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Hello, people of Goa. It is an honor to me to write this review of Proxeeus' debut album, entitled At the Mountains of Madness. It is an honor, because this release has a special meaning. First of all, it is released on July the 14th, which is the French National Day, comemorating the Storming of the Bastille. And it is no coincidence that NeoGoa has chosen this very day to spot a fair light on the Proxeeus project, which proudly represents France in the Goa scene. It is also an honor, because this very day is also the 5th birthday of the NeoGoa adventure. Introducing a new artist to celebrate this time of the year is definitely a great way to spread the Goa flag. Hence it is a good opportunity to recall that NeoGoa has been a brilliant label all over the years, constant in quality and innovation, and that had definitely left its print in this scene. I shall also add, as a personnal remark, that the very first full-lenghth Goa release that I ever listened to was Dimensional Gateway vol. III, and that from this day this label has been for me a criterion to determine the average quality of a newschool product. Henceforth, I say to you, NeoGoa : a big thank you, and a happy birthday. I wish you eternal glory. Now, let's talk music. Introduction Behind the Proxeeus projects is Jérôme Lesterps, a rising artist who has spent a whole year building himself a reputation in the realm of Goa Trance. One year ago, he was anonymous. But after much work he managed to participate to some releases : Stellar Discovery [Goa Galaxy] in summer 2014 Celestial Transvibrations [NeoGoa] in winter 2014 Psychedelicus [Goalogique], Floating Between the Moon and the Sun [Goa Madness] and Translinguistic Perceptions [Visionary Shamanics] in spring 2015 And now a full lenghth album released by a famous Goa label. This rapid evolution can be explain by the peculiarity of his sound. A sincere acidic sound inherited from the golden days, with an extra supplement of smoothness and a rusty groove. It is with this musical signature that Proxeeus made me like acidic Goa Trance. At first I found it to be bizarre, but I gradually got into it, even though his music offered many little imperfections. Sometimes a bit bland, sometimes too fluffy, or too confuse, and pretty repetitive from track to track. According to me, the biggest challenge that Proxeeus had to deal with with the Mountains of Madness was to overcome these many issues to produce a brighter sound. The concept At the Mountains of Madness The title of the album in itself conveys us to an unusual destination. But the promise is clear. The journey will take us to an ascending spiral of altered mental states, until we reach the top of psychedelicness. Madness will be explored in its utmost glory, as mountains tend to be associated with something dominant and transcendant. The style This is the hardest part of the review. Depicting sounds with words is not a natural thing, but it is important to put an impression on an artist's fragrance. First of all, Jérôme Proxeeus remains here truthful to his former tracks. The album is characterized by a very strong feeling of organic-ness. While many Goa artists tend to focus on a story-telling structure with narrative movements, and resort to mythological motives, Proxeeus prefers to brew a mixture of sounds, like a sorcerer making up a potion. Psychedelicness is attained through the unfolding of many textures, through the cooling and warming of the beverage, through the chemical reactions that occur between the many drooling, peeping, bubbling sounds of 303 sparks cooking up amidst the bassline cauldron. The music acts as a warm fluid, a psychedelic lava that progressively enters the mind to make consciousness boil like a strange philtre. And this is precisely what I like about Proxeeus' sound : it's liquid, and it proceeds by waves. It has amplitude, regularity, roundness, just like water. Warm water. When I close my eyes while listening to this music, a biologic scenery unfolds in my mind. Many Goa artists tend to create a vast, cosmic sonic space, to fill it with energy, and to shake it with a sismic energy in order to create spacequakes, thanks to heavy basslines. Proxeeus does not. Instead, he occupies the space with a muffled bassline and dense textures that gives a feeling of an inner resonance. It's a bit of an underwater sensation that, combined with a organic input provided by the acid loops and the hot tempo, plunges your body in an amniotic bath. It is a carnal music, but in an intimate, cocooning sense. The heat of the music is the heat of a breath ; the pumping is a heartbeat ; the fluidity is like blood running. Adding up to this biologic theater, there is an underlying cyberpunk theme. Machines meet hot organic fluids. Living organs are connected to computers through wires. Sinister atmospheres of an uncanny laboratory go through the tracks. A mechanical menace is heard echoing. And accross the Galaxy, malevolent cyborg aboard their starships seek to rapture the living. The coldness of steel responds to the warm vividness of the body. And that is very interesting, because it highlights the relationships between the actual Jérôme Proxeeus, a being of flesh and bones, and the metallic instruments which he tries to make sing. But overall, it is an introvert music with a silky touch, a deep music aligned with the body's frequencies which uplifts organic memories from time to time, a shamanistic beverage with a retro sci-fi accent. The global mood of the track, with its deepening reverberations, put you in a stasis suitable to a psychedelic experience, and the constant buzzing of coloured spots all around the tracks puts the mind into a hallucinogenic state that soon becomes a form of enlightened madness. The plot The story takes place in a far future. Mankind is rotting in decay across the Galaxy. Machines are supreme and lead the Milky Way, while sloth and slunder have paralyzed most of humans. In the dark suburbs of one of the largest human colony, a rumor has spread. There is a new drug that circulates underground, an illegal substance with legendary properties that people struggle to obtain. Its name is ayahuasca, a synthetic product famous to awaken ancient memories from one's ancestors. But Proxeeus is a young hacker that isn't interested by drugs. One day, as he enters confidential files of the deep net, a mysterious entity appears within his occulus rift. It is a living hologram, a artificial intelligence made up of algorhythms who claim to be Hanuman, an ancient Hindu god. As Proxeeus talks to him, the divinity progressively takes possession of him. Hanuman's goal is to counter a conspiracy, machines plotting to enslave manking to a higher degree, a mechanical menace that threatens the colony and beyond. That's why he reveals to Proxeeus a code – the Vimana, to hack the machines, but his brain cannot handle it. To make his plan work, Hunaman sends the human to collect as much ayahuasca as possible, so that the god penetrates further into his mind, and expands it from the inside. As he is tripping high, Proxeeus deviates from his course, and enters a dimension against which the junkies warned him about : the Mountains of Madness, a range of hallucinogenic peaks against which consciousness is wrecked. As the hackers sinks into insanity, Hanuman seeks the cybernet for the help of another hologram : Chandra. The final track tells depicts the ruins scattered around the Sea of Tranquillity... The tracks 1. Across the Galaxy Dark, mysterious, stomping. A modern track with a bassline reminding me of Etnica – Intense Visitation, and cool electric FX. 08:36 is mind-opening. A- 2. Hanuman Deep. Twisted. Dedallic. A bit funky. Somehow recalls me of Miranda. A- 3. Vimanas I didn't expect this more full-onic bassline into Proxxeus' universe. Some metallic, scrapping sounds recall early psytrance. A slightly bit itchy for my taste. But I liked a lot the oriental climaxic melodies, which are very hypnotic. A 4. Mechanical Menace Very shamanic. Crazy and ritualistic. I would definitely dance to this one. A- 5. At the Mountains of Madness Some rare acid spirals in it. The bassline is awesome. Hard scratching acid. The climax is profound. A 6. Ayahuasca Classic acid trance, with some oriental highlights. B/B- 7. Chandra Knows A very futuristic track with a compelling cyberpunk atmosphere. A- 8. The Sea of Tranquillity You guys know that I don't like Goa downtempo. So, I won't rate this track :/ Overall : challenge succeeded. Proxeeus has refined his sound, and created an amazing album. He now stands as the new Semsis, even if he incorporates modern influences that recall early psytrance 1998 style (like X-Dream). Examples of Semsis : Planet, 1997 Pile, 1996 Artwork Not bad. The moon looked photoshopped. Overall it reminds me of a little something... Conclusion Cool music that is excellent to regulate your mental states. It's not surprizing that Jérôme Proxeeus found therapeutic virtues in this form of Goa Trance. GJ. DOWNLOAD FOR FREE