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Ianuaria - Beware of the Fish


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Artist: Ianuaria

Title Beware of the Fish

Label: Blue Hour Sounds

Date: November, 2011



1. Intro

2. Sternplattler

3. Tintifax on acid

4. Trip Drop

5. Asavari

6. Kabum

7. Vacuum Tango

8. Shadow of the black Jaguar

9. Downfish Syndrom

10. Native (2002)

11. My Little Dream



If I said...baby alligator bouncing on a pink balloon as a miniature blue rainbow pegasus looked on, you would probably wonder what mushrooms I have eaten and where can I get some.


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Well this is how I felt after reviewing the latest from Master Margherita. Odd to say the least. I needed to get back on track, back to an artist whose music I can usually connect with. Ianuaria is Josef Hofinger from Austria with his 2nd album. I don't recall his first, but I did review his Orange EP for this same label, Blue Hour Sounds and it was damn good psytrance that was fresh, pumping, and evolving. Like it should be. If I'm being honest what initially attracted me to his album was his style, but a very close second was the cover with its vibrant colors. Beware of the Fish tells me that the listener is in for an underwater adventure. Interesting.



Intro- Wow, what a bubbly, liquid treat for an intro. Deep in the bad neighborhood of the ocean where your parents tell you not to go. You know how fish travel in schools? Well, these fish dropped out of school. And they have permanent frowns on their faces. And what's with the inexplicably long teeth?


Sternplattler- I know the album has a water theme, but this is straight out of Sweden's darkest forest. It's a bubbling, frothy menagerie of hallucinations and creatures of the night. And boy do they have a bad attitude. Juicy and tangible like you could sift the forest floor through your fingers and make waves. It's delightfully liquid experience as sounds echo through the darkness. Think of that forest dumped into the isolating depths of the ocean.


Tintifax On Acid- The sparkling sunlight synths can only penetrate so far into the vast blue world as trippy voices are late to discover. Loved it again, with deep forest sounds scraping the bark off ancient trees. Juicy moss-soft bubbling hides creatures who glow evily in the dark. But tell me...how is this different than the first track? Don't get me wrong, the more layered slushy forest sounds the better, but I didn't see this coming.


Trip Drop- "Relax...and just feel the energy."


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Now this is more of what I was expecting. Is that soft melody a pinprick of light or the call to order of something more sinister? Same style as on his Orange EP and compilation work, multi layered and very psychedelic with melodies. Squirty sounds and effects flutter and chirp throughout as the melodies begin to stack. Psychedelic melodic forest.


Asavari- Wow, someone needs to tell him the ocean's that way, because we are deeply entrenched in the forest. I still can't find my way out of it. So hungry...maybe I'll have some of these sacred mushrooms. Oohh, that didn't help. Falling into an impossibly deep puddle the bubbles pop in unique colors. Didn't think it could get darker...shows you what I know.



Kabum- Great, now the forest is taunting me. What was in those mushrooms anyway? So many effects to chew on as tendrills wrap around tree trunks. The layers are deep and will lure you to a dangerous place. The final bit is Temple of One power and atmosphere with a nod to the old days of goa.


Vaccuum Tango- That ripping sound is the sound of trees older than time tearing free of their Earthly prison amidst ever present bubbling. F*ck me this is trippy. I think I passed Derango a ways back and even he doesn't know how to get the hell outta here. Someone light a match all these digital farts are making me hallucinate. A melody sneaks in late to polish it off.


Shadow of the Black Jaguar- Twinkling + crunchy synths + bass line = No.Way.Out. This is how forest trance should be done. Deliciously bubbly with a dark atmosphere. So many layers you need a GPS to navigate through. Somehow through the black forest nightmare he brings melody out like a flamming broadsword to cut a path outta this mess. If this track could speak this is what it would say.


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"I'm sorry I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am."



Downfish Syndrome- Is there a telethon we can donate to these poor unfortunate fish souls who have been stricken with this maladie? Maybe Jerry Lewis can host it since MDA gave him the boot. That fossil wouldn't know what to do with this music though as it is more of the same thumping ocean forest with species of fish mother nature never intended. The effects add to this tale of course, as these mutants spiral and swarm. The bubbling is filthy and the layers are tasty on the tongue. Submerged.


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Shoulda left it alone George. Shoulda left it alone.



Native (2002)- I'm guessing this track was from 2002 and he added a little polish. Jungle sounds, a didgeridoo, and deep bass sweeps join with that very popular scratchy darkpsy sound. It's pumping and there actually seems to be a path out of this forest. The synths rage together and it ain't half bad. Not as deep as the other tracks, but those are a tough act to follow.


My Little Dream- What's with the real instruments? Talk about being shaken out of a dream. The guitar melody is pretty and throw in some Shpongle vocal gymnastics and we've actually got a bit of a happy track. He goes all Middle Eastern flute and dulcimer on you and at first I didn't feel this track belonged on the disc. More of a throw in.


And I still feel that way, but it was still a pretty good track on it's face. Just different from EVERYTHING else.



This was a tough one to review. If you dig into an album expecting one thing and come out with something else, I don't believe you fault the music. Of course you don't. Who knows when Josef became a forest trance producer, but one thing I think we should all agree on is that he is damn good at it. His atmosphere and layer manipulation is second to none. It is fluid and totally involving. When it sounds this good it is easy to feel part of the music. Not only that, but he kept true to the dark forest sound and brought a lot of power as well. Sometimes the darker stuff can be a little inaccessible for one not used to it, but the way he did it made it easy to hop on board. This was a treat, but for unexpected reasons.












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