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V/A - Ether


Jon Cocco
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V/A - Ether

Altar Records

2010

 

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1. Astropilot Feat. Chronos - EXPECTATIONS (8:30)

2. Flooting Grooves - TOWARD THE LIGHT (9:24)

3. Mr Peculiar feat. Athena Etana - ANCIENT TRIBES (8:00)

4. Astropilot - ANSWERS (7:21)

5. Tentura - FREE YOUR MIND (7:16)

6. Distant System - ASTRAL MAP ERROR (8:00)

7. E-Mantra - EMPTINESS (8:11)

8. Shakri - LOVE AND DEVOTION (5:52)

9. Lab's Cloud - WINDS FAIRY (6:29)

10. Asura - EVERLASTING (9:18)

 

 

Ether is the new (and final) compilation in the elemental (downtempo/chill, downbeat/Psy) series, and features new and exclusive tracks by Distant System, E-Mantra, Asura, and more. What a surprise to end the year on.

 

 

1. Astropilot Feat. Chronos - Expectations is a gentle opening, coupled with flute, piano, an ambient backdrop, and more. The track has an Indian/ethnic edge, and a warm feel throughout. The piano and (what appears to be organic) guitar/strings really stand out, and add depth and feeling to the flowing stream. Good track. B

 

2. Flooting Grooves - Toward the Light begins very harmonious in nature, with an effective flute that appears throughout. The introduction is pleasant, relaxing. So far, this compilation has a tribal/ethnic-influenced vibe. A beat eventually arrives, and a variety of psy sounds. There's a transition roughly two-thirds of the way through that changes up the tribal/psy feel. The musical elements, with exception to the flute however entice me less, possibly in part due to the beat and bass line that grows somewhat monotones as the song progresses. The flute sounds good though. This isn't a bad song, but I find it the least interesting track on the album. Lets see what the next one offers. Decent track. C+

 

3. Mr Peculiar feat. Athena Etana - Ancient Tribes starts off really well. I love the bouncing, psychedelic buzzing coupled with chopped up female hymns to the moody ambient score, ethnic-influence, and beat. The song's energy picks up around 2:26, and a delectable rhythm takes form. The rhythm and melody/sound work is psychedelic, tasty; it's excellent from 4:35 to 5:47, enhanced by numerous soundscapes, and a haunting female voice. Soon after that, the voice alterations seem more produced to me than necessary, but the overall track is really well done. B+

 

4. Astropilot - Answers is even more beautiful than previous numbers. It begins with a warm, harmonious introduction, and a stand out ethnic-influence that appears to have influenced the album so far. The song has a pleasant, upbeat, winter Holiday sound to it, as if the bells and chimes are paving the way for spiritual gifts. The song is beautiful and flowing. Astropilot just released a main album called Here and Now too that also showcases some really beautiful work for those who are into quality psy/chill (mid/downtempo) music. The song is gripping throughout. The sound from 5:28 to 5:35 is effective, and that's not even going into the dreamy transition and the song's final third. Another strong track. B+

 

5. Tentura - Free Your Mind has more pick up and energy early on, thanks to a strong (but not too upfront) beat), some really good psy work, and a solid development that takes off from its foundation around 2:04. This track provides the compilation with boost, subtle intensity (while exercising beauty), and momentum than I've so far experienced here. Look for the part where thanks to a creative, integrated work, the song sounds as if it's slowly taking (or getting ready to blast) off. Also effective is the interlude that keeps things interesting before the last solid segment. I really have nit picks with this or the previous track. Both are great. B+

 

6. Distant System - Astral Map Error has a cutting edge opening; like something out of a futuristic film. I feel as if we're in an evolved time capsule or spaceship. This is enhanced by a cool voice sample; the track gives the album an entirely different dimension of quality too. Aside from the intriguing introduction, the growing, vibrating beat is hypnotic. I feel as if I'm being more pulled in to the song's addiction and vibe as it progresses. After a sweet, psy-esque whirl wind, the beat enters and the vehicle shifts gears or lifts off. Around the bass line and beat is a delectably layering rhythm, coupled with healthy sounds, melodies, and more. This space ambient-influenced song caught me completely off guard. I really enjoyed the artists Spiral Empire album, and to here him design a new, great track here is very cool. His work is terrific. The track doesn't seem ethnic-influenced as the previous ones, more or less, but that's good too. With all of its energy, the song somehow manages to integrate well with the rest of the album and provide it with some super direction. Excellent track! A-

 

7. E-Mantra - Emptiness comes across like a world of colorful images and sights, thanks to many layers including ambient notes, soundscapes, background textures, melodic elements, and numerous, segmental melody leads. Such leads appear echoed with the intent to stand out a little less (then they could have) but they swim with the other sounds nicely. The ambient-influenced part in the middle is well done too. In the first half, I'm caught by the melodic elements and the atmosphere. A second synth/melody lead from 5:12 to 6:00 also works well. This song appears to give E-Mantra more opportunity to produce melodies. The song seems to be telling a story here which is cool too. Even in its final 0:35 seconds, the song sounds so beautiful, this could have enhanced the track a little more earlier I feel. I think the opening could have been more seamless, but the overall structure and how the song develops and is sculptured is very well done. This is solid track throughout, and becomes more psychedelic albeit chilled, and gripping as it progresses. Great work! A-

 

8. Shakri - Love and Devotion is another healthy and atmospheric treat. I love the electronica-esque melodies in this track that blend seemlessly in with everything else. This is one of the best song by Shakri I've heard in a while. It has a really nice sound and development from start to finish. I'm not sure the instrument that leads the story hear, but it's great. There's lots of heart and feeling throughout the song too, especially in the final third. Simple? A little. But sometimes less is more. Great work! A-

 

9. Lab's Cloud - Winds Fairy is a dreamy, floating number, and one of the best song's I've heard by the artist to date. Again, this tells a story with a magical touch. Is that a flute? It's beautiful. I love the bubbly, psychedelic sounds, female hymns (gives the track a ethereal, fairy-tale edge). But once they disappear, this ambient-influenced number turns into a psychedelic Goa-influenced number that slightly reminds me of the final delicious track on Filteria's Daze of our Lives album. But the beginning and ending transitions are more seamless here. This is a really good track with a fantastic, psy/goa influenced middle section. Great work. A-

 

10. Asura - Everlasting starts out with gentle, but arresting ambient notes, and atmosphere that soon develops into one of the most intoxicating numbers of the year. Early on, the song has a feel as if I've heard something like this before, but can't quite place it. Either way, it is this song that I currently wish Asura's amazing 360 album ended with. I would have possibly therefore given that album a solid A, but who knows for sure. This is a beautiful, closing track. Like an awakening in addition to a dream coming true, a major good bye song. But Asura will be here for some time to come, likely prodicuing superb numbers as both on 360 and various Altar Record's compilations including this one. What vibes! This is an excellent, beautiful song! A

 

 

In conclusion, Ether stands out far more than Altar Record's previous compilation (which had some great tracks on it too). I was simply not impressed with the second track. But the album really picks up, gets better after that. I wasn't expecting both Distant Systems and E-Mantra to be on a compilation. Both tracks are great and compliment the ethnic/indian, and tribal-influenced Chill feel established early on. And lets not forget Astropilot's work (his second track here I like the most), Shakri's number has some really catchy melodies, Tentura's number is very enjoyable, and more. But after all the pleasantries, I find Asura's song to be the jewel in the crown. It's deep and beautiful, as I imagined after hearing 360 by Asura which is IMO the best Chill album by a main artist in 2010. The overall album leaves me in a state of warmth, peace, and harmony. While some of the songs appear more simple than others, Ether is thoughtful, relaxing, and one of the most solid Chill compilations of 2010 so enjoy it! And give it a track or two to pick up. This is a good release!

 

 

Favorite tracks: 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

 

B+

 

 

 

Samples / Order

 

 

http://www.psyshop.com/shop/CDs/alr/alr1cd005.html

 

http://www.goastore.ch/product_info.php?products_id=4258&osCsid=c95f07c9566fcd091097f6f300053c34

 

http://altar.bandcamp.com/album/ether

 

http://www.altar-records.com/ether.html

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Just as a side note, it seems like Gabriel had one more card up his sleeve. There will be another album in the Elements series titled "The Missing Elements" :

 

"Will consist in unreleased tracks which has not found a space on the Serie!" Due out summer 2011!

 

:)

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