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Jon Cocco

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  1. Khetzal - Etamines - Full Review 17 years... It's been 17 years since the release of Corolle (2005), one of the best reviewed albums in Goa music. Aspects that always impressed me include Corolle's ability to engage- its living, breathing, atmospheric storytelling structure (sound/melody work), and direction. A song would begin with a compelling intro, such as placing the listener in a forest. You could hear the leaves rustling and nature sounds as if you're really there. These details added to the immersion, bringing the chapter(s) to life. Furthermore, each song was light on the mind, fun, so you're never bogged down. Also great was Corolle's ethnic influence and approach, be it Indian or oriental. World building doubled with story progression, so neither was boring. The Eastern approach was dynamic, whimsical, enchanting, and lively, with tempo changes, intriguing interludes, buildup, climax, cinematically inspired sounds, accents, and more. The debut was anything but ordinary, and showcased aspects we love about old school Goa Trance, yet the artist's delivery felt fresh and inventive, bursting with memorable melodies, surprises, and dance friendliness, as if Krishna was playing alongside or channeling through him. 17 years and a decent amount of compilation songs later, Matthieu Chamoux returns with his first main album since Corolle. It retains ethnic-influences, is less oriental, more psychedelic, features more [pure] old-school Goa concepts reinvigorated for our time now, and whooo man here we go! 1. Admonition begins with an alluring, atmospheric intro. Synths dangle across the sky as a powerful storm approaches. They're joined with a mid tempo kick drum and baseline. The overture-esque [main melody] arrives at 0:44. It's strong and unwavering, accompanied by ambience (harmony). The feels are provocative, as if we're being guided to a pyramid or some lost forgotten treasure or artifact. Production wise, the sound/melody work is crisp, fluid, and attractively arranged. The first 3:40 of mid tempo takes us to an interlude. The windstorm re-emerges. Ambient harmonies intermingle with the atmosphere as sound particles simmer, a fanciful sequence. The beat returns, higher in tempo- faster, punchier, favorable to the song's mature tone, with stronger synths. After another brief interlude, we take a moment to breath, just a beat. Then the vehicle takes off, gliding across the desert. Compared to Corolle's harmonious opening track that I love, I find Admonition more interesting, involved, imaginative, and dynamic (varied). The song's easily digestible, whimsical, mystical, and engaging throughout. Best of all, it's fun, with touches of mythos and lure. This is a strong way to start off the album. Excellent track. A- 2. Ziggurat is the only track I care less for to the point I sometimes skip it. The first act's sound work and arrangement is not very interesting or engaging IMO. Its arguably tinny and repetitive compared to the more dynamic, previous song, and the low key synth at 2:13 is pretty mundane. Positives include a dribbling, tribally synth early on, a fresh melody at 2:53 followed by ambient, and the Egyptian/Arabic feel. The more energetic/saucy synths from 3:35 to 4:31 are good. We reach an interlude. It sounds promising, coupled with an obe or clarinet. The music returns, though with little developmental improvement in arrangement or composition. What follows (from 5:52 to 6:16) left me feeling somewhat perplexed, restless, and unsure, as this would have been a great opportunity to improve the song. Fortunately, the music improves (at 6:35 to 7:30) thanks to harmonious development and structuring. Is it just me though, or does Ziggurat feel like it could have been produced around Corolle (2005), but- and if so, didn't make the cut? I don't feel that Ziggurat shares the same level of lively dynamic interest, ingenuity, or refreshing, arresting aspects that the other songs on Etamines do. At worst, I find it a bit lazy and forgettable despite the best of intentions. On other days, I find it pleasant on the ears and mind, and quite enjoyable, though it's my least favourite track on the album. B- / B 3. Gray Kitty In the Box is where the album levels up. It has one of the best accents, a briefly sustained bass hum. Additionally, the main melody is fantastic. The main rhythm is sleekly articulated, encompassing the song's visionary, dynamic, higher octane approach. At one point, the music dissipates into thunder-esque sounds for an imaginative interlude before re-emerging more psychedelic, intriguing, and captivating! The song's sound/melody work is elaborate and infectious. I love that I can't predict the song's ethically flavored direction as it levels up, and how fluidly composed it is. The song has an intergalactic/cosmic feel and approach as if inspired by Filteria. The result is one of the best Khetzal tracks: a delicious, mesmerizing cocktail. Even the last minute is engrossing, leaving me to wonder why the previous song couldn't be on this level/standard. Comp tracks aside, Tracks 1 and 3 here show me how much the artist has improved since Corolle. Grey Kitty In the Box is superb. A 4. Gather Your Herds opens in a meadow or field. Running water. Birds chirping. Soft wind. It's here that we're treated to the overture (main theme/melody). It carries us out of the field and into a colourfully cosmic dimension. Gather Your Herds is an example of great storytelling, defining melodies like characters as they develop and support the main leading one. Two eloquently composed interludes later, and I realize I'm plot jumping here- the story deepens in feels before encountering what I refer to as developmental growth and evolution. What follows is a melody lovers dream come true. A key change three-quarters through unlocks the dimension to Valhalla so to speak, allowing magic to pour through, altering, raising the music's vibration. Gather Your Herds features lush, articulative sound/melody work that puts a smile on my face. The artist's direction and passionate skillset for arrangement and composition is outstanding. This is a beautiful song from start to finish. A 5. Acide Formique is edgy, intricate, and stomping in all the best ways! The Eastern influence is sleekly tasteful, and compliments the song's harder hitting (dance friendly) approach. I love the layered work here. Coupled with boom effects early on, the kick drum shifts to mid-tempo in the second act before boosting [an effect] into an adventurously driving climax in the third. I also really like the tempo changes. The song's middle act allows us to refresh out pallet. This makes the last act stand out that much more. Also, the music never losing steam or intelligence. The brief interludes allow for smarter transfers of information, so to speak. Each act feels like an upgrade to the previous one, producing interest and excitement. All in all, I'm impressed with how well helmed and catchy Acide Formique is. A 6. Pavane allows us to catch our breathe after the previous, more elaborate trio of gems. The first act is gripping, thanks to great synths, complimented by a lower octave one (undercurrent). The second act builds on the first, thanks to fresh ingredients, growth, and arrangement. The atmospheric interlude is curious, leaving the door open to virtually any outcome to commence for the third act. The music returns with climax, with maybe a touch of inspiration from Infected Mushroom, exciting and fun. It soon exits. The next part begins in what I consider another example of evolutionary development (or developmental evolution) since Act 3 on Gather Your Herds. It's a terrific moment in the album, bursting with higher ascensional feels. I wish more artists took the time to create and develop catchier arrangements. The result is so effective and enjoyable her, thanks to the artist who is accustomed to healthier durations of developmental arrangement, and in relation to tunes that are memorable. Another beautiful track! A 7. A World of Outmoded Ideas follows Pavane up nicely, faster in feel and tempo with a touch of inspiration, possibly from old Astral Projection. There's not much of an intro. I don't mind so much here. Ingredients is added: 1:36, 1:48, and 2:26... pieces to the whole that coalesce from 2:47 to 2:51 before breaking out with the main melody. The result is warmly euphoric and uplifting. The synths in the forth minute are great, reminding me of old AP, zippier in energy, adding variance and feels. We reach an interlude with a brief voice sample. More ingenuity could have taken place with the music's return IMO, though the accentuation to the bass line (so it seems) works. If I were to say anything constructive, it's that the lower octave synth's return at 6:50 felt less complimentary. Thankfully it exits for a fun, bouncy segment of psychedelia at 7:16. The music regroups once more, from 7:33 to 7:54 and from 7:55 forward is one of the best moments on the album, a harmoniously magical and developed approach to the sunset/rise sounding main melody, like a liquid neon sky. To conclude and despite a few compositionally less-than-stellar bits, the song succeeds thanks to memorable sound/melody work, arrangement, and key changes that- in the way they've been used on the album so far, raise the standard of how good the song can be. Naturally there's more going on than just key changes that compliment them. The highs are so high when they hit. A- 8. Didge Voices is a bit slower and grounded in direction (more on that in a moment). I love the more organic, worldly tribal and Arabic influence and approach here. The song feels otherworldly filmic, not soundtrack-y thankfully! As with Khetzal's Aramean Dreams on Suntrip's Blacklight Moments comp, both songs reward the listener after featuring an intriguing, contemplative interlude. The returning music here is akin to a family of eagles in some epic story or film (or real life experience that the story's inspired by) taking flight for the Heavens, as the skies part to accommodate their transformative ascent. It's an unconventional, confident, and soaring climax- a refreshingly contemporary high. The sequence is downright (or upright based on your perspective) wonderful and full of feels, elevating everything that preceded it and lifting my vibration in the process. Initially I didn't think much of this song if you'd believe that, until the final act. Now I find the first two acts symbiotic, excellent, and essential to the superb finale. Beautiful, mystical, and spiritually expressive work! A 9. Ealitas Ex Nihilo just to note: I'm really glad the album didn't end with a slow (downtempo) song, as there is no need or pre-requisite for every Goa album to do that, as many did- some still do. If it works great! I say go with what inspires YOU and I'm happy to see the artist did exactly that. The album ends on a higher note in the form of uplifting, morning-inspired that I don't recall the artist creating to this degree before. I like the more energetic, punchy arrangements and composition. I find the song dynamic and fun. The last chapter is full of radiant energy, dance-friendliness, and sunshine/LIGHT, along with power [the finale] married with warmth and euphoria a la feels, thanks to great usege of key changes that compliment the music with positive vibes. The song is heartfelt without ever sounding cheesy. It's like a reunion on a beach for spirited, loving souls across lifetimes, all taking part in a dance that has transcended (in this sense literally) the test of time. It's a beautiful closing track with three strong acts, and ends the album on a high note. A CONCLUSION Examines is a strong, mature, imaginative, and engaging sequel to Corolle. is it better? Time will tell. I honestly felt guilty for not reviewing this sooner. The only song I care less for is Ziggurat, but it's not bad. I jus think the rest of the album is on another level by comparison. Etamines features less oriental melodies than Corolle. It's more contemporary, psychedelic, and layered, with more elaborate mixing and direction. Middle Eastern influences include: Indian, Egyptian, Arabic, and Turkish. I generally wouldn't describe Khetzal tracks as cosmic or intergalactic, but I associated some of that on a few tracks here and the result IMO feels infectiously upgraded and unique from Corolle. The intrigue, excitement, and rewards never end until the credits roll, and that's a beautiful thing thanks to memorable sound/melody work and nearly 80 minutes of it. There seems to be a unique balance/mix of dualistic (light vs. dark) energy going on, but in a fun, creative way. Thankfully the music's never bogged down with lower vibrations. Moreover, there's much I found inspirational, mystical, adventurous, exploratory, and elevating in frequency (state of consciousness/mind) vibration. I appreciated what I felt was inspiration (at times) for overcoming duality (the practice of non-duality) in Didge Voices, especially in the end. I found these moments profound and powerful, as if was feeling the artist's inspirational intentions of the track. Etamines is a highly danceable and fun album, yet there's room for exploration. The album is rich with storytelling, mythos and lore, context and subtext, narrative beats, feels, world building, and super songs. And if you let it grow on you as I did, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised as song's sound more identifiable past the initial getting-to-know-you part of the relationship. Matthieu Chamoux is somewhat of an enigma, returning 17 years later with a sequel to Corolle this riveting. Etamines is clearly the work of an inspired conscious aware artist because I can hear it. I highly recommend this album for lovers of PURE, ultra-melodic Goa trance. Favourite tracks: EVERYTHING RED A Sample https://suntriprecords.bandcamp.com Order / Buy https://suntriprecords.com/release/cat/SUNCD66/
  2. Club Trance = Uplifting in the sense of sounding contrived, formulaic, more typical and conventional (not taking risks or allowing for greater innovation as a whole to distinguish itself) trance. PS: Sorry for the late reply GhostOnAcid. I was locked out of my account for some time, felt inspired after a while to create the new password when I had more free time and saw your response. I've been immersed in post-production for a film I'm editing. Some of my other thoughts... Some of the album is less conventional and shares influences to his previous work. And IMO he went too Full On here at times, though there's some great yet there's some track(s) and moments of tracks mentioned throughout the tread. Regarding going too Full On as some have said, my suggestion is to split the difference. Also I'd consider the general consensus- tracks people really like vs don't like or like less, with make adjustments for the next album. I love Unidentified and I really like Astral Traveler's second, especially third act, Summer Storm, Solar Warden, and Secret Spaces are good too IMO. I just don't want to see this artist turn into another Full On commercial (by the numbers, predictable and typical sounding a la Talamasca. It's important to be mindful of one's inspiration for growth, expanded growth and development(!), imagination and standards for greatness. I get what sells and we also seem to agree (generally speaking) on what's catchier whereas some tracks have split consensus. He's still producing music that's entertaining, fun, and engaging thankfully, if not as consistently for as many in the more imaginative Goa realm, and that's fine to some degree if it's good!
  3. Jon Cocco

    Asura - 360

    This is the last SUPERB album I've heard by Asura to date. A beautiful, engaging, visionary journey full of distinct, highly engrossing tracks (or chapters in an epic, wonderfully told story) from start to finish. Still listening and loving it to this day. Surrender your heart and mind to this spiritual masterpiece and see where it takes you. Around a 9.5 from me.
  4. Dark Nebula is very HIT & MISS for me too. That said- I LOVE his ROBOTIC TONGUE album thanks to the FOUR tracks listed below. I'm referencing this thread via recommendations on YouTube to catch up and on the search for the Androneda (ambient) album. Despite numerous weak and forgettable tracks on Robotic Tongue including the WTF opening, the album stands out in dark Psy (with Goa influence at times) to me because of what I like / love about it- what works so well. 3. Fire Offering - B+ / A- 4. Toxic Reality - B+ 5. Structural Failure ... A 6. Sajuuk Khar A- / A ... I'm biased. I LIKE THIS TRACK SO MUCH. That BENDY ACCENT SOUND on and off throughout is soooo hypnotically good. Just what my mind likes. Hearing this track in 2021, I find it catchier than ever.
  5. FIERY DAWN - LOST ASTRAUNAT GLOBAL SECT RECORDS 2020 Tracklist:- 1. Interplanetary Station 2. Lost Astronaut 3. Phase (With Astronobios & Atlantis) 4. Inside The Lunar Crater (With Merrow) 5. Prana (With Atlantis) 6. Screaming Through The Universe (With Alienapa) 7. Oxgen Red (With Centavra Project) 8. Proxeeus - Walking Between The Worlds (Fiery Dawn Remix) 9. Dimension X 10. Enceladus (First Contact) WOW!!! What a fantastic, imaginative, visionary album cover AND --> Even better is when the album is MORE THAN AND COMPLIMENTS the cover... 1. Interplanetary Station is a gradual, spacey opening that's far from Wow. It has some atmosphere and pleasant Goa ingredients, nice sound/melody work. ACT 1 could have had a little more development and creativity, and there are sneak peaks of something that's about to get far catchier to come. B 2. Lost Astronaut incorporates more energy, the synths sound sharper, more soundscapes and atmosphere compliments the spacey atmosphere. The music grows more rhythmic and defined midway forward, with a nice accentuated moment forward across the sixth minute. The song is fairly dark and cosmic, but fairly low key and lacks being eventful. The arrangement and overall structure could have been had more variety, and as with the opening, shows an album that has potential to develop into something great. On to the next one. B 3. Phase (With Astronobios & Atlantis) is instantly juicier, catchier, more lively and engaging! Finally a song with arrangement, synths, and an edgy (intensely fun) vibe that goes deeper into getting my attention. Full of synth choices and changes that accentuate soundscape-ladden trek into the unknown, this is a big step in the right direction. Complimented by bouncy (erratically sweet) Goa-oriented melodies, the song develops into something stronger halfway forward before a brief transition lifts the complexity and greatness-- climax and all -- to the highest point on the album thus far. The last act is terrific and the echoed, chilling (haunting) effect compliments. I love the "moment" in the seventh minute. You'll know when you hear it. Great track! A- / A 4. Inside The Lunar Crater (With Merrow) is the first track I showcased for my wife Mary. This song is a FUCKING BEAST!!! OMG... way to go FIrey Dawn and Merr0w. You know the last time I was really impressed with a Merr0w track, it was Citrus Circus on Suntrip's Temple of Chaos over a decade ago, and while that was a tsunami of escalating and releasing power (incredible to this day), this has more variety, intelligence, development, evolution-- and quite honestly it's SUPERB. A terrific song of ANY genre IMHO has three great acts (unless you break the rule and have more acts that are all great). This song-- from the creative sound sound selections, to the overall direction, structure, arrangement-- the overall vision from start to finish encompasses THREE STRONG ACTS that a go from great > excellent > superb. It allows us to breath with an INTERESTING (GRIPPING) INTERLUDE before releasing the finale brigade-- a cosmic force of rich musical beautify (sound/melody > synth) work that elevates the ENTIRE SONG with an even PURER Goa sound AND incorporates a wonderful climax that never lets go of its edgy grip through the last minute. Well done! A 5. Prana (With Atlantis) continues off the greatness high of the previous track. This has less variety, standout structure, peeks and valleys, and that's okay. After the previous more complex beast, I love that the artist put a powerful, addictive sounding PURE GOA number that just lets us dance in every which way. This follows one exceptionally building and releasing set direction of articulation, power, and energy. It's smart, electric, less eventful than the previous track, and continuously improves across all three acts. While I was more impressed with the previous track, this is like a smart, cosmic tiger let off the chain of bondage across the 4th dimension, moving from Point A to B with pure intent and awareness, visceral speed and agility. It's great and a welcome offering after the previous, more technically elaborate vehicle. A- 6. Screaming Through The Universe (With Alienapa) follows up Prana (With Atlantic) nicely with a spacey, aggressive, and well structured Goa track. There are a few more moments to breath around the driving storms. This directional approach feels more flexible in that sense. All three acts are strong, with neither previous one feeling stronger than the following (makes sense!). Each act stands out with fresh ideas, synths (though a tasty crunchy one takes prescience on and off throughout) that adds a zippier/edgier, more powerful momentum feel that I love. Additionally, it's supported by a healthy dose of atmosphere, mixing, and a nice balance (aggressive vs less/not aggressive sound/melody work. This keeps the music engaging, improving as it progresses rather than sounding too similar/samey. Excellent work! A- 7. Oxgen Red (With Centavra Project) incorporates an effect (comes and goes) like an astronaut or alien's raspy throat inside the head case of a space suite struggling to breathe. It's a strange, breathing effect-- unique. I suppose it adds a touch of darkness, though I feel lighter once it exits as it often takes attention from the work around it. The song is dark, less driving than the previous bunch while still maintaining a solid determined feel and beat. I enjoy the sound/melody work by this artist in general, even with a less momentous offering such as this one. For whatever reason, the artist does little in ACT 3 to really push the music further to greater plateaus like the previous songs. In that senes, more development and surprises in the second have would have been welcome, enticing the mind/body with greater energy and food for thought, and visceral dance floor (and home-listening) appeal. B+ 8. Proxeeus - Walking Between The Worlds (Fiery Dawn Remix) is a return to excellence. No more strange breathing sounds like we're stuck in an astronaut's helmet. This dragon of a track is tight, punchy, fiery and infectious-- incorporating bouncy, energized Goa synths like fast energy waves full of candy coated stardust bouncing off the window of the cockpit. ACT 1 is excellent, from the synth choices, structure, direction, and mixing. ACT 2 takes the smart, less wild cosmic approach so we can catch our breath as a fresh wave of synths emerge. The interlude is smart and catchy (that little bouncing Goa synth is super delectable!!!), complimented with supporting sounds before the music breaks out via ACT 3 into a resurgence of musical, cosmic bliss. I love it! I think ACT 2 could have been slightly shorter (the first part before it grew tastier), thus allowing the last act to push the envelope further (without getting too crowded), but as it stands, I'm thankful this vehicle was strong from start to finish! A- / A 9. Dimension X continues the infectiously bouncing Goa accent concept albeit differently, as this PURE Goa idea worked so well in the previous number. The first third is great, coming the cosmic elegant with the aggressive to new perfection. The growing sense (sound) of escalating tension in ACT 2 stood out-- very nice! ACT 2 develops into something more dynamic, thanks to a variety of ideas and the bouncy/stronger synth in the third minute is terrific, giving us the boost that this driving force needed. I could have dealt without the STRANGE RUMBLING EFFECT FROM 3:52 to 4:11 that I could have done without. The music rebounds right after, bringing back the fun tension sound with soundscapes fluttering by the dark wormhole we're being purpled through. Strong work-- suddenly a deeper-sounding synth jumps in via ACT 3. An unexpected surprise. I love it. I think it could have been raised just 1-2 Db (a small nitpick), and this is followed by a sweet, whimsical mini-climax of sorts to wonderful effect into the final moments. This tasty track goes down so well! A- / A 10. Enceladus (First Contact) is one of my favorite tracks. It would have been so much better if it didn't do the fewest things which I'll get to. The first act grinds by as it offers edgy (zippy) synths to punctuate the provocative and atmospheric, moody darkness. Complimentary development is a big plus going into Act 2. This artist is so focused and disciplined on making the songs consistently strong- content that gets better as it progresses. I really like the electronic robotic voice (sample) in Act 2 along with the PURE-GOA synth work. We hit Act 3--at roughly 5:00 in and suddenly the song becomes MUDDLED with TOO MANY FREEKIN IDEAS THAT DON'T FLUIDLY COMPLIMENT. Just listen to this song from 5:00 to 5:30's. It's like the artist threw every thought in the mix without a conscious aware presence until he caught his over-zealous ego at 5:57 where excellence is restored- Well, almost. There is a HARSH, DIsTRACTING SYNTH SOUND (like a record being smudged) at 6:13 and again in the 6:20's. These less delectable ingredients really take away from an otherwise terrific work that is so intelligent, sleek, and attractively intermingled that it's hard to believe the same choices with these rare issues eminated from the same expert level artist. Act 3 needed some refining and polishing if the artist can try to see that objectively-- as there's so much on display that's great when it's not cluttered with less complimentary sounds. A- I DO WANT TO AND LOOK FORWARD TO REVIEWING CD 2 WHEN I GET A CHANCE AND MAY ADD THAT AS A NEW POST WHEN I DO... CONCLUSION This COSMIC / SPACE DOUBLE GOA album is terrific. It's actually one of the strongest Goa albums I've heard in years along with Khetzal's Etamines (that I still have to comment on / review) and VERY few others. Unlike 2021's Artifact303 - From the Stars which is how I became aware of this artist/album on Bandcamp-- and while From the Stars showcased some greatness... Fiery Dawn's Lost Astronaut (album) is NOT afraid to take risks and get more expansive, imaginative, wild, edgy, and into PURE Goa-Trance-- and even attempt to push the boundaries. This artist has improved substantially since his earlier work. The is his defining album, chock full of wonderful collaborations with strong Goa artists, some of whom haven't delivered (for me, to this degree) in many years. One of my ONLY constructive criticisms is that the second album (featuring down/mid-tempo Goa tracks) has some songs that could have been more developed, improved, satisfying. A few seem to run out of ideas early (could have used more work), where as others feel more consistent, strong and complete, as reflected on CD1. Speaking of CD1, while the first two songs are good and simply (understandingly) less energetic and exciting compared to what follows, I would have loved them to be a little more intriguing and engaging considering how strong the album is. They are good songs nonetheless, and for those who roll through the first two solid tracks ride, you're in for a much bigger treat. When writing reviews, many of you know me for expressing any and every genuine thought and reaction that comes to mind. All in all, what a strong, underrated COSMIC / INTERGALACTIC and DARKLY EXCITiNG, EDGY, and ATMOSPHERIC PURE GOA album, and what a surprise for Goa listeners. While not perfect and what is, this develops into one of the strongest Goa albums of the 21st century > how I feel after hearing this album over and over again (day and night, exercise and chilling out) for the past 1-2 weeks. It's so well done. Albums this strong rarely happen anymore. To the artist: Thank you for your amazing, passionate, imaginative, and visionary contrition and risk-taking! Despite a few nitpicks and some constructive feedback, at some point after the first two tracks (and after letting it grow on me), I really love this album, ESPECIALLY the crazy explosively cosmic and richly/darkly melodic, atmospheric, and FUN (!!!) CD 1. Fuck YES!!! HIGHLIGHTS CD1 -- 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 (Almost all of them!) CD2 -- A- ---> 9/10 Bandcamp: https://globalsect.bandcamp.com/album/fiery-dawn-lost-astronaut
  6. Well I don't mean to crash the party but I'm less impressed with this album, and I'm not going to hesitate to point out what I think is great (and not great) about it. I agree there's some great (excellent / superb) work, and I'd never call this a bad or average album. Almost any track will work on dance floors, though some are much stronger than others and I say keep to your winning horses. Let go of the routine and capitalize on your greatest marbles! That's what establishes super albums and I often intend my reviews to double as feedback, though like you all I'm sharing my honest, open thoughts. That said-- 1. Apex begins with a digitized synth, and a plesent albeit simplistic in structure and arrangement Goa sound that is easily topped, thanks to a superior synth at 1:48 >>> my favourite part. So far, so good... that is until 2:55 where the track gets repetitive. An interlude soon arrives, igniting the second albeit repetitive synthetic part, and it's here that the music grows conventional, inspired. The music improves at 5:00 but just for a moment until the artist transitions the music one final time.. It's not the change I was hoping. I'd describe the next 3-4 minutes as a Full On Club Trance. Ahhhh!!!!! It's so TYPICAL sounding and completely takes me out of the song. Actually it's not until the FINAL MINUTE that a healthier balance of Goa and Trance return to the cool feel earlier in the fifth minute. This track could have been great, but it chooses to take an extremely LAXY, FORMULAIC approach. Apex starts promising before devolving into formulaic, typical-sounding Club Trance where it completely loses my interest. C 2. Astral Traveler is a big improvement from before. This track has a heart and soul that I didn't see at first, and is my wife's favourite song on the album due to the terrific ending! The first third is a bit similar sounding (predictable/routine arrangement >>> could have been better). The development into ACT 2 is very nice thanks to ambient notes, Goa elements, catchier synths, and more. Also, ACT 3 is incredibly euphoric, warm, and uplifting in a positive way! Improved sound/melody work, FEELS (!!!), multiple key changes providing storytelling and substance is just part of it. Although it took an ACT to warm up where we were going (ACT 1 could have been stronger in that regard), the song beautiful, well done! I find this so much more enjoyable and engaging than Apex, and sadly, the one track that follows. B+ / A- 3. Dreamland is typical and formulaic, routine sounding CLUB TRANCE (the fuck??!) with a touch of Goa so slight in the middle that I hardly cared for fear the last act would undue ACT 2 via Apex. The overall sound and direction here is so predictable, with a very been-there / done-that feel throughout. The song offers nothing new, as if the label requested a more commercial, by-the-numbers dance number. Just why??! This artist is so much more creative, intelligent, and talented than this! I can't help but feel the desperation to appeal to a wider audience, preferably not in a redundant way. People like fun, danceable tracks that don't sound like stereo typical Club Trance! I acknowledge the very catchy, little echoed beeping melody accent in the last minute. Where was that the whole time? Aside from that, Dreamland is generic, Full on Club Trance and the most commercial sounding track I've ever heard from Artifact303. C- 4. Solar Warden has some very catchy sound/melody (Goa-Trance) work in ACT 2. Unfortunately, the overall structure and arrangement of ACT 3 reverts back to a less pure Goa sound a la Trance-friendly motions. I wish the artist committed and further developed the purer, melody-licious tunes of ACT 2 into ACT 3. B- 5. Unidentified stands out as a favorite to me. It has a smart, catchy tune that gets stuck in my head (so simple, works wonders!) and is wildly danceable. ACT 2 could have been stronger, more fun and memorable. It's not bad by any means, and I realize you don't want the lead to grow tiresome, but at least make ACT 2 more interesting and engaging (is my constructive feedback). The in-my-face main synth in the 4th into 5th minute felt routine, repetitive, and formulaic compared to everything else. Fortunately, the artist brings back the best part back with added growth and development in ACT 3, and I'm hooked all over again. Honestly ACT 2 could have been shorter (tighter in that sense) and ACT 3 with its wonderful growth and signature synth star return could have been meatier, a little longer, but what are you going to do? This is a strong Trancey dance number despite a weaker ACT 2. It's shows that-- however simple, one can make a fantastic track with the right sounds, mixing, and arrangement (ingredients). Well done! A- / A 6. Summer Storm begins fresh, zippy and quite Goa-esque! It reminds me of one of Artifact303's best tracks-- Leviathan Dance after the second minute. That nighttime sound is so sleek and sexy. Then at around 3:30 the music sounds juvenile with its sound effects and beat. Get that out of there and replace it with something powerful! The part that soon follows is far catchier and the Goa rhythm develops into something more intense, rhythmic, and psychedelic. Cue climactic lead and this is doing things right despite the somewhat simplistic arrangement. I like the edgy Goa sound in ACT 3, as it incorporates some of the sleek, sexy feel from ACT 1. At this point I'm confused because this album can't seem to make up its mind with whether it wants to sound contrived, repetitive, and afraid to take risks, or create and develop greatness onto of greatness. B+ 7. Open Your Eyes is sleek. It covers less ground, with fewer ideas, ACT 1 grows too similar sounding to me despite it being fairly catchy in sound. A new technologic synth improves ACT 2 followed by more variety, though a more elegant/tasty synth could have complimented the more aggressive, rough synths, approach. The song climaxes towards the end with an energetic, strong synths, though again, I find the arrangement, sound selection and overall direction repetitive and lacking to what we've come to go-- WOW, that's catchy and different! This gets predictable towards the end (arrangement, complimentary elements-wise), but it'll certainly be effective on dance floors. B 8. Secret Space starts great. Early on is exciting and the ambient notes convey feels, helping to flesh out a story. Although the excitement / ACT 1 seems to run out of steam, the song is pushed up by a healthy ACT 2 that develops the music. I can't predict where the music is going unlike numerous prior tracks and I love that, even if the artist repeats some elements with greater rhythm and complimentary ingredients, e.g., a Pleiadian synth that skips and is soon accentuated by clear, piano-esque notes, playing a distinct melody that enhances the complexity of the whole. For the album's emphasis on Trance-friendly style, this is a strong track! B+ / A- 9. The Devine Plan is a fairly progressive, gentle, uplifting morning Trance number. The song is peaceful and the conscious aware samples attract me. Having said that, it's a bit formulaic, contrived sounding via sounds, arrangement, and overall direction. Still it's not bad but not as memorable as it could have been. ACT 3 is very nice, providing a warmer (euphoric) climax. The song's grown on me despite being fairly structurally/sound-wise predictable and risk-free like much of the album. I do appreciate the non-banger approach though after the previous four digits B- / B 10. Wisdom Bringers is pleasant, harmless. It has a nice sound, beat, a touch of ethnic/world influence. The artist could have closed things with a stronger downtempo track, or one more akin to the Goa style more prevalent in BACK TO SPACE, but he took a risk here to include this, as it is unexpected and different-- and hey, at least he didn't put it in the middle of the album a la debut! The song isn't bad. It's not that memorable either and sounds like it would maybe be better suited on a downtempo compilation. Decent, fairly good overall. I believe he can make stronger, more imaginative, fun/entertaining down (and mid) tempo ones too that better compliment the stylistic vision of the album. That said, it's nice (I enjoy it more without the voices to be honest) and appreciate the slight Psy/Goa touches in the second half. B- COONCLUSION An arguably solid album that is too formulaic (and/or Club Trancey-ish in sound, structure and arrangement at times while maintaining some strong Trance (and Goa influenced Trance) songs and elements, as well as a few super dance-floor bangers to boot. Though friendly for dance floors and almost entirely RISK-FREE, I miss the purer, punchier, less linear Goa approach that BACK TO SPACE had. I really loved the debut album despite some shortcomings-- its few weaker first half (Tracks 2, 3, 4). Similar to the debut, TO THE STARS improves in the second half, though its style, sound, and the way numerous songs are structured and composited (the overall direction) is definitely more mainstream friendly (and predictable sounding at times) for dance floors. There are things-- elements, melodies, moments- almost entire songs I really like/love here (praised above). There are Goa elements/Goa songs(!), and I simply wish the artist didn't limit his mind to more contrived structures, arrangements, and synths at times, as that reduces how expansive, imaginative, and well-- ground-breakingly CATCHY the album could have been while also being fun, danceable, and mainstream friendly! What we have is something good- sometimes great, and occasionally too rudimentary and routine (going through the motions) to my ears and mind. But there's greatness nonetheless including some of the best dance songs I've heard all yar. In the end, it's a bit of a mixed bag. I love strong songs and when I don't land on one, I get bored quick. But oh.. oh.. those moments and tracks I cannot deny. Give it a listen and decide for yourself. HIGHLIGHTS: 2, 5, 6, 8 B / B+
  7. 1. The Hunted Becomes The Hunter 2. The Flow Remix 3. Wake Up! 4. Drops Of Madness (Talamasca Remix) - Elixir 5. Strangers 6. Telepathic Atmosphere 7. Are You the Machines 8. Halloween 9. Beyond The Mask Powerful, dark, atmospheric dark Psy/Goa album that takes risks (!) and incorporates strong accents, synths, programming/mixing, accents, samples, and more. Beyond the Mask is my favorite Talamasca album. One of my only criticisms is the last track could have been better (more memorable) but it's not bad. Highly recommended for fans of dark psy/goa trance. Love the Goa influences on this release! Favourite tracks: 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 9/10
  8. 01. 08’14” It Is Done 02. 07’29” Detonator 03. 07’25” Inverter 04. 08’50” Pigletango 05. 08’20” Past Holidays 06. 08’23” September 07. 08’38” Eater Of Worlds 08. 07’31” For The First Time 09. 07’51” Flash Forward Crazy. I'm hearing this album for the first time in 2021... I read some criticisms higher up well over a decade ago that turned me off, so I never gave this a chance. I didn't want to experience a disappointment after enjoying Pentafiles so much. My thoughts? This is a very good album! All tracks are in high quality on YouTube for those who missed it, check it out. The sound/melody work and atmosphere is just as good as ever. I love the dark, edgy rhythm that the artist accentuates with sweet soundscapes, the tunes, and the downright edgy (intense, advantageous) dark/spooky elements. One criticism I will agree with: Some of the samples-- NOT all but a handful-- are iffy to put it mildly. For instance, in Detonator.. "We have to use the detonator" ... the way this is said could have been cool. It's not. To me it sounds cheesy and doesn't enhance the song in any way. In Inverter, a less frequent sample I could have done without. Thankfully it's short and uncommonly used. Good thing is the music around them is ALWAYS superior -- probably more so had something like "Next on Syfy" for instance been on the album. Some will find these (some of the samples) effective/deranged. I realize the concepts may work well on dance floors. For me though, the artist could have had more kickass samples. That said, the Homer shit is awesome, and the return of music there is sweeeeet > classic fun/wild dark old-school Talamasca! Funraiser is a mostly solid, inventive, dark, and fun sequel to Pentafiles. The album's chock full of sleek synths and rhythms, industrial elements accents, effects, atmosphere, and more. I'm surprised I didn't give this a full listen-through back in the day, as I let a few reviewers (honest they may be to their experience) influence my choice to give the album a listen-through to decide what I think for myself. They just don't make dark psytrance albums like this any more-- so hearing this in 2021 sounds catchy/fun. To sum it up, the pros far outweigh the cons, and those industrial accents (e.g., September and a handful of others) captivate. The last two tracks especially end the album on a high albeit dark (the samples work fine) note. If you're a fan of Pentafiles or dark psytrance in general, give this one a listen. Despite a few samples that were obviously meant to be entertaining, it's the music we show up for. The samples aren't make or break and in that sense the album delivers. Although Pentafiles may be a shade darker, Funraiser is DARK and more fun than the debut. Favourite tracks -- 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9. 4/5
  9. @BASS-O-MATIC -- Thanks for telling us about this release. I wasn't aware of it before. I like the visionary, cyber/futuristic approach and yes, let's enjoy it for what it is. The new album is psytrance, not Goa. The first track (New Dimension) has some catchy elements. Same with the second, though the six minute climax could have been more expansive and fulfilling. The third track is okay. Track 4 (Alien Artifact) builds to a catchy part halfway through that put a smile on my face. I just wish the last act topped it. Track 5 (X-Files - Pleiadians RMX) is cool, like a party (psytrance for nightclub) track. Track 7 (Space Crafts) showcases some tight synth work and development, though it could have ended slightly sooner IMO. I'm curious to see the community's response in a review thread. I'm still processing what I think of the album. While I miss the phenomenal work of I.F.O., and wish that the four (now two) meastros would reunite for another super Goa album on THAT level through Suntrip or Cronami, it's nice to see them producing quality tracks all this while later, even if it's nothing groundbreaking. Although I would have loved even more euphoric sound/melody work, they still know how to incorporate a winning synth around psy-scapes, rough textures, and atmosphere. Stream the FULL ALBUM here https://pleiadians.bandcamp.com/album/pyramid?fbclid=IwAR1L5aB01TSIDJaR3VxWkjy3Cw_4fwP06YqzHuUkArcYRI8EO4TR_FGuQxY
  10. Interesting timing.. Today I felt drawn to hearing their disappointing third album again. That's when I saw on YouTube that they released a 4th THIS album not too long ago. Pressing play (past intro), the opening track has such a repetitive beat, baseline, and synth that I was turned off until the promising sound/melody segment halfway through. Then they completely botch it by taking the music in a completely unexpected, disappointingly direction. This is not where I desired the song to go, and it's repetitive! In short, this album is not on the same level of quality as Sun Spot and Cumbustion. It's like Terminator 3+4, etc., at this point. The classic legendary Dark Soho is not what it once was! It's a HELL-U-VA lot better than the shit storm of the last album though. But still does little to engage me like their first two albums.
  11. Great job. Thank you, and to the artists and labels. These threads help awareness on so many good releases!
  12. I liked Xaminist's Initiation. Wow it's been 10 years. I didn't know he released an album ("7") in 2016. Thanks for the notice Manuser and the review! I like Out of Time (currently streaming it here: https://xamanist.bandcamp.com/album/out-of-time A New Day builds to the warm, complex sound delivered throughout the album. It's unique, fairly progressive, and psy-influenced. Act 2 is little more than a brief transition to new, interesting terrain. Simple but effective. I was hooked from 4:40 forward. DNS (OSG Remix) is more energetic and bouncy. Again, unique (catchy) melody work! All three acts compliment each other. I like the tempo change around 2:43 followed by the mini (climax-esque, unconventional) inspired tune. Good transitions. I liked the work in Act 2+3 too. Alien Genetics has a warm, engaging sound via the first two minutes before continuing to improve. The track develops beautifully from 3:45 forward, thanks to the strong ethereal vision, arrangement, and direction. I love the melody in the last act. This is easily my favorite and the catchiest IMO track thus far. Moon Over 604 is interesting. I see the Chi A.D. influence and it's clearly very much its own track. Solid and atmospheric stuff. Chi-A.D.'s melodies are generally more ethereal, memorable, and emotional to me, but I like the direction this goes in. Ancient Forest doesn't grab me until the build up Vhhhhhooo...!!! sound at 2:40.. then it begins to get interesting. The last act's melodies are good! Mysteries of Life has a very good act 2 & 3. It's energetic and fun! I'd love to hear more songs with this exciting energy by this artist. Akashic Intelligence is uplifting, morning-esque, and feels good to listen to. If it was going for a stellar sunrise track, it could have used more elements/sunrise feels, but I never felt that this was going for a pure sunrise track. The ending was really nice, especially as the new sound takes form. Step by Step became more interesting as it incorporated more sounds into the mix int he last act. 5:45 forward (with the key changes) is very nice, and the synth at 6:56. I like the fluid, smooth atmospheric effects he uses. Am I the Universe (Multiverse Remix) could have been more memorable, eventful, interesting, and varied. The atmosphere track has some nice sounds & synths towards the end. I enjoyed the other tracks more. I like the artist's unconventional sound and happy to see he kept the Goa influence. The album sounds new and at times nostalgic, unpredictable, unique, and risk-taking, with good industrial-esque accent effects, sound/melody work, and atmosphere. Now I have to go hear the artist's 2016 album "7" that I somehow missed!
  13. Wow this thread caught fire since I left. I respect that some of you like it more than others and vice-versa, and speaking candidly.. I thought Antidote, despite a beautiful intro and nice melody work at 3:42 grew forgettable in the third minute. Some catchy melodies and changes in the 5th+sixth minute (mentioned above), but overall I found this too safe, generic, and conventional. Mission Adept is a step in the direction I wanted. It's more Filteria-esque, mad energy. The synths don't stay stuck in your head but they're catchy! I go back and forth with the phone-esque effect (mentioned above). Even Mary was like, I like everything but the phone sound. Again, a high energy, electric number. I won't repeat my review other than more development (evolution) in the last act would've been great. Take more risks! It Is Not Possible is darker, edgier. I love the synths and atmosphere. Melodies ooze-- nighttime sleekness. Definitely Filteria inspired but not emulated. Again the last act (by 5:30 / 5:40) grows fairly similar but maintains its electric feel. Infinite Space is the MELODY track on the album for me, e.g., the second and third minute-- so good! The segment from 3:30 to 4:00 needed more change IMO (it overstays its welcome). Things sounded a bit going-through-the-motions a bit after till 6:01-- then the music's fast, punchy, and fun again! This is what I want but without the small dips! Again, the last act could have showcased more refreshing, complimentary variety. Great track though! On The Edge - Man I love the synths and intensity in the first 4 minutes. WOW!!! This is so AP-heavy (tense) without sounding formulaic. Great build to 5:18. Would it be possible to have more breath-taking, suspenseful, catchy interludes like this? Cool surprises like this exciting transition adds variety. I feel like the climax (continuing sound) could have been complimented with another synth and/or accent, but it's great and wow what a track! The song could have ended a minute earlier though! Pandora's Box -- Like I said above, great first half. The second half loses its dynamic, punchy mixing/editing and settles for a bland (going through the motions) Goa sound. This adds to my criticisms. The song's structure is too similar and deserves more range, tempo changes, surprises. Sure the dance floors will be more forgiving. And imagine how amazing the second half could have been if it was cut as tightly as the first. The second half is not bad per say, just very similar sounding after a while, almost too traveling(?) for its own good. It lacks variety, development, something to spice it up and make it more interesting. Sand Of Time -- Strong track, but the fairly formulaic, more conventional last act prevented me from giving this a higher score. It's too risk-free IMO. Goa can have more brains too. That's why many of us like Filteria. Still this will erupt dance floors and I would have loved a more inventive finale. Good song overall. Sunrise -- The first act was less engaging than where it goes but WHERE IT GOES!!!! The last lead tops off the track, avoiding sounding too similar, draggy. It's closer to the tightness of On the Edge. What a beautiful climax! Just marvelous! I feel so excited and elevated (full of joy) when hearing it. So full of anything and everything is possible. The Constellation Of Aries's first act reminded me of Man With No Name vs. Astral Projection. Solid synth work! The first climax is very good! The song's direction isn't that elaborate, but the AP-inspired design is cool. I liked the breathing space (good vibes) in the middle and the last climax was great, especially when the star complimentary Goa lead topped it off. So beautiful!!! Gave me a high! Full of positivity and NOT cheesy, like an eagle soaring through the sky climax!!! The song new when to end too (thankfully) unlike the last 1:20 of On the Edge and never felt draggy via second half of Pandora's box. Updated thoughts All in all, great album and more variety, surprises, and evolutionary/developmental aspects to the songs please? I agree with some of your constructive criticisms, but I love this album in numerous ways. It brought back happy moments and made me feel more alive at times! That said, a few songs were a bit bland, a few segments not memorable, and a few acts (mainly thirds) could have done more for their previous acts (as several act 2's did to 1's). But that is criticism to one of the year's best Goa-Trance albums. The artist has room to improve, but if Constellation is any indication, it shows that the artist has a promising future. Now if only he reflects on our feedback mindfully, the next album will be amazing.
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