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Asura - Life²

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abasio    228

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Artist: Asura

Title: Life2

Label: Ultimae

Released : July 2007

 

Tracklist

 

1 Golgotha (6:12)

2 Back To Light (7:16)

3 Galaxies Part One (Album Edit) (8:15)

4 Celestial Tendencies (9:07)

5 The Prophecy (7:28)

6 Five Lines (9:32)

7 Life² (7:49)

8 Galaxies Part Two (10:34)

9 Butterfly FX (6:27)

10 La Chanson De Carla (4:56)

 

I built this album up in my mind for months prior to the release so there was a high chance of me being disappointed by this release. I am a big fan of Ultimae Records & Asura, Asura had also been touting this one & I was very excited. Amazingly this not only lived up to my expectations but surpassed them by quite a distance. I was prepared for this to be good but I was prepared for it to be this good! Easily my favourite release by Asura so far. The whole album has a vast spacey feel to it and although all the tracks are very different from each other they all form part of an album that takes you high out of this world.

 

1 Golgotha

A soft dreamy opening with a lush drone & a drawn out ethnic melody leads into a heavy tribal beat. The melody continues & evolves then around the 3 and a half minute mark a long synth gives this track a vast feel. I feel like this track belongs in the sound track to some epic. I feel as if I'm stood on a hill watching an army charge towards me but safe in the knowledge that I can't be hurt. The melody changes from flute to voice almost noticeably. Great start.

 

2 Back To Light

This track is more upbeat with a steady plodding beat, glitchy background noises & lots of ambient noises floating around. It all seems rather random for a while but it falls away & kicks back in with drive and purpose. By the time the ambience comes & pushes it forwards it's sounding like another biggie. A tiny melody comes in briefly here and there and slightly distracts from the rest of the track & I could do without it but it's small and not too distracting.

 

3 Galaxies Part One (Album Edit)

I heard this 1st on Oxycanta released last year. It manages to have an extremely celestial yet earthy feel to it. The vocal wail is powerful & I feel like I am lying in a field late one summer night looking up at the stars & dreaming of floating among them. Very soft slow beats in the background seem to add to the wide open feel of this track as it takes us high into the sky.

 

4 Celestial Tendencies

A disjointed start with lots of background noises under what sound like a fiddle playing. It all stops once the beat kicks in & it's a big Bom Bom Bom beat. The ambient noises collect themselves into something meaningful, a slow plodding trip around the solar system. Things pick up even more in the latter part of the track when the beat leaves & the ambience picks up, the fiddle comes back & everything whooshes about. The beat comes back & it feels like it's pushing me through the cosmos.

 

5 The Prophecy

A long slow ambient intro builds suspense somehow for the rest of the track. Without using any beats it builds the intensity bit by bit until the track feels so dense. It all falls away in an instant & is minimal again for a while. A very recognisable (yet I can't put my finger quite on where it is from) ethnic vocal enters before some soft flute. The intensity seems to have built up again without me noticing into a thick muggy night time sky. One of the heaviest beatless tracks I've heard in some time.

 

6 Five Lines

A drop in intensity some trippy beats joined occasionally by some really wet beats. When the base 1st sounds I can also hear some spacey fluttering in the background. It puts me in mind of standing on some alien cliff top watching a storm in the distance. A curious far away violence with no immediate danger to me. Until it starts moving this way being pushed by the beats. Suddenly it's upon me & I am drenched in a sonic downpour :)

 

7 Life²

The title track is a bit of a beast with those big plodding beats that sound like they are on horse tranqualisers. The introduction gives the track a lift of energy and although the beat stays strong it doesn't seem quite as oppressive as when it first came in. The rest of the track has really nice celestial sounds & although a good track I think I'd prefer it with a softer beat.

 

8 Galaxies Part Two

Ever since Asura said this alum was going to have Galaxies Part One & Galaxies Part Two I have been really looking forward to this track. I have not been disappointed. From the vocal sample of life on mars to the utter floatiness of the track it's just dreamy celestial goodness. The beats are laid back and reserved so fit the feel of the track perfectly. It's the longest track on the album weighing in at 10:34 but it evolves well & stays interesting throughout. A very good second part to a great track in galaxies :D

 

9 Butterfly FX

Getting into the tail end of the album now & this track sees us back in heavy territory. The beats are powerful & the sounds are tight yet vast at the same time and lots of energy. It gives the track a close dense feeling like a black hole. Some nice ethnic melodies give this a nice Eastern space vibe.

 

10 La Chanson De Carla

Love this track! A Beautiful melody & gorgeous vocal. It seems lovely & lonely. It reminds me of nostalgia for an old girlfriends I mistakenly left behind on my journey in life & is now lost to me forever. At the same time it keeps up the celestial atmosphere of the rest of the album & is a great and to a great album

 

 

 

Wow, what a great CD. A fantastic journey through space with a lot of variety between the tracks. Some of the track have beats that are a little heavier than would be ideal for me but that is a minor complaint and doesn't detract too much from the greatness of this album.

One of my favourite albums this year. If I could sum it up with a list of adjectives I would call it Vast, Majestic, Epic, Wide, Tight, Dense & overall celestial! If you liked Asura's first album I'm sure you're going to love this!

 

Favourites 1!,2,3,4,5,6,8!,10!

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Ayane    0

This looks like fun. I'm going to give it a try :)

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amphiton    2

What an awesome album this is. I couldn't stop listening for the first 2 weeks ;)

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Jon Cocco    90

One of my favourite albums this year. If I could sum it up with a list of adjectives I would call it Vast, Majestic, Epic, Wide, Tight, Dense & overall celestial! If you liked Asura's first album I'm sure you're going to love this!

 

Then I'm going to love this. Nice review abasio. I just heard the samples. This sounds great. I didn't know Asura had it in them to make it more like the first. I'm glad they returned to their psy ambient-influenced electronic work with strong sound/melody work, feelings, and beats.

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Ayane    0

yay, it is great!.. I'm totally addicted :)

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Drew05    8

amazing album

very different moods

the title track is super groovy

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Drew05    8

how do you guys rank this album compared to the first two? are they worth checking out?

 

or are there any compilations Asura has good tracks on? i'm keen to explore this sound further

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abasio    228

how do you guys rank this album compared to the first two? are they worth checking out?

 

or are there any compilations Asura has good tracks on? i'm keen to explore this sound further

If you liked this then you should definately check out the 1st album.

The second album is good too but of a different style. More ethnic :ph34r:

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Drew05    8

sweet thanks for the advice Abasio,

between this and your Ishq mix you've put me onto some sweet chill recently

cheers

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Nexus    0

how do you guys rank this album compared to the first two? are they worth checking out?

 

or are there any compilations Asura has good tracks on? i'm keen to explore this sound further

Check them out, imho Lost Eden is their best album and one of the top chill releases of all times.

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Been listening to this album now since I got it. When the end song starts and then it gets to the vocals I just want to laugh, cry, implode, explode all at the same time and marvel over the beauty of not only the osng but also of the world. This is a FUCKING AMAZING ALBUM!!! I know I will have this album my whole life and still listen to it when I retire. It's a shame the first album is out of stock I really want that one...

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Nurbs    0

Ya..its truly amazing. It follow my vacations and give me great moments. Bravo to Asura :clapping:

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Anoebis    414

The first is absolutely brilliant! :wub::wub:

 

The rest of the album I haven't heard much because I keep repeating the first track :D sounds very Vangelis, melancholic-movie like :)

 

Soon a longer review, but the rest of the cd was very good for sure, altough I would swear I could hear Solar Fields influences here and there!

 

But as said before here... Ultimae never fails :) 5/5 again :P

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node1    0

Enjoying this album, not as much as some others tho' because i get really uncomfortable hearing "Galaxies (part 1)" on this album! Hearing it takes me straight into my Oxycanta (which i love) listening mood! :( which then leaves me dissorientated. :)

 

Honestly it just doesn't really fit into this albume properly in my opinion. :(

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asura    0

In fact, this version of Galaxies is not the same as the Oxycanta one, longer, different mix, and thematic variations. But well, I respect your point of view ;)

 

Just for the information, everybody, you can vote for a track from this album, The Propecy, elligible to be in the Pathaan's Sunset Soundtrack on the BBC. Last day for voting: saturday!

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork/pathaans...haw/index.shtml

 

Love and light from here ;)

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Snapinho    0

Brilliant record! :) Abasio's review kinda sums it up for me, I agree mostly.

 

In fact, it's so good I think I'm gonna put it on next time I trip on something that makes me ly down for some time. ;) A lot of out-of-this-world-ness, spacey, touching, ethnic but not too much, musical, emotional but not overly dramatic, it hits the right spot.

 

Asura are (is?) consistently putting out great music. Love this!

 

Q: what are the lyrics in The Prophecy? The female ones ... just before the flute kicks in?

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Jon Cocco    90

Asura - Life²
Ultimae Records
July 2007



R-997968-1182427245.jpg


Tracklist

1 Golgotha (6:12)
2 Back To Light (7:16)
3 Galaxies Part One (Album Edit) (8:15)
4 Celestial Tendencies (9:07)
5 The Prophecy (7:28)
6 Five Lines (9:32)
7 Life² (7:49)
8 Galaxies Part Two (10:34)
9 Butterfly FX (6:27)
10 La Chanson De Carla (4:56)


This is one of the best albums of 2007, hands down.

1. Golgotha is a chilling, somewhat enchanting and powerful, emotive score. I could imagine this being played during a powerful, historical (to more or less degree) film like City of God, Braveheart, Blood Diamond, or Gladiator for starters. This opening song sounds different from anything I have heard by Asura to date. It's not Ambient I don't think. Trance neither. It's like something you'd feel while being captured in a emotional, riveting motion picture. This is an excellent song and opening. It's strong and moving. I love it. A

2. Back to Light starts slow and has a great buildup into a thick storm (but not storming) and rhythm of beats, lush melodies, and other sound effects. But it's those strong, not-too-fast and powerful beats (and whatever depth alterations or enhancements may be involved/mixed in or around them) that drive the this missile. The melody work is strong and the song evolves throughout. This is an excellent song! A

3. Galaxies Part 1 is different from the previous version on Oxycanta compilation. This is a very spacey, floating ambient piece, the first on the album. I like the echoed, altered voices. And I'm pulled into the celestial sound emerging from the blending harmonies and sounds around the 5-6 minute mark. These sounds are superb; they're transcending and elevate, seriously raise the entire track. Some listeners may consider this number a pleasant interlude of before the next stronger wave of energy with beats, song. Many would disagree to that. This is a full, well developed Ambient Space track, not an interlude. And it's very catchy for those who can be present with it and not focus on other things on their mind that are not important in the present moment during. I wouldn't be surprised if Asura was inspired by Solor Fields on creating this warm, atmospheric journey through space. It's very well done regardless. Appearing simple in execution with a powerful, uplifting and transcending final third. A

4. Celestial Tendencies is a very well done and motivating number with a strong, continuous beat, warm atmosphere, a nice female voice, and streaming melodies. I like how it progresses as it develops, and the hymns in the backdrop (remind me of the score in the moody, original film, "The Prophecy" with Christopher Walken! The violen transition is attractive; it breaks up the song nicely and fronts the continuation quite well. A-

5. The Prophecy starts slow and begins as another ambient, emotive score initially. And I'm not complaining. I enjoy how the songs generally build by Asura. They don't reveal all of their magic in the first several minutes which is nice. This one involves male opening tribal/ethnic male vocals followed by female vocals. I'm not a big fan of the guy who says "Prophecy..." because it doesn't correlate so well with the floating music. But this is minor. The touch is actually fine. This is one of the most emotive songs on the album since the opening track. The ethnic female voice that eventually enters is catchy. Do the extended hymns of the male towards the halfway part foward sound a bit too aggressive or distracting from the intriguing current of sound? At first I thought so but on second and third listen I didn't mind it so much. Overall great track. I love the sustained instrument, the ambient, and the female voice especially. B+

6. Five Lines begins ambient and gradually slowly develops a pretty good beat. The first several minutes are gentle and relaxing, great background/chill music. I initially thought Asura could have created stronger melody work around the beat, but the chilled music has grown on me, and seems to compliment the less subtle melody work on the album. The song seems a little more repetitive than the others, though the 5-6 minute transition refreshes this feel nicely. The music returns after fading out. I thought the song was over. The song is more progressive, and lacks evolution upon the music's return. Again however, the progressive approach has grown on me, and creates some diversity among more dynamic artwork. The previous one's were more gripping (or had more movement, events taking place), but the idea of a less gentle beat here is good. Solid track! B+

7. Life² is a return to strong beats. Cleverly placed echoed sound fx are enhanced by melodies as you'd expect from Asura's beat-driven songs. Also great is the buildup, skipping voices. There appears to be some Goa-influenced melodies at times! I think the beats are just a little "too" strong (at times) relative to the beautiful sounds/music and rhythms throughout. Sometimes I think not. The song is arresting and keeps me interested, hooked, and involved throughout. Great track! So catchy and wow! Nice work. A-

08. Galaxies Part 2 is the most ambient driven track since Galaxies Part 1. As a follow-up to Part One this is a peaceful, floating score with a slow beat. Sustained melodies, atmosphere, and sounds correlate as few artists seem to do so as Asura and Solar Fields. It's difficult for me to score these Ambient tracks because I generally prefer songs with beats, but I'm warming up to these. They create variety and are thankfully strong. I think track 3 was the more powerful (in its progression). This is dreamy and celestial sounding too. Maybe not as heavenly as "Galaxies Part One." That's just my point-of-view of course. This is well done and compliments Part 1 (track 3) and the overall album. Oh it's so very nice actually. A-

09. Butterfly Fx involves one of the strongest kicks (beats) on the album. I really like the combination of Ambient to beat-driven Ambient Trance tracks on this album. It's good for contrast, to avoid a repetitive feel (like every track is the same even though that isn't true) perception. The contrast is is nice. As I hear a more relaxed song like Galaxies Part Two, I find myself ready for something more driving. Listeners will find Butterfuly Fx to a good driving beat with breaks of ethnic sounds and ambient as the song regains consciousness and evolves into a different body of grooves and sounds. The skipping melodies are great. The overall direction I find more compelling as the song progresses. This is one of the best beat driven songs since tracks 4 and 7, one of the best songs on the album period. A-

10. La Chanson De Carla is short but worth it. The album could have ended gently with track 8 or more driving with track 9. However Asura was kind enough to add one more, just one more... an uplifting and melodic electronica ambient-influenced piece that resonates as an epilogue (sort of) in my opinion. It's very much its own track though. It sounds different (more ethnic) from the previous songs, and combines some great ideas, such as female vocals, ambient, and atmosphere with a beat. This and brings closure to a wonderful journey filled with beauty, love, and light. B+ / A-


In conclusion, Life² is Asura's most mature and flawless album to date. The first two were mature. I rated the debut (Code Eternity) very high because I felt that it broke ground with how Goa melodies were utilized with ambient-influenced trance/downtempo, and the quality of the overall delivery, execution. My gripe with Code Eternity however was that there were radio samples in one of the tracks involving domestic issues. These had nothing to do with the journey that the album presented. Fortunately, there are no suspect or questionable samples in this third album, in my opinion. The samples are well chosen and carefully placed. The voices and vocal work seems to have been given serious consideration. Life² is a great album. It flows better than the second album (Lost Eden) and is more of a continuous journey like the first (Code Eternity). The difference between this and the Code Eternity is that this has more of an ethnic (more or less New Age at times) influence, where as Code Eternity can be described as Ambient Trance with Psy/Goa influence via downbeat. I can't say the difference of having no Goa melodies is a loss here either. So much has been added and changed that succeeds. Both albums, (more epic ones 1+3) and all three actually are completely different even if they share some similar, positive characteristics. It's like the artists set aside or moved beyond whatever they were initially doing and started with a fresh approach. I say this because the way Asura described this album in 2006 would later reveal itself being totally different (and better) than anything I had imagined based on previous description. Naturally if I were to mention a weakness or something less positive, it would be that the first song has such cinematic flair, it's so provocative and gripping that it's curious as to why Asura didn't create another piece as cinematic and emotive in the classical (as opposed to Ambient Trance, or Downtempo) sense as the first. All in all, the tracks that follow the strong, moody, and unexpectedly great opening by Asura is a list of solid songs that combined, make up one of the strongest albums of the year and in the Ambient Trance genre as well. What Asura accomplished here is awesome. Life² is a wonderful album.

Favorite Tracks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

A-

Samples:

http://www.saikosounds.com/english/display...ase.asp?id=6698

http://www.psyshop.com/shop/CDs/inr/inr1cd025.html

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asura    0

As usually, a great and complete review, not only because you have incredible words for my work (and thank you so much for that) but too because you go into details, with sentences and feelings.

Respect Jon, and Love and light from here, I am so happy I didn't disappoint you. Huge thanks for the others wo felt in love with this album. You can't imagine what it means to me, really....

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asura    0

Asura are (is?) consistently putting out great music. Love this!

 

Q: what are the lyrics in The Prophecy? The female ones ... just before the flute kicks in?

Hi "Kyle" Snapinho ;) The female vocals from The Prophecy were taken on a cd of the vocal planet package.

I know some persons here don't like artists putting some pretty overused samples in their tracks, but I like the idea of treating them differently than the others, as far as I am concerned. It was the same thing when we used the same sample as Shpongle's "around the word in a tea daze" in "Lost Eden", though we didn't know when we composed it that Simon and Raja Ram already took it. It's the same in "la chanson de Carla". One told me the female vocal had already been used in another track, but to be honest, I don't care. For me, a vocal sample is a sound, a material, exactly like a synth, and I think it doesn't matter if it has been already used elsewhere. It's what you do with it which is important. For me, La Chanson de Carla has no sense without this sample, cause the track has been built up around it. But of course, it's just my point of view...

 

And yes, since 2005, you can say Asura "is"...

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Snapinho    0

Hey, I'm not Jewish? ;) Or who are you referring to, Kyle? Me not get it. :huh:

 

Anyway, I wasn't talking about using samples that had been used before, in fact I didn't notice. Not even in Le Chanson de Carla, even though I know Shpongle's songs really well. When I get home I'll listen to both tracks again, out of curiosity.

 

But what I meant was: did the lyrics mean anything? In what language is she singing (french?) and what is she singing about? It's ok of course if they were just used as instrument, but I wanted to know if there was a hidden meaning anywhere. I really liked it. :)

 

Cheers!

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asura    0

Hey, I'm not Jewish? Or who are you referring to, Kyle? Me not get it. :huh:

 

Anyway, I wasn't talking about using samples that had been used before, in fact I didn't notice. Not even in Le Chanson de Carla, even though I know Shpongle's songs really well. When I get home I'll listen to both tracks again, out of curiosity.

 

But what I meant was: did the lyrics mean anything? In what language is she singing (french?) and what is she singing about? It's ok of course if they were just used as instrument, but I wanted to know if there was a hidden meaning anywhere. I really liked it. :)

 

Cheers!

Kyle Maclachlan, it's the name of the actor you use for your avatar ;)

 

Concerning La Chanson de Carla, it has not been used in a shpongle track, but someone told me it was in another track of an artist I don't know.

The song in the Prophecy is indian. For me the important thing in that track is the beauty of the voice and of the melodies.

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