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Jaza

Terrafractyl - Imaginings and Fabrications

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Jaza    30

Imaginings and Fabrications is the latest offering from Australia's Felix Greenlees aka Terrafractyl.
Having risen to prominence as surely now Australia's most popular local psytrance producer over the past 5 years, playing main stage at every big party in our country, this album comes from his own label Kinematic Records.

Previous reviews can be found at:
A Speck of Dust (2013 EP)
Electronic Evolution (2012 LP)
Chrysalis (2009 debut LP)

 

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BUY IT AT - https://kinematicrecords.bandcamp.com/album/imaginings-and-fabrications

(Only 8 euros!)

 

His debut LP 'Chrysalis' shone with it's unique, jazz-influenced melodic style; very much in the morning psy mould. The subsequent two releases kept up the trademark bubbly melodies but explored ever-so-slightly darker territory, more atmospheric and brooding whilst still being built on his very identifiable take on melodic psytrance.

 

Imaginings and Fabrications seems to bring the two together, and after a few listens I think it could be his best work yet. Felix's classical music background is clear throughout his work, but in this album he brings it to the fore in a very unique way. As the label states:
"This album is split into two halves. The first, 'Ancient Imaginings' aka 'Psymphony no.1 in F minor' takes much of its material and inspiration from the musical past and previous musical knowledge. This is a subject close to Felix's heart and to some extent this music represents the classical music that he decided not to write.
The remainder of the Album 'Fabricated Futures', is more of a fictional attempt to describe some possible future that may lay ahead for mankind.
"

 

  • 'Major Malfunction' opens up very much in the style of his more recent work. A more prominent bassline than my favorite Terrafractyl tracks, but the trademark melodies soon appear to kick the album off. The track takes an almost melancholic turn, different to much of his work, with a strung out vocal sample the most prominent new sound. Soon the piano is back and things feel somewhat back to normal. This track is fine but not a stand out.
  • 'Dimension 35c' is next, based hugely on a sample from the crazy, frankly random cartoon "Rick and Morty". If you're not big on heavy sample use this track won't be for you, but if you can dig it then what you get is a big party track and plenty of chuckles throughout. I've seen this do a lot of damage on the dancefloor.
  • 'Fractured Realities' is classic Terrafractyl. The bassline sticks out early on (and maybe slightly too much overall) but as the track goes on you get a well-used sample, the perfect mix of squelchy synth goodness and classical-inspired melodies all culminating in the trademark Terrafractyl sound. The right mix of unique melodic journey and thoughtful psychedelic detail unfolds over 6 minutes.
  • And here's where it gets interesting... The next 4 tracks total 24 minutes of psytrance moulded in classical music style. Cumulatively entitled 'Psymphony no.1 in F minor' these tracks mix modern psy goodness with a style of music typically heard in concert halls around the globe. (Even that description only feels half accurate.)
    The first track '1. Allegro con Fuoco' sums it up. The classical, almost symphonic sound of pianoes and violins in beautiful harmony makes way halfway to a more subtle psytrance bassline. It unfolds in truly unique style, with the range of sounds coming together for the last 2+ minutes to complete things.
    My favorite is the third part 'Allegro Tranquillo', the best mix of both worlds combining for a proper journey. It's psytrance, but only just.
  • The final three tracks see us return to dancefloor mode. The sharper detail in production apparent in his more recent recent releases combine with more melodic detail at the fore, a bit closer in style to his first LP.
    'The Machinery of Nature' is the typical Terrafractyl dancefloor number and maybe the best track on the album, just the right mix of stomping fun and thoughtfulness through detail. This is the sound of so many epic dancefloor sessions I've experienced.
    'Transdimensional Funk Trunk' follows suit with slightly more ooomph behind a spiralling piano sequence and brief journey down the rabbit hole.
    'Beauty through Circuitry' rounds the album out in a style reminiscent of the 'Electronic Evolution' LP but with added detail. I hear an almost Hallucinogen-ish influence in some of the background noises here early on.

 

As for criticism? I wouldn't disagree with anyone arguing the basslines have not evolved enough over time. He's found a sound he like and stuck to it, whereas I wouldn't mind more experimentation in this area.
And whilst I'm happy the melodies again take precedence overall, the basslines do stick out a little too much on occasion. But on the whole he's got the mix closer to perfect this time. I can't think of much (if any) other psy this melodic that isn't goa.

But apart from that it's hard to fault. If you love melody and squelchy synth sounds then this is an album for you. Above all else Terrafractyl continues to define his own unique sound. There are artists you may categorise similarly, but no one sounds quite like him (unless you count a few acts on his label following in his footsteps, like Spacey Koala and Neurorythmic).

In a world with far too much generic music at this tempo, this is something that should very much be celebrated. Buy this album, you simply can't go wrong for 8 euros to download.

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Jaza    30

Those of you lucky enough to be going to Lost Theory Festival in Croatia this year (most of you goa heads I am sure...) then I cannot stress enough just how much you should make the effort to see Terrafractyl live.

Over recent years I have seen him routinely seen him dominate lineups here. Time after time our international guests are left second best as Felix's live set is often the best of each party.

I spent the last three summers in Europe and saw countless live acts of lesser quality playing at big parties. I'm amazed it's taken him so long to get bookings at that level. Now that he is there I have no doubt he'll impress and become a regular fixture like some of our other acts.

Here's some videos of his sets at parties I was at:



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ptn    16

Infected Mushroom have stopped years ago, Talpa has moved to some kind of horror-prog, I haven't heard anything new from Principles Of Flight and it's been ten years since Misted Muppet's album.

 

Terrafractyl is the man I need in psytrance. Cinematic and inventive psychedelic at its best, His tunes hit all the right spots in my ears.

 

I've read through few Terrafractyl discussions, some people complain about similar basslines and drums. Well, it's sometimes true, His releases aren't very versatile in this area, but I consider it as another producer's stamp, it's all about atmosphere, different melodies and strange, funky feeling.

 

If you love melody and squelchy synth sounds then this is an album for you. Above all else Terrafractyl continues to define his own unique sound. There are artists you may categorise similarly, but no one sounds quite like him (unless you count a few acts on his label following in his footsteps, like Spacey Koala and Neurorythmic).

+1, thanks for the great review.

 

Doesn't matter what music will be released next, I'm pretty sure this album will stay in my Top 10 of 2015.

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Shpongled247    72

Epic review mate, was wondering if someone was going to put one up for this.

 

Felix said himself i believe that he thinks this is his best release yet. Not sure I completely agree, as for me Chrysalis will always hold a certain special place. As a producer though he has grown and you can hear that in this album. I'm sure not many producers ever say their first album was their favourite/best hah.

 

On first listens at release I thought it really reminded me of The Misted Muppet album a lot more than any of his other stuff. His most orchestral almost soundtrack like album so far imo. At least the Psymphony section anyways. Really great to hear him fully explore that musical side.

 

No idea what comes next but I hope he keeps cranking it out and think myself lucky whenever I get to catch a set of his.

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Jaza    30

Off topic, but...

Talpa has moved to some kind of horror-prog,

 

As much as the first Talpa releases post-'The Path' were all pretty terrible (i.e. "White Clouds" EP), he's back on the up.

I saw him live recently and it was pretty decent. Here's a live recording of the set:


Yes, it's more proggy and not the beautiful chaos he once perfected, but I still rate it. Some nice eerie melodies within.

 

As for Shpongled's comments about Terrafractyl, it reminds me of a conversation a mate had with him a year or so ago. Asked why he chose not to work with classical musicians, Felix replied that they're "mostly wankers" :)
... I guess this is his way of getting around that.

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Guest antic   
Guest antic

Thanks for the review! I recently purchased his alter-ego Hypnagog - Thematic Mathematics, which despite being released under an alias still sounds exactly like Terrafractyl does. Which is the sound that I actually like a lot, but there is a moment when there's enough of everything, even of good stuff. Will update once I get this.

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Jaza    30

I preferred the original Hypnagog stuff, when it was more of a glitchy, mid-tempo, IDM-but-not alias. The best Hypnagog track is still "Gyroscopic Bebop" from the EP of the same name.

 

Somewhere along the way, while the album was still being written, Hypnagog became closer to prog trance. It's not bad, but it doesn't grab me like Terrafractyl does. I also find the live sets a lot more hit-and-miss.
(I should point out I'm one of few who thinks this way - Hypnagog sets are always super popular here.)

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ptn    16

there is a moment when there's enough of everything, even of good stuff.

Very true, but having just about one LP a year plus some tracks/ep's made by his label mates can't be considered a saturation imo :).

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Shpongled247    72

Just a heads up for those that are fans that Felix has released a free album of unreleased/early/unfinished? stuff on bandcamp:

https://kinematicrecords.bandcamp.com/album/betafractyl

 

"This album represents the 4 or 5 years of music before Terrafractyl's debut album 'Chrysalis' came out in 2009 on Sundance Records.
As the Album progresses, the tracks get older and older, all the way back to 'Twelve' written in 2004, almost 12 years ago!"

 

Really interesting stuff for Terrafractyl fans to hear the progression through time. Bear in mind that all these tracks are made up of things that Felix didn't find up to scratch for various reasons eg, flow, production etc, hence the free price tag.

 

If you are like me and devour anything terrafractyl then you will appreciate it for sure! :)

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