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RA - 9th


frozen dream
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Be it an abbundance of soul, or complete lack of, production genius at work or a fluke, call it what you want, but Ra's "9th" does not reside up my alley. I do not consider the album bad, far from it, it's just one of those situations when you're sorrounded by what most consider sheer beauty, but you fail to get immersed in all it has to offer. It's like your living room is equipped with the most modern, state of the art audio and video hardware, and whilst being aware of its full glory and might, you don't use it. Like you remain locked by yourself in the finest candy store you can imagine, and while you're usually a dedicated candy terminator, you won't taste a single chocolate bar this time around.

I'm not shy to admit it either.

Grand leads flying from all over, emotional, mystical, deep, dance floor friendly and suitable for many situations.

Excellent production, with dynamic percussion and a whole ocean of moods painted throughout.

The flow is carefully arranged and obviously well thought out. Journeyesque, call it that.

 

What it all comes down to is that Ra's sophmore album is that old school release you have been waiting to hear since his debut. Well, it's here, and I'm not feeling it.

No given part of it is lackluster, likewise, none of its components stick with me. And I've given it time too. For reference only, as far as straight up melodic goa trance forged in this new millenium go, I was delighted when I heard Khetzal's "Corolle". I tried to listen to both one after the other. Despite the fact nothing on this album played in my head on repeat like Khetzal's Indian Attic, Ra's music prevents me from getting really loose and lost. Apparently this is floating goa trance, but that is what I lack. If the rest of you flow, I'm a ship wrecker. If that makes sense, mmmmk?

 

You know when you're in a room with your mates and then one of 'em tells the rest to shut the hell up while he is preparing to put on his newest musical purchase, Ra's "9th". He puts a track that really impressed him, and then keeps on repeating to his friends "Listen to this melody! Just listen! Isn't it amazing? Isn't it the coolest thing you've heard in a while? I mean, wow, listen to that lead!!!" The other buddies nod their heads in approval and join the public exalting feast. All rise. One mate remains sitting on the bed. That be me. I just fail to get impressed by this album. Whenever my eyes catch it residing on the shelf, never does the arm want to reach out, grab it, and let it play. I think I've had just about enough. Cheers!

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  • 4 months later...

I haven't heard this album for over a year, then it got mentioned again on a different forum a few days back. I loved it back then but now I'm listening to it again I'm in awe. The music is strong and delicate, both things simultanously, playful, dramatic, melancolic, euphoric, driving. The production is flawless, the attention to detail everywhere is obscene. The melodic skillz of Ra are just right.

 

Truly inspiring. Just thought I'd show my appreciation :)

 

Cheers,

bsf

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  • 3 months later...

A lot of these melodies and soundscapes are just so soft, rich and pure. For me, you have to be in the right mindset to get the most out of it, it works as background music, but then you lose all what makes this so special. But when I get to be in that mindset and I listen to this, it dwells into my subconscious mind and makes me feel and see things.

 

Ra - 9th is really a marvel in the modern psytrance business, in my honest opinion. The sound and soul is just like from the 90's GOA-trance period, but with the modern production. A rare sight.

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Beautiful CD. It reminds me of the Hunab Ku album, one or two of the melodies are from there directly. But it's a lot more chilled. It's nice to see goa trance like this that isn't trying to be super hardcore with 50 melodies at once. I hope we can get some more great chilled goa trance in the future, it is really some of my favorite stuff though there's only a couple CDs that have ever bothered.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Maybe a bit too much of the same notes and rhythm that gets blurred by delay effects. And definitely too loud bass drum, perhaps a bit overcompressed sound.

 

But well thought out, floating music with a sense of journey.

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  • 1 month later...

Beautiful CD. It reminds me of the Hunab Ku album, one or two of the melodies are from there directly. But it's a lot more chilled. It's nice to see goa trance like this that isn't trying to be super hardcore with 50 melodies at once. I hope we can get some more great chilled goa trance in the future, it is really some of my favorite stuff though there's only a couple CDs that have ever bothered.

 

Hmmm, since I composed this with Lars I feel like I have to ask since you are saying some of the melodies are ripped from Hunab Ku.

If any melodies are similar to Charlies riffs then I was unaware of that fact and I guess I should go back and listen to the old Hunab Ku CD again.

Allthough I must admit that me and Charlie have often talked about how similar our composing styles are and it was one of the reasons we liked working together so much, so I would not be surprised if people can hear lots of similarities.

Please list the RA tracks (and the time) and list the Hunab Ku tracks that we "took" these melodies from.

 

Chris [RA]

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Maybe a bit too much of the same notes and rhythm that gets blurred by delay effects. And definitely too loud bass drum, perhaps a bit overcompressed sound.

 

But well thought out, floating music with a sense of journey.

 

Thank you for the last positive remark.

When it comes to the "overcompressed" kick I can mentioned that yes, it is of course compressed in the original mix, overcompressed? no.

Maybe the mastering took it slightly over the edge, but that's about it.

Also how much compression you use is a matter of taste, and not as black&white as some would like to have it. Some music genres overcompress a lot as an added effect.

I've seen some posts from you before about the "loudness" of music and how the compression today destroys the dynamics in music. I agree, in many ways it does.

I suppose if we decided to go for STEM mastering instead we could have had an even cleaner sound, but as you may know using STEM is also risky as it may change the overall picture too much, not to mention the costs...

 

"Same notes and rhythm that gets blurred"? Well, I see where you're coming from and again this is a matter of taste.

I don't know if you produce yourself or not, but to get a sense of 3D dynamics (or a sense of space) some delays are usually effective in this genre.

How much you decide to use is a matter of taste and a matter of composition technique. Sounds strange? Well, say that you compose a goa track and you want a feel of a C minor changing to a G# major (and maybe moving into the F minor and A# major before going back to C min). How to do this when you leave out the 3rd of every chord AND you want to keep the bass from changing (because YES, the bass often lose punch when it changes too much).

One way of dealing with this is introducing the 3rds in the riffs where you play with the feel of the chords without actually changing the chord.

By adding delays the picture becomes more complex and whole when the notes are overlapping. Of course the delays do NOT make the same effect as having 2-not stabs (in 5ths) going in the background like more commercial trance, but the notes are there. Much like a real violin for instance that has a natural overtone and hence composers tend to leave out certain notes in their violin arrangements because the feel of the left out note is already present. This is referred to as harmonics and is hard to distinguish as separate notes, but the feel is different if you were to remove these harmonics.

By listening to the riffs solo with delays I go over them again and again to see where the essential harmonics happen and how they affect the feel. Many times by putting the FX up to max just to know exactly what is going on I edit away notes or change them because they add a slight disharmony and then I take the FX down again to the normal level. It takes time and effort but is worth it in the end.

Shame you think it is too much, but it is definitely something I would not change :-P

 

Chris [RA]

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  • 3 months later...
  • 3 months later...

Next to Corolle Suntrip's most solid album, lovely story-telling throughout the entire album. Not much changed since To Sirius, but it still sounds fresh and certainly not outdated. I play this one at least every month, right when I'm about to forget that I have it. :D

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  • 4 years later...
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On 11/22/2008 at 10:43 AM, Lemmiwinks said:

Another thing bugging me (about this album and new school in general) is the absence of memorable hooks: ok, you're having a good time while listening to this album but press "stop" and try continuing the melody in your head: nothing will come because nothing really stands out! I remember back in the days some oldschool melodies were so memorable that they would stay in my mind for YEARS. For example, I haven't listened to Prana - Scarab for at least 5 years but all I have to do is close my eyes, think about the track and it all comes back to me in a flash: the way it starts with the didgeridoo sounds, the way it picks up and continues, the way it stops near the end and the great melody starts just when you thought the track was over, EVERYTHING! That simply isn't the case here, or with most newschool releases. Maybe this should be something that newschool producers should keep in mind for future releases?

I read your old review on discogs and i wonder you see at the same way today? It is right many Neogoa has unmemorable melodies, cliche-sounds and so on. But here I hear one memorable melody after another. Some tracks have not only one hook. Here are not only floating melodies or arpeggiator after arpeggiator. The whole album is memorable. That is the reason why this is a real classic for me and one of the best albums in history of Goatrance. :-)

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  • 2 years later...

I really like this album, it’s a solid introduction to the first Neo Goa wave. The album takes on where their debut album ended. Which interestingly enough was one of few Goa albums released back in 2001. So one could argue that Ra - To Sirius was indeed an antecedent to Neo Goa wave which would emerge in the mid 2000’s, along with Dimension 5 - Second Phase, Miranda - Asynja, and MFG-The Message.

Which were really the truly last proper Goa albums from the veterans of the first 90's Goa wave. When I contrast this album with the To Sirius album. I actually think the 9th album has more good tracks overall, but the one killer track on the To Sirius album, the track R.O.M, is a heavy hitting Goa juggernaut. Which on it’s own is a stronger, more memorable track when compared to the better tracks on 9th. 

This album is certainly very euphoric and trancey. With lot’s of hypnotic repeating hooks and a lush atmosphere throughout. Which is sure to keep the listener engaged during the duration of the album. The track order is well thought out with immaculate pacing. Which makes for a pleasant listening experience. From the intro to the slower paced outro ambient number. Which is a good formula, a pyramidal concept of sorts. With ascendance in the middle somewhere. 

Another strong suite of this album for me is how the tracks have just enough layers, so that all sounds and details can be easily appreciated. It's not too scaled back, but never overloaded either. I think it's a bit of a nordic trait actually. As I tend to find this same quality in a lot of nordic craftmanship, be it visual design or audio. Miranda's albums also share this particular trait. And by all accounts the music of Elysium/Sheyba did as well. The Overloards to some extent did too, there is of course always examples of the contrary. And there are some really maxed out forest music and what not created in Scandinavia. But for Goa I have to say most of it that I can think of shared some of these qualities.

I also like how the sounds used on this album are kinda on the soft side of things, it's a bit reminiscent of the lush sounds I associate with the 80's synth and pop music. There's not much screaming or too distorted sounds. I think airy would be an apt description of how this music sounds. Lightweight layers of brightly shining crystallic soundscapes, which stylewise to me places it firmly in the realm of pure morning Goa.

 

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