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Trance2MoveU

Cell - Hanging Masses

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Trance2MoveU    364

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Artist: Cell
Title: Hanging Masses
Label: Ultimae Records
Date: December 2009

1. Calling
2. Switch Off (featuring AES Dana)
3. Second Shape part I
4. Risky Nap under blue rree
5. Hanging Masses
6. Vapor
7. Second Shape part II
8. Universal Sunrise


Aes Dana. H.U.V.A. Network. Solar Fields. Carbon Based Lifeforms. These are the perennial powerhouses when you think of chilled out grooves and downtempo bliss. The fact that they are all released under one label is mind blowing. Ultimae is a force in this type of music releasing consistently superb material in the genre. Cell is Alexandre Sheffer, who has had quite the prolific career as a sound engineer, keyboard player, artist and teacher. His works have shown up on numerous compilations and is sought after for remixes. His album "Phonic Peace" could arguably be called a classic, and shows his ability to go from lush downtempo to deep goa atmospheres. Starting with the cover, it is typical Ultimae style with the letterbox format showcasing what appears to be a satellite adrift in space. And isn't that what satellites are, hanging masses? As for the music, I was going to take it track by track and describe the emotions that I felt when listening to this disc. Unfortunately, it ended up a failed storytelling attempt as all I could think of was scary sci-fi movies we have all seen. Not very original.

So let me tell you that this music is very cold. Cold in the sense of being adrift in deep space, not unlike the Event Horizon. This is a journey of a future time, where advanced nanotechnology rules. The percussion is slight, pitched up with rich pads and soft twinkling melodies floating in zero gravity. This is music for computer monitors, with the soft glow of blue L.E.D.'s. Sterile, as in the movie Gattaca. The dull drone of machinery is ever present and I want for warmth, but I'm sorry Hal, I cannot do that. This is an album that sets a mood and sticks with it. It evokes strong imagery, and immerses the listener allowing the tapestry to unfold before him. This is a total 180 from Cell's previous album, but it is marvelous. Highly recommended.





Psyshoppage
Beatspace

Mdk

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Redington    4

At first listen, I thought it was a little too low-key. But then I listened to it a bit more and I think it's growing on me; much like Ephemeris did.

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abasio    227

Posted Image

 

Artist: Cell

Title: Hanging Masses

Label: Ultimae Records

Released: 10th Dec 2009

Style: Ambient, Downtempo

 

Tracklist

 

1 Calling 8:52

2 Switch Off 8:30

3 Second Shape Part I 9:02

4 Risky Nap Under Blue Tree 6:35

5 Hanging Masses 10:48

6 Vapor 8:32

7 Second Shape Part II 8:59

8 Universal Sunrise

 

Cell has always been an artist that has impressed me on compilations and was long overdue to release another album. Phonic Peace was great, a fine example of how ethnic music can be good and not cliché ridden monstrosities. His tracks on Ultimae compilations though were in a different league & I could see it was in this style that he really excelled. So when word came that he was releasing a full length album on Ultimae I was delighted. I was not disappointed; Cell has outdone himself on this album. It is chocked full of cold atmospheres, cool relaxed beats, melancholic melodies and it has an overall feeling of reflective wistfulness. The use of vocal samples is perfect; they are soft, subtle and add to the atmosphere of trippiness rather than dominating the music or just not quite fitting in. The sample in the opening track Calling is a good example of what I like in sample use. It is of a man saying something in some context I don’t know which gives it an aura of mystery and intrigue which fits the music like a glove.

 

The melodies in this album are fantastic. Melancholic beauty at its best, you can tell that a lot of time, effort and feeling has gone into the crafting of this album and it is most evident in the melodies. They are so subtle yet so intense, they run around my head twisting with complexities yet on the surface they sound simple and uncluttered. Listening to Switch Off featuring Aes Dana I get a sense, no matter where I am, that I am lying on my back with a cool breeze washing over me without a care in the world. The melody snakes through my mind and lets all my troubles float away.

 

In this music no one thing dominates, the beats, the melodies, the atmospheric drones and the assortment of other sounds don’t ever take centre stage. All the elements work beautifully together and create something bigger than the some of its parts. Second Shape Part 1 for example has more focus on the bass but still it is not in anyway distracting from the atmosphere it creates or the subtle melodic lines. Second Shape Part 2 later in the album is much softer but follows the same beautiful blending and fits very nicely as the second part to this track.

 

This album is a work of art, everything about it pure class. From the visual art contained in the booklet, which is the best art from Ultimae yet to the all important music and even the track titles. Risk Nap Under Blue Tree perfectly fits the track as it gives me a feeling of forbidden relaxation; catching 40 winks at work, dozing in church or smoking a joint in your bedroom with your parents downstairs unaware.

 

The title track Hanging Masses is a perfect representation of the album as a whole. It is soft, subtle, complex under the surface yet simple on it. It has cold wistful melodies, a smattering of beats that tap on one side of your head while the rest of the music massages the other side. It is the almost 11 minutes and could have been longer, the progression works really well and it explores a lot of space inside my mind filling it up and preparing it for when the beats kick in proper in the second half.

 

A great thing about this album is that it is never in a hurry to do anything. The tracks build up slowly and the melodies, beats and atmospheres seem to just come out of nowhere. Vapor starts off slow and relaxed and stays that way for a good 4 minutes never feeling the need to rush in with the beats or pushing a melody in your face screaming look at me. It all sounds so natural, unforced like this album was grown rather than made.

 

All tracks are lightly mixed so there is no gaps between the music and this works well like on a lot of Ultimae albums adding a smooth feeling to the relaxed vibes. It really creates a nice journey and you never need be jolted out of your reverie when listening. This journey is one of peace, relaxation and cold melancholic joy. The journey is punctuated by the last track Universal Sunrise which is very ambient, very relaxing and has a kind of finality to it. It is like watching the sunrise after staying up all night, it is magical and an event unto itself. It never rushes, but naturally progresses through the sky. The vocal sample “wake up” is placed very nicely setting the scene more in my head.

 

An excellent album, Cell – Hanging Masses is for me the best Ultimae release of the year beating Aes Dana, H.U.V.A. Network, Imaginary Friends and even Solar Fields – Movements for the number one spot in my heart. My favourite release this year in any genre and it is subtle and beautiful enough that I am confident that it won’t get old quickly. I have been listening to a lot as being released in December it ran the getting into my top ten list of 2009 and then me getting bored when I had fully explored it. So I spent hours exploring it and it passed the test with flying colours. Wonderful album!

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Great solid stuff. Definitely top 10 2009. I was very skeptic towards this album, since I never like any CELL stuff before. But this album is really something.

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piginspace    0

You must really be missing something, because this is the worst Cell album yet and I suspect most people will agree with it. His previous albums all had greater depth, personality, and were even more melancholic. ;)

 

don't agree at all, but i prefer hallucinogen over hunab ku also...

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frix    3

I don't know his previous efforts.

 

For me this album works best in a special mood,

because of it's quite slow pace.

Like when I'm tired and just want to relax and may have a nap.

Then it keeps me in a comfortable state between sleep and daydreaming.

 

It definately did grow on me. At the first listen I was a bit disappointed.

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JISNEGRO    107

I've just listened to it laying on my sofa, and I must say is an excellent album, very organic and complex.

 

I hadn't payed too much attention to this album, but from now on I know it's an excellent work that I can listen to whenever I want to relax.

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MAM015    1

I don't know his previous efforts.

 

For me this album works best in a special mood,

because of it's quite slow pace.

Like when I'm tired and just want to relax and may have a nap.

Then it keeps me in a comfortable state between sleep and daydreaming.

 

It definately did grow on me. At the first listen I was a bit disappointed.

 

Me too, but i think that those who liked the first album will be disappointed by this one

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frix    3

I just re-read my previous statement.

Can't believe I was disappointed at first, lol

 

I was missing out so much details with my cheap sound rig.

This has changed now.

I'm in love with this album and still play it from time to time

and it's definately among my fav top5 ambient albums.

It really helps me calm down my soul.

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Trance2MoveU    364

Just moved to my new home and am taking a break from unpacking. So many boxes it seems like it shall never end. Need to relax and the slow dreamy pace of this album hits the spot. I like what Abasio said, "It's never in a hurry to do anything."

 

Just like I wanna be.

 

Mdk

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