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Jon Cocco

Nebula Meltdown: Stardust Chronicles

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Jon Cocco    87

Nebula Meltdown - Stardust Chronicles
Suntrip Records, 2013
Psychedelic Goatrance

34s544y.jpg


1. One Eyed Reptile
2. A Higher Pathway
3. Psychic Beacon
4. Agape Sophia
5. Superluminal Connection
6. Stardust Chronicles
7. Mindstream Continuum
8. Alnitak Sunrise
9. Breakfast on the Balcony

Stardust Chronicles is Nebula Meltdown's long-awaited debut Psychedelic Goa-Trance album. The artist has released several tracks on Suntrip comps, including Encrypted Illusion that numerous listeners found superb. The album is spacey, atmospheric, harmonious, and showcases some of the most enjoyable Goatrance work of the year.

1. One Eyed Reptile begins with warm ambient, atmosphere, and a Carl Sagan sample from the classic TV show Cosmos. These aspects establish the album's traveling, spacey feel. I love the synth lead that begins at 2:03, the supporting layers that keep up, and the returning synth lead. It's gripping and reminds me of what a sequel to Tandu's superb Multimoods album could sound like. The song grows a little repetitive as it progresses, primarily from 4:48 to 5:42 (the only thing holding me back from a higher score!). The artist could have trimmed a minute in that regard, and the song would have been exceptionally well done. But that part around 2:03 really sets it off; nice work! This energetic opening has some superb work on it, and grabs my attention right away. B+

2. A Higher Pathway is less energetic than the opening, but it still has energy. The song establishes a really nice sound early on, although the melody/sound work is simpler here. The song plays out like chapters with variety; they flow and develop well. The leads, while nothing intoxicating, stand out. The last third has a fun, bubbly/psychedelic segment (via the sixth minute) that's great. Good track. B+

3. Psychic Beacon stands out more than the previous one to me; I really like its layering and soundscapes, most of all the positive, skipping sound and feel. This song sounds to me like a distant, foreign relative of Etnica's stunning Vimana track. Okay, maybe a touch of influence; the artist did something very different. The synth leads are enjoyable and catchy. Solid song! B+

4. Agape Sophia continues off the previous track's ending, complimenting the album's homogenous, cohesive feel. The short ambient intro sounds beautiful, celestial. The following several minutes are light, and will attract some (warm atmosphere, gentle harmonies). Others however may find the first 3-4 minutes uneventful, slow, and even a bit boring. There is a cloud walking interlude just after the third minute where the song grows more engaging. The artist incorporates a combination of elements along with catchier melodies. These additions are delectable and enhance the relaxing, spacey sound established early on. Overall the song gets better in the second half, and I like the idea of varying the more detailed tracks with ones less elaborate, to not overwhelm us. That said, the first half could have been better. This is a gentle, traveling number between the more arresting, dynamic ones. B-

5. Superluminal Connection I consider less ambitious as well. It continues off the previous track well I feel. The first third has more energy which is cool. It's filled with little details, but I'm not engaged. The second third grows more enticing just after a Carl Sagan sample. The psy-work stands out more. In the last third, a machine/fax-esque sound a la X-Dream's Radio (but different) enhances the synth work. It's catchy. I simply wish that the first few minutes were stronger. At least they're not bad and build up to the more engaging second half of the song. B-

6. Stardust Chronicles is the beginning of the second part of the album that I find stronger than the first. Maybe the artist will make his next album great from beginning to end, but until then... This song is a return to the melody skipping, wave braiding layers that comprised Psychic Beacon (to some degree). They're even catchier here. The whole song gets catchier as it progresses actually. There is some similarity however with that Vimana-esque synth in Psychic Beacon and the one here. Fortunately, much of the work is different. The song is great! This song is deserving of its self-titled album. Well done! A-

7. Mindstream Continuum has a beautiful introduction. What follows is many layers of deliciously flowing ingredients that produce a developing, evolving rhythm. There's a cool sample halfway through, and a calming of excitement before take off where the spaceship acquires a tasty synth, one of several that keeps things refreshing throughout. The atmospheric elements add to the immersion too, and don't even get me started on the soundscapes and the imaginative psychedelic work in the second half. Excellent track! A-

8. Alnitak Sunrise is an uplifting morning Goa-esque Trance number. I really like the drum work, skipping melody, euphoric sound, and voice samples (I love some of the voice sample selection). The song is relaxing and dreamy, upbeat and full of positive energy. There is just something beautiful about this finished product that speaks to me. Its unexpectedly different, unique, and catchy! A-

9. Breakfast on the Balcony is a solid, mildly Goa-influenced ambient track. It progresses nicely. The piano and subtle drums in the last third add to the floating atmosphere with a touch more energy. It doesn't stay with me like the previous three tracks, but it is a respectable closing to a memorable album. B+


Stardust Chronicles is a mature Goatrance release with atmospheric, spacey and evocative elements. Relative to the first half, I love the synth work in One Eyed Reptile, the variety in A Higher Pathway, and the melody/sound work in Psychic Beacon. Tracks 2, 4, and 5 showcase a less elaborate/energetic side of the artist with parts that are stronger than the whole, especially Agape Sophia and Superluminal Connection. Both are enjoyable, but lighter, or less elaborate and memorable compared to tracks: 1, 6, 7, 8.

Good news is that the album is atmospheric, has well developed introductions, and is pretty homogeneous. I also like how every song sounds different, with exception to Psychic Beacon and Stardust Chronicles that share some similar sounds and ideas. For a while I thought I was hearing the same track only to realize the differences when hearing them back-to-back. Any other complaints or nitpicks? The first half of Superluminal Connection could have been better. Also I would have loved if the album was stronger in the first half. But the first half has grown on me, and I appreciate all of the time, energy, and creativity that went into this debut. The voice samples are great too, more aware, and thoughtful for those into the cosmos, our connection to the source, eternal love and light.

I found the album interesting and catchy, for those into the more traveling, atmospheric, occasionally softer (although the album open with a bang and is generally stimulating/exciting), albeit less (non) maximal side of Goatrance which is great too! This album grew on me. It has some great work on it. I don't mean to sound smug or selfish either, but please do not underestimate the power of a non red (final) score from me.

 

Favorite tracks: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8

B+

Sample / Order

http://www.suntriprecords.com/product/item/SUNCD29/
http://www.psyshop.com/shop/CDs/sut/sut1cd029.html
http://www.beatspace.com/7761/Suntrip+Records/NEBULA+MELTDOWN/Stardust+Chronicles/detail.aspx
http://www.goastore.ch/nebula-meltdown-stardust-chronicles.html

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Ormion    415

Alnitak Sunrise is one of the best new school tracks I have listened. It combines perfectly Goa with a touch of Trance and it's both trippy and melancholic. Amazing.

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Paul Eye    451

Alnitak Sunrise is one of the best new school tracks I have listened. It combines perfectly Goa with a touch of Trance and it's both trippy and melancholic. Amazing.

Agreed. And Stardust Chronicles (the track) reminds me very much of Doof. Nice :)

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Rotwang    323

Alnitak Sunrise is one of the best new school tracks I have listened. It combines perfectly Goa with a touch of Trance and it's both trippy and melancholic. Amazing.

+1

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Panoptes    45

What a great album. One Eyed Reptile, Breakfast on the Balcony, Stardust Chronicles, and Mindstream Continuum are my favorite tracks on this one. I'd give the album an A-

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BraneFreeze    27

Overall, a strong album. A few tracks get a little repetitive and could be trimmed, but most tracks are good and a few are quite trippy.

 

Another winner from Suntrip Records.

 

8.5 / 10

 

 

Preview the album at Bandcamp:

 

http://suntriprecords.bandcamp.com/album/nebula-meltdown-stardust-chronicles

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IronSun    44

Good debut that really took me by surprise. Nebula Meltdown has a very unique style, but I love how he uses melody. Favorites are 1,2,6,7 and 8.

 

Especially Alnitak Sunrise... Damn what a track!! Great job :) The ambient is pretty too.

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Trance2MoveU    372

YnNYeZ8.jpg

 

Artist: Nebula Meltdown

Title: Stardust Chronicles

Label: Suntrip

Date: October, 2013

 

1. One Eyed Reptile
2. A Higher Pathway
3. Psychic Beacon
4. Agape Sophia
5. Superluminal Connection
6. Stardust Chronicles
7. Mindstream Continuum
8. Alnitak Sunrise
9. Breakfast on the Balcony

 

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This was a bit of a curve ball.

 

Mainly due to me not understanding the hints that were revealed in the promo. First let me say that it's a good album that showcases Kristian Aro's talent at weaving layers of melody in a seamless fashion. It's mostly gentle deep trance with subtle (as Anoebis said) acidic goa flares. The melodies unfurl slowly in front of you allowing the listener to observe the chromatic ballet of cosmic nebulae. It's beautiful atmospheric stuff that is well constructed.

 

The problem I have with it is the track placement. How are you going to raise the bar with a sizzling goa track like One Eyed Reptile only to immediately lay the bar on the floor? And leave it there for a few tracks? This went from high energy to very little energy. From firing up the rocket boosters to flipping on autopilot so I could catch a nap. I believe this is my own fault for thinking it would be an album full of tracks like the one on Shaltu. So even though I don't care for where the tracks are placed, I can recognize them as quality work.

 

It's cosmic trance with spiraling melodies that really put you into space, with detail and phenomenal sound quality. A solid album like Jon said, and at the very least helps put to bed the theory that Suntrip is just an output machine for E-Mantra and Filteria styles.

 

Suntrip

 

Beatspace

 

Psyshop

 

Mdk

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johnb820    156

Now that I have finally given this album enough listens I feel the desire to comment on it. Stardust Chronicles is brilliant! I am not sure I understand the lack of attention to this album, although I can see how it might be a bit tough to get in to. To start, Nebula Meltdown really has a lot of conviction to write so much goa trance in major scales, within a genre strongly associated with minor scales, etc. Another thing that kept me personally from really getting into the album was the fact that it was mixed as one continuous piece of music more or less. I've had to find the time to listen to all 73 minutes of it because I couldn't just play any particular track. The album demands that you listen to the whole thing as one piece, which is fine of course, but I could see that putting off some people maybe.

 

When I first heard the samples I immediately could see this album being played on a summer's day with a warm breeze, the sun shining on my face. It sounded hopeful, in a perhaps simplistic sort of way. Stardust Chronicles is such a shimmering euphoric, bright album the artwork really doesn't do it justice in my opinion. This is an album for every color of the rainbow in painstaking detail, intricate and forever deftly weaving up and down and in and out. While not every track is going to tear up the dance floor, there's enough energy here to move it along. Although I personally find the more introspective tracks like Psychic Beacon and Alnitak Sunrise to be the best. There's originality and creativity here. Stardust Chronicles is a light breezy fun work of art as much to appreciate at home as well as the dance floor. Good work Kristian Aro!

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StratosOZ    33

Gotta say, I really liked this release too. Not eloquent enough to explain why though!

 

I'm interested in your comment:

 

"To start, Nebula Meltdown really has a lot of conviction to write so much goa trance in major scales, within a genre strongly associated with minor scales, etc"

 

idk much about music, so could you try and explain what you mean?

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Shpongled247    72

I noticed that too upon listening. I believe what he means is just that the "goa sound" we asociate it with is usually a harmonic minor or Arabic or gypsy based scale, giving it that typical "eastern" goa sound.

 

This, however is written in major scales in a lot of it, which is usually associated with uplifting, perhaps even pop type music.

 

And it took a lot of conviction to write goa this way because it could easily come out sounding extremely cheesy using major scales, and not with that goa/trance sound.

 

Somehow though this artist has pulled it off and I agree this is an amazing album, great as a whole journey.

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StratosOZ    33

I noticed that too upon listening. I believe what he means is just that the "goa sound" we asociate it with is usually a harmonic minor or Arabic or gypsy based scale, giving it that typical "eastern" goa sound.

 

This, however is written in major scales in a lot of it, which is usually associated with uplifting, perhaps even pop type music.

 

And it took a lot of conviction to write goa this way because it could easily come out sounding extremely cheesy using major scales, and not with that goa/trance sound.

 

Somehow though this artist has pulled it off and I agree this is an amazing album, great as a whole journey.

Thanks for that. Unfortunately, I don't understand what you mean! However, that's due to my total lack of musical theory knowledge. I can't even define "scale"...

 

Anyway, there's no question too hard for Prof Google.

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Rotwang    323

A major scale sounds like this, while a minor scale sounds like this. Generally if a melody just uses notes from a major scale it sounds happy whereas if it just uses notes from a minor scale it sounds sad or angry.

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StratosOZ    33

Right...

 

I can hear the difference in the samples, but I would never be able to listen to a song and tell you what scale it's in, even if I tried. I've always thought that certain people just "see" or "understand" music (this has nothing to do with being able to appreciate/feel it), and I know I'm certainly not one of those people. I tried very hard to learn a musical instrument at school and just didn't get it.

 

Amazing how deep this (i.e. psytrance/goa/whatever) music goes. It's the most incredible art form.

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Rotwang    323

Are you able to identify the tonic note in a piece of music?

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StratosOZ    33

Nope, afraid not (not even after looking up what that meant) :blush:

 

Don't worry though, this doesn't detract in any way from my ability to enjoy the music! Thanks for taking the time to try and explain!

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Goa-Head    77

Pretty solid release, my favourite is Alnitak Sunrise. I really like that 'happy meloy, it (the melody) reminds me of Hard Trance anno 1994-1995 (think Sunbeam - Outside World). Not that this goa track has resemblence to hard trance mind you.

Like also the odd ending track. Reminds me of ambient, dare I say 1994 again.

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Klas    0

It's a grower, good people!

It's a grower.

And even a modern Classic.

 

It was a long time since I've Heard a full goa-album as a whole, and felt this happy...

 

... And the details! You can really get lost in them.

 

The only downside is, as someone else were saying earlier in the thread a couple of tracks in the beginning - but I actually don't mind alot - because, as a whole, if you see it from this perspective, this album kicks the shit out of it! Yeah! :-P

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kartoonz    9

At first I regretting why the heck did I buy this album... But after about 4 or so listens I keep coming back to this. Is it common that initially the album may not hit you but after maybe a couple or more listens it just sounds impressive!! This one is an amazing album :)

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Paul Eye    451

Is it common that initially the album may not hit you but after maybe a couple or more listens it just sounds impressive!!

Yes. Has for the record happened to me for example with Shpongle's first album back in 1998. At first I didn't understand it at all, almost regretted buying it. Then a few listens later, MIND BLOWN :)

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ptn    16

Is it common that initially the album may not hit you but after maybe a couple or more listens it just sounds impressive!!

I believe it's called 'a grower' :).

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bandagor    9

After hearing Nebula Meltdown playing Alnitak Sunrise on a party last year, this was an insta-buy for me...

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Bill    85

After all this feedback I'm going to need to listen to "Alnitak Sunrise" a few more times, I'm impressed by it but certainly not blown away. "Mindstream Continuum", however, is phenomenal - great layers, great energy, a solid trip that I wish were about four minutes longer!

 

A couple of the earlier tracks are not so great but there are some true gems on this album. "Agape Sophia" gets better each time I hear it and may end up being a favorite eventually!

 

(Edited version: "Alnitak Sunrise" really is great, very catchy! Not sure it's the best on the album but it's hard to say that it isn't. Most of this album will provide something new on each listen so who knows what the "best" one will be next time. I wonder if tracks 2 & 3 will get better...)

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