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Loud - 5 Billion Stars [Nano Rec.]

How would you rate this release  

16 members have voted

  1. 1. How would you rate this release

    • 5/5 - a future classic, a must have for everybody
    • 4/5 - very good, a must have for fans of sub-genre
    • 3/5 - good, typical release for the sub-genre
    • 2/5 - poor, uneven, let down by technical issues
    • 1/5 - avoid at all cost


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antic604    497

nar1cd044_b.jpg

 

01. Why Was Music Created (with Raja Ram)

02. 5 Billion Stars

03. Unique Drum

04. Green Star Movement

05. Rain Tonight

06. Peace Pipe

07. Africa 101

08. Symbiosis

09. Goblins Talking

10. Deep River Song (with Shulman)

 

Well, this one’s a head-scratcher... Considering the feedback I saw to the samples of “5 Billion Stars” before its release, your stance on it will largely depend on how familiar you are with Loud’s discography, as over the years their music changed a lot. They started with critically acclaimed “Some Kind of Creativity” in 2006 - a very energetic, immaculately produced and arranged full-on dripping with acid lines, clever breaks, buildups and peaks; a technical and musical marvel. They’ve been following on that road for some time, but inevitably slowed down gravitating towards progressive trance tempos. Their 2012 album “No More X” was met with very mixed reception, because their homage and contemporary reimagining of the classic trance sound of Platipus Rec. (Art of Trance, Union Jack, etc.) was not to everybody’s liking.

 

2016’s “5 Billion Stars” is even further departure from their original sound and likely from the expectations of their original fans - it’s a concept album, built around the notion of return to the nature, to the tribal gatherings, the indigenous beliefs and spiritual world. The title of the album is an invitation to leave the comfortable confines of luxury lives we made for ourselves (5-star hotels) and get in touch with our roots - travel the world bare-footed, sleep in tent under the star-dotted skies (a 5 billion star hotel). The music therefore visits various continents and countries - Australia, Africa, India, (native) America, etc. - and consists of recordings the artists acquired while touring there: speech samples, chants and singing, live instruments, ambient noises, etc. All this is juxtaposed with electronic beats and sounds, but even there Loud is trying to imitate real instruments, e.g. the pitch of basslines and drums modulates over time to mimic how real drum, tabla or similar devices sound. Also, while there’s traces of trance in there - especially in 2nd half of the album - it’s rarely a central focus and it’s more akin to introducing a familiar element to the otherwise foreign concept, so that the audience has still something to hold on to. If I had to point to similar releases, I’d say that Juno Reactor’s “Bible of Dreams” / “Shango” phase comes pretty close in that it also accentuated the tribal elements, but “5 Billion Stars” is even less trancey, more laid back and down-tempo. It’s not a trance album and definitely not goa-trance one, but it’s a very good meditative, hypnotic and spacey music with psychedelic elements and meaningful message. Sure, there are some jarring or cringe-worthy moments there (some of the repeating voice samples), but on the other hand it’s also full of small and big ideas, sequences and passages that show their skill and experience as true musicians, able to go above and beyond the cliche looped-sequence-over-a-4/4-beat. It’s a sound of matured and confident artist, not having to show off anymore with stuttering bass, breakneck transitions or surgical precision effects.

 

I’m expecting the reactions to this to be very polarizing and therefore I’m hugely impressed for Nano Rec. to have released it. It took me a good week to really appreciate and understand what Loud wanted to achieve, but right now I can’t take it out of my head - it’s deep, musical, rewarding and challenging release. You may not like it today, but it should be in your collection just in case you “get it” some day :)

 

5/5

 

Psyshop

Beatspace

Youtube full album mix

SoundCloud extended album mix (DJ-friendly)

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antic604    497

See, I told you it's going to be polarizing :D

 

@Insejn, @Panmapani - wondering how many times have you listened to it and how (in what setting)? And also, you should only vote AFTER you've written something about the release - not a full review necessarily, just a few words about what exactly wasn't to your liking, what was disappointing, how it didn't met your expectations, etc. Voting 1-2/5 without a word of comment is disingenuous and unfair to those who might have had different expectations than you, but will not even give it a chance now due to the scores...

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Padmapani    357

See, I told you it's going to be polarizing :D

 

@Insejn, @Panmapani - wondering how many times have you listened to it and how (in what setting)? And also, you should only vote AFTER you've written something about the release - not a full review necessarily, just a few words about what exactly wasn't to your liking, what was disappointing, how it didn't met your expectations, etc. Voting 1-2/5 without a word of comment is disingenuous and unfair to those who might have had different expectations than you, but will not even give it a chance now due to the scores...

can't we have anonymous voting? ;)

tbh, i don't think it's unfair at all. why should i need a justification for not liking something. no one would ask for an explanation if i voted 5/5. i just give a honest rating and not one that's here to please the artist or fans.

 

actually, i wrote a few paragraphs in the other thread but my computer crashed (had to restart. wtf? i felt as if it was the 90s again) and decided that the album wasn't worth that much time to write a lengthy post again.

so in short: first part of the album is boring, middle part is ok, towards the end it becomes boring again. loud tries too hard to be different and artsy. while the album is indeed different than the majority of psy, being different for the sake of being different isn't enough to make a good album. it's missing "the meat" so to say. if you want nicely done "diferent" album look to oforia - read more (i think eat static would also qualify. in this context it imho doesn't really matter what style it is). those have their own thing going on, but 5 billion stars to me is like new born's album — rather an attempt at creating something unique but lacking substance. there's no "own thing" here...

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Insejn    63

See, I told you it's going to be polarizing :D

 

@Insejn, @Panmapani - wondering how many times have you listened to it and how (in what setting)? And also, you should only vote AFTER you've written something about the release - not a full review necessarily, just a few words about what exactly wasn't to your liking, what was disappointing, how it didn't met your expectations, etc. Voting 1-2/5 without a word of comment is disingenuous and unfair to those who might have had different expectations than you, but will not even give it a chance now due to the scores...

Not many times, which might be unfair. But I have tremendous trouble to listen to music I don't like just for the sake of maybe I will like it.

Very few, if any, albums "grew" on me. Either I like them, or not. Also, if an albums requires a certain setting to be good, well, not much I can

do about it? If I can't enjoy it on my headphones while playing games or while lying on the couch then what good is it for me? It's a bad album imho.

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antic604    497

can't we have anonymous voting? ;)

tbh, i don't think it's unfair at all. why should i need a justification for not liking something. no one would ask for an explanation if i voted 5/5. i just give a honest rating and not one that's here to please the artist or fans.

 

Are you insinuating something? ;)

I genuinely enjoy this album & never before heard any of their other albums :)

 

actually, i wrote a few paragraphs in the other thread but my computer crashed (had to restart. wtf? i felt as if it was the 90s again) and decided that the album wasn't worth that much time to write a lengthy post again.

so in short: first part of the album is boring, middle part is ok, towards the end it becomes boring again. loud tries too hard to be different and artsy. while the album is indeed different than the majority of psy, being different for the sake of being different isn't enough to make a good album. it's missing "the meat" so to say. if you want nicely done "diferent" album look to oforia - read more (i think eat static would also qualify. in this context it imho doesn't really matter what style it is). those have their own thing going on, but 5 billion stars to me is like new born's album — rather an attempt at creating something unique but lacking substance. there's no "own thing" here...

 

Ok, thanks - that's much more constructive! Considering that the two albums you mentioned - Oforia & Eat Static - are still much more "trancey" and "normal" than this one, I'd guess say you prefer the more up-tempo substyles, i.e. goa / forest / dark instead of progressive / down-tempo? I can also understand your comment on it lacking substance, because indeed it's much less dense, more subtle and delicate than typical "trance" or even an down-tempo album like Shpongle, Ott, etc. That's a valid concern if someone is in particular looking for those qualities. This makes your rating much more clear :)

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antic604    497

Not many times, which might be unfair. But I have tremendous trouble to listen to music I don't like just for the sake of maybe I will like it.

Very few, if any, albums "grew" on me. Either I like them, or not. Also, if an albums requires a certain setting to be good, well, not much I can

do about it? If I can't enjoy it on my headphones while playing games or while lying on the couch then what good is it for me? It's a bad album imho.

 

Yeah, I wasn't meaning it like that. Have you listened to the album actively, paying attention to it and not doing anything in particular - this is where (for me) it shines, because otherwise (e.g. while gaming, working) it can surely sound pretty empty, lacking substance... at least at the beginning.

 

Maybe this is because I'm old (40 later this year...) and perhaps I'm tired of crazy, flashy production techniques and tempos*, but I also try to be fairer to the artists when reviewing music. I mean no artist / label would release bad music on purpose, right? Even Nano Rec. is thinking it's doing good work releasing the copycat Tristan / Avalon / Laughing Buddha / Chromatone / Killerwatts albums! So even to those 'abominations' I gave them a chance listening at least 10+ times and my conclusion was they still sucked, but I could see their intentions - it works on the dancefloor. But since I don't care about that, I'd rate them 2-3/5 because they're inoffensive and technically-correct but otherwise forgettable dance-floor fillers. 1/5 is for Brainman, because no sober person can listen to that...

 

With "5 Billion Stars" I too wasn't impressed at the beginning - it did sounded empty, some parts (very few) were annoying, I wasn't seeing the whole picture. But I soldiered on, because I knew Loud is / was a highly regarded artist and Eitan Reiter in particular is an accomplished chill / down-tempo musician (check his collab with Sebastian Muallert of Son Kite / Minilogue). So, few days in, I started picking up the small details - intriguing samples, ambiences, rhythms, musical arrangements, etc. - and the bigger picture: the "theme" of the album. This was because I listened to it start-to-finish, on headphones while doing nothing else (or reading). Now, I still listen to it 3-5 times a day and I'm not bored of it one bit! This happens very rarely, thus my 5/5 rating. I suppose it also helped - by not having precise expectations - that I wasn't familiar with Loud's earlier music, because it is indeed a stark contrast to "Some Kind of Creativity" etc... So I can understand someone expecting that rating it 1/5 as in "It's not Some Kind of Creativity. If you want that, avoid it!". That's why I asked for few words of comment that'd put your 1/5 in perspective. Thanks! :)

 

* well, wait for my review of Nervasystem's "Brainradio" next week :)

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Padmapani    357

 

Are you insinuating something? ;)

I genuinely enjoy this album & never before heard any of their other albums :)

 

 

Ok, thanks - that's much more constructive! Considering that the two albums you mentioned - Oforia & Eat Static - are still much more "trancey" and "normal" than this one, I'd guess say you prefer the more up-tempo substyles, i.e. goa / forest / dark instead of progressive / down-tempo? I can also understand your comment on it lacking substance, because indeed it's much less dense, more subtle and delicate than typical "trance" or even an down-tempo album like Shpongle, Ott, etc. That's a valid concern if someone is in particular looking for those qualities. This makes your rating much more clear :)

hehe, i know.

 

being uptempo is not it. i prefer goa but enjoy fullon and progressive almost equally and cannot stand 99% of darkpsy. the new robert elster album is great (even though the beat tends to be a bit minimal-oriented like 5 billion stars), so is john 00 fleming's or stereofeld's first. they're all not your standard progressive, but don't lack substance. i also have no problem with minimalistic progressive like shiva chandra.

what i mean is that loud is making a step towards music like this. it's of course still very far from that, but i think it nicely illustrates what i mean. these people essential simply make bullshit, call it music, trying to do something different that no one has done before as their only goal without any regard to if it's any good.

you can do a lot of things when producing psytrance that's different. but for instance fuzzonaut does it nicely here with lots of unexpected sounds and melodies, completely unexpected track structure, ... but in the end it all plays nicely together with one part leading to the next, telling a story. after listening to the whole thing you feel fulfilled as if you had a nice meal. with the loud album it's like eating gummy bears. you know you ate something but you cannot be full afterward. if you continue eating you go from hungry to sick (but still kind of hungry), if you excuse my crappy analogy ;)

 

 

but you're right, generally i prefer the trancier progressive. andromeda, human blue, e-clip, ...

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antic604    497

@Padmapani, thank you! Also for the links - some of it is very interesting! :)

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Insejn    63

I'll take the full on from Nano Rec. any time over this. Maybe I'll try listen more actively sometime and when I reach 10 times and it still sucks I will let you know ;) Yes, I've heard their collaboration with Mullaert and that is a worse abomination than this album. I thought they might come up with something cool but that is the most pretentious piece of crap I've heard.

And for the record, I'm 34 and enjoy much more progressive music than I did before. Sure, comparing it to the masterpiece Some Kind of Creativity is, is not fair. Their music has evolved to a more progressive and minimalistic sound over the years but those tracks still have some kind of substance. So far, 5 billion stars is hollow.

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recursion loop    442

I voted 4, but I don't think it may be classified as "a must have for fans of sub-genre" because I don't think it belongs to any existing subgenre having a fanbase, genre standards and all that. If I have to explain my vote, I think it contains some truly stunning moments as well as some pretty pointless ones. E.g. Goblins Talking is probably the most emotional and evocative track I've heard in psytrance for a while, but Symbiosis sounds like a showcase of various synth sounds and production techniques rather than a music piece (it reminds me what various guys at KVR Audio are doing with their modular plugins - they post all kinds of bleeps, squelches and noices which is as far from music as painting with one's tits from El Greco, except that it is nowhere near that sexy).

 

But all in all it's an enjoyable album, with some good melodies, sounds and samples, coherent and distinctive overall atmosphere. At least, it is far more interesting than yet another take on Ace Ventura or E-Clip sound (if anything, my usual listening habits are in "trancey" full-on and prog area)

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antic604    497

I voted 4, but I don't think it may be classified as "a must have for fans of sub-genre" because I don't think it belongs to any existing subgenre having a fanbase, genre standards and all that

 

That's exactly my thinking behind rating this 5/5 and the description of that particular grade in general - it goes beyond established 'sub-genres' (of widely understood "psychedelic goa trance" scene) thus has much better chance to be appealing to lots of people, seeking for different elements in music. To give counterexample, Psilocybian's "GodHead" is a terrific molodic(-ish) full-on album, one of the best in years, but I don't think people specifically into goa, dark or prog exclusively would find it interesting; hence my 4/5 for it, even if it's 5/5 within the melodic(-ish) full-on sub-genre. 5/5 is basically for genre-transcending, eclectic music or genre-defining classics.

 

If I have to explain my vote...

 

You don't. No one does. But I really appreciate it :)

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antic604    497

I'll take the full on from Nano Rec. any time over this. Maybe I'll try listen more actively sometime and when I reach 10 times and it still sucks I will let you know ;) Yes, I've heard their collaboration with Mullaert and that is a worse abomination than this album. I thought they might come up with something cool but that is the most pretentious piece of crap I've heard. And for the record, I'm 34 and enjoy much more progressive music than I did before. Sure, comparing it to the masterpiece Some Kind of Creativity is, is not fair. Their music has evolved to a more progressive and minimalistic sound over the years but those tracks still have some kind of substance. So far, 5 billion stars is hollow.

 

Thanks, I respect that and I clearly see why our perceptions of the album differ. It's cool, agree to disagree, etc. :)

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recursion loop    442

Antic, you think Psilocybian is melodic? Ineteresting, the lack of proper melodies is what I dislike about his music. Well, it may be melodic in a sence that it is not completely atonal.

 

As for 5BS, I completely agree that it is genre-transcending and eclectic music, as you say, but this is not enough per se to give it the highest mark. While I really liked some tracks in whole and some moments in some other tracks, there is also a lot of pointless and empty stuff on the album.

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antic604    497

Antic, you think Psilocybian is melodic? Ineteresting, the lack of proper melodies is what I dislike about his music. Well, it may be melodic in a sence that it is not completely atonal.

 

That's why I wrote "melodic(-ish)" because sure, it's not goa but it's also much more musical - not necessarily melodic - than say Tristan, Hypnocoustics and the like.

 

As for 5BS, I completely agree that it is genre-transcending and eclectic music, as you say, but this is not enough per se to give it the highest mark. While I really liked some tracks in whole and some moments in some other tracks, there is also a lot of pointless and empty stuff on the album.

 

Yeah, I can see that. I wrote as much about my initial impressions. The low point for me is "Unique Drum" where a guy explains the art of playing tabla, in particular underlying the idea that "you can only play as good or as clean, as you can sing (the tune)". Due to my music-making experience I totally understand what he means, but they've built a whole track about this idea, so the guy sings and then plays the tabla. It's fine and fun for a 1-2 min segment, but not as a whole tune...

 

But then again, there's no album perfect back-to-back :)

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antic604    497

Love the ratings all over the scale for this one! :)

 

Anyway, here's interview with Loud where they go indepth on the album:

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its simply brilliant!

 

OMG I've never liked Loud realy before this release.

There were couple of tracks here & there that I consider as not bad and even rather good but this album is mind-blowing.

 

First of all it is an ALBUM! I mean it is real psychedelic story that develops more then hour and its whole trip.

Second. It is evolving and involving! It is very catchy and hypnotic!

Third. It is very accurate and has nothing exessive. Just organic!

 

One of the best this year and surely classic for many years ahead!

 

THANX LOUD!

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juril    30

The first track (if that can be called a track) ruins it for me. The fact that the second track also contains an annoying spoken sample (used multiple times for added awesomeness),

means I won't bother with the rest of the album.

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Insejn    63

The first track (if that can be called a track) ruins it for me. The fact that the second track also contains an annoying spoken sample (used multiple times for added awesomeness),

means I won't bother with the rest of the album.

You wont miss anything.

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juril    30

..other than a great release :P

If I find 2 tracks out of 10 to be annoying, then the album as a whole can't end up being great in my eyes/ears.

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antic604    497

If you find an intro to concept album annoying, then yes - the album isn't for you :)

 

 

It's meant to be taken in as a whole and in context of the overarching message. And yes, it's perfectly possible to not like 1-2 tracks and still think highly of the whole thing - I don't like all the tracks, but I appreciate the idea and the theme permeating through the album and the way it's brought to life in most of the cases. Hence my 5/5 rating, even if it's flawed in places. Nothing is perfect (anymore).

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Manuser    236

Well, what to say? Album of the year? Anyway it is definitely my favorite, from what I have listened to in 2016, any electronic music genre included. I don't like the word masterpiece when it comes to psytrance but I have to make an exception with 5 billions stars.

 

I had never heard about Loud before and I did not read any review about it so what a surprise when I listened to the first two tracks...

This album is exactly what the scene needed, back to the roots of the underground goa scene, but without the melodies and of course with a great modern approach.

This album should be regarded not as psytrance, progressive etc. but simply as electronic music, made to entrance the listener. It is difficult for me to say how happy I am that such a different album was released. Apart from a repetitive sample in track 2, I find this album to be the most accomplished and genuine I have heard in a long time, in all electronic genre. I also hear some kind of similarity with Shpongle, not about the sound but more about the spirit of the music.

 

And for the first time (maybe ever), it saddens me to read so many negative reviews about it, when in the meantime we see praises about the flattest uninspired goa trance out there.

 

An essential of 2016 for me, if you buy only 1 CD this year you should consider this one.

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antic604    497

And for the first time (maybe ever), it saddens me to read so many negative reviews about it, when in the meantime we see praises about the flattest uninspired goa trance out there.

 

You know, for me this is usually a sure sign that we're dealing with something special: unorthodox, not easy to classify.

With music, in order to appeal to everyone, you need to sacrifice a lot so I'm often very cautious about releases that get unequivocal praise.

I think I'm just weird and like weird music :P:D

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