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Proxeeus - At the Mountains of Madness

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Scandinasia    212

Hello, people of Goa.

 

 

 

It is an honor to me to write this review of Proxeeus' debut album, entitled At the Mountains of Madness.

 

It is an honor, because this release has a special meaning. First of all, it is released on July the 14th, which is the French National Day, comemorating the Storming of the Bastille. And it is no coincidence that NeoGoa has chosen this very day to spot a fair light on the Proxeeus project, which proudly represents France in the Goa scene.

 

langfr-225px-Flag_of_France.svg.png

 

 

It is also an honor, because this very day is also the 5th birthday of the NeoGoa adventure. Introducing a new artist to celebrate this time of the year is definitely a great way to spread the Goa flag. Hence it is a good opportunity to recall that NeoGoa has been a brilliant label all over the years, constant in quality and innovation, and that had definitely left its print in this scene. I shall also add, as a personnal remark, that the very first full-lenghth Goa release that I ever listened to was Dimensional Gateway vol. III, and that from this day this label has been for me a criterion to determine the average quality of a newschool product.

 

Henceforth, I say to you, NeoGoa : a big thank you, and a happy birthday. I wish you eternal glory.

 

birthday-20cake-20clip-20art-dMTLeyGia.p

 

 

Now, let's talk music.

 

 

Introduction

 

Behind the Proxeeus projects is Jérôme Lesterps, a rising artist who has spent a whole year building himself a reputation in the realm of Goa Trance. One year ago, he was anonymous. But after much work he managed to participate to some releases :

 

 

And now a full lenghth album released by a famous Goa label.

 

This rapid evolution can be explain by the peculiarity of his sound. A sincere acidic sound inherited from the golden days, with an extra supplement of smoothness and a rusty groove. It is with this musical signature that Proxeeus made me like acidic Goa Trance. At first I found it to be bizarre, but I gradually got into it, even though his music offered many little imperfections. Sometimes a bit bland, sometimes too fluffy, or too confuse, and pretty repetitive from track to track. According to me, the biggest challenge that Proxeeus had to deal with with the Mountains of Madness was to overcome these many issues to produce a brighter sound.

 

 

The concept

 

 

proxeeus-at-the-mountains-of-madness.jpg

 

At the Mountains of Madness

 

The title of the album in itself conveys us to an unusual destination. But the promise is clear. The journey will take us to an ascending spiral of altered mental states, until we reach the top of psychedelicness. Madness will be explored in its utmost glory, as mountains tend to be associated with something dominant and transcendant.

 

 

 

The style

 

This is the hardest part of the review. Depicting sounds with words is not a natural thing, but it is important to put an impression on an artist's fragrance.

 

First of all, Jérôme Proxeeus remains here truthful to his former tracks. The album is characterized by a very strong feeling of organic-ness. While many Goa artists tend to focus on a story-telling structure with narrative movements, and resort to mythological motives, Proxeeus prefers to brew a mixture of sounds, like a sorcerer making up a potion. Psychedelicness is attained through the unfolding of many textures, through the cooling and warming of the beverage, through the chemical reactions that occur between the many drooling, peeping, bubbling sounds of 303 sparks cooking up amidst the bassline cauldron.

 

The music acts as a warm fluid, a psychedelic lava that progressively enters the mind to make consciousness boil like a strange philtre. And this is precisely what I like about Proxeeus' sound : it's liquid, and it proceeds by waves. It has amplitude, regularity, roundness, just like water. Warm water.

 

When I close my eyes while listening to this music, a biologic scenery unfolds in my mind. Many Goa artists tend to create a vast, cosmic sonic space, to fill it with energy, and to shake it with a sismic energy in order to create spacequakes, thanks to heavy basslines. Proxeeus does not. Instead, he occupies the space with a muffled bassline and dense textures that gives a feeling of an inner resonance. It's a bit of an underwater sensation that, combined with a organic input provided by the acid loops and the hot tempo, plunges your body in an amniotic bath. It is a carnal music, but in an intimate, cocooning sense. The heat of the music is the heat of a breath ; the pumping is a heartbeat ; the fluidity is like blood running.

 

stock-footage--d-blood-cells-in-vein.jpg

 

 

Adding up to this biologic theater, there is an underlying cyberpunk theme. Machines meet hot organic fluids. Living organs are connected to computers through wires. Sinister atmospheres of an uncanny laboratory go through the tracks. A mechanical menace is heard echoing. And accross the Galaxy, malevolent cyborg aboard their starships seek to rapture the living. The coldness of steel responds to the warm vividness of the body.

 

Ghost-in-the-Shell-cyberbrain-thumb-330x

 

 

And that is very interesting, because it highlights the relationships between the actual Jérôme Proxeeus, a being of flesh and bones, and the metallic instruments which he tries to make sing.

 

But overall, it is an introvert music with a silky touch, a deep music aligned with the body's frequencies which uplifts organic memories from time to time, a shamanistic beverage with a retro sci-fi accent. The global mood of the track, with its deepening reverberations, put you in a stasis suitable to a psychedelic experience, and the constant buzzing of coloured spots all around the tracks puts the mind into a hallucinogenic state that soon becomes a form of enlightened madness.

 

 

The plot

 

The story takes place in a far future. Mankind is rotting in decay across the Galaxy. Machines are supreme and lead the Milky Way, while sloth and slunder have paralyzed most of humans. In the dark suburbs of one of the largest human colony, a rumor has spread. There is a new drug that circulates underground, an illegal substance with legendary properties that people struggle to obtain. Its name is ayahuasca, a synthetic product famous to awaken ancient memories from one's ancestors.

But Proxeeus is a young hacker that isn't interested by drugs. One day, as he enters confidential files of the deep net, a mysterious entity appears within his occulus rift. It is a living hologram, a artificial intelligence made up of algorhythms who claim to be Hanuman, an ancient Hindu god. As Proxeeus talks to him, the divinity progressively takes possession of him. Hanuman's goal is to counter a conspiracy, machines plotting to enslave manking to a higher degree, a mechanical menace that threatens the colony and beyond. That's why he reveals to Proxeeus a code – the Vimana, to hack the machines, but his brain cannot handle it. To make his plan work, Hunaman sends the human to collect as much ayahuasca as possible, so that the god penetrates further into his mind, and expands it from the inside.

As he is tripping high, Proxeeus deviates from his course, and enters a dimension against which the junkies warned him about : the Mountains of Madness, a range of hallucinogenic peaks against which consciousness is wrecked. As the hackers sinks into insanity, Hanuman seeks the cybernet for the help of another hologram : Chandra.

 

The final track tells depicts the ruins scattered around the Sea of Tranquillity...

 

The tracks

 

1. Across the Galaxy

Dark, mysterious, stomping. A modern track with a bassline reminding me of Etnica – Intense Visitation, and cool electric FX. 08:36 is mind-opening. A-

 

2. Hanuman

Deep. Twisted. Dedallic. A bit funky. Somehow recalls me of Miranda. A-

 

3. Vimanas

I didn't expect this more full-onic bassline into Proxxeus' universe. Some metallic, scrapping sounds recall early psytrance. A slightly bit itchy for my taste. But I liked a lot the oriental climaxic melodies, which are very hypnotic. A

 

4. Mechanical Menace

Very shamanic. Crazy and ritualistic. I would definitely dance to this one. A-

 

5. At the Mountains of Madness

Some rare acid spirals in it. The bassline is awesome. Hard scratching acid. The climax is profound. A

 

6. Ayahuasca

Classic acid trance, with some oriental highlights. B/B-

 

7. Chandra Knows

A very futuristic track with a compelling cyberpunk atmosphere. A-

 

8. The Sea of Tranquillity

 

You guys know that I don't like Goa downtempo. So, I won't rate this track :/

 

 

Overall : challenge succeeded. Proxeeus has refined his sound, and created an amazing album. He now stands as the new Semsis, even if he incorporates modern influences that recall early psytrance 1998 style (like X-Dream).

 

Examples of Semsis :

 

Artwork

 

Not bad. The moon looked photoshopped. Overall it reminds me of a little something...

 

Conclusion

 

Cool music that is excellent to regulate your mental states. It's not surprizing that Jérôme Proxeeus found therapeutic virtues in this form of Goa Trance. GJ.

 

 

DOWNLOAD FOR FREE

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Dolmot    152

You know...this sounds like a 90s release. And I don't mean The Trademark Sound of any of the top ten classic acts we've managed to distill after two decades of careful analysis. It's more like visiting a record store in 1996, picking some French compilation because it has a neat mushroom on its cover, going home and hitting play. To me this is pretty much what you typically got that way. It's something you could spin at any moment of a rave party, which is simply a rave party and nothing more elaborate than that.

 

It's energetic, it's direct, it's not overproduced, and it shouldn't be overanalysed. Sometimes things can be kept simple.

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Guest antic   
Guest antic

(...) Sometimes a bit bland, sometimes too fluffy, or too confuse, and pretty repetitive from track to track (...)

 

Sadly, that's most I got from it. It is sounding nice & different to most of releases nowadays. However, it's all very disjointed, non-coherent. There's no link between segments of the tracks, no overarching theme and you could actually cut any 2-3 minute segment out of any track and paste it into another and you wouldn't notice. Also, I really can't hear the progression throughout the album that you mention - it's all the same intensity, similar tempo. Even the kick I think is the same in all tracks...

 

Still, there's some brilliant moments there, especially when Proxeeus creates atmospheres out of small effects and feedback loops. There are also some crazy 303-sounding sequences and acid leads, at their best reminiscent - in tone & phrasing, not necessarily in quality of music - of Etnica/Pleiadians, so I guess many people will rave about that. I like the vintage sound overall.

 

Pretty good release, but far from the praise given by the OP in my opinion. Looking forward to his 2nd outing.

 

3.5 / 5

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Scandinasia    212

@ Antic :

 

I am not an objective reviewer. Actually, I judged not the release in itself, but the context of the production, since the very beginning of the Proxeeus, when his music was more imperfect. When listening (several times) to this album, I noticed an embetter-ment of the sound, and it was a very good surprize to me. But as I've been following Proxeeus for a long time, it's possible that I couldn't hear the more defective aspects of the sound. I think that I did here a pretty good job when it comes to the good points, while your own review enlightens the bad points.

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Alek    36

I am so happy to hear that someone is taking a different approach to New School Goa :) On first listen I thought it was just OK, but after more listens I'm getting progressively more blown away. The vibe is definitely of the early/mid 90s, but the style is uniquely fresh... I can't find another artist to directly compare him to, both old or new.

 

The big highlight is of course how much fun he has with the acid effects and leads, they're a pleasure to listen and focus on! Mechanical Menace is a great example and for me the strongest track on the album.

 

If there is any room for improvement then it's probably in the storytelling as antic mentioned. Most tracks feel a little disjointed and don't have an overall theme, but I don't consider it a big issue since you can tune it at almost any point in a track and find something interesting to get into.

 

I also like the concept of the album, and I imagine that this is the sort of music they jam to in R'lyeh :lol: Great stuff here Proxeeus, keep it up!

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GoaPal    25

 

 

Sadly, that's most I got from it. It is sounding nice & different to most of releases nowadays. However, it's all very disjointed, non-coherent. There's no link between segments of the tracks, no overarching theme and you could actually cut any 2-3 minute segment out of any track and paste it into another and you wouldn't notice. Also, I really can't hear the progression throughout the album that you mention - it's all the same intensity, similar tempo. Even the kick I think is the same in all tracks...

 

Still, there's some brilliant moments there, especially when Proxeeus creates atmospheres out of small effects and feedback loops. There are also some crazy 303-sounding sequences and acid leads, at their best reminiscent - in tone & phrasing, not necessarily in quality of music - of Etnica/Pleiadians, so I guess many people will rave about that. I like the vintage sound overall.

 

Pretty good release, but far from the praise given by the OP in my opinion. Looking forward to his 2nd outing.

 

3.5 / 5

 

my little finger told me he started mixing like a few days ago... should help a lot to make the future tracks more "coherent" but at least he has his own style, his trademark i d say...

i LOVE the sound, i LOVE the energy & i think i understand what he wanted to do but this album is definitely not "mixing friendly" imo. why am i complaining? who cares? i wouldn t take 2/3min from each track to put it any others or maybe just make them a bit shorter as some track are way to long for me, the interresting part comes so late :(

it s the dj job to make it sounds smooth during the mix i guess so i better just stfu and keep working on it

 

my 2 cents

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Anu Katariina    328

Well..this is new stuff to me from last night when I came back to life after 5 weeks afk and even though I have heard 3 tracks from the release before as a part of live set presented in Soundcloud, I have to say that hearing this now as polished after mastering + ofc the rest of the tracks for the first time, it is kinda touchy and thrilling at the same time. I value high all music I have heard from Proxeeus hitherto...his style is just an immersing one. So the statement is that I love Proxeeus as a producer, as a talented musician (sic! Jerome: you are a musician; I just upgraded you!), as a human being, as a friend and as a person who has his beans settled in order without need of magic beans. Needless to say this release will combat top places on my list after the year's outcome is evaluated. Top tracks now are Vimanas and Ayahuasca. And @ Scandinasia: your review is beautiful. You are such a Renaissance person: common knowledge picked well from here and there and articulated perfectly to make the ensemble thorough and harmonious. Time to thank the artist, the label and the reviewer :) And always the mastering head, too!

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desysko    82

A bit late, but I would like to first congratulate Proxeeus for being able to have his album released! I remember finding out about him on soundcloud a year ago or so and been enjoying the stuff he posted there.

This album is great. Like how others have said, this album brings me back to the 90s. One thing I do enjoy a lot is the cover art. I know that I shouldn't let cover art "colour" my listening experience but when I get an album, I look and listen to everything which includes the art. The way I look at it, the cover art is not suppose to just be filler but it should compliment or even enhance the album and listening experience by giving an image to what the album is about. I think that this album and the art does a great job at that. One other thing I have to say is that I like how the art is not over complicated or filled with "hallucinatory" or "abstract" particles (not that I have stuff against that but variety in art is needed in the genre). Great job Richpa (assuming you made the art as you usually do for your label).

 

So now the music. The music is just what I expected to hear from Proxeeus. I'm not saying that in a bad way but in the sense that it fits the style that he has done and it is great. I love how all the songs are not filled with a billion melodies, textures, etc that we sometimes get with Goa music (not saying that it is bad but like all things, it has limits and should be done right. Heck, I need to work on that with my music).

 

Tracks 1-5 are awesome and I love them the most. The rest of the songs are also good but I didn't enjoy them as much (probably because I had to get to college asap and wasn't paying attention that much by that time). But I'll withhold any final thoughts until I listen to it several more times. Overall, I give this a: Definitely Recommended for Crazy Acid Heads of the Glorious Ancient Ninety's Fan of Goa Trance. Can't wait to hear more stuff from you!

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Richpa    900

Thanks man, I'm glad you like the artwork. It's different than usual stuff and we both felt that it fits music well, even we had few different variations in different 'tone'.

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Manuser    259

For some reason I did not listen to this album until today, and with all the hype around it I was afraid to be disappointed, but I was not at all! Great work really. Neogoa has delivered all year!

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2Spirals    3

I liked this release. neo goa (the genre not the label) to me is too repetitive and machine-like. I really dig the acid lines of the 90's style goa trance, and this reminded me of that.

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MrAnarchy    221

Proxeeus, if you are reading this, I want to thank you for this wonderful album! You're awesome!

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MrAnarchy    221

I keep going back to Proxeeus. Be it this album or his latest release.

 

As for this album... its just divine. Chandra Knows is one of my favorite tracks EVER. Such a unique and trippy one!

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