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Ocean Star Empire - Dots On Maps


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Ocean Star Empire

Dots On Maps




1. Embarking The Phantom Convoy

2. A Nebula Portside (Original Mix)

3. Bacchanalian Bass - Astroidal Artifacts (Ocean Star Empire Remix)

4. Where Is Nuno

5. Rebellion In Module Seven

6. Defiant Friction

7. Dancing With The Stars

8. Three Dots On A Map (Faxi Nadu Remix)

9. Beckoning Glimmers Of Antiquity feat. Manny Zagri

10. A Nebula Portside (Live Version)

11. From The Top Of The Map


There's a lot to like about "Dots On Maps," it is smart, well-crafted, very melodic, warm goa.


Teaming up Israel's Faxi Nadu, Portugal's Nomad Moon and Bachanalian Bass from the US, it would be very easy for too many cooks to be in the kitchen. Even on first listen walls of sound are encountered on quite a few of these productions and it is easy to spot the disparate styles of each artist. On repeat listens, though, gorgeous goa is a-plenty and the walls become fairly easy to break down.


"Embarking The Phantom Convoy" is a moody down tempo intro, a bold and successful start-off to this space odyssey.


"From The Top Of The Map" is a deeply interesting chill conclusion, an explanation of the fantasy galaxy where this journey takes place.


In between, rollicking but beautiful tracks such as "Where Is Nuno," "Rebellion in Module Seven," "Defiant Friction" and "Dancing With The Stars" hit on some good ideas and rhythms, composing a pleasing middle half of the album.


"Beckoning Glimmers Of Antiquity" is a decent tune, tastefully balancing the guitar work of Manny Zagri to the electronic work of these three producers.


Of the greats, there are four that will be moved to the permanent collection where I store my favorites (where six tracks from Faxi Nadu's excellent "The Dangling Thread" album already live). I would be hard-pressed to pick the better of the two versions for "A Nebula Portside." The original mix jumps right in to the energy vortex, wasting little time in sweeping up a listener into its delightful star-dust, introducing each great musical element and building up the energy for the big wall-of-sound pay-off later in the track.


By contrast, the live version is 3-minutes longer and takes its sweet, lovely time getting to the end of its journey. The 3-minute intro is patient and intriguing, the elements are a bit more raw, the pay-off a lot easier to handle and comprehend. However, the original mix contains some fascinating studio wizardry that just does not shine through on the live version. Either of them, though, have personality and charisma aplenty.


A remix of Bacchanalian Bass' "Astroidal Artifacts" is superb where the bells (oh, those lovely bells) are ethereal and captivating from the first moment they are heard. It is almost the main highlight of this collection.


Instead, Faxi Nadu's remix of OSE's "Three Dots A Map" (Israel, Portugal, US - get it?) takes top honor here. The style of goa Faxi has developed, so very evident on "The Dangling Thread" release, has become next-level greatness, a step above many contemporaries and results, here, with a track that is instantly superb. Tasteful volume levels are used for the deliciousness being spread out over a tantalizing palette of imagination in sound so there are no walls to break, no extra work or extra listens required to crack the mystery of the track. But listening to the track just once will not do, it is too good to not listen to repeatedly.


Ocean Star Empire are three producers from different parts of the world, bringing together different musical styles, the results should be a lot messier just based on common reasoning alone. The results are far from that. "Dots On Maps" is damn good, an album not to be slept on.



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On a side note, a few months ago, I saw a piss-and-vinegar FaceBook post from a clearly frustrated Faxi Nadu regarding acceptance in the trance scene. Luckily, it seems, Faxi did not make good on his decision to leave the trance scene behind. That's our gain as two great albums from this artist have come out since then. Keep rocking, Faxi, you are doing a helluva job!

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