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Total Eclipse - Tokyo Live 1998Artist: Total Eclipse Title: Tokyo Live 1998 Label: Suntrip Records Date: April 1st, 2019 Track list: 1. Electro Gismo (Live) 2. Defrost (Live) 3. Kikamboot (Live) 4. Partycles (Live) 5. Sunrise (Live) 6. Collapsar (Live) 7. Miyukette (Live) 8. Chaotic Circus (Live) 9. Free Lemonade (Live) 10. Space Clinic (Live) 11. Are You Abducted (Live) 12. Psychedelic Terrorist (Live) Total Eclipse is one of the most influential Goa groups from the golden age. Tokyo Live 1998 is a re-mastered album filled with unreleased tracks and different versions from a set that was played in Tokyo in 1998. Being a fan of the group and someone who also has their classics, Violent Relaxation and Delta Aquarids, I was pleasantly surprised (to put it mildly) when I discovered the existence of this album-- nostalgic yet timeless. This would have been a classic from the golden age had it released in 1998. 1. Electro Gismo (Live) -- I never heard any version of this track before. The song's equipped with a catchy, organic-esque effect, like marbles or Chinese balls being shaken around the beat, but more integrated (like a melody). It's very nice and organic sounding. There's an intense climax early on. The synth is a bit harsh a la Crop Circles, but adds rough excitement to the danceable whole. Act 2 is great, returning to the groovy, more exploratory opening feel with greater depth and complexity. I like that the last act grew darker, more brooding and dramatic while remaining bouncy and fun. A- 2. Defrost (Live) -- This track develops tension and buildup before exploding into multiple, elaborate climaxes. The sound/melody work is fluid and infectious, resulting in a stomping sound frenzy with no shortage of growth and development. Moreover, there is a dark undercurrent synth (like Juno Reactor but refreshingly different) at its core. The song is wild, dynamic and fun, and bound to get blood pumping. It grows increasingly tasty and sinister, and the narrative/arc is excellent. Super track. A 3. Kikamboot (Live) -- Begins a little indecisive, but its direction becomes clearer, more psychedelic, and congruent in the second minute. A catchy, twangy synth compliments the music at 2:00, and the synth work grows increasingly catchy from 3:27 forward. The song's less climactic approach is a nice change after the previous sandstorm, allowing for more experimental sound/melody work. I was expecting more from the last act considering the previous two tracks seemed to develop more ear candy/development in Act 3. Besides a few short comings, the pure Goa sound is nice. This is a good track! B+ 4. Partycles (Live) -- Starts with the classic wind up the [insert inanimate object] bedtime melody (you'll know when you hear it) that got my attention. The first two minutes were a little slow, but led to a delectable accent at 2:30 that worked wonders until more substance arrived at 3:12. Here I jelled to the music. The song gradually transforms into a dark, edgy, and rhythmically contagious gem thanks to a strong second and third act. Somehow the song manages to infect in its last minute, whereas most songs are in cool-down. I simply wish the first act was a little more congruent, but I'm nitpicking since ideal Goa songs generally get better as they progress. Though I like the previous track, I'm more hooked by the feel and tone in this one. The song develops into a more comprehensive vision in the second half and rewards the listener. A- 5. Sunrise (Live) -- Is atmospheric and unpredictable. The track makes great use of its main melody and is complimented with a trance-inducing (quickly dribbling/repeating) synth. It's so catchy! I love the key changes that support the story (narrative), and the feels! The artists follow their vision to fruition, and at one point accelerate us through some darkly unexpected terrain thanks to an upgrade (of sorts) at 4:45. The interlude that follows allows for a reiteration in development and an adrenalized climax, and I won't reveal the unexpected ending. Sunrise (Live) is a tight story-driven gem that knows when to captivate us with sleek as b@lls (!) sequences, and when to chill out and just be. A- 6. Collapsar (Live) -- Follows off the ending of the previous track. We're floating in a neon sky that grows darker almost seemingly on point. Here the alien-influenced night-life emerges. Little firefly soundscapes echo around a growing sense of TENSION. We get some elegant piano-esque notes halfway through, though the song's general sound is moody, mature, dark, and engaging. The middle act develops into an attractive, musical sub-vision from the main arc, totally unexpected. Yet underneath it all is that darkly rich and engrossing (core) bass line and synth. The last act is good too, full of insectoid pops and clicks that sparkle the atmosphere with greater detail and luminescence. The song is further proof that the artists are great at combining light and dark (duality). A 7. The Antidote - Miyukette (Live) -- Gives us 20 seconds until the latch breaks and the music flies out the gate like a dragon full of fury. The melodies really pop in this track. The artists combine soft/euphoric sounds with grittier textures and some juicier, more colourful tunes with expanded development in arrangement (!). The result is an infectious, musical Goa song that's great for both home listening and dance floors/festivals. The middle act is excellent, increasing the storytelling drive with a greater sense of purpose. The artists take risks thanks to a desire and passion to experiment and always push further. I'm not a fan of the briefly repeating effect at 2:50, but it's through experimenting that we're exposed to so much ingenuity on both the song and overall album, and the last act is homogeneously solid. A- 8. Chaotic Circus (Live) -- Begins as if it's part-way into an uplifting, uptempo song believe it or not. Somehow the artists manage to make it work (I don't even want to know how). We're treated to a sonic fusion of melodies, like a famous Goa anthem. The arrangement is reworked at 2:00, maintaining its energetic feel before returning to the main melody and arrangement that inspired the opening act. Chaotic Circus is simpler than the other tracks, but very good/great nonetheless. I see this as a fun transitional piece-- though it's a main song obviously, between the more elaborate, ambitious ones. B+ 9. Free Lemonade (Live) -- "In the future, be more careful from whom you accept free lemonade." -- Ahhh... the classic track from back in the day (Delta Aquarids album). Think Close Encounters of the Third Kind if that film had a Goa theme. The song is accented with the sample before escalating into a cyclonic twister (around its signature theme sound) in the second minute. Free Lemonade is a darkly melodic track. Nonetheless, it doesn't feel as superior after hearing the slew of great songs on this album. The song builds towards two very cyclonic waves, reflecting its characteristic title that merely reflects the sample, otherwise the song could have been called something else. Great track! A- 10. Space Clinic (Live) -- Begins with one of the harshest, edgiest synths. My girlfriend feels that the first 1:45 is too rough. I think it's great. The track maintains its focus until 2:30 when the sounds drop out. This part lingers a bit, enhanced by a beeping (like one of those old telephone centers) effects that regains interest until a terrific climax at 3:35. The climactic segment develops well and although it's the last stand-out event on the track, the song feels complete (and completely solid) through its final moments. A- 11. Are You Abducted (Live) -- "What the hell are you doing man!!!" is the sample that sets the tone early on. This track feels unrestrained (in a good way). Some of the sound/melody work, e.g., 2:46-- is superb. When I hear songs like this, I shake my head at how this album never got a proper release until now. The ride reaches a second climax before diving into an infectiously acidic pool. A perk that's grown on me is the fading out of the track before the emergence of the beat. This helps to front new-- crunchier, darker, catchier, more psychedelic development, accented with an electric guitar. Super song! A 12. Psychedelic Terrorist (Live) -- Well this is different. We get some surreal sounds coupled with fast breaks early on. The first few minutes are catchy, e.g., a bouncy synth in the first act. Having heard so much by this group, I was expecting the song to grow increasingly infectious. Maybe it's just me, but the second act (part) to this track via 2:27 does little to hook me. It sounds a little too noisy and muddled for my taste, and I'm not a big fan of the arrangement. I do like the interlude at 3:07 to 3:42, and the zippy feel of the song. It's energetic and danceable. I like the returning energy/climax at 3:43 too. But I'm on the fence with the returning synth combinations in the last act, but that's me! Obviously the song was made for fun, to be thought-free (kick back and move). In that sense, I can see this being a fun party/dance track with the right crowd. I just prefer the group's more elaborate, ambitious work that's also fun and so broadly showcased above. B+ Conclusion 12 tracks and a handful of A songs is just part of the reason to get this album. Suntrip took one of the best unreleased Goa albums from the golden age and gave it a beautiful re-mastering and re-issue. Total Eclipse was never one (or three via trio of artists) to skimp on being elaborate, ambitious, imaginative, and visionary, and this is no exception. The music is punchy, tight, elaborate, and dark. It takes risks, had an expansive, flexible sound, and is fun! Thanks to the stellar mastering, we can hear every sound and detail. Everything is so crisp! It helps that the track list is healthy, full of top tracks. This is such a respectfully well done and appreciative release, kind of a gift/blessing for fans of Goa music. I own Violent Relaxation and Delta Aquarids, both great albums, classics in the genre. Tokyo Live (1998) is a stellar release that showcases some of the best songs in the genre that were never released until now. I just don't get it. This album is a huge surprise. Some of the tracks are INSANE!!! The sound/melody (synth) work is so catchy!!! Songs have character. They're dynamic, unpredictable, and visionary. Furthermore they have strong narratives. When was the last time you even read that about a Goa album? Pleiadians, RA, Cosmosis, D5, Filteria, and Khetzal (among most of our favourite Goa artist/groups) have strong narratives. They understand storytelling and how to structure a song to keep us engaged in the plot (narrative) throughout. This often involves a string of events along the way, but sometimes Total Eclipse packs so much plot into their songs that it's quite frankly amazing when they go all out. Granted there was a moment or two (here and there) that I found less stellar, but the overall track-visions, sound/melody work, and direction is terrific! While some songs have stronger narrative arcs than others, having good storytelling (direction) is huge. I love the sound/melody work on this album! The group also develops their arrangements, one of my biggest gripes with the otherwise great Morphic Resonance album, Perplexity (at times). Give me something with more developed arrangements. This album does that, and it was made in 1998! Moreover, it takes risks! The songs not only develop, they evolve. I've heard so much Goa that doesn't develop or evolve the music to THIS Degree, where THIS much change takes place at times. All in all, I'm not one to put every Suntrip album on a pedestal. I never cared for Denshi Danshi or the Prānā remix album, seemed lazy and uninteresting to me, not even worth buying. But this album, despite not every track being an A (from me) is fantastic! If you're a Goa purist, this is a must own release. Tokyo Live (1998) is more than a live set from 1998. It's a re-mastering of unreleased tracks and different versions, and some of the best songs Total Eclipse has ever made. It's been a while since I enjoyed a newly released Goa album this much. Prayers that this attracts everyone who loves Goa music. Although nothing is perfect, not even Pleiadian's IF.O. in my opinion, this is a super album!!! 4.5 / 5 HIGHLIGHTS: Defrost (!!), Partycles (!), Sunrise (!!), Collapsar (!!!), The Antidote - Miyukette (!!), Free Lemonade (!!), Space Clinic (!!), Are You Abducted (!!!) Reference links -- Samples / Buy https://suntriprecords.com/release/cat/SUNCD55/ https://suntriprecords.bandcamp.com/album/tokyo-live-1998