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johnb820

RA - Unearthly

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johnb820    158

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So unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard of RA, the goa trance project by Christer Borge-Lunde and at various times Lars Lind. 4 years since the release of 9th, RA is back to impart some light, wisdom, and laughter once again only this time it’s not goa trance, but rather a collection of ambient, downtempo, and chilled out goa grooves. Of course this isn’t particularly something new as RA has released a hand full of songs like this, one of my personal favorites being Light Receiver off of 9th. However, I can honestly say I have never heard anything like Unearthly before in my life. So where to begin?

 

"Faith is to believe what we do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what we believe."

 

Floating Shrine of Inanna - This track serves as an intro of sorts with wonderful vocals provided by Christer’s sister (I love saying that) Marthe who will make another appearance in the next track. Some nice little percussion work and strings set the mood for this album and it may come as a little surprise. Unearthly is very light, uplifting, and positive unlike some of RA’s darker heavier goa trance. I get the sense that the storm of the previous albums have passed and we are left with a heavenly blue sky with the shining sun warming your heart, even as winter approaches for us in the northern hemisphere.

 

Rain No Water - Once again, Christer’s sister helps out on this jaw droppingly gorgeous ambient piece. Guitar sounds, filtered pads, and strings make this one a standout track for me. It dips in and out of melancholic, yet euphoric moments.

 

Ascend - Is it December 21, 2012 yet? If this is what we get to listen to when we ascend, then bring on the end of the world because this song is full of bliss. This song is also one of a number on this album with a four to the floor beat, but there is absolutely nothing heavy about it. The rhythm is as light as a feather.

 

Shift - “To jump across space and travel in time..." Arguably we are back in familiar territory here with eastern melodies and trippy soundscapes. This is more like the RA we know and love. The best part of the song comes around the 6 minute mark when the bass line starts shifting around and the originally developed melodies start changing ever so slightly.

 

Lifethread (Serene mix) - So yea, this is a downtempo version of Lifethread from Shaltu released earlier this year. It’s amazing how when you break up the beat and slow the tempo down all the intricacies of the various melodies become this dense subtle explosion of little sounds. Highly creative stuff, nicely done.

 

Lightspark - Can the vibe get any more positive? This song has a little more pace to it once again shifting back to a dance beat. For some reason I feel like it would be really easy to call something like Lightspark cheesy but as the whole theme of this album seems to be about faith and believing in the unbelievable, I find it difficult to not just give in to the positivity this song creates. Even a cynic like me has a soft spot that likes to be tickled once in a while.

 

Unearthly - This one more of less continues the vibe of the previous song but mixes in some tension filled arpeggios underneath soft piano like melodies here and there. The chord progressions later on in the song are just so blissful. I’ve never heard an artist capture quite the mood this album does. I have a hard time describing it. At times it sounds like video game music but it holds such hope or maybe empathy.

 

Celestial Slice - The final song on here is more downtempo with acoustic guitar thrown in and a simple yet effective clap/snare on every other beat. I could listen to this song all day long, what a way to finish off a brilliant album.

 

Unearthly is one of the most genuinely exciting albums I’ve heard in a while and it lies in part due to Christer’s insistence on creating layers upon layers with loads of harmonies. It doesn’t always work perfectly, it’s a somewhat flawed very human album, but I think that was really the point of Unearthly. If To Sirius and 9th are the spirit channelings of the 6th density being known as RA, then Unearthly is RA himself.

 

Love and light, thanks Christer. (and Christer’s sister too :))

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psy spy    2

can't get enough of this album...

 

RA should seriously consider making more down-tempo music, MAX 120-BPM!

 

ALL tracks are just great, but my personal favorites are: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7

 

I expected a bit more from the last track "Celestial Slice", since usually RA's final tracks are rare ambient gems!

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Jon Cocco    96

RA - Unearthly
Altar Records
2012

1. Floating Shrine of Inanna
2. Rain No Water
3. Ascend
4. Shift
5. Lifethread (Serene Mix)
6. Lightspark
7. Unearthly
8. Celestial Slice

RA is one of the leading pioneers of Goa-Trance. Christer Borge-Lunde of RA is also known for producing some of the best chill tracks in the past few years, mainly on elemental compilations by Altar Records. Unearthly is the latter with all new songs. It's the first downtempo album by RA and one of 2012's best albums!

1. Floating Shrine of Inanna is a beautifully optimistic, harmonious piece with catchy female hymns. Initially I thought it could have developed a little more. On return listens, I find it just right, a song that gets better with repeat listens. The strings in the second half are creatively utilized and reduce the sense of repetition. The warm mood and atmosphere, violin, and various other instrumental sounds add to the immersive, downtempo feel. This is a great opening track.  A-

2. Rain No Water is an ambient driven epic that's floating, contemplative, dreamy, and evocative. The first half to two thirds is pure gold, magic. Sometimes I feel like it goes on for several minutes longer than necessary; that it could have ended at around 7:47. In the end, that's probably a nitpick. The song oozes with passion and beauty. It's like a masterful opera track for ambient. Overall, this is a wonderful song filled with love and light. I could easily see it complimenting a great scene in a film.   /  A

3. Ascend begins with a sample of living in the present, NOW. I love the opening sounds; they fit the track title perfectly. The mid if not uptempo song reminds me a little of those upbeat, infectious tunes from those futuristic F-Zero racing games for Nintendo. The overall track sounds eons apart, more natural, harmonious, and well orchestrated. The ambient support is fantastic, and oozes life into the digital body. My hesitation to give a solid A relates to how engaged I am from beginning to end. I love how optimistic and positive these tracks are.  A-

4. Shift is more Egypt/RA-influenced. This is more psychedelic and combines creative, tasty sound/melody combinations. At least one layer music is manipulated to create an energy-like, skipping (I don't know what I'd call it) wormhole (?) effect. It's very catchy! The Goa  influence (touches?) work extremely well. The song keeps moving, developing. It's arresting throughout. Excellent work.  A

5. Lifethread (Serene Mix) is a chill version of Lifethread on the Shaltu compilation. The song has an intriguing opening and some beautiful ambient to boot. I like it a lot more than the uptempo version that felt too safe to me. I simply find the synth work catchier on the other tracks, comparatively speaking. Nonetheless, the warm, emotive touches stand out. The lighter approach brings balance to the less light numbers (before and after this one). I can't help but find the other songs catchier, but this adds variety, has some great elements, and is a welcome song to the canon. The last third develops nicely too.  B+

6. Lightspark has more energy than the previous tracks. It's more dynamic too! Once again, the ambient is different and supports the catchy synths. I love the first half of this song; it's refreshingly gripping. I like how the song develops, growing catchier as it moves forward. Unfortunately I find that it begins to feel a little repetitive around the fifth (to 5:50) minute, just before the interlude. The song felt more zippy and tight leading up to the 5th minute. The interlude is very good as well as the beat's return. To me, the last act could have stood out more and incorporated greater development, as it grows a little repetitive to me (again) by the seventh minute. The song's homogenous though; it's very nicely composed and some may prefer the song this way. I love the tempo and the accents on and around the beat. This is another solid number. I simply expected more based on the first half.  B+

7. Unearthly is another Chill-esque number that's fairly upbeat. The kick drum produces more of a dance-friendly feel and atmosphere. The ambient notes and harmonies are pleasant and catchy. The key changes are nice too and support the piano. Towards the end, an almost mini-climax or rush takes place. I wonder if this was intentional. The rising sound effect of a particular sound enhances the track, as it leads up to new ground and as the horse continuously gallops. I'm a huge fan of the melodies too; they're emotive and contemplative, beautiful and gripping. They develop in arrangement which is one of the artist's many talents. To me this has more variety than the previous two tracks; it keeps my attention more, due to a greater sense of development. Great track. A-

8. Celestial Slice is another beautiful gem. The song begins with a magical and floating opening. The ambient produced has a surreal feel that for me, enters the realm of fantasy. I love the melody/sound work throughout this song. The interlude is seamless and gripping, connecting a gentle flute to the fluid whole. The song has a feel to it, as if its been crafted to near perfection. It's full of emotion and harmony, and makes me feel hopeful, optimistic and loving. The flute segments, and the song's progression and development is beautiful. This is a terrific song from beginning to end. Well done!  A

Unearthly is beautiful, engaging, imaginative, and magical downtempo album. This is easily one of the best downtempo (chill) releases of 2012 along with Akshan's The Tree of Life, and few others from the ones I heard. Unearthly has some wondrous, magical numbers. The songs develop in ways similar in spirit to Goa-Trance. Some evolve more than others. Some of the evolutions I find catchier than others, but everyone will have their favorites. It's a rare treat from some of the most talented artists, a downtempo album full of catchy, innovative numbers. At times, melodies comes across like feelings oozing into the songs. Furthermore, the album has  soul. There's even a few infectious mid-tempo tracks to boot. If I were to be more critical, constructively speaking, I'd say that Lifethread (Serena Mix) and Lightspark, though good, are the least strong (magical, memorable) tracks on the album, to me anyway. They're more or less interesting and add variety. All in all, Unearthly is a gem. Highly recommended.

 

Favorite tracks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8

A-

Sample / Order

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

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=ra+unearthly

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avogadro    1

I believe that there is no competitors nowadays to make better or amount ! Every song on this record is a work of silversmith. I recommend the cd version : the sound is there enormous.

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Aspartic    106

Extremely beautiful downtempo album. One of the best I've heard in this style. Should be on its way to my home :)

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Scintillating downtempo "Goa" with an Eastern flare. Every detail has been carefully considered, creatively inspired, and masterfully implemented to create a wonderfully rich, vivacious, and enveloping sonic atmosphere with the highest of production calibres. If you don't own this, you're really missing out on something special. Thank you for the extremely touching music!!

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Jon Cocco    96

Great album. 

 

My friends love Rain No Water despite my nitpick on length (that's quite subjective). It's a beautiful track. 

 

This album was overlooked by many in 2012. RA fans, downtempo fans check this out. The album's filled with distinct and creative songs like Rain, No Water, Ascend, Shift, Unearthly, and Celestial Slice that are worth the price of admission alone. The album expands the mythos of RA, of downtempo and electronic music -- incorporating ambient, atmosphere, and even touches of Goa. While not every song is a gem to my ears, the overall album is I think.

 

BUY LINKS:

 

Altar Records: http://www.altar-records.com/ra.html

Psyshop: http://www.psyshop.com/shop/CDs/alr/alr1cd031.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=ra+unearthly

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Trance2MoveU    408

5hCFTtw.jpg

 

Artist: Ra

Title: Unearthly

Label: Altar Records

Date: December, 2012

 

1. Floating Shrine of Inanna
2. Rain No Water
3. Ascend
4. Shift
5. Lifethread (Serene Mix)
6. Lightspark
7. Unearthly
8. Celestial Slice

 

 

"Everything you see around you is what you create. And all you can do is experience this ascension process as it unfolds. Lived in the now."

 

Sun Gods Christer Borge Lunde and Lars Linde are back at it with some fresh downtempo and ambient goodness. This is galaxy viewing on an Imax as a sun creeps from behind an anonymous moon. Lush pads and melodies that are part Vangelis Blade Runner and part Kitaro Silk Road float gracefully between colorful nebulae. Rain no Water is a majestic journey full of melancholy and beauty. Shift is crystal clear bouncy goa trance while Lifethread slows it down as acid rips across the cosmos.

 

Unfortunately once past those tracks the quality of the album dips a bit. Lightspark is pretty good deep trance that maintains the galactic feel and so is the mid-tempo title track which reminds me a little of Jean Michel Jarre. They're not bad tracks, but they're also not where their strength lay. Celestial Slice has a classical vibe to my ears and is very genteel. Emotional with some great layering.

 

All in all a great album that is worth getting where the project shows a facet of their music that perhaps will surprise some.

 

Altar

 

Psyshop

 

Beatspace

 

Mdk

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Bill    85

"Floating Shrine of Inanna" is wonderful, very easy to float away on the bliss of this one. As Jon implied above, it gets better each time you listen to it. It grabbed me, I connected with it, on the very first listen, though. Some of the other tracks, while still beautiful and well-crafted, are not nearly as ethereal.

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Jon Cocco    96

Celestial Slice!!!!!!

 

This album's still great years later!

 

The only two tracks I'm not in love with are Lifethread (Serena Mix) and Lightspark, yet they have great elements.

 

I'm surprised this review thread's only 1 Page (to date). I think many people missed this album when it released in 2012 for whatever reason. I feel like I was a little hard on it at the time.

 

Here's the full album on YouTube, totally worth it. We need more releases like this!

 

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Penzoline    352

I was very surprised to hear so many cheesy / boring melodies on this album. Tracks 5 6 7 and 8 just make me sleepy, the little that is interesting is consumed by the average melody work. The rest are pretty good, especially Rain No Water and Shift are definitely the RA quality you'd expect, but that's not saying much since it's basically 3/7 tracks that are good. I found it really average, which is unfortunate because the uptempo albums chiller tracks are really good.

 

I mean I see where they were going for here, it's a little reminiscent of Vangelis, or older synth music, but it just doesn't pull it off in an interesting way to me - so the more RA sounding tracks are much better.

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