1. Open Reflections
2. Heady Messages
3. Other Planets
4. Twisted Realms
5. You're Safe
6. Things We Share Our Planet With
7. Sonic Mandalas
Indian producer Sattyananda first came to my attention with his great album Mind Expansion in 2014. A techno friend, surprisingly enough, approached me with it and suggested I give it a whirl, thinking it would be right up my alley. She was right and this year's Sonic Mandalas reinforces my opinion of his work.
Whereas Mind Expansion tended to rely pretty heavily on samples, very much reflecting the producer's fascination with shamanistic rituals and extraterrestrial life, Sonic Mandalas relies heavily on the music itself and the approach is beautifully realized.
Most of these tracks are slow in unfolding, patiently building toward higher tempos. In many of these moments the introductions are often decidedly ambient, carefully arranged and gorgeously effective. When the tempos gather themselves up into a down tempo range the impeccably delivered beats, grooves and rhythms are subtle, chill, deliciously relaxing.
Sattyananda has a skill for tapping into alien frequencies, delivering odd sonic sound structures without going overboard on the weird aspect, keeping almost all of these tracks on a friendly and awe-inspiring level. There is little more to do than to let the gorgeousness of the opening trio on "Open Reflections," "Heady Messages" and "Other Planets" wash over you and the magic becomes obvious.
"Twisted Realms" is a bit more memorable on the groove and melody fronts and my choice for the finest of this bunch.
"Things We Share Our Planet With" becomes a bit more liberal with samples than the rest of this bunch but even those are kept to an agreeable minimum, as smart-talking philosophical interludes that enhance the musical message without detracting from the sonic spell itself.
As a conclusion, the title track, like the majority of the album, is very fine psychedelic fodder.
Aptly, Sonic Mandalas are mini-universes of rich and captivating sound and, on the whole, an exquisite artist album.