripping development at 3:40, and the song hooked me from there. I enjoyed the synths at 4:38, the trippy transition, and how the psychedelic infected the last act. That said, the last act seemed so short-lived. It could have done more and in that sense, felt underwhelming to me. The final cloud-walking segment was nice. B+ 1.7 Clementz - Trilafon begins with a wave of dark and atmospheric ambient. It's interesting. The first act builds a psychedelic rhythm with distinct sounds. It's pretty good, but grows repetitive. The artist(s) disengage a floating hymn, but we need something to vary up the sound, to keep us hooked. At 4:26 we get our answer. This next part is radically different, lower in tone, deeper in sound, and incorporates some experimental (?), almost funky electronic work to the mix. I like that the music broke free and opted to do something different and catchy. The last act via 6:11 incorporates fresh energy, development, and synths. The music here felt more flexible and realized. The artist even reprises a synth and accent from Act 2 that enhances the music, bringing the best elements together. The song is less memorable, elaborate, and felt a little minor compared to some of the other tracks IMO, but I liked it. B 1.8 Median Project - Life Line a refreshingly sleek and dualistic journey track. The song has feels (!), determination, and optimism. Act 1 is interesting and engaging, thanks to strong sound/melody work and atmosphere. The melodies are tight, psychedelic, and tastefully layered without sounding too acidy. My only complaint with the first act is that it could have used a little more variety, nuance, and development as it progressed. Act 2 lets its bouncy (very nice) tunes breathe, introducing harmony to the storytelling development. The end of the 5th minute involving a band of melodies moving together is elegant, gripping, and beautiful. Act 3 adds fresh ingredients and ingenuity, maintaining the inspirational sound I often miss in Goa. The track is traveling and easy to digest. It develops and evolves, and is easily one of my favorite songs on both CD's. Great work!!!! A- NOTE: I googled Median Project to learn that his main album released in 2018. It's in the Psynews review thread, In the Depth of Space (and it's good). CD 2 2.1 Battle Of the Future Buddhas - Faster Than Light begins with an interesting sample and synth. The synth at 1:14 is good, though the minor tune (segment) at 1:44 was less engaging. A brief transition takes us into the more psychedelic second act thanks to stronger synths from 2:45 to 3:29. The synths exit without something catchier from 3:30 to 4:16, and I feel that something more interesting could have replaced it. Another solid part is at 5:13 where the song rebounds. But I really liked when the 1:14 synth returned at 6:14 mixing in with the remaining music. This synth is so simple and catchy. Why not build on that catchy sound rather than have it infrequently come and go? Why not build stronger segments around it? I suppose I'm nit picking since the song does have a pretty catchy sound to it. The last two minutes were good. I just expected more as a whole coming from the legendary BotFB. B 2.2 Cosmic Serpent - Fractal Colors is very psychedelic and atmospheric. We get an icy synth at 1:38 and at 2:11, it sounds like a pianist playing an ice cube piano (catchy)! Once that leaves, the music felt less focused. The psychedelic backdrop remained, and the icy (ascending/descending) effect at 2:32 was good. Unfortunately, without more emphasis on sound/melody work, the song becomes almost too abstract for its own good. An attractive synth enters at 4:14, though minimal in development, short-lived. Could this part not have led to something more exciting and fun? The last act builds on the artistry. But I feel that the sound/melody work is triumphed by the imaginative world of textures and atmosphere. Missing for me are tunes, melodies, leads, buildup, climax, feels! Have fun with it, but being mindful of your crowd. Hallucinogen's Twisted and The Lone Deranger albums for instance were both fun while being wildly inventive. I admire the ambition. This is trippy track with some great elements, plenty of experimentation, and some clever sound usage, mixing, and editing. Just make it more fun the next time around! B 2.3 Everything Turns - Darkness Falls has a solid introduction that develops nicely. The atmosphere is good. The synths are lively, characteristic, and fun. The song continuously sculptures (improves on) itself. It flows well. There's no big event or climax, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I'd like to hear a main album by this artist showcasing the variety of greatness (in dark Goa) that he can do. Each act is focused, punchy, and beautifully mixed, with soundscapes, accents-- enough to keep me hooked. A nitpick is the sound at 4:02. It's not bad, but it stands out so much that the song feels a little less creative, and more repetitive from 4:01 to 5:22. The sound continues, altered like a supporting synth, and I don't feel like it enhanced the song in any way, although it's not bad (there's plenty of great sound mixing around it). That said, Act 2 met rather than exceeded my expectations. Darkness Falls is a strong track, and the first one I'm calling a favourite on CD 2. A- 2.4 Proxeeus - ...But the Joke's On Mankind begins dark and mysterious. The main melody enters at 1:21-- a bouncy, ebullient synth. It's good and the supporting sounds add to the dance friendly number. Around unique accents, e.g., 2:25, the artist continuously switches out ingredients, no matter how subtle, to support the main melody. The latter could have grown repetitive, bland, but it doesn't, and I think I'd enjoy this song most on the dance floor. We get our first break from the main melody at 4:48. The segment adds variety and the few drum accents are nice, though a bit brief. The last act seemed more refined, with new variation, note changes, and minor details. I liked the atmospheric interlude because of the chilling sound, like the stirring of a Tibetan bowl at 7:50, and that it continued beyond the interlude, into the main music's return. Little things like that are unexpected, creative, and catchy, a duding to the fun. Although the song has a similar sound from the lead, I feel that the approach works, especially for dancing. This is a trancey fun song! B+ 2.5 Triquetra - Torturing The Machine continues the unconventional approach. The first several minutes are a fairly experimental and feature little more than buildup to the best parts. I wasn't hooked until 2:27 thanks to the synths. But the song's first half has issues. It seems indecisive in development. The interlude from 3:20 to 4:26 was too long considering its purpose (basically) was to get us to 4:24 where things take off. Everything past 4:24 was so much more enjoyable thanks to the beautiful sound/melody development. Also, the mechanized atmospheric effect (whatever sounds excellent. It's frustrating that the first or second act by these artists is often so underwhelming compared to the rest of the song. Compared to Electronomic, I'll take a superior second half over a less memorable third act almost any day of the week. I hope this positively influences the artists because they're very talented and have endless potential. I love that this song kept improving throughout the second half. In short, the music started at 4:24 for me. Everything else was forgettable. Once the song grew confident, decisive, and a set of balls halfway through, it was [still is] a pleasure to listen to. B+ 2.6 Morphic Resonance - Wonderland is like JAWS on a bad trip. The song has a few short-lived murky spots before rebounding to stronger waters. The core sound (baseline and synth) is solid, stands out. The first few minutes are electric, fully charged and captivating. The synths grow to be magnetic at 1:38, again at 1:50, and crossing into the third minute. I love the supporting synths and atmosphere around the leads. The first act is exciting, punchy, and intense. The arrangement (being so short) in the third minute grew slightly repetitive, but i'm nitpicking. The middle (4th minute) act started out great, but from 4:22 to 4:49 the music sounded too muddled (over-stuffed with layers), producing an unpleasant (less punchy, focused) on the ears. This took away from an otherwise stellar song (thus far). Having something less maximal and refreshing in place of 4:22 to 4:49 would have better better, and I hope this feedback helps to improve things. The music rebounded soon after, but something about the sixth minute was less punchy (dynamic?) and did little to hook me. The energy of the music is strong, sure, but it's missing something that made the song's first half so tight. Fortunately, the seventh minute onward grew increasingly magnetic, and the finale is fantastic! That's what I'm talking about! My issue here is the same recurrent one I had on the artist's 2018 album, Perplexity. Around its few less captivating moments, this is a great track that showcases some amazing work by one of Suntrip's best artists since Filteria! A- 2.7 Ka-Sol - Hysterical Mass remind's me of Hada's Emaginary to some degree. No intro (well okay, a brief one), and a hard beat and sound at 0:24. The distorted effect to the music is unique, hypnotic. It's also repetitive and went on for too long. Act 2's soundscapes were nice, adding something different. But the synths sound more like effects then actual sound/melody development. I imagine that was the intention. I find this song so hard (literally, the beat), repetitive, and chaotic though, due in part to the relentless core 0:24 sound that I lose interest. It's too much. I'm looking for a focus, a lead to hook onto, something to enjoy. Act 2 breaks the beat in place of a trippy segment, followed by a catchy bopping accent. Both are nice, and some synths (initially) seemed catchy. But the music ultimately grew too muddled and repetitive for me, despite the end even having some pleasant (less jarring) work. This song is a relentless dark stomper that's sure to appeal to some. Give the song a listen and decide. Different perspectives is what adds to the whole anyway, but I digress. I'm sure some will connect with the music and enjoy this more than I did. Hysterical Mass is just not my cup of tea. C+ 2.8 Hada - Magic Of Nature is a bit of a mixed bag. Parts are rich and engaging, while other parts are repetitive and bland. The first act starts okay before devolving into monotony from 1:32 to 2:35. Repeating the same short arrangement, primarily when it's not very good, over and over again is one way to lose your audience. After a quick fade out, the music returns at 3:31 with more creativity and development. Act 2 is a huge improvement that's topped with a strong lead at 3:54 that adds variety. Why couldn't the first act have been better considering this is the same artist who did the second act? Unfortunately, the synths (general sound) from 4:23 to 5:41 grew repetitive. The music soon rebounded, thanks to an infectious, bouncy synth at 5:47. This is a terrific part, but after a short while it became less satisfying as the music crossed the sixth minute, offering little to further develop, enhance, or reboot the climax after the lead's disappearance. This resulted in a less memorable last 1-2 minutes. The last act could have been great, but it's good intermittently. Magic Of Nature is boring one minute, and exciting the next, and that's the issue. You have to ride your winning horses, stick to (and develop) your best work. I feel like this song along with Ka-Sol's would have been better on a different compilation. It makes sense that Suntrip wanted to offer different styles of dark Goa-Trance. They succeeded. I'm simply less a fan of these last two songs. B- Conclusion For a double CD, The 50th Parallel showcases music that is sometimes marvelous, often times great, and few times disappointing. Both albums are very good, but far from perfect. I heard impressive work by many artists including: Median Project, Sykespico, Everything Turns, Triquetra, Morphic Resonance, Proxeeus, Khetzal, and Crossing Mind, and was surprised by the unconventional approaches that some of the artists took. It's fun to see artist's taking risks (at times), and Goa music continue to expand, to some degree. I feel like Suntrip was mindful to avoid generic Goa. But a few of the songs I didn't like. Maybe the inclusion of BotFB, two Hada songs along, and KaSol's was to attract fans who may be less inclined to buy Suntrip albums unless they see a familiar artist. I don't know and am merely speculating. I wish the few weaker songs were replaced with stronger ones obviously, but at least most of the songs were good. A nitpick is that there are a couple songs on CD 1 that sounded dark to me, and I thought CD 1 was supposed to showcase the light? I'm not sure where I'd rank The 50th Parallel compared to Suntrip's previous compilations. Time will tell. It's very good overall and worth checking out, especially for those who are fans of quality light (more melodic) and dark styles of Goa-Trance. Very nice artwork and cover btw! Favorite Tracks: CD 1 ... 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 CD 2 ... 3, 4, 5, 6 B+ Sample / Order https://www.suntriprecords.com/releases/ https://www.suntriprecords.com/release/cat/SUNCD50/ https://suntriprecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-50th-parallel
  5. Jon Cocco

    Morphic Resonance - Perplexity [Suntrip Records]

    Ouija is fantastic! I shared it with my girlfriend for the first time tonight and (because we're alike), she goes, "Holy Shit! I'd give that an A" That said, I enjoyed City of Moons over Perplexity (as a whole) with exception to MIndwarp on City of Moons that did not need to exist despite not being terrible; it was the weakest link, so (at the time) why not replace it with something amazing? I love The Creature and Ouija... and a handful of songs in-between (Vektogram, Hallucinatory Acid) are inventive, very catchy. But the repetitive or muddled arrangements on the album (at times, in general) take away from the whole. Despite some impressive moments, I was not impressed with Return of the Bad Dreamer and Outer Limits (Limitless Mix). To me those could have been made pre City of Moons. The first and last track are so punchy, edgy, and DYNAMIC. I'm not bored for a second. I want to see more work on that level, similar to the 1 2 3 4 punch that is City of Moons with its first 4 tracks... had the previous album remained as stellar throughout (though the second half to be fair, is great too), I would have given it an A. I think at this point, with all of the constructive feedback and mostly positive reviews, this artist CAN create an A album. He is wildly talented and creating some of the best dark Goa I've heard in 15-20 years! The only person that has to get out of his way is himself. Don't ever second guess yourself if something is not impressive in your mind. I realize some people are okay with the songs I don't like, and I think even more will be impressed with an album comprised of 8 super songs that the majority of us consider super (and I don't mean to have an ego there but there it is). It's time to expand more, to get more wildly creative with atmospheres, technical wizardry with sound/melody work and mixing. No more going-through-motions moments (as discussed above in my review). This is one of the best Goa artists in decades and despite my criticisms, both City of Moons and Perplexity are great.
  6. Jon Cocco

    Triquetra - Ecstatic Planet

    1. Gate to Happiness 08:45 2. Stormbringer 08:31 3. No Unexpected Errors 07:50 4. Homonculus 08:57 5. Gargantuan Tribes (Live) 08:24 6. Starbirth 08:26 7. Psychic Dissonance 08:30 8. Chosen By The Gods 08:36 9. Helios 09:01 I know very little about Triquetra other than these guys are two brothers who make Goa released by Suntrip. I enjoyed No Unexpected Errors, Gargantuan Tribes, Psychic Dissonance, and Helios right away. It took time for the other songs to grow on me (or settle) so here we go! 1. Gate to Happiness has a beautiful, atmospheric, Ambient-influenced (with feels!) introduction that developes until the beat drops at 1:48 (very cool). The distinct sound of Triquetra arrives-- a whirlwind of melodies. Harmonious ones fly above as deeper ones swims below among a key tune. The uplifting vibe is pleasant. The middle act though could have had more ingenuity, character, something to make it stand out and be more enjoyable. Act 2 is fairly bland and in that regard, the song could have benefited from being shorter. Fortunately, the last act is dynamic, exciting, and showcases beautiful sound/melody work. Here the song comes alive. Talk about a rebound! The last act is excellent. Good track! B+ 2. Stormbringer dives into its psychedelic rhythm early on, though the music sounds a bit too acidy, for me. Cool intro! The female voice accent is catchy. The first act is pretty good! It keeps building, keeping my attention and features a really nice melody at 2:00, and a tougher synth lead at 2:40. It's good. But at some point early into the third minute, the repetitive ACIDIC sound begins to grate on me. It's too acidic and makes the music feel more repetitive than it is. A healthier variety in sounds and direction would have been helpful. Act 2 allows us to breath (the song works best when it's less maximal IMO). Some nice new melodies enter. I enjoyed the forth minute, and the traveling melody in the fifth. These are good parts! Even 5:49 has an edgy Goa synth that works well, but at 6:04, things get too acidic (grating) and 'samey' for me. At 6:37 I can breathe again. It's not great but a relief. But that's not what sells the high energy song. The last act-- aside from a few tweaks and not being too in-my-face, lacked fresh ideas and inventiveness to make it stand out. To me, the song feels like one long extensive act, despite likely working better on dance floors considering it's full of energy and rhythm, but the artists are more intelligent and talented than this. They know how to make smart, visionary songs that are great for home-listening and dancing. The acidic emphasis and samey (in that regard) sound here just exhausted me out by the end. But damn, it has some really good elements and I'm sure some people will like this more than I did, but I'm not going to sugar coat how I felt. B- 3. No Unexpected Errors is so much more dynamic, interesting, and enjoyable compared to the previous track. This showcases tight and punchy synth work and direction. The flurry of nuances kept me hooked; I love accents. Take the one via 2:50, a brief one-note. It's so simply and catchy, and never overstays its welcome. There is a gripping lead. I mean leads! None are too in-my-face. Sure there are borderline moments, but they keep changing up, avoiding repetition. Moreover, a lot of sound/mixing work happens that supports the leads while preventing the song from feeling too acidic or repetitive. Act 2 allows us to catch our breath by reducing layers while maintaining the momentum. Engaging things keep popping up around every corner. The voice sample sounds cinematic, very Sci-Fi in origin. It shifts us to he most exciting part yet via the last act. I'd love to hear more elements that excite and surprise us (I don't mean this track but in general, thinking of the previous song). The mixing work is evident and impressive. Towards the end, I feel like the music could have incorporated a wider range of complimentary sounds via climax. The song's development is great, and I feel like it could have evolved a little more if that makes sense. That said, this is one of the best songs on the album and my first favorite track on Ecstatic Planet! No Unexpected Errors is smart, relentless, creative, and exciting from start to finish. Excellent track! A- / A 4. Homonculus seems to be the love/hate song on the album. I like it but have some criticism because I feel like some of it is very good, and some of it could have been so much better! The first few minutes are not interesting IMO despite some nice melody work. The music breaks for a transition at 2:27 and returns with (peeking our curiosity) touches of drum. The music falls to the background at 3:50 for an extended transition that would have been more welcome, had the first act been stronger. It doesn't help that the transition isn't very interesting. A sudden BOOM impact hits at 4:16 (I can't believe the song is half over already!). Fortunately this part is a lot catchier, followed by a more interesting, tighter transition with an intriguing Black Crystal sample. At 4:54 we get a strong, PURER FORM [bouncy Goa] melody arrives that's so good! What happened back there? Why did the song not its footing sooner? I feel like you could completely redo Act 1 (save the intro), tweak the finale, shave off 1-2 minutes, and the song would have benefitted. Act 3 remains animated, but lacks variety from Act 2. A memorable tune would have been nice. Act 3 is solid, but with so many layers via the acidic emphasis, it made me miss the fluid, cool groovy bounciness of Act 2. All in all, this is a pretty good song with a great second act, and a third act that's bound to keep the momentum going on the dancefloor. B- 5. Gargantuan Tribes (Live) integrates the use of an organic instrument. The result is something so creative and refreshingly organic sounding, that it's a wonder this approach hasn't been done before. I agree with everyone here. What a great way of using a didgeridoo! Man that's catchy! The track has a subtle hypnotic sound throughout. The organic sound is supported with good sound/melody work despite [the overall song] being fairly simple. It could have evolved more, as it got a little repetitive by the end. But the overall song and what the artists accomplished here is great! These guys have to do more creative stuff with incorporating organic instruments in Goa. It makes the music feel more alive! Well done. A- 6. Starbirth is a blast of danceable GOA bliss, though Act 1+2 could have showcased more sparkling gems, each act builds nicely on the former one. A request is to more catchy (interesting) opening acts since the tracks are quite gripping by the second half (the last track obviously grabbed me sooner). The growing energy and feels via ascension (like we're raising, uplifting) is terrific. Act 3 completely evolves into something wild and beautiful! I simply wish Act 1 was more interesting because the payoff is worth it! Starbirth has one of the best, most infectious climaxes I've heard all year! A- 7. Psychic Dissonance has a more arresting (decisive sounding) opening. The unique, morning (maybe influenced), but more psychedelic sound/melody work in Act 1 is unique! Something with the beat, baseline, and/or overall song makes the music feel more refreshing. Sometimes less is more! The energy (arrangement, notes) in Act 2 continues to develop like a story playing out. There's light and dark, beauty and danger. The electrical accent FX are catchy, like water droplets hitting a hot stove top (synthesized) as they skip across the beat. A transition smoothly evolves us into bouncy (infectiously danceable!) Goa terrain. It's excellent and so catchy! We reach another transition. The music falls to the back, save a few industrial FX, an interesting interlude of sorts. The tunes evolve and overall direction is so varied and engaging. What plays out can be described as ascensional-- like a magic elevator taking us to the higher dimensions. Gorgeous sound/melody work and direction! Like T2 or the FIRST Matrix film, the artist(s) seemed to go ALL OUT with the vision and finale. A- 8. Chosen By The Gods has a catchy female sample early on. The tingly melodies in the first act are really nice as soundscapes emerge. In the second or third minute though, I began to wonder where the song was going. It felt a bit indecisive and grew a little repetitive, idea wise. I like the clicking effect that doubles as an accent to the beat and/or note, and more development into more interesting terrain would have been nice. Though a bit more acidy than I prefer, Act 2 is much better. There is an elevating (for lack of better words) hypnotic effect in the second half that's interesting! I just wish there was more memorable aspects to hook us. The female voice re-appearing is catchy, and the last act is good, showcasing some elegant sound/melody work that feels different from anything we heard in the song beforehand. This is a solid song that could have been more memorable compared to the last three tracks, but it's growing on me. B 9. Helios has a nice, though it could have been more intriguing before the beat drop at 1:32. Gradually, the fantasy setting takes form. The atmospheric element is good. The storytelling arrangement work well, with each act complimenting and improving on the one before it. The shift into Act 2 via 4:25 grabbed my attention thanks fo juicier melodies, development, and key notes that compliment the storytelling aspect. The sound/melodies work continues to improve as if one if journeying deeper into a rich fantasy novel. We reach a transition (not too long) that develops and evolves us into something even more arresting. I love the gentle echoed melodies and nuances in the second half. Suddenly and at just the right time (in the last act), the artists push the envelope further, incorporating a completely unexpected, infectiously bouncy Goa lead that compliments the whole! It's such a fun, catchy OH WOW (satisfying) moment to top off an already harmoniously magical finale, adds sparkles to the icing on the already delicious organic cake. Wow... The song is full of feeling and emotion. It keeps getting better as it progresses, and then doesn't stop there. Other than it could have had a stronger (more visionary but complimentary) intro and first few minutes, I'd love to hear more magical tracks on the next album and future compilation tracks. Magic can be dark or light and I love the positive (light rather than dark) ascensional song here. Despite a bit of a slow start, Helios develops into a beautiful and memorable closing track. It's both my and my girlfriend's favourite song on the album, and brings FEELS !!! Actually at some point in the second half, I feel like we entered a fantasy (higher frequency) dimension. Excellent closing track! A- / A CONCLUSION Nitpicks aside, there is a ton of creativity on this album! The first two tracks simply do not do justice to how well done, complex, catchy, and distinct the sound/melody and overall mixing/production work is on this album. There are instruments that sound completely organic, excellent! Also a plus on having intros, be they decent or good. They lead listeners into the world of the music. The artists have their own distinct style and sound. Although I'm a fan of the variety of songs in the first half, the album showcases some of the artist's most beautiful work in the second half, e.g., Starbirth, Psychic Dissonance, Helios. To be constructive, a few songs could have had stronger first acts or first halves (1, 4, 9). A few tracks lacked variety and were a bit repetitive at times (2, 5), and in one or two cases, the last act could have been more refreshing (3, 4, 5). That said, I enjoy almost every song on the album. At least 3-4 are some of the best songs I've heard all year. I also felt that way about a couple songs on E-Mantra's 2018 album, Stapanii Timpului, as well as Morphic Resonance's 2018 album, Perplexity. Ecstatic Planet is a smart, articulative (no muddled sounds), psychedelic, and eclectic album, and it's one of the best [Goa Trance] albums of 2018. Favorite tracks: 3, 5, 6, 7, 9 ... and the last act in Track 1. 4/5 Order / Buy > https://www.suntriprecords.com/release/cat/SUNCD48/ Stream a full track
  7. Jon Cocco

    Electric Universe - Blue Planet

    1. Fly 2. Compressor 3. Renania 4. Meteor 5. Rock Da House 6. The Tribal Session 7. Magnetic Field 8. The Space Dimension 9. Lovescience 10. Journey Into Outer Space Blue Planet is my favorite Electric Universe album. I love some of the risks Boris took. Some of the sound/melody work here is FANTASTIC, so satisfying and topical, while other tracks do something inventive, often with catchy results, save two songs IMO. The album is less psychedelic than Stardiver, which is a purer aka more concentrated Goa. Blue Planet is more varied and expansive in sounds and track variety. This is one of the most unconventional (in some ways), interesting, solid, and distinct (character, personality, vision) albums released by Boris/Electric Universe and in the genre. 1. Fly is an example of when repetition effectively works in Goa, thanks to certain sounds and change ups in layers. The song has a very simple but catchy ('signature" I call it, like a vibrating ring, two notes) echoed synth that comes and goes at just the right times. It exits by 3:00, but soon appears to linger in the background as BOUNCY, TASTY GOA, dance-friendly melodies are introduced. ACT 2 is very catchy! There is a slight transition and the last act develops the beast with psychedelic details!!! The last act's combination of sounds and melodies is excellent. The direction is fairly simple but gripping, and the vibrating ring synth tops it off. Great work. Well done! A- / A 2. Compressor opts to be more synthetic, minimal, and PSY sounding. It's here that the album takes its first dip for me. The music is more experimental, but not in the best way considering this isn't Goa Trance or Goa influenced, nor is it very good. I'm generally a fan of the artist's sound/melody work, but this does not showcase that either. Best thing I can say is the last act has a relatively catchy rhythm, but it's NOT great. There is no engaging synth for me to hook onto, something to warrant DESIRED repeat listens or a recommendation. Nothing sells this song like the nighttime 'signature' synth in the previous track. I don't enjoy this song. It's not bad, but not what I consider good, fun or satisfying. It also doesn't sound like it should be on this album IMO. C+ 3. Renania is more in tune with the sleek GOA sound and feel that the album introduced to us with FLY. Though simple and similar sounding throughout, the MELODIC synth work is good! The song is surprisingly short, at 5:31. it doesn't overstay its welcome, but a little more evolution would have been nice. Fly was better IMO, with more development. Am I supposed to pretend that the previous song didn't exist? This is so much more engaging by comparison. B+ / A- 4. Meteor is so musical, rock-influenced, and varied-- and thankfully more helmed in the more expansively creative realm of Goa. This has SO MANY ELEMENTS that I like. Warm, emotive, catchy, and distinct. There's no track like this. It's very experimental, but unlike Track 2, the experiment here is CATCHY. It's also determined and motivating (inspirational) sounding and I love that! So enjoyable! B+ / A- 5. Rock Da House is a straight up nostalgic, rock n' roll electronic song, with GOA influence in the second half. Since Meteor, the risks seem to be paying off. I'm sure not everyone will love (or expect?) this. The music is punchy and creative, coupled with rock and BREAKS, very ATYPICAL for Electric Universe in a good way IMO. I'm not suggesting Boris makes an album full of breaks but that element works well here. Though short at 5:16, the song wastes no time sounding good. This is a solid, catchy, and experimental number with some very nice, complementary synth work in the second half. B+ 6. The Tribal Session starts out so nice, with ambient and psy scapes. I generally like tribal influenced Goa, and the first 1-2 minutes are good. The song simply grows REPETITIVE and a bit too naked (lacking in supporting sounds and melodies) for me. After a promising start, the music feels under-developed and off-topic even for this album to me. It's not fun when (intro aside) several minutes into the song, you feel like you're hearing the SAME SONG and then it ends. I don't care for this track and find it pretty average. C 7. Magnetic Field is softer, more traveling Goa on the cosmic side. It has a nice storytelling element and very good (warm, pleasant) sound/melody work. Talk about old-school sounding! A little more character and *oomph* (energy) could have complemented, and the song does get a little repetitive (at times), but there are some really good elements, e.g., synths here. The song is longer too (though this could have been a minute or two shorter) and adds another distinct and thankfully good (after the previous track) addition to the album! B+ 8. The Space Dimension is more complex, unique, and cutting edge. The robotic (futuristic) synths are great. The ambient adds emotion. The Goa (sound/melody) synths compliment. This is IMO the best experimental track since 4 and 5 that Goa-wise tops both. This is my FAVOURITE uptempo song on the album. The electronic approach is distinct, engaging, and memorable. Three great acts and the whole song sounds refreshingly different than ANYTHING I've ever heard. The sound/melody work is so good, topped with a TWANGY Goa melody halfway through. I love it. I just want to dance to thins thing, both the melody and the overall song, and the length is perfect. A- / A 9. Lovescience is a very good mid-tempo number. The artist makes such good mid/down tempo tracks. I find that the song grows a little repetitive roughly two thirds through as it maintains its core, developmental sound slightly longer than I found necessary. Fortunately, a complimentary synth with subtle nuances stepped in to enhance the last act. Very nice work! B+ / A- 10. Journey Into Outer Space is a notably stronger mid-tempo gem. I find the elements here more engaging. This is an excellent way to end the album. The song is interesting, chill, cosmic, and arresting! Just go here this thing already. A Blue Planet is a distinct, unique, and underrated gem in electronic music. There is plenty of variety and experimenting which leads to some of the artist's best work, though not every track is a hit. A few songs (2.6) share examples where the experiment DOES NOT go great, and I question their existence on this album considering the artist obviously knows what's catchy (standards?) so why are they here? They sound as if made by a different artist, for a different album, likely forgotten if it was full of songs like that. Fortunately numerous songs exceeded my expectations (1, 4, 5, 8, 10). Naturally everyone has their favorites. I noticed a song or two I really enjoyed that someone else called SHIT!!! The last two songs are mid-tempo, and the final one is more cosmic. It's REALLY good!!! The Goa album's influences include: Psy, Rock, Breaks, and Electro. Talk about TAKING RISKS. There is enough ingenuity here that works for me and many others. The artist's previous album, Stardiver (1999) is more consistent (purer) when it comes to GOA. Stardiver is harder-edged and more energetic, but also more repetitive at times. This is Boris's first if not second best album IMO. I mean his debut ONE LOVE was topped by Stardiver. But in terms of general electronic combined GOA music (album wise), I find this to be the most satisfying when it works more often than it doesn't. Find the songs that agree most with your senses and enjoy! Nitpkcks and few weak tracks aside, the songs have character and (more or less) personality! Yes!!! Blue Planet is a cult classic in electronic/Goa Trance! Highlights: 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 8/10 / B+ STREAM THE FULL ALBUM HERE ON GOOD EAR BUDS OR SPEAKERS !!!!
  8. Jon Cocco

    Downtempo of 2015

    Sundial Aeon's SYMBOSIS album is beautiful!!!!! I always miss some of the best DOWNTEMPO albums until the "Best of" thread appears!
  9. Jon Cocco

    MFG - The Prophecy

    ILLUMINATION!!!!!!!
  10. 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?
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Jon Cocco

    Dimension 5 - Transdimensional

    Love Psychic Influence. Love this old sound!
  14. 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 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 sounds too muddled for me though-- from 3:45 to 3:58. It's soon corrected with a healthy lead in the forth minute. Lacking are as many tempo breaks and transitions (bells and whistles basically) as The Creature had. The former track was more crisp, eventful, dynamic, and varied. It had more of a whiz-bang sound, whereas this involves less jump cuts, so to speak. Things get a over-stuffed (muddled) again in the fifth minute, and this continues on and off for some time. Fortunately the last third, e.g., seventh minute forward is superb and includes an incredible climax. The song could have started in the seventh minute and improved from there considering the middle act was pretty repetitive and lackluster. The Creature I found to be so much more enjoyable and memorable, despite some great moments here. B 4. Outer Limets (Limetless Remix) continues the crunchy atmosphere. The first two minutes are good (great work at 1:20) until a synth leaves at 2:25. It's here where the song grows repetitive. A transition brings us to a catchy part around 2:45. It's short lived though, as the artist doesn't build on the 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 engaging compared to this. Why go backwards? The returning, less in-our-face 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, and too repetitive. The idea of a climactic song is great, but not with this sound/melody approach and design. The music got good again from 5:35 to 6:16, it's less busy, more intriguing. The tone from the opening minute re-appars at 6:02 and sounds great, but eventually wears out, and the sixth and seventh minute sound so 'samey' (repetitive). What's going on here? 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 who knows. The last minute has a nice little energy boost and climax, though nowhere near the climax on Bad Dreamer 2. I don't like this song. t 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, better arranged moments. This could have been an amazing track, but it's unambitious, intelligent, repetitive, and just plain lazy despite the cool atmosphere and moments. B- / 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, 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! B+ / 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). B+ 9. Ouija is less dark and in-my-face with exception to some whizz-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. The song is fluid and refined. It has character and personality. It's punchy, exciting, always developing AND evolving to infectious degrees! I often to you hear that about a song? 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 of the synth that reprises around 7:05, complimented by an accent. 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 score it. Maybe I don't want the ride to end? Or lofty expectations? The problem with the album is that-- IT ENDS. No. I'm glad the album doesn't end with a remix. It gives us a strong and inventive, visionary send-off that's more refined than the masterwork on CoM. This is a surprisingly focused and somewhat restrained, yet meticulously crafted, surreal and haunting, beautifully sound selected and organized, mixed, and well directed track. The last two minutes are fantastic, though the final enhanced layer to a synth lead doesn't make or break anything for me. What a send-off to a flawed but terrific 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, and vice-versa), more atmosphere, refined, fluid, and psychedelic, the latter in the second half. Not every track was super dark thankfully (cool shades of dark), and often consisted of variety and a wide range of ideas and clever manipulations of sounds and texture-ridden atmosphere. The album is less chaotic and bombastic than CoM, and virtually every song showcased, if not was dominated with excellent work. if you liked CoM, you'll like 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. Some segments grew to be repetitive, muddled, or bland, while certain songs failed to captivate throughout. When it works though, this is a sleek, edgy sequel to one of the best dark Goa albums in decades. Perplexity showcases some of the artist's best songs to date and should hold fans over for some time. The album retains the visionary, adrenalized approach that worked so well on CoM. I expected more of an evolution at times, and wish that he had replaced the weaker songs with healthier ones. All in all, Perplexity is highly recommended for fans of dark Goa Trance. Favorite tracks: 2, 5, 6, 9 ... (and the last acts of 3 & 7) A- Sample / Buy https://www.suntriprecords.com/release/cat/SUNCD49/
  15. 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!!!!!
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