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Jon Cocco

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Everything posted by Jon Cocco

  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

    DIMENSION 5 – TRANSDIMENSIONAL 2007 - Re-Mastered / Re-Released SUNTRIP RECORDS Track list: 01. 08'55" Iron Sun 02. 07'45" Purple Om 03. 06'33" Antidote 04. 07'28" Omega Centauri 05. 09'02" Deep Space 5D 06. 07'22" Psychic Influence 07. 07'22" Beetlesnuff 08. 07'50" Harmonic Convergence 09. 07'41" Utopian Dream 10. 07'59" Flow Transdimensional is the debut Goa-Trance album by Dimension 5, remastered and re-released in 2007. It is or was considered to be the most sought after album in Goa-Trance by many Goa listeners and collectors throughout the world since the late 90's. I have not been able to find an available copy for under $100 in almost 10 years so I never owned a copy before. If you really wanted a copy throughout these years, you had to catch it on Ebay (for starters) where it appeared more than once for several hundred dollars/euros, a thousand, or more! Now that may seem like an insane price to pay for any album and I'd agree. Unfortunately this was how difficult it was to obtain an official copy of this thing. Why was it never reissued I don’t know. There’s a reason for everything and I'm happy to finally have it and have heard it, the full album, multiple times before writing this. Re-released by Suntrip Records in June, 2007, Transdimesional is finally available after all these years! 2007 version VS 1997 version: Every track has been remastered by Tim Schludt who's work remains top notch. I listened to parts of the original debut and compared it to the re-release. For starters the kick drum sounds harder as if the original raw files were run through a dance EQ. The 2007 sounds more clear and crisp as if in a higher quality. The melodies still have that tasty, juicy flavor. The 2007 has mastering that wasn't possible or available back in 1997. It's been reborn as the same spirit in a more attractive body for dancing and other forms of listening too. The 2007 is like a fresh coat of paint over an aging 1997 classic making it shiney again. The music is just as beautiful as ever. No song has been remade, remixed, or revised as you'd expect. This is the most faithful port from old to new mastering on an album I know exists because it is the only one. 01. Iron Sun is a very strong opening. It begins very Middle Eastern influenced. A sound combination includes ambient, a flute, another flute, claps, a voice sample, melodic bits both sustained and not, and more. "More" is a thing you'll be experiencing on this album quite often on this album. All these elements would be ineffective if it wasn’t for the smart sounds, mixing, and approaches in how they’re utilized. And this is just the beginning of the song! Suddenly the speed of the song increases. The previous introduction morphs into an aggressive rhythm. I don’t want to recreate every little thing that takes place but my description relative to you listening is two separate worlds connected to one. A catchy melody arrives, then another, and another. The repeating voice sample plays along like a tune. It’s short and effective in a subtle, appealing way. The speed alteration on the kick drum enhances the music. The song becomes more dynamic. There are multiple changes that take place with the music throughout. This is a terrific song because it begins attractive and develops attractively with a sound like a personality, likeable in the inside. It’s interesting and unpredictable in a sense. There’s strong melody structure. With exception to a nice transition or interlude in the middle, the song is constantly in motion. And it’s danceable. The returning voice sample adds a nice touch but a distorted melody at around 6:55 is unexpectedly great. One of the best things about this song is its ability to not lose sight of the foundation, returning to that pleasant sound to a degree after feeding its body with charm and charisma, love and life. A- 02. Purple Om is initially not as intriguing as the opening but patience is a virtue. Here takes place the second incoherent voice bit (male singing one word, one note) on the album and it works to solid, however short and minor effect. It plays like a tune. After the two-minute mark the melodies become more arresting. The beat is removed to compensate for a transition with tribal drums. The song becomes more engaging. Introduced is a Goa melody. A sweet spot takes place at 4:38 when the band of sounds distorts and skip. It’s cut and mixed very well. The sublime effect is hypnotic. Around 4:50 is a good melody. The catchy voice bit returns and a build up into another melody going on close to the five-minute mark. This is another strong track filled with a delectable combination of sounds, melodies, movement, warmth, and feeling. As with the opening track, it isn’t what I consider superb as a whole but there is nothing wrong with it either. Excellent track. A- 03. Antidote is very different from the first two songs. For starters it sounds more serious. It isn’t dark per say but it isn’t as joyous (what some call beautiful others call cheesy) as the first two either. What crossed my mind through the emotive music was that someone’s dying and needs to be saved. In the end it’s sad but beautiful in the sense they are free. I don’t know how story driven the intent behind the song is or isn’t but have the feeling it’s deeper than the general listeners perception of what it is. Pay attention to how the melody waves rise from above the bigger wave of sound at around 1:45. This is what Dimension 5 contributed to beginning, the circulation and manipulation of less conspicuous supporting melodies mixed in with a second and sometimes third batch. Around 4:07 is the first real ray of hope but a down tempo melody sound crushes such hope. The tone in this song is very different than the upbeat, pretty sound carried throughout the first two songs. It has a very light filled closing nonetheless. I think this is a great song but the first two were better for what they were. It isn’t that less seems to take place here but rather what is done with less, which is more in a sense but not enough relative to the first two. Great, thoughtful and mature track! B+ 04. Omega Centauri has a very catchy melody in the beginning that sounds the most alien to me since a main melody took place at the final third of Iron Sun. The kick drum enters and another main melody puts its foot in the door. The next thing is the door is pushed wide open as all these sounds squeeze their way into the kitchen to score some food. No I’m just kidding but the track is an ideal pile of complimentary sounds and melodies that are never screaming or too subtle. Subtle applies throughout the album however. Omega Centauri is a return to the more driving layers of melody additions that the first two began. However this is more aggressive and driving. You don’t have a happy guy going “LA!” as I interpreted the word/note on the second track. I find very catchy a unique, lower in sound and frequency rolling psy-sound that rolls at the base of the track. This rolling sound is something Toi Doi would later take advantage of, but now I hear where the concept existed before. Omega Centauri is not exactly happy nor sad, but determined, forceful (but never violent) and uncompromising in its ability to move forward. There are no moments to stop and see the sights, as it drives right past them because it has an obligation, never speeding so fast as to evade the sweet landscapes. This is a very good song, but it isn't spectacular. It's more mature or rather less bright than the first two numbers and overall more driving than the third. A- 05. Deep Space 5D is superb. Okay wow. This is the best song on the album to me so far. I feel like I just experienced something significant by listening to this song. I value something super positive that can take place through music. At 1:10 begins the first great, if not excellent, standout leading melody. From that point forward at least two or three impressive parts take place, each gradually more moving. I actually felt more aware both during and after hearing this track. It’s one of those rare songs where the artists had the skill and ability to manipulate sound in a way to put the listener in a higher state. I love the entire song as is. And this is the first track I’ve ever given such a high score to by Dimension 5 to date. Congratulations. Deep Space is a masterpiece, and I'd love to hear more songs on this level and beyond. A 06. Psychic Influence is a return to the awesome, infectious combinations of melodies and sounds. It’s inspirational and dangerous sounding thanks to sample promoting an uprising amongst a group of people. I’m beginning more conscious of certain mind states, how I feel while leafing through my collection and listening to Goa-Trance albums I hadn’t heard in years. As if the rhythm wasn’t driving and upbeat enough there seems to be key changes. The sample of the man proclaiming: “We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish! We’re going to survive!” The confirms my intuition that the song and this the overall album is being influenced by light, and darkness plays a role in challenging the light. We’re rivaled, given the confidence, and put in the state we need to be in order to break out of our everyday redundant lives and set loose like a dragon, wild and free. The voice sample is excellent and fronts a potential, mass fight that may take place. The strong, emotive leading melody, which took place earlier on, slides into the flow once again. It rises from out of the general rhythm from where it had begun at around 6:42. It’s excellent. The entire song is loaded with warm, catchy sounds but the main melody compliments the entire song. More little sounds and melodies take place too but that’s how it always seems to be with this album. One sound leads to a string of others. A- / A 07. Beetlesnuff isn’t as focused on shining the light on its emotive hook as the previous song. It’s constantly in motion like like liquid throughout. There’s nothing really to startle the wave save for a brief transition maybe. The motion never stops or seems to stutter even when the beat leaves for several seconds. Around 4:06 is a subtle, attractive fusion but it could have been going on from before that for all I know. This is one of those Goa-Trance songs where the leading melody isn’t standing out so much that you’re distracted by it. In giving less focus to the lead, (making it more high pitched, loud, etc.) the listener can come closer to an induced trance state with the combination of melodies and sounds because the lead doesn’t dissociate us from the thick band of sound. It becomes closer to being one if that makes sense. This is a wonderful song that may seem less memorable initially because the hook is closer to all else and it’s easy to remember a strong, individualized hook although many people will instantly hear what’s going on here. While I feel like the last was more my type of track, (it had that aggressive edge without losing it’s beauty) this too is one of the best tracks on the album. A- 08. Harmonic Convergence is the only song that seems to start off dark on the album. It’s a very traveling song with elements of greatness and excellence. I wasn’t drawn into this initially, the opening melodies. I like how this and others on here build a strong melody structure as they progress. Here the melody skips; altered to vibration effect. A good Goa fusion takes place around 1:42. Another melody arrives at 2:34 and these are just several sweet sounds that take place in the first third of the song! So far the song has many melodies but none of them are anything really great to me. The beat leaves into the three-minute mark for a short transition. Soon things begin to build again. A strong melody enters at around 4:30 and than another at 5:07. I really like the one at 5:07. It’s deeper (lower pitched) and fairly rougher in a sense. This is the most gripping part of the song I think, which gets better and better. Suddanly the more upbeat, gentle sound is removed to compensate for a detour. The direction takes us on new and different path on the journey. With all of the leading melodies and direction change, I’m still not in love with the general melodies during the first half. I'm very pleased with the directon taken after the halfway point however. The strong build wasn’t as delectable as some of the other songs here but the ride is so worth it. This is a great song, maybe excellent into the end. Around the halfway point forward is interesting, powerful. A- 09. Utopian Dream is a beautiful track. It begins more gentle and takes time to throw some more aggressive, liquid rhythm currents at you but be patient, they come. This could have been an Astral Projection song and I would have never known it. Actually that could be said for several songs on this album maybe do to the combination of energy, driving melodies on melodies, and more. Fortunately this song and others correlate greatly into the spirit of D5 on this album. I’m beginning to feel spoiled after hearing so many well-done songs. This is one of those very special albums. A- 10. Flow is a very strong closing. This is an incredible, deeply felt, emotive, meditative chill piece. I think it's outstanding, another word assiciated with superb, and one of the finest closing album chill tracks of the golden era of Goa-Trance. Is it the best chill track ever made? Oh I don't know. Favorite tracks are subjective, even if we and others say we have great taste and high standards. This is definitely up there as one of the best chill numbers in my opinion. Just shut your eyes, try to release any current thoughts, and listen to this, loud! It’s impressive, the sound and rhythm carried throughout. I love the reinforced beat two-thirds of the way through and how it adds determination to a dreamy world through the subconscious mind into the dream. I sometimes wonder how artists create something that sounds on another level from most things we’ve ever heard. This final track doesn’t need to confirm that the album was no fluke. Nearly every track has beauty, depth, and imagination, and an enormous amount of heart put in. Music this deeply felt is often meaningful and not soon forgotten. A In conclusion, Transdimensional is a magical album for people who like and love the pinnacle, the golden years [96-98] of Goa-Trance. This is an intelligent release! I could throw a dart and virtually any song it lands on is wonderful. D5 takes the oriental and middle-eastern Goa sound to space! It's piled with graceful, lush, soundscapes, and leading, co-leading, and supporting melodies, often energetic, driving, and dreamy. Some influences or examples of the general style can be associated with Astral Projection, California Sunshine, Cosmosis, Electric Universe, Jaia, Ra, X-Dream, and several others at their Goa peek. Such Goa Artists as Ethereal were subtler with their waves of sound. Artists like Astral Projection were generally the opposite with their leading, sometimes roller coaster melodies, buildups, and climax. I’d say D5 falls somewhere in-between. Fortunately it has its own style and sound. The melodies are juicy and flavorful. The sound is ultra-melodic and layered, fast, beautiful, elegant, warm, light-filled, positive and inspirational. I think it’s very appropriate for listeing to this album in the morning and during sunrise, and at sunrise parties(!), dancing, driving, and home listening. Suntrip Records has made a rare exception with Transdimensional. They’ve taken the initiative to re-release an album from 1997 that many consider a milestone, a classic in Goa-Trance. Thanks to the articulate re-mastering and care provided, the kick drum and other general sounds are more present and adequate to today’s production and mastering standards. It's basically a technical improvement over the old mastering and I respect that some people will find the aged version just as classic untouched. The 1997 was near perfect for its time and this is just as excellent for ours. Everyone please enjoy, cherish, and savor this wonderful rare album. Thank you Suntrip Records + artists for re-releasing this truly inspirational classic! Favorite Tracks: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10 A- Samples http://www.suntriprecords.com/blog/news.php http://www.psyshop.com/shop/CDs/sut/sut1cd008.html http://www.beatspace.com/dettagli/dettaglio.asp?id=3543
  14. Jon Cocco

    Dimension 5 - Transdimensional

    Love Psychic Influence. Love this old sound!
  15. 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/
  16. 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!!!!!
  17. Pleiadians - I.F.O. Identified Flying Object (3CD) Re-Mastered, w/ Live Set Mix (Remixes), EP + Comp Singles & Bonus Tracks DAT Records CD 1 - Pleiadians – I.F.O. Live 1. Pleiadians - Intro 2. Pleiadians - Merope 3. Pleiadians - Alcyone 4. Pleiadians - Asterope 5. Pleiadians - Maia 6. Pleiadians - Electra 7. Pleiadians - Taygeta Bonus Track: 8. Etnica - Vimana (Pleiadians Live Mix) CD 2 - Pleiadians – I.F.O. Re-Mastered 1. Pleiadians - Maia 2. Pleiadians - Taygeta 3. Pleiadians - Merope 4. Pleiadians - Alcyone 5. Pleiadians - Electra 6. Pleiadians - Asterope 7. Pleiadians - Celaeno Bonus Track 8. Pleiadians - Time Dilation (Original Mix) CD 3 - Pleiadians – Vinyl Tracks / Singles 1. Pleiadians – The Pleiadians 2. Pleiadians – Boarding Pass To Balangan 3. Pleiadians – Cyberland 4. Pleiadians – Sonic System 5. Pleiadians – Analogue Step 6. Pleiadians – Jungle Track 7. Pleiadians – Zeta Reticuli (Full Mix) 8. Pleiadians – Deep Frequencies DAT Records have Re-Issued, carefully Re-Mastered, and Re-Released what many consider to be the greatest, if not one of the greatest albums in Goa-Trance. In addition to the improved debut, this 3 CD includes live mix (remixes) of the super songs on I.F.O., as well as their rare Vinyl (EP and Compilation) singles produced between 1995 and 1997. Inside is a 12 page booklet featuring the history of the Pleiadians project, how the music was composed, refined, and remixed along with cool artwork and photos, etc. The re-issue is AMAZING. It is easily the best re-release in the Goa-Trance IMO, a milestone in complexity, sound/melody work, mixing/programming, and direction. I never heard roughly 10-12 tracks here (mainly remixes plus some singles). So I'm reviewing many of these for the first time. One of the coolest things for the record, is that the live mixes aren't just live versions of the song's we've heard. They are freekin remixes!!!! CD 1 - PLEIADIANS – I.F.O. LIVE SET 1. Intro (lets jump to the main tracks) 2. Merope (Live Remix) now has a powerful, complimentary introduction unlike the version on the debut and it's fantastic. The extended introduction here adds more depth to the song, and the intergalactic feel of the album. The echoed booms are great, and the famous ingredients now co-exist with more dynamic elements due to improvements made to the original. Hearing this changes my impression dramatically. The artists had time to reflect and re-imagine the song in some ways. The second act adds more energy, supporting synths, and atmosphere, providing the song with a cinematic edge at times while never sounding pretentious. As I listen to both versions back-to-back, I notice huge differences, creative re-aproaaches, and improvements. The live mix (remix) sounds less rough, and yet the melodies sound more juicy, with better production. The atmosphere is pretty surreal too. I'm pretty speechless. You may prefer the original or vice-versa. Either way, this remix offers a fresh angle to Merope. The song offers so much that adds perspective and variety to the original, while appearing just as fluid, congruent, and arresting. Furthermore, its duration is 12:36; I wasn't bored for a second. Excellent remix. A 3. Alcyone (Live Remix) is like a re-imagining in some ways. Beloved ideas exist along with new modifications and ingenuity. Where have all these tracks been hiding all these years?! The first act is elaborately kinetic. Gripping layers make haste towards the electric world of stronger connectivity and synergy. The first peek at 3:57 is exceptional. This follows a sweet, little non-maximal segment that's surprisingly refreshing before the strong 5:20 band arrives. As with its twin part, this remix doesn't disappoint. Even in its final act, the artists find new ways to change up what we've heard. This is one of the best remixes on CD1. I'm impressed. The production sounds as good, if not better than the original, and a bit more refined in some ways. Already I can see some liking this more than the original and vice-versa. They're both strong tracks. Listen and decide for yourself. Whatever you think, comment below. I love the original Alcyone so anything close for me is an accomplishment. Excellent remix. A 4. Asterope (Live Remix) is also different in some ways from the original. It begins with a sample via F.O.L. I don't think it's necessary, but it's early on, so I don't think it distracts much from the intergalactic feel. the first act sounds nature-oriented via birds chirping, etc. It's different, though somewhat atypical of Asterope. 1:06 sees the return of a familiar melody. Gradually we're taking to more cosmic waters. 2:13 introduces the next part of familiarity, but I'm not a fan of this frequency (pitch?) change. It just seems too thin and over-cluttered to my ears. Fortunately, the one at 2:41 works well. The main melody arrives 3:20. Its arrangement sounds great. Again, it's simply that synth bundle mentioned above that reduces the signature lead's power and effect to some degree. On the plus side, the drums that enter at 3:50 are great, and really enhance this version. The interlude involves warmer, more balanced sounds, and is coupled with an engaging synth at 5:08. The middle act is very nice. The returning synths at 6:29 (from 2:13) are my main gripe. Fortunately the song doesn't end there. The returning drums in the seventh minute work well, and at 7:35, a very impressive take on the finale begins., i.e., a delicacy of complexity supported with a lower pitched melody. I love that the artists made remixes of the songs on I.F.O. These songs are so interesting to hear, even if my favorite song on I.F.O. (Asterope) is unfortunately my least favorite of the live mix (remixes). But that's my opinion. What do you guys think? Cool remix. A- 5. Maia (Live Remix) has more soundscape, drums, and textures than the original. The first act is lush and warm, and reminds me of the original. Early on work that stands out includes 2:52 (!) and 4:01 (!), though around that, it's all pretty interesting and engaging. Some very nice frequency changes in the forth (middle act) further distinguish this version from the original, making it more psychedelic and kinetic. The scenery keeps changing, engaging us with each new section of development just like the original. The result is a fluid, imaginative, and beautifully mixed version with greater textures, twang (to certain synths or new ones entirely) and crunch, whereas the original was more elegant, sexy, and harmonious. This remix sports three excellent acts too and some amazing work. The live mix (remix) sounds inspired in a good way, different for sure. This isn't trying to replicate the original, though it retains classic elements. There's moments that remind us of the original (sometime seem verbatim) while generating much that's new to our ears. As with the live mixes of Ayclone and Merope, Maia's live mix walks a fine line between remix and re-imagining. It took some pretty big kahunas for anyone to attempt a remix to Maia (let alone any track on I.F.O.), but they pulled it off, and while the original will always be my favorite, this live mix (remix) is a gem. A 6. Electra (Live Remix) is another critically acclaimed, fan favorite from the debut. I'll get my nitpick out of the way, and that's the opening voice sample, "Is there a moon..." which reminds me of Family of Light (album). Past that, this live mix of Electra sounds close to the roughness and intensity of its sibling, twin sister. The song has just as much drive and liquid touches; the latter that bounce around at 3:25 before a familiar effect emerges from the self-titled song, Family of Light. The less maximal parts via 4:10 (among others) sound great, as well as the fresh evolutions via 4:15. I love the evolved section in the middle third and finale. The only thing I care less for is the occasional F.O.L.-esque samples. The song IMO feels more intergalactic and otherworldly without them. Reminding me of Earth associations here take away from me fully feeling free in the music. For dancing, the samples may work wonders. To be honest, a few shorter ones here sound pretty cool actually. Musically speaking, the essence and delivery of Electra is strong and intact, i.e., the light, the dark, impressive synths, wicked intensity, twists and turns, climaxes, etc. Prepare for a tasty treat at 8:12 too. Another excellent remix. A- 7. Taygeta (Live Remix) begins with a mixture of sound. The original has been criticized for its reoccurring "whirling" sound that some found distracting from the more adventurous music. Some have said Taygeta and/or Merope are the less strong uptempo tracks on I.F.O. Funny considering a less strong track on I.F.O. blows away most songs in the genre. That said, I was impressed to discover that the live mix (remix) of Taygeta here REMOVED the "whirling" sounds. This may seem like it's finally the nearly perfected song we never thought we'd hear two-dacades later, and in some ways it is -- nearly. When its first main synth arrives at 0:56, notice what doesn't? The song feels more immersive to me without those "whirling" sounds. Production sounds better too, more fleshed out. The song now breathes more deeply and is accompanied with dynamic tweaks, crunchy textures, and other [more psychedelic] ingredients. One of my very few nitpicks is that -- comparatively speaking, the main melody at 0:56 is less twangy than the original. It's still the same arrangement, and the leads in general sound more integrated and smooth. Also, with the "whirling" sounds gone, I notice that other effects have been added. I'm not sure how necessary some of them are. There is a bit more that I prefer to the original and vice-versa too, but I'll let you hear for yourself. This is a mature upgrade in my opinion. Maybe you always loved Taygeta, or you loved the song minus the "whirling" sounds. I personally found the original GREAT with exception to the "whirling" sounds that are now gone. Finally! Strong remix. A- Bonus Track: 8. Etnica - Vimana (Pleiadians Live Mix) is the eighth track on this 3 CD package that I never heard before until now. I suppose they never remixed Celaeno due to it not being uptempo. Poor thing. Reminds me of Pluto. Never getting the full appreciation it deserves. Many have heard Vimana, located on Etnica's Plastic EP (1996). I've heard several versions (still can't find the super skipping lead melody one online). Needless to say, I've been impressed with all versions. Vimana is one of Etnica's best, most famous songs. Some consider it to be Etnicas' best track. So again, the bar is high. I really like the opening sample regarding since the beginning, aliens "...have been visiting our planet and genetically altering the development of our DNA" (according to numerous scholars including famous researcher/author, Zecharia Stichin, the Sumerians preserved these higher truths on their tablets via their written language). But I digress. The first two minutes of the song prepare us for the infection to come. The artists are nice enough to give us a taste at 3:08. After a catchy voice sample (works well here!), that infection arrives in the form-less music of some of the best synth work I've ever heard. The delivery is so smooth, delectably blended, and satisfying. This is a total nighttime track, coupled with mood, adrenaline, and sound/melody work that keeps getting better via the fifth minute, the sixth minute (shall we count to ten? ). These artists knew no limits in their prime, upping the "ante". To them, not even the cosmos was the limit, they kept going. The result here? Combine the best of Etnica and Pleiadians, and you have Vimana (Pleiadians Live Mix). It's mature, provocative, and riveting. Both this and the original are wonderful. Stunning remix. A CD 2 - PLEIADIANS – I.F.O. (RE-MASTERED DEBUT) 1. Maia is the classic, cosmic -- with traces of euphoria opening to the intergalactic debut. It really set the theme back in 1997, and helped to redefine cosmic Goa-Trance as previously defined by Astral Projection. These next seven tracks are re-issued verbatim. They have been lightly re-mastered according to the label. I've always loved the sound/melody (synth/arrangement) work in Maia, the touches of euphoria, etc. The song is so fluid, imaginative, engaging, and memorable. The song's storytelling is varied and eventual, coupled with strong leads, seamless transitions, and flawless direction. Maia tells the first chapter in a grand story (space opera), as if evoked and/or channels from the alleged beings in the Pleiadian star system (for real) just beyond Orion, roughly 1300 light years from Earth. After its wonderful introduction and numerous delectable parts, a beautiful main melody arrives, elevating the voyage at 4:47. There is an elegance, a sexiness that Maia expresses with its smooth rhythm, movement, and melodies. The music's return at 5:29 is more crisp than I recall the debut version being (this has to be the re-mastering). There are no samples that distract from the cosmic voyage, just an ever-expanding flow of infectious ingredients and transitional segments (like porthole jumps) to even greater places in the cosmos. The sound selection, sheer creativity, and technical elements to this day impresses me. Maia was so ahead of its time, and is now complimented with carefully "touched up" re-mastering. Beautiful track! A 2. Taygeta was initially my least favorite uptempo song from the debut. The reason was due to those "whirling" sound I always found distracting from the music. The song also lacks an intro and builds from few to many layers off a unique chime sound, beat, and baseline. Fortunately, the blunt opening develops into an infectious ride. Taygeta is harder and more aggressive, whereas Maia was smoother, more elegant. The first lead arrives at 1:00, a catchy, TWANGY, fast-edged synth that is soon joined with a bouncier one (very nice). More acidic layers arrive next to ones more alkaline in that sense, and a collection of well-blended momentum ensues. 3:24 sees the return of the first synth; it compliments the progressing rhythm. The vehicle loses some weight as it approaches its next upgrade, a powerful and relentless lead at 4:03. Enter psy-scape (spinning particles) that create interest between the more intense/layered segments. The relentless wave returns for a second boost before fading, leaving us far from the shores where we began. At 6:02, we see a light; a psy-ambient layer signals new scenery. Jumping into the lush atmosphere is the dynamic "tangy" little lead who came to enhance new changes. In its final act, the song develops greater energy and variety, accumulating sounds. Preparing full speed. Taygeta takes off at 7:32 for the great finale, leaving all sounds unable to keep up in the dust. Taygeta's re-mastering seems clearer, more crisp. See you if notice it. This is a GREAT track that's further touched up thanks to careful re-mastering by DAT Records. A- 3. Merope is rough, intense, and determined, whereas Maia was smooth and elegant; Taygeta was somewhere in-between. Here the leads come fast and hard. 1:42 showcases the first (fantastic!) lead that really carries the vehicle. Another surprise is the key change at 2:36. The supporting sounds are great too. We're given a moment to catch our breath at 3:25 before a buildup that instigates greater complexity and rhythmic synths in the fourth and fifth minute. An effect at 5:55 takes us back into the storm as the artists find new ways to hook us. Merope is like a giant space storm full of fury and debris, and we, the listeners are caught in it. Possibly the only thing Merope lacks is a more memorable final act, though I hesitate to say it needed a climax since Taygeta had that. Merope has climactic energy throughout. Fortunately, the last act is nice, with the arrival of a colorful melody; it [the last act] is simply less masterful in relation to the final acts that surround this track. Merope is an excellent song, and at 19 years old, this is the best version of the original. A- 4. Alcyone is the next chapter in this evolutionary leap in consciousness debut. The opening is drenched in alien goo. Layer after layer are near seamlessly added to the growing ball of energy. A super synth takes over at 1:32. The established sounds shift to support it as new melodies arrive. 2:53 introduces a highly animated lead. It's so in our face and addictive that it nearly bounces off the page (track), and at 3:33, the signature lead enters with great arrangement, carrying the vessel for nearly a minute before unhooking itself. To pick up the baton, a non-maximal (very cool, adds variety!) segment via 4:40 to 5:20 takes us to the next upgrade. Turns out, this next part is an electrifying, a super-charged synth equipped with sharper weaponry (supported psy sounds) until a calm (interlude) where the song's energy re-collects. The energy can't be suppressed for long though. The pressure builds toward combustion, and at 7:20, Alcyone climaxes. This song is one incredible lead after the next, accompanied with infectious supports, engaging segments in-between, absorbing atmosphere, and much more that captivates throughout. Superb track. A 5. Electra is another fan favorite, along with Maia, Ayclone, and Asterope, and its clear why. This thing is like a super-imposed, highly energetic snake just broke out the gate. All hell breaks loose. The brief introduction via psychedelic rattling sound, and the elegant (sexy) synth work at 1:30 works incredibly well. The development grows infectious as the music intensifies. The beat disappears for an interlude around 4:30. Sonic textures fly by as our vehicle reaches new scenery. Worth noting are the sustained, moody notes in the second act that blend together, resulting in a smorgasbord of leads. Dozens of layers fight for supremacy, yet work together towards the greater whole. The result is a revolution of rhythm. Have you ever heard an abrasively beautiful track? Now you have! Electra is daring, full of rough (stylistic) edges, aggression, and energy. This is one of those tracks you show your friends, play at an outdoor dance party or jump off a plane listening to without a parachute. Even in its last two minutes, the song impresses. The climax at 7:34 is wonderful. The re-mastered version sounds more realized, with sounds more fully fleshed out. Electra is an intense, exciting, and infectious ride from beginning to end. This is another superb track. A 6. Asterope is my favorite song from the debut. Those diving/rolling synths enter around 2:15, and are supported with magnetic ones at 2:41. Some artists are fortunate to have one beautiful lead. Asterope has several. Yet THE one that takes the cake here is at 3:07. It's one of the most memorable leads I have ever heard and elevates the song. The journey re-collects energy during a calm moment. New scenery emerges at 5:10 and by 5:36, we're surrounded. This section gets progressively catchier past the sixth minute, until the signature lead returns at 6:30. I love how the main lead is utilized; it reprises like a wonderful chorus. As if Asterope couldn't get better, the song evolves at 7:38 . Here the song's complexity morphs with intricacy. The song is elevated higher, finding a perfect balance and somewhat of an ascensional, absorbing groove. Complimented with atmosphere, warm ambient notes and heart; heart is what I felt was lacking from Electra, which was otherwise intense, dark, and vivid, like a cerebral ice palace. Asterope on the other hand is full of feeling, heart, and cosmic adventure. Gorgeous song! A 7. Celaeno was my least favorite track on the debut. I always felt distant from it, that it was too slow, moody, and robotic for its own good, and not as catchy as the other tracks. I love the few Down-Tempo Goa songs by Pleiadians, i.e., Seven Sisters, Deep Frequencies. For years I alienated myself from Celaeno, seldom giving it a listen, unsure of why the song is composed the way it is. Maybe one day I'll see the light I imagined, since it's a part of I.F.O. The song is unique for sure. Other Pleiadian songs take off early on, but Celaeno gets off to a slow start. My take on Celaeno is this: We're surveying the terrain of an unknown planet (Celaeno) with little to no life. The song begins with a psy-insect synth scouting our position before the entrance of a slow beat and bass line. I always found the first 1-2 minutes dull and plodding, though the two-minute mark is nice. Fortunately, this behemoth grows catchier as it progresses. The song provides a pleasant coming down after such an extraordinary roster of rockets. At 3:03, a stronger synth arrives, lifting the tempo. The strong beat and synth work elevate the solemn mood to confident. The middle acts grows engaging, more evolved; it appears to reflect great change and/or tribulation. Maybe the race was wiped out; their energy traces remain on these desolate lands. We enter a clearing (interlude) at 5:23. The movement slows as we take in the surroundings, exploring the vast, ancient landscape. The sixth minute reveals a change of scenery, or the realization that we need to make haste. I infer this from the tone and buildup at 6:25, and at 6:55, we're off. What happens next can be described as a boss fight in an old, classic NES Metroid game, but through the artistic vision of artists. More to Goa, this section is like a moving painting full of psychedelic images (rhythm) emerging and unraveling, as if the painting is bleeding out textures. It's beautifully composed to the thumping beat, a terrific moment. I simply wish that it lasted longer and developed more, considering how long it took for us to get here. So my gripe is that the catchiest part of the song barely lasts a minute! After 7:44, we slowly descend, returning to the ambient-influenced downtempo similar to the intro, a homogeneous closing. In the end, we are left starring at this massive planet. The vastness of the Universe surrounds us along with the inherent desire to explore further into the great beyond. A- Bonus Track 8. Time Dilation (Original Mix) is a continuation into the vast exploration of the Universe. This is the definitive version of Time Dilation to my knowledge. The introduction is heavenly. Lush ambient merges with harmonious synths, like an ascensional sunset beaming out across the universe, soaking up the higher vibrational energy through every pour of our being. Talk about emotive, engaging intros that aren't cheesy! It's wonderful. Next up the beat, coupled with melodies that blend, enhancing the senses as we move through various states of consciousness via our multi-dimensional Universe (the songs depth and how I'm perceiving its positive approach). At 3:11, the song takes off -- thanks to a beautiful main melody with strong arrangement to boot, and complimented with lush ambient. They provide a heart and feeling to this dynamic (spiritual) vehicle that may or may not relate to ascension, considering our perception to time becomes less relevant as our vibrational frequency increases. Anyway, an exciting, dance-friendly lead breaks out around 7:15, taking us higher. The song is so smooth, with ear-friendly sounds mixed into seamless unity. The old-school work of Pleiadians is marvelous! The vibrationally-raising (positive!) approach here is non-maximal (it doesn't have to be), and it does wonders, magic. Even in its final moments, the artists re-work the arrangement, keeping their high expectations up, and in return us more than satisfied. The ambient-esque closing is wonderfully appropriate. I'm a little jealous, or rather so appreciative that music this catchy can be made. This is a beautiful track with excitement and heart. I really love it, these artists contribution to music and their agreement with DAT Records to release these tracks. Thank you so much. This is a gorgeous track full of love, inspiration, and vision. Well done! A CD 3 - PLEIADIANS – VINYL TRACKS / SINGLES 1. The Pleiadians is fast and energetic. It grows increasingly psychedelic, like a band-wave being adjusted in hyper space. A foundation of synths are built, but it's the lower pitched one at 1:40 that grabs my attention. It's soon accompanied with a second one at 2:05, and the rhythm grows catchier. We're given a moment to catch our breathe at 3:50. Being halfway through, there's not much in terms of evolution or memorable leads. After a brief interlude ends at 4:10, a new melody enters arrives with nice development. Also returning is the lower pitched tune supported with numerous sounds. This segment is pretty good! But it's not until the song evolves in its final act via 5:11 that I feel like more fulfilled. The climax at 5:11 is exciting and refreshes the song's impression, thanks to spontaneous sound/melody work, new arrangement, and variety. Initially I felt like this song was too thin (speed over substance) via one trick pony. Now I see it like a missile gone astray, collecting energy along its trajectory until exploding in an attractive display of melodic bliss mayhem. The song is a unique, fun burst of energy that nicely leads up to the more substantial, ambitious numbers. A- 2. Boarding Pass To Balangan has more variety, texture, and range than the previous song. There's more for me to sink my teeth into here, substance wise. It seems to tell a story whereas the previous felt thin on plot, with style over substance. The sound selection here is very nice, and showcases more of an exploratory element over the previous zippy energy pill. The slower approach is pretty atypical of Pleiadians. It develops gradually at near-mid tempo, reflecting thought and contemplation. An uplifting segment at 3:53 provides some light to the darkness. Also interesting is the emotive arc. The song is very downbeat, mood wise. There are some nice atmospheric elements, crunchy sounds, and textures. At times I'm reminded just a little of Celaeno, though this sounds completely different; I find it more accessible. I like how it remains consistent in tone, never breaking out. The song is not really eventful; rather the event is the ride and vice-versa. Boarding Pass is solid and moody, a brief excursion to the mysterious, fairly darker channels of space. Many Pleiadian songs walk a fine line between light and dark, utilizing both energies via duality in addition to spiritual/Universal discovery and higher consciousness. But not this. No. This could be perceived as a train ride to the intergalactic dead zone. A- 3. Cyberland begins with a very catchy, unique, metallic synth. It sounds as if vibrations or water droplets are bouncing off metallic objects. Each one was (in theory) then altered, echoed, and meticulously selected for arrangement. Welcome to the first layer. This creative material-esque synth is soon joined with a more synthetic one at 0:14 before the beat arrives. A catchier synth arrives at 0:41, and yet another at 0:55. Meanwhile, those echoed, metallic droplets bounce across the ears, producing an intricate, bubbling fusion to the growing stew. The current result is an intelligent, detailed, and articulative rhythm that's as unique as it is engaging. Next up is an ambient-esque interlude, a wave of immersive calm followed by an exciting buildup beginning at 3:42. I really like this part, especially the increased tempo and release at 4:09 (my favorite part of the song that will later reprise) via a climactic lead takes the music to new levels. The forth and fifth minute are terrific, showcasing new work and a return to climax. The metallic sounds return like accents to compliment. The song began like a computer quickly arranging metallic fibers before blossoming into an complex, self-aware, and rewarding, fun dance number. Also note-worthy is the arrangement in the seventh minute. My only nitpick is that the song seems to take off in its last fifteen seconds. So it ends a little abrupt, though efficiently. Excellent track. A 4. Sonic System has an interesting, grinding sound that much of the song is built around. Similar in concept to Cyberland, though approached differently, is the concept of mixing metallic synths with smoother ones. Pretty cool rhythms ensue, though I find healthier sound variety in the previous track. Initially I didn't like this song. I thought it recycled its ideas too much, was fairly repetitive and similar sounding. If I focused on the song too much, I found its general sound began to wear, even grate on me. Yet other times, doing activity without my direct attention, the song seems catchier than ever. It's interesting how our brains work, our preferences to sound, taste, etc. The song's synth-heavy approach can be pretty trance-inducing, or zone setting. Whereas the previous song was more articulative and intellectual, Sonic System's power seems to work in more subtle ways. I like the warmer synth at the 2:00 that reprises at 4:45. For me, the song felt too mechanical without its presence which adds balance. My issue is that the second half, to some degree sounds similar to the first half. The song develops, but not with a whole lot of evolution (unexplored terrain). The final act has some nice changes, adding variety. I'm still not quite sure what I think of this one, but I'll let it further grow. B+ / A- 5. Analogue Step is simpler than what I'm used to from Pleiadians. The synth that becomes more noticeable by 0:25 grows catch in addition to one at 1:09. They integrate well before being swapped out for new sounds. A nice, groovy rhythm is formed by the third minute. The less layered, more minimalistic (for Pleiadians) approach works, though the song seems a bit simplistic in its second act. I don't think the sound effect at 4:20 was necessary. Same with its return in the end via 5:27 to 5:45. This effect is a little distracting and doesn't blend well with the other sounds. Fortunately as it finishes its bars at 4:27, the song plateaus in a burst of energy. It's catchy and the best part of the track. One perspective with the song overall is not a whole lot happens. The approach is fairly tame and uneventful, maybe a bit too simple for its own good coming from Pleiadians. Another perspective is that it's interesting to hear different approaches to their style. The LESS ambitious/complex/layered approach allows listeners an easygoing break around the more involved songs. Sometimes I really like this song. Other times I find it lacking in some ways. Just don't focus on it too hard. Some tracks are meant to explore, and this seems designed to kick back and/or dance too, even if some may consider this a rare example of Pleiadian-lite. The song lacks "wow" factors, but offers something different and remains pretty solid for the most part throughout. B+ 6. Jungle Trax is a fun, danceable number. A catchy voice samples enters at 0:42, beginning a forefront for more energetic, dance-friendly ground. An exciting lead arrives at 2:00, complimented by a lower pitched synth that provides balance to the growing craziness. The song breaks out in the second act, upped by intensity and climax. There's some gripping sounds to boot too. The fifth minute sees the most engaging work yet. The overall song is coupled with minor transitions to bigger, more energetic, dance-friendly segments. It's no wonder Jungle Trax is a fan favorite of their singles. There's a touch of Eastern/Indian melodies in the last act. It works nicely considering the song isn't going for the intergalactic approach. The synth work just keeps getting better and better thanks to a well crafted vision that comes to fruition in the final act. This is a total outdoor forest party, dance track. It knows what it is and it knows the crowd wants. The ending lifts into all-out climax, incorporating key changes, and an terrific effect akin to ascension. When compared to I.F.O. or the remixes, Jungle Trax may seem fairly simple. For a stand alone track however, it's great. The song is filled with strong ideas and delivery. Most of all, it's fun! A 7. Zeta Reticuli (Full Mix) is in actuality a wide binary star system close to the Pleiadian and Orion star systems. It is also home of the Alien Grays most associated with abductions according to many claims who recalled trauma or whose subconscious remembered in hypnosis therapy. It seems that the artists incorporated the concept of hostile and/or projecting fear forces via atmosphere to set the tone. The song wobbles and shakes with volatile energy. There is a really nice buildup/climax in the third minute. But its the dark under-current tone that adds to the intrigue, character. Chock full of smart delivery, tempo changes, and a dark vibe, Zeta Reticuli is also among the fan favorites. It takes risks that often pay off, peeking in the seventh and eighth minute where additional its gears shift. The seems dance-friendly too. The only part I feel mixed about is the melody at 9:48 that sounds almost circus-like, too cute to be in the song. Was its purpose to make us feel like we're being toyed with by darker forces? I'm not sure. I imagine its part serves a purpose to the story. The good news is that it's rarely used and doesn't hurt the song, though it doesn't seem to compliment it. Zeta Reticuli (Full Mix) is another great track that resides on the darker side throughout. A 8. Deep Frequencies is like a planet being sculptured, articulately designed in the hands of its creator to the point life begins to grow. The song grows increasingly more infectious and dynamic, from skipping hymns drenched in ethereal atmosphere, to progressions in the melody/sound department that beautifully construct a world, possibly a star system, maybe even a Universe. The increase in energy at 6:42 is excellent. The song gets more moody and personalistic (with a spunky little attitude) at 9:40 too. At nearly fifteen minutes long, I'm not bored for a second. Naturally, one needs to be in the right mood for deeper, more contemplative, home-listening tracks. The artists continually come up with little nuances, new alterations, melodies, sound techniques, and arrangement to take us deeper, further hypnotizing our senses, and detaching us from our everyday distractions. I really like this song, and at times I want it to keep going for twenty, thirty-plus minutes. It can be pretty zone setting in the right mood. Deep Frequencies is a wonderful, exploratory track for home listening. Put in your earbuds or headphones, shut off the lights, take a deep breath, let go, and immerse yourself. The song is creative, intriguing, and engaging, and an appropriately strong ending. A CONCLUSION I.F.O. deserves an award for imagination, complexity, programming, mixing, and sound/melody (synth) work. This is one of the few albums that really raised the bar in electronic music, Psychedelic Goa-Trance. It defines intergalactic Goa-Trance. Many scholars consider I.F.O. to be the magnum opus of the genre, though you'll occasionally hear a few others mentioned, i.e., Hallucinogen's Twisted, Astral Projection's Trust In Trance, etc. All superb albums of course. I.F.O. is the only one I'd describe as labyrinthine. Of all the albums in electronic music, I have returned to I.F.O. the most. Maia, Alcyone, Electra, and Asterope are some of the most engaging songs I've ever heard, with Taygeta and Merope not being far behind. Thanks to the re-mastered version, live mix (remixes), singles, and bonus tracks, the replay value and lasting appeal for this release is through the roof. All three albums are packed with superb, phenomenal work. Once in a while you hear a less superb track and then you're blown away (or likely impressed) for 3-5 more songs in a row. Virtually every track is a world in itself, showcasing amazing craftsmanship and attention to detail, articulation, innovation, and infectious appeal. I wouldn't be surprised if much of I.F.O. was channeled by the real Pleiadians to Carlos when he supposedly (somehow with a broken arm according to the inside booklet) created most of the album in a month. There's more in the booklet but I won't spoil it all. I initially thought an album of I.F.O.'s complexity took 1-2 years, so however this came to be in such short time is stunning (even if ideas were channeled to him, and thus he felt inspired in our conscious Universe according to a growing theory since everything is connected). The remixes of Alcyone and Maia are excellent, followed by Merope, Taygeta, Electra, and Asterope, though the latter is my least favorite of the remixes due to a frequency change made with some of the synths. Nonetheless, it's so interesting to hear new (previously unreleased?!) versions to the super songs on I.F.O. The rare vinyl (EP and Compilation) singles are excellent (some are outstanding!) too. Some are new to my ears. Some took time to grow on me. FYI I find this work to be so much more satisfying, comprehensive, and immersive on a good pair of earbuds or headphones. But it's great to hear when out and about regardless. THANK YOU DAT Records and Pleiadians for your love, commitment, and dedication to making this happen. Special thanks to DAT for the Re-Mastering plus the live mix (remixes), many songs I had never heard. THANK YOU Pleiadians for your amazing contribution to music. Your work encompasses the spirit, love, and energy of its creators, and has taken electronic music to previously uncharted (unknown) levels. Without all of you, this wouldn't have happened. And now more people can experience and appreciate a comprehensive collection via improved versions, the previously unreleased (?!) remixes, etc. How does something so good stay hidden for so many years? *cough* Atlantis. Intra-terrestrial civilizations er.. allegedly . This triple album is a DREAM COME TRUE, the definitive version of what is IMO the greatest album in Goa-Trance, the best electronic [uptempo] album I have ever heard, and it just got upgraded. What more can you ask for?! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED HIGHLIGHTS / FAVOURITES CD 1 - 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 CD 2 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 CD 3 - 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8 A Orders / Buy Online Shop (Direct Sales) http://www.datrecords.it Discogs Entry https://www.discogs.com/Pleiadians-IFO-Identified-Flying-Object/release/7000604 Bandcamp page for whoever wants to only buy digital http://datrecords.bandcamp.com/album/pleiadians-i-f-o-i-dentified-f-lying-o-bject
  18. Sometimes haunting and surreal. Other times... well I'll save that for the review. Fans of CBL and the Ambient/Chill/Downtempo genre may want to check this out. 1. Accede is an ambient-influenced downtempo number. It starts off the journey atmospherically. Soundscapes drip like PSY drop rain and a gentle beat begins to take shape. The song grows catchier with the entrance of melodies, moving higher both energetically and euphorically. The simple approach, direction, and lack of any WOW ingredients IMO may prevent this song from being a favorite for more than a small percentage of listeners. It's a soothing, light, and harmless opening that opens the door to the grander work. B+ 2. Derelicts really moved and inspired me. I love the organic sounds combined with the beat, the ingenuity, creative usage of unconventional sounds, the sound/melody work, evolution, and direction. I could go on and on expressing how catchy, evocative, and unique I think this song is. But you'd be better to hear it for yourself. The track is ethereal and fantasy-esque like a fairytale for adults. Excellent work. A 3. Clouds is the first ambient song here. It reminds me of little of the softer music in Mirror's Edge, the videogame (Soundtrack by Solar Fields) but not ripped off. The song feels fresh, inspirational, harmonious, and breezy. It has feeling and pulls the listener in quite easily. Very good! B+ / A- 4. Nattväsen is ambient influenced with a beat (downtempo of sorts). It's melancholy, atmospheric, eerily catchy, and haunting, if a bit repetitive. Still a great track. It's rich, yet simple, beautiful yet sad, and very memorable. B+ / A- 5. Equilibrium is a simpler albeit pleasant and smooth downtempo number. The unique voice bits, as well as the GOA-esque synths (in downtempo like Goa in slow-motion) compliments. Good song! B+ 6. Path of Least Resistance certainly takes the path of least resistance. The song seems good to be played in the background or for meditation. Generally speaking, the song seems little more than nature sounds, atmosphere, and ambient notes. Some people are into this floating and peaceful, cloud-walking albeit more minimalistic approach. By being so soft in nature however, it comes across as almost too uncharacteristic and uneventful, and this is where I begin to lose interest with the album. That said, the track is placed as a gentle transition between two more characteristic numbers, so it varies things up. B- 7. 780 Days begins with ambient, but with more feeling and direction, and soon takes off into downtempo beautifully. The picks up roughly halfway through, growing catchier, more uplifting, and engaging. It's beautiful, ethereal. I like my songs to go somewhere, not just float in pretty colorful puddles for 7 minutes, and this thankfully does exactly that. A 8. ~42° is another magical number. Female voices briefly speak among the enchanting backdrop that can be described as an evocative fairytale. Gentle and yet emotionally riveting, the entire number is AMBIENT and captivating from start to finish. For ambient, I much prefer this direction with more memorable arrangement and ingredients over softer, almost too-light numbers, e.g., Path of Least Resistance. This song's a magical treat. A 9. Rayleigh Scatterers is slow and begins very nicely via melody/sound arrangement. There's a cloud-walking transition in the middle act that allows a resurgence of the returning (welcome) sound with some growth and development. It's very nice and a less grande song around even the grander softer tracks. A- 10. Dodecahedron enjoys a warm, ambient-esque opening before lifting off into another downtempo/Chill-Out gem. The song is accompanied with a catchy beat and beautiful sound/melody work, e.g., arrangement. The same goes for many songs on the album. Virtually all elements of the song are great. I love the uplifting sound and of the overall album, and CGL in by and large, making vibrationally raising music, influencing our state of mind, inspiring our thoughts. The ambient adds to the driving melodies that are again, full of beauty, inspiration, and energy. A- 11. Loss Aversion is captivating. The ambient, sound/melody design.. the atmosphere, buildup and female hymns is gorgeous, creating a heavenly body and climax of ethereal rhythm that sound that nearly overwhelms the senses with heart and soul. This is one of those tracks that redirects my attention from whatever I'm doing upon hearing it. I feel completely still and at peace and surrender, as if I'm melting into the music. Despite it's fairly short length at five minutes and thirteen seconds, I'd rather artist(s) know when to end a song rather than overstay its welcome. This is the last characteristic super song on Derelicts and it's a diamond. A 12. Everwave took time to grow on me, but I've come to like it. For me the album has all but ended, and now we are left to enjoy this epic 14+ minute aversion of warm albeit ambient bliss and serenity. It's a pleasant song to have on in the background, to meditate or close your eyes to. Its placement seems most appropriate here too as the energy comes down and settles out into a straight line, so to speak. This would have been a challenge to sit through earlier in the album as it nearly puts me to sleep (in a good way) and that may have been my challenge with Path of Least Resistance which seemed to hold me down in quiet clouds after everything previous to juiced my positive outlook, energy, and imagination. Here the essence of the album comes home, to its place in eternity some call Heaven, of permanence.. that being [Heaven] outside the Universe considering the Universe is a projection of the collective "split" mind according to physicists and a growing number of spiritualists considering nothing in the Universe (or our bodies, planets, etc.) is preeminent and "consciousness creates reality". B+ / A- CONCLUSION Derelicts [the album] is magical and wondrous. Parts of it sound like a powerful fairytale, and showcases some of my favorite work by CGL to date. It is a bit gentler at times however when compared to their previous albums. Sometimes this is for the best. Other times though not often, a less than intoxicating ambient track will arrive before the album picks up and becomes more engaging again. This was most noticeable to me in the middle act on first listens, and the reason I find CBL albums like World of Sleepers, Hydroponic Garden, and Interloper easier to listen to straight through. That said, there is greatness in the middle third and the last third, with exception to Everwave that did little to stir my interest, iI found strong. Albums this enchanting we rarely seem to get now days, imaginative worlds oozing with dimension and beauty. Overall and few weaknesses aside, this is one of the best albums I've heard so far in 2017. A- Order/Buy https://www.blood-music.com/store-us/67-carbon https://carbonbasedlifeforms.bandcamp.com/ FULL ALBUM STREAM
  19. Jon Cocco

    K.O.B. - Identity Mash

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

    Nebula Meltdown: Stardust Chronicles

    Nebula Meltdown - Stardust Chronicles Suntrip Records, 2013 Psychedelic Goatrance 1. One Eyed Reptile 2. A Higher Pathway 3. Psychic Beacon 4. Agape Sophia 5. Superluminal Connection 6. Stardust Chronicles 7. Mindstream Continuum 8. Alnitak Sunrise 9. Breakfast on the Balcony Stardust Chronicles is Nebula Meltdown's long-awaited debut Psychedelic Goa-Trance album. The artist has released several tracks on Suntrip comps, including Encrypted Illusion that numerous listeners found superb. The album is spacey, atmospheric, harmonious, and showcases some of the most enjoyable Goatrance work of the year. 1. One Eyed Reptile begins with warm ambient, atmosphere, and a Carl Sagan sample from the classic TV show Cosmos. These aspects establish the album's traveling, spacey feel. I love the synth lead that begins at 2:03, the supporting layers that keep up, and the returning synth lead. It's gripping and reminds me of what a sequel to Tandu's superb Multimoods album could sound like. The song grows a little repetitive as it progresses, primarily from 4:48 to 5:42 (the only thing holding me back from a higher score!). The artist could have trimmed a minute in that regard, and the song would have been exceptionally well done. But that part around 2:03 really sets it off; nice work! This energetic opening has some superb work on it, and grabs my attention right away. B+ 2. A Higher Pathway is less energetic than the opening, but it still has energy. The song establishes a really nice sound early on, although the melody/sound work is simpler here. The song plays out like chapters with variety; they flow and develop well. The leads, while nothing intoxicating, stand out. The last third has a fun, bubbly/psychedelic segment (via the sixth minute) that's great. Good track. B+ 3. Psychic Beacon stands out more than the previous one to me; I really like its layering and soundscapes, most of all the positive, skipping sound and feel. This song sounds to me like a distant, foreign relative of Etnica's stunning Vimana track. Okay, maybe a touch of influence; the artist did something very different. The synth leads are enjoyable and catchy. Solid song! B+ 4. Agape Sophia continues off the previous track's ending, complimenting the album's homogenous, cohesive feel. The short ambient intro sounds beautiful, celestial. The following several minutes are light, and will attract some (warm atmosphere, gentle harmonies). Others however may find the first 3-4 minutes uneventful, slow, and even a bit boring. There is a cloud walking interlude just after the third minute where the song grows more engaging. The artist incorporates a combination of elements along with catchier melodies. These additions are delectable and enhance the relaxing, spacey sound established early on. Overall the song gets better in the second half, and I like the idea of varying the more detailed tracks with ones less elaborate, to not overwhelm us. That said, the first half could have been better. This is a gentle, traveling number between the more arresting, dynamic ones. B- 5. Superluminal Connection I consider less ambitious as well. It continues off the previous track well I feel. The first third has more energy which is cool. It's filled with little details, but I'm not engaged. The second third grows more enticing just after a Carl Sagan sample. The psy-work stands out more. In the last third, a machine/fax-esque sound a la X-Dream's Radio (but different) enhances the synth work. It's catchy. I simply wish that the first few minutes were stronger. At least they're not bad and build up to the more engaging second half of the song. B- 6. Stardust Chronicles is the beginning of the second part of the album that I find stronger than the first. Maybe the artist will make his next album great from beginning to end, but until then... This song is a return to the melody skipping, wave braiding layers that comprised Psychic Beacon (to some degree). They're even catchier here. The whole song gets catchier as it progresses actually. There is some similarity however with that Vimana-esque synth in Psychic Beacon and the one here. Fortunately, much of the work is different. The song is great! This song is deserving of its self-titled album. Well done! A- 7. Mindstream Continuum has a beautiful introduction. What follows is many layers of deliciously flowing ingredients that produce a developing, evolving rhythm. There's a cool sample halfway through, and a calming of excitement before take off where the spaceship acquires a tasty synth, one of several that keeps things refreshing throughout. The atmospheric elements add to the immersion too, and don't even get me started on the soundscapes and the imaginative psychedelic work in the second half. Excellent track! A- 8. Alnitak Sunrise is an uplifting morning Goa-esque Trance number. I really like the drum work, skipping melody, euphoric sound, and voice samples (I love some of the voice sample selection). The song is relaxing and dreamy, upbeat and full of positive energy. There is just something beautiful about this finished product that speaks to me. Its unexpectedly different, unique, and catchy! A- 9. Breakfast on the Balcony is a solid, mildly Goa-influenced ambient track. It progresses nicely. The piano and subtle drums in the last third add to the floating atmosphere with a touch more energy. It doesn't stay with me like the previous three tracks, but it is a respectable closing to a memorable album. B+ Stardust Chronicles is a mature Goatrance release with atmospheric, spacey and evocative elements. Relative to the first half, I love the synth work in One Eyed Reptile, the variety in A Higher Pathway, and the melody/sound work in Psychic Beacon. Tracks 2, 4, and 5 showcase a less elaborate/energetic side of the artist with parts that are stronger than the whole, especially Agape Sophia and Superluminal Connection. Both are enjoyable, but lighter, or less elaborate and memorable compared to tracks: 1, 6, 7, 8. Good news is that the album is atmospheric, has well developed introductions, and is pretty homogeneous. I also like how every song sounds different, with exception to Psychic Beacon and Stardust Chronicles that share some similar sounds and ideas. For a while I thought I was hearing the same track only to realize the differences when hearing them back-to-back. Any other complaints or nitpicks? The first half of Superluminal Connection could have been better. Also I would have loved if the album was stronger in the first half. But the first half has grown on me, and I appreciate all of the time, energy, and creativity that went into this debut. The voice samples are great too, more aware, and thoughtful for those into the cosmos, our connection to the source, eternal love and light. I found the album interesting and catchy, for those into the more traveling, atmospheric, occasionally softer (although the album open with a bang and is generally stimulating/exciting), albeit less (non) maximal side of Goatrance which is great too! This album grew on me. It has some great work on it. I don't mean to sound smug or selfish either, but please do not underestimate the power of a non red (final) score from me. Favorite tracks: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8 B+ Sample / Order http://www.suntriprecords.com/product/item/SUNCD29/ http://www.psyshop.com/shop/CDs/sut/sut1cd029.html http://www.beatspace.com/7761/Suntrip+Records/NEBULA+MELTDOWN/Stardust+Chronicles/detail.aspx http://www.goastore.ch/nebula-meltdown-stardust-chronicles.html
  22. Jon Cocco

    E-Mantra - Nemesis

    E-Mantra - Nemesis Suntrip Records, 2014 Goatrance 1. The Entity 2. Wrath of the Nomads (Rmx) 3. Fall of Icarus 4. Gebeleizis 5. Xibalba 6. Ayahuasca 7. Mission Aborted 8. Orphic Hymn 9. Shae Nab E-Mantra is Emmanuel Carpus. His Goa debut, Arcana (2009) was praised for immersing listeners with strong atmosphere, soundscape textures, and dynamic (tweaked tempo) transitions, one of which is the coolest enhancement that I have heard in electronica music to this day. Although I found that Arcana lacked memorable melody leads, I can't deny its innovation. The exploratory element was great and Dansul lelelor proved that the artist could create memorable leads in addition to the atmosphere and everything else. Pathfinder (2011) incorporated some catchy synth leads, but lacked the absorbing soundscape textures to the degree of Arcana. Pathfinder had some great tracks, elements, and moments nonetheless. It was more melodic, and yet less immersive soundscape wise and atmospherically. Some liked it more than Arcana and vice-versa. Anyway , three years went by and Emmanuel's tracks continued to impress on Psy/Goa and Psyambient/Chill albums until the next massive Goa creature arrived. This brings us to Nemesis (2014). Every E-Mantra album to date has had a bit of a learning curve for me. Emmanuel's style is very distinct and complex, and at times overwhelmingly creative. Good news is that Nemesis is more ambitious, imaginative, and atmospheric than Pathfinder. It also has more of what many liked about Arcana, the soundscape textures (exploratory element). I'd love to hear an all ambient/chill album by this artist in the future too. But moving on to Nemesis... 1. The Entity is the best opening [goa trance] track by E-Mantra to date. It has a fantasy edge that I miss (since the old-school days of Chi-A.D.) coupled with immersive atmosphere, strong synth work, a driving beat and bass line, tasty soundscapes textures, and some great synths. This song is like moving through a galaxy of space candy. I love the female voice sample, even if I miss what she's saying half the time. Her "sound" alone enhances the track. Oh, and when I bitch about there not being enough memorable melodies in E-Mantra's first two albums, just wait until you hear the one at 6:44. It's very catchy! I really like the return of the strong bass line at 4:05, the atmosphere and melody/sound (synth) work. The echoed, female effects are nice too! My ONLY gripe is that after the beat drops out (which switches up the sound a bit), I am less gripped. From around 5:30 to 6:39 the song begins to feel repetitive. Fortunately, the melody at 6:39 leads to ear candy at 6:44 that elevates the song. Very little here could have been perfected (to me) for a nearly perfect score, as the artist did a great job overall. The Entity is excellent, one of E-Mantra's most solid tracks to date. A- 2. Wrath of the Nomads (Rmx) I find less dynamic and varied than the opening. The song moves in one general direction, but it has a strong beat and base line. The synth lead stands out among the heavy backdrop, and is accompanied by soundscapes/textures, as is E-Mantra's more typical style and approach. To be honest, I was a little disappointed here, primarily in the first half. The song starts strong with a solid synth but grows repetitive and predictable by the third and fourth minute. Fortunately, there's an interlude/ around halfway through. The beat and music return at 5:10 where the song grows noticeably catchier. The beat is accompanied with more engaging sound work. Better late than never I suppose. Simply put, the song could have trimmed a minute or two earlier on, or involved more enjoyable work in the first half which would have made it more enjoyable. This is a solid track that starts slow and rewards listeners in the second half. B 3. Fall of Icarus I find more interesting than the previous song which showcased a more typical E-Mantra sound. Earlier on I'm grabbed by the atmosphere here. The bass line that enters at 0:55 captures the driving, dark tone; it's good. Gradually details are added. There are many layers here; I just wish that the melodies hooked me more, as with E-Mantra's work there is sometimes more higher pitched synth streams rather than stand out Goa tunes. Having said that, the song innovates. It's like a fluid storm of debris shrouded in lightning and space snapping rattle snakes that sneak up and surprise. The more times I listened to this track, the more I found regarding the complexity and cohesiveness of it all. It gets catchier as it progresses naturally, and showcases some really good sound work in the second half that compliments the first. Having said that, more memorable melody work would have been nice. Good if not great song. B+ 4. Gebeleizis begins like a computer spazzing out, printing up algorithms left and right without rhythm or reason, but in a psychedelic space sense; this is no computer or printer. The curious introduction slams the senses with an impact effect, or echoed beat and synth at 0:26. This moment is brief, but powerful and gripping. It also introduces the first wave of energy/synth work to power the starship. There is an interlude midway that reminds me of stars blinking out in the night sky. It's immersive and intriguing. Then a new crescendo of sound arrives, comprised of atmosphere, soundscape textures, and a delectable combination of synth melodies. The song evolves into combining the powerful effects with actual melodies that have harmony and feeling. I simply find that the last 1-2 minutes, while very nice, could have incorporated more development to increase the songs greatness in the end. An artist that applies this concept well is Cybernetika relative to his general tracks (1, 3, 6, 7) in the atmospheric and also dark album, The Scythe of Orion. Gebeleizis is a super song that has a soft ending that makes me go between a solid A and minus. The song is possibly deserving of a higher score. It's fantastic. A- 5. Xibalba begins less chaotically than the previous track, with good atmosphere and an effective, lower-pitched bass line. The bass line adds to the darker tone and is very effective, primarily when combined with other sounds that go into effect at 1:58. The more versatile "synths" are deliciously braided. There is a drum roll that leads into a highly effective third minute, coupled with a strong lead and otherworldly textures. At around 4:00, an echoed synth enters; this is the sound that I like from War of the Hierophant's track interlude from Arcana, as well as the Metamorphic Resonance track (last third) from Pathfinder. Here it's used more as a pitch bending accent rather than a visceral synth melody lead. Nevertheless, it's catchy and compliments the track; it's just not as infectious as how it was utilized before. No worries. It works well with the core rhythm. The beat briefly disappears at 5:12, and returns with the driving feel and even tastier melody/sound work at 5:25. It's also enhanced by the accent effects that appear like space insects flying by the voyager. All of this takes place with great synth work. An ambient segment enters around 7:15, and adds to the song's mood; it could be perceived as a sense of urgency or consequence. This part of the song sounds serious, evocative. It's interesting and adds character and feel to this intergalactic album. The song isn't as eventful as some of the others, but I like it this way. Xibalba is imaginative and captures my attention from start to finish. Well done! A- 6. Ayahuasca is the next track that I warmed up to the most, along with The Entity and Gabeleizis. ​This is because of the melody approach. The synth work emotes with the overall exciting feel. Instead of one synth, the artist somehow incorporated three or four, maybe five. The work sounds so layered and complex. It grows stronger, catchier as it progresses. The part around 4:20 forward has an amazing, climactic feel. It showcases what is quite possibly the artist's best melody synth (leading) work to date. I am very impressed with this part and how it fits into the context of the whole. I love it. The last third (or rather act) includes a very nice melody lead that blossoms around 6:16. It's unpredictable and uplifting! I love how the artist realizes that complexity alone does not necessarily make a song good. Ayahuasca showcases fantastic sound/melody work by the artist, who raises the bar on how uplifting and catchy his Goa songs can be! Part of me feels that the song could have gone even further or higher into heavenly bliss (ascension) in its final moments, but I really like the last few minutes. The song closes strong and knows when to end. Ayahuasca is one of the finest tracks in electronica! It's beautiful, unique, and innovative. The song has feeling too. It's excellent. A 7. Mission Aborted begins dark, as if abandoned or alone, though the samples off-set this thought. What stands out to me the most here are the astronaut's voice. They're catchy as they echo across the music. The first third keeps the tone and driving (under-current) dark. The synths sound mechanical and grows catchier in the second act. I like how the artist supports these darker elements, and the ambient/atmospheric layer later on. These examples show how well the artist puts sounds together, however I wasn't that arrested with the overall song. The astronaut voice samples add character and I like that. However the synth work, while catchy, never stayed in my head. There's no tune that grabbed me, no climactic elements either and that's okay. The second half is quite nice I admit. I simply never felt completely immersed or addicted, and the ending isn't really exciting. Having said that, the overall song is very well structured; it builds nicely and has some interesting elements, solid synth work. It's also dark and moody (though I found Xibalba catchier in that regard). The astronaut samples compliment Mission Aborted in that they're catchy. I just wanted to feel more involved and hooked with the overall song after finding the previous three so exceptional in comparison. That said, this is a very good track that seems to separate two more ambitious and delectable ones. B+ 8. Orphic Hymn is another one of my favorites along with tracks 1, 4, (now 5) and 6. The introduction is solid, and the beat/effect at 2:15 is wonderful. I love the humming ambient, and the synth work that enters at 2:33 is so ridiculously catchy. OMG I love it. Then there's the third minute where this infectious sound combines with others that sound as delicious with it. The third minute involves one of the catchiest segments in goa trance. After this phenomenal part, the beat leaves at 3:46 for an interlude (transition). This provides the opportunity to change up a few things and refresh the song. The returning music at 4:14 is nice. The atmosphere's enhances it. The melodies become brighter at 4:35 and I think it's good add light to the darkness. The second half of this song is attractive, don't get me wrong. I simply wish it was as infectious in the uplifting, positive and harmonious sense, as I love the idea. The melody/sound work is catchy. I just find them less captivating than the edgier work beforehand, which I found stunning. The song could have benefited from having a tastier final uplifting act in that regard, as it goes from darkly superb to beautiful good, in my opinion. Take Astral Projection's Liquid Sun, Radical Distortion's Star Dance, Goasia's Sunrise - ok those were morning Goa sunrise songs throughout and this isn't I realize (but for uplifting tracks that really impressed). Orphic Hymn does darker, edgier best and should have stayed that way with more development in the last third I feel. Or the brighter evolution could have used more work to make it more spectacular, just my two cents. I was so enamored by this song's first half and wanted to give it a solid A. Maybe a remix will get away with this. Orphic Hymn is another great track that showcases some amazing work. A- 9. Shae Nab, unlike the last two tracks previous E-Mantra albums is far from slow. Is slow uptempo an oxymoron? Regardless, the tempo is good. This final track has a smooth and fluid feel, with seamless melody/sound formations that develop in some subtle ways. The synth work is very good. I especially like the skipping synth that comes and goes. Shae Nab isn't very eventful (that's not the point), but rather one continuous movement; the song flows like water. This flow of energy concept ? track reminds of a little of Khetzal's opening on Corolle; this is completely different in sound and approach of course. A really nice melody enters around 5:00, and a more gripping (to me) one at 5:50. After the third or so interlude, the rhythm returns with even greater sound, deepening the hypnotic vibe. The ambient notes in the last minute are beautiful. It would have been nice if such feelings of euphoria were more present earlier on. The ambient notes add so much feeling and harmony; by the time they arrive, the song has almost finished. Nonetheless, the artist's blending of sounds here produce an old-school, goa sound that some will love. Shae Nab is a beautiful work of art. Its gentle approach may not stand out initially, as much as some of the other songs. This is a solid closing track that could have had more personality. It flows beautifully nonetheless. A- In conclusion, Nemesis is a strong album. If you're an E-Mantra fan, I think you'll be impressed, as I can be critical and pin point or over analyze even the smallest things at times. Every E-Mantra album I've heard to date has been impressive including his chill ones via Hermit Sanctuary (2013). The artist continues to improve and "perfect" his style on Nemesis and it shows. The album is dark and visceral, often immersive and at times magical. This album impressed me when I least expected, but it also took time to grow as Arcana did. I really like the power, rhythm and synth work of The Entity in combination with its fantasy elements. I was also impressed with Gebeleizis, Xibalba, and Ayahuasca for their strong synth work, arrangement, and sound formations. Orphic Hymn has an incredibly catchy first half (until 4:39 for me); the rest is pretty good, just not as addictive. Shae Nab is a pleasant closing track with an old-school feel. With the overall album, I enjoy the atmosphere, soundscape textures, and (being a huge melody fan) improvement in the synth department, though greater emphasis on tunes that get stuck in your head would be nice. There's a lot to explore thanks to the artist's attention to detail and interest in creating depth. The lower-pitched bass lines work well too, adding to the dark feel of the album. Constructive Criticism / Feedback 1.) Some of the melodies could have more development of arrangement. For this reason, I find Filteria's albums (DoOL and LitW) easier to get into. Emmanuel tends to scaffold his melodies more with trills on notes, whereas many Goa artists compose more arrangement. 2.) Sometimes this artist has something so perfect going, only to incorporate a last third that isn't as infectious (track 4, 8). I love songs that get catchier as they progress! 3.) I would love to hear more sleek interludes like the one in Arcana's War of The Hierophants track, from 3:58 to 4:50. Such work was wickedly catchy and sleek. The ones here are solid nonetheless. End of Feedback There are things about the other albums that make them special I realize. I have warmed up to Nemesis slower than Pathfinder, but faster than Arcana. This is probably due to Nemesis having more depth and exploratory elements/details over Pathfinder. Sure Arcana had some fantastic elements (atmosphere, textures). Pathfinder had the melodies (synth leads) that stood out where the debut was lacking. Nemesis is more refined, involved and deep; the synth work and melodies are catchier too. Thanks to numerous improvements, I think many listeners will consider Nemesis to be the artist's best [goa trance] album yet, but it took time to time for me to assimilate to this album for some reason. Not since moments in Arcana have I been so impressed with an E-Mantra album in the psy/goa genre (I also recommend E-Mantra's Hermit Sanctuary album for psyambient/downbeat). Nemesis puts the listener back in a voyage through intergalacitic space travel, atmospheric elements and exploratory psychedelia. It's a lot to process. A lot takes place, and while I personally favor certain styles of Goa over E-Mantra's (normal considering we all have our preferences), Nemesis was well worth the wait. Favourite tracks: 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 A- Samples / Order Suntrip http://www.suntriprecords.com/release/cat/SUNCD31/ Suntrip Bandcamp http://suntriprecords.bandcamp.com Psyshop http://www.psyshop.com/shop/CDs/sut/sut1cd031.html Beatspace http://www.beatspace.com/7916/Suntrip+Records/E-MANTRA/Nemesis/detail.aspx Goastore http://www.goastore.ch/e-mantra-nemesis.html Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Nemesis-E-Mantra/dp/B00HW1FEQA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391013235&sr=8-1&keywords=E-Mantra+Nemesis
  23. Beautiful album full of heart and feeling, spirit and depth, vision and ingenuity.
  24. Jon Cocco

    PharaOm - Tesseract

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