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Aes Dana - Leylines


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Artist: Aes Dana

Title: Leylines

Label: Ultimae Records

Released: 3rd June 2009

 

Tracklist

 

1 Alignments (7:57)

2 Bam (Album Edit) (7:58)

3 Oxyd (8:37)

4 Heights (6:59)

5 Adonaï (9:01)

6 Leylines (9:11)

7 Lysistrata (Album Edit) (9:23)

8 Signs (6:44)

9 Inter (6:04)

10 Blossom (6:06)

 

Aes Dana, Vince Villuis one of the Co-founders of Ultimae Records (which is still one of my favourite labels around), is out with his 4th album Leylines. Vince’s ambient style of soft floating melodies and subtle beats being broken up by big thumping beats is a style that has enthralled me in the past. His first 3 albums, Season 5, Aftermath & Memory Shell were incredibly fine works of art. They are the kind of albums that whilst listening to in your living room with the distraction of your partner/kids/pet/work/etc never sound that interesting but take it into a relaxed space without any distractions and his music opens up for you. The level of sonic structures and the melancholic feeling that seems to be the calling card of many Ultimae artists, flows over you and I for one never get tired of hearing it. With this right place, right time and right frame of mind style it can be easy to buy the album not connect and put it on your shelf. This I have done with about half of all Ultimae albums I have bought but I have come back to all of them and in the end I have ended up loving them.

 

Leylines has it all, it has some purely soft ambient tracks like the opening Alignments as well as other tracks that are a mix of soft ambience then some pounding ketamine trance then back to ambient like Lysistrata. Both have a very urban night time feel to them and are very visual allowing my mind to create all kinds of urban scenes for me to watch as I am listening. For the totally ambient tracks it is easy to float away, I feel like I am rising high through the city, up and over rooftops and looking down at the limited night time activity in the streets below. I really get a feeling of that orange street light that bathes everything in a warm glow that can make you feel toasty even on a winter’s night. With the soft trippy beats that massage my mind I can float on in peace dreaming up different situations, a woman silently shouting at her boyfriend in the middle of a street, a man walking home after finishing very late a work, a dog running or even a homeless man trying to stay warm. All of these urban scenes are bathed in that warm ethereal glow and played out silently as if completely detached from my own reality. The tracks with more of an upbeat feeling allow for a more active role in the events that unfold in the mind. Instead of floating above everything I am in the thick of it. In the middle of a dance floor at a warehouse party, operating the machines in a factory making something that nobody know what it actually is or walking in the street as a Chinese carnival procession snakes its way through you. These are of course just some examples but every time I listen to the album I see different scenes unfolding. For me this album is the aural equivalent of people watching. I think the perfect time & place to listen to this would be with good headphones sitting next to the window of a second storey coffee shop overlooking a busy street and watching everyone as they go passed, see how they interact with each other and with the world.

 

Stand outs include Oxyd a very soft track that always has me feeling like it is going to kick off into something much harder but never actually does. It has my heart pushed right to edge of a cliff & I can see the huge fall down to the bottom & I have the feeling like I could fall but I never actually do. The melody in this track is really nice. It is dreamy and it feels like it never tries to make you like it; it is natural and never rushes anything giving the track a lovely feeling of going at your own pace. The title track, Leylines as it is a perfect example of simple ketamine trance. The beat is steady and plodding the whole way through. The melodies are simple and infectious and the background has a lot of dreamy ethereal synth drones going on. It has breakdowns and build-ups just like regular trance but at a much slower pace. It’s like really good progressive being played through a dense fog. Magic stuff. The best on the album is Lysistrata which was also on Opus Iridium last year but even after a year it is still a masterpiece. I have played it in my sets time and time again and it always goes down well. The real beauty of this track though is the vocal/melody. I’m not sure what it is, some kind of synth but it puts me in mind of lost souls desperately crying out to the intruder that has stepped into the ocean of lost souls & trying desperately to scramble up & escape the tedium of the nether world that tortures them eternally. It’s beautiful in a really depressing way. This has such emotion that can only be got from electronic music of the highest order. Signs is simply a haunting ambient track with a synth drone like a light howling wind and a vocal that sounds like it is coming out of a church in a dark religious horror flick.

 

This album is another winner from Aes Dana. I had my doubts when I first got it as I thought I had the perfect place (my very own music room, just for listening to music) but my head was not in the right place. My mind was too cluttered and I didn’t focus well enough, always thinking of a distraction. Problems at work kept filtering in as well as domestic problems. But once I relaxed and was easily able to empty my mind, this album emptied its contents into my head. I really love it now and I think it is not just a time & place album but a time, place and state of mind. Some albums help me relax, no matter what’s happening in my life I can put them on and my troubles float away. This is not one of them; I need to be relaxed already before I put this on to fully enjoy it.

 

The CD comes in a deluxe digipak with a 16 page booklet. The pictures are as usual very beautiful and match the album’s music very well. I love the feeling of cartography on the inside of the digipak although I am not falling in love with the front cover, something about the hands that I just don’t like. The booklet again is filled with great shots, my favourites being the bud on the inside of the front page and the tribute to Season 5 on the inside of the back cover with the ladybird. My least favourite is unfortunately the picture of the man himself, it’s just so out of place.

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I was toying about doing a review for this album on here a little bit ago since nobody seemed to have written on. But I forgot and now it looks like you wrote a good review. :)

 

 

I think it's just as good as Movements imo.

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  • 1 month later...

6 months on, I forgot I had written a review for this and wrote another one :P

 

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Artist: Aes Dana

Title: Leylines

Label: Ultimae Records

Released: 3rd Jun 2009

Style: Ketamine Trance, Downtempo, Ambient

 

Tracklist

 

1 Alignments 7:57

2 Bam (Album Edit) 7:58

3 Oxyd 8:37

4 Heights 6:59

5 Adonaï 9:01

6 Leylines 9:11

7 Lysistrata (Album Edit) 9:23

8 Signs 6:44

9 Inter 6:04

10 Blossom 6:06

 

At first the new album by Aes Dana was a disappointment which in itself was kind of a relief. My favourite ambient and downbeat albums of all time have all initially failed to make an impact on me. Solar Fields – Leaving Home and Extended, Secede – Tryshasla, The Infinity Project – Mystical Experiences are all albums I can listen to a hundred times a year and not get tired of. Albums that at first really impressed me just don’t seem to have the staying power, so initial disappointment is a good thing. It then takes quite an effort however to make yourself listen to that disappointing album again but being from Ultimae and Aes Dana I knew that there was a good chance this could be a grower.

 

The album starts quite ambient with Alignments which is quite nice but very soft and Aes Dana fans might not feel like it is the way to get into the album. I like it but it is not one that really grabs your attention. The next track however is where the album starts in earnest. Bam has an enticing melody and nice vocals that sound like transdimensional aliens screaming from the other side of reality. Oxyd is another track with a really nice melody. It starts off very empty feeling but the elements pile up over the course of the first few minutes and the resulting track with nice soft beats, relaxed atmosphere and the lush melody makes this a great track. Heights is a little heavier but still chilled with a very nice atmosphere that reminds me of cold winter evenings by a countryside road.

 

Adonaï is where the album starts to get into the ketamine trance mode. The beats get progressively stronger throughout the track and it is a perfect lead into the upbeat part of the album. I especially like the synths in this track and the vocal sample is sublimely trippy. The title track Leylines is great. After my initial disappointment this was one of the first tracks to open itself up to me. The atmosphere created is immense. It feels so big and wide open like staring at the sky with an evening hue and seeing the first stars come out. Not cold but with a chill in the air, the beats are strong and steady driving this into a nice danceable but still chilled track. The best track on the album for me is definitely Lysistrata which also appeared on the Suntrip compilation Opus Iridium and was my favourite on that too. After a year and a half and having played this track in numerous mixes (it mixes so well with its lush ambient intro and ending) I still get blown away. It is beautifully sad with a lot of emotion crammed into its 9 minutes and 11 seconds. The vocal/synth thing going on is fantastic reminding me of lost souls crying out their despair from the netherworlds. This is my favourite Aes Dana track to date.

 

The last three tracks take us down to the more relaxing depths of ambient. Signs is a nice beatless number with a lot of atmosphere and great ethereal vocal synths. Inter has soft breakbeats and an nice bass feel underlying the main melody, there is not as much atmosphere as in the previous tracks but it does feel warmer and more like a summer chill track. We the end the album then with Blossom which has more breakbeats, a little more upbeat here, a beautiful melody and the same warm summer chill feel. These last three tracks feel like they are in the wrong order. I would have preferred ending the album on Signs but that is a small gripe.

 

As the album progresses the tracks become more beat orientated and go from ambient to soft beat chillout to thumping ketamine trance then relaxing more again towards the end. This progression reminds of an extended version of an Aes Dana track, which often has an ambient intro then a period of thumping beats then back to a nice relaxed finish. The more relaxed tracks are quite subtle and can take some time to get into but it is this subtlety that allows them to be more lasting. The melodies don’t stick in my head and each listen to the album is like a new experience. So all in all I think I would say that this is a great Aes Dana album. It might take some time to grow on you but then again all Aes Dana albums have taken a long time to sink in for me. I still have not managed to get into Aftermath probably because I don’t own the physical release (damn limited edition) and I struggle to connect to downloads.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't think it's just you. A lot of people seemed disappointed by this album but I think if you give it a year to grow, people will start seeing more to it than they initially did. The trick with a lot of Ultimae is to listen to it then put it away for a few months and come back to it later, usually I much prefer it it later :ph34r:

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dissapointed by this album? I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!

 

I'm not sure if Movements or this is my favourite ambient album of the year, but this one is for sure my favourite Aes Dana album... Bam, Oxyd, Leylines,... Absolutely superb tracks imo! :)

it is darker, more subtile and has some IDM influences, but simply perfectly done... It's super hypnotic music! :)

9/10 for sure for me :)

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Didn't like it that much to be honest.

I let it grow on me, but still sounds a bit empty.

 

Same thing here. I own all first editions Ultimae CDs (cept that elusive Aftermath and the original Asura) but the latest Aes Dana is too much MOTS. Damn we fans are a hard bunch to deal with :D

 

Great guy tho, he'll rebound I am sure...

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Hello, I am new here, been reading here since a couple of months and then decided to join in on the frey :P

 

I have to agree completely with Anoebis here, it's just an amazing album, such a deep atmosphere and yet so tranquil and beautifuly composed.

 

Top notch work!

 

I especially like the track Adonaï, where the beat kicks in so simple but with so much determination, just a wonderful build-up towards the albums main attractions leylines and Lysistrata, which are both awesome tracks.

 

Love it, 9/10

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  • 3 weeks later...

Does anyone know how to pronounce Aes Dana, and what it means?

 

It is Celtic and is the name of a mythical Irsih race also called Tuatha Dé Danann. Probably pronounced Ay as da na

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ok now I am starting to understand what people mean by "It grows on you". I find this album more enjoyable with each listen. Very relaxing.

 

Amazing background music for sure... :)

 

Great release.

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Definitely an album that will grow on you if you allow it to marinate and kick around the 'ol brain bucket. It's so emotional and packed with atmosphere. The sound and flow don't throw you into their tale, but gently guide you.

 

This is dark melancholic cloud music. And I love it. Stunning from beginning to end.

 

Mdk

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This and Hol Baumann's Human are really the only ambient I ever clicked with. It's beautiful music which displays a breathing, scaled back quality. This music for me is the sensation you get while walking around early mornings in the autumn, in foggy landscapes. At times urban as if you're in a city that's still sleeping, but it's not dark outside and yet not sunny, a misty atmosphere. It's a very special style. Far from the euphoric soundscapes often explored within this genre. Very introspective music to make you contemplate things.

The percussive elements have this almost pre-historic sense to them. It's very soothing organic sounds which evoke a hypnotic sensation. The tracks are also characterized by a dark mood, not in a sinister way, it's more of an enigmatic somber expression. To me the music on offer at times conjures up black and white images, the beats at times are very cool as well. This album fits very well for when you're commuting around on the subway or for early morning walks. Highly recommended if you need some good music to focus with, for studies or for when you might feel creative.

I would argue that this album resembles a great book, in the sense that it doesn't try to impress the listener, it just is. Whatever daydreams Aes Dana falls into while producing music, I'm thankful that he managed to capture it and express it with his music. Because I can't even comprehend how calm and focused one must be in order to create such a refined album. This is really introspective aural paintings painted on a canvas with notes, sounds and beats for us to be swept away in, captured by the remarkable craftmanship on display.

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