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Desert Dwellers - The Great Mystery

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Desert Dwellers

The Great Mystery

Black Swan Sounds


1. Warm Desert Sands

2. The Great Mystery

3. Crossing Beyond (ReVisioned)

4. View From Laniakea

5. Our Dream World

6. The Elephant's March

7. Walking Between

8. The Sacrament (ReVisioned)

9. I Dropped It

10. Bird Over Sand Dunes

11. Wings Of Waves

12. Give Thanks

Now I'm not sure what past Desert Dwellers album I had heard but it was a while back that I had written this duo off as being too chill, too meditative for my tastes. Even a little too New Age, too floaty, too hippie, not enough groove, not enough edge. To be clear, I have no idea if this American duo have another album out there like The Great Mystery but I would be damned eager to hear it.

This one floored me because it redefined everything I had opined about the Desert Dwellers and, more importantly, because it is a truly amazing album.

In its very best moments The Great Mystery is superb tribal down tempo with intricate detailing, groovy rhythms and ethereal female vocals. Some of those moments also happen to be immersive and transporting psychedelic music. And all of those opinions were formed before learning of the back story where the duo say to have recorded this mostly on the road, in several different countries, in several different studios, over the course of two years.

By any rule of standards, this album should sound like anything but the smooth and near-perfect encapsulation of beauty that it is. Also consider the dizzying number of nine vocalists and instrumentalists employed throughout many of these tracks and the legend of this one continues to grow.

As far as the music is concerned, immediately I dismissed the opener and conclusion and "The Elephant's March" in between, all falling into that "too floaty" category. It wasn't until the second or third listen that "View From Laniakea" and "Bird Over Sand Dunes" began to become thinner than the rest.

Of the best of the rest, which leaves seven tracks in case you weren't keeping count, there is some gorgeous aural magic to be had, accentuated in no small way by that intricate and gorgeous cover art that seems to shimmer and morph with these sounds.

The title track, "Walking Between" and "Wings of Waves" are sweeping and majestic, sometimes inducing hypnosis through its elements, sometimes getting a little grimy with just a pinch of glitch, sometimes just being nothing more complex than utter beauty.

"The Sacrament (ReVisioned)" and "I Dropped It" become flavorful doses of diversity, adopting a West Coast style of glitch and bass music that is frenetically effective.

"Crossing Beyond (ReVisioned)" is energetic, hypnotic, just a little dirty and pretty near flawless, certainly one of the best of this bunch.

However, "Our Dream World" gets top honor here, though it is no easy task trying to pick a favorite, it is simply epic with the vocal melodies weaving spells that are difficult to shake and if this one gets deep into you, chances are you won't want to be rid of it so easy anyway.

The Great Mystery is one superb journey and for all of the proclaimed trials and tribulations stated by its producers Amani Friend and Treavor Moontribe that back story also makes it a brilliant one.

Black Swan Sounds

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