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Agrabah - Pharaohs of the Galaxy

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Trance2MoveU    393

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Artist: Agrabah
Title: Pharaohs of the Galaxy
Label: Sita Records
Date: June, 2017

1. Visitors
2. Pharaohs of the Galaxy
3. Endless Sunshine
4. The Freeman
5. Destination Moon
6. Schrödinger's Camel
7. A Tale of Blue and Orange
8. Inside the Magic Lamp
9. Cyclamen

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Anyone else have trouble spelling Pharaohs?  It's that f*cking a before o that gets me.  All right here's what I know about Sita Records.  They don't release a lot of stuff.  They are different than the other labels when it comes to goa trance, releasing music that is more nitzhonot or uplifting in nature.  Now that may or may not be your thing.  I don't know what you're into.  Probably some kinky sh*t that you don't want your mom to find out about.  Worry not, your secret is safe with me. 

As I've stated previously it's hard to take Nitzho seriously with all its rampaging melodies and laser kicks.  Agneton seems to really enjoy it though.  Have you seen his Facebook videos?  That dude is hype!  Anyhow this up and coming project successfully blends goa and nitzhonot so that it's not a total cheesefest.  The album is short coming in at under 60 minutes. Power is there, melodies of course, and I think if there was a soundtrack to Middle East life this might be it.  It's hard not to nod your head to this and as usual with this label the sound quality is top notch.  I don't know what the bpm's were on Inside the Magic Lamp, but if you're not careful listening to it while driving a ticket could be in your future.  Normally I don't like my music moving at the speed of freefall, but this was pretty cool and intense. That said there are tracks where the niztho buildup envelope is pushed almost to the breaking point (Schrodinger's Camel), but those were rare.  The wheel wasn't reinvented with this album, but I did enjoy it's pace and the melody work even if sometimes it threatened to go off the rails.

 

Sita Records Bandcamp

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winterelegy    17

I checked this one out on the sole basis that it was from Sita and had Pharaoh in the title. I liked it quite a bit, lots of good old school sounds in there, some very similar to Man With No Name and with great modern production.  The composition didn't blow me away but the sounds and overall vibe are right on the money.

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AstralSphinx    49

Agrabah ‎– Pharaohs Of The Galaxy

Tracklist 

1–Agrabah Visitors

2–Agrabah Pharaohs Of The Galaxy

3–Agrabah Endless Sunshine

4–Agrabah The Freeman

5–Agrabah Destination Moon

6–Agrabah Schrödinger's Camel

7–Agrabah A Tale Of Blue And Orange

8–Rayavana, Agrabah Inside The Magic Lamp

9–Agrabah Cyclamen

[Review in progress]

I was introduced to this album today by none other than Nitzho-Goa maestro Agneton of Sita Records fame. And I'm very happy about that, because this had passed under my radar completely. Agrabah is an artist from Israel by the name Amit Fisher. I don't know anything about his age or previous merits. And would like to know more, it's very impressing indeed if this is his debut album. The style here is very reminiscent of old Mystica, if you've heard one of Mystica's best tracks ever, namely Ashes To Ashes from the Age Of Innocence album, then you know what to expect. It has a lot of both classic Goa Trance and Nitzhonot influences, I would say it's a 50/50 blend. With the more hypnotic/psychedelic approach to melodies found in Goa trance, paired with the sometimes more victorious tonal elements found in the Nitzhonot and Uplifting repertoire. The kick drums and the programming of them is usually the main distinguishing factor if you want to analyze how much Nitzhonot a track contains. As the programming and pattern styles found within Nitzhonot are unique, they work equally in goa as well of course. But there is usually not as much variation in the kick drum programming in classic Goa in comparison. There is a playfulness which is accentuated by skipping beats to create a stumbling feeling, and lots of glissando type effects and the characteristic use of laser kicks, ala 80's TR-808 breakdance beats.

If you consider that Mystica-Ashes To Ashes was featured on Destination Goa - The Ninth Chapter, then you understand how the fusion between the two genres can fit in within the Goa Trance sphere of releases. Another good example would be Shiva Shidapu - India Spirit, which is a very Nitzhonoty track. But still feels like a part of the classic Goa Pantheon as it was released on multiple Goa Trance compilations. It's because these two genres are quite unseparable actually, since they are so closely related. And at times I think the distinction between the two genres in some cases has been a construct invented afterwards, It was most likely just called Goa Trance back in the day. Nobody would say ooh Mystica - Ashes To Ashes, that's not Goa!Then there were of course the wave of artists which developed a much more refined sort of Nitzhonot which was less psychedelic in some cases, but not exclusively. I'm thinking about Luminus, Holymen, Eyal Barkan and many more. What the artists original intentions or inspirations were with their Nitzhogoa/Nitzhonot back in the day is difficult to grasp today, perhaps they felt part of something else? A subgenre to Goa? What I do know, is that many elements of Nitzhonot can be found in wide range of classic old school Goa Trance releases. A prime example beeing the huge kick drums used by Miranda in her tracks Real Rush, Groom Lake and Eyedentify among others. She also often utilized the same type of melodies characteristic for Israeli Nitzhonot like the ones found in her track Eyedentify. Which contain melodies that are very similar to those found on Mystica's Age Of Innocence album. Who inspired who is a difficult question to answer, since both albums where released in the same year, and people where influenced by a lot of the same artists and tracks at the time. Astral Projection's People Can Fly, is another one with a very Nitzhonot sounding kick drum, as well as Transwave's Land of Freedom. 

So with that in mind let's dive into this album which according to me, is the next logical step in the evolution of this style. It picks up where the heroes of yesteryear left the torch, and carries on the production tradition and standards set by those legends in the past. The album starts of with the Downtempo Breakbeat Goa track Visitors. Which is very similar in style to Astral Projection's Downtempo numbers, which often ended their albums. This sounds very classic indeed, and I could've easily been fooled if you told me it was from 1997. It has the same type of blissfull nostalgic emotions found more recent Neo-Goa staples as well, It reminds me a bit of a Downtempo Goa track by another Israeli artst, Afgin. We are introduced to some very nice trancegated choir pads in the background. There are very soothing and smooth synthesizer arps swirling around in the upper parts of the sound spectrum, supported by  ping pong delays. Giving the listener time to let the sounds sink in, as they reverberate slowly in the stereo image. The bassline is enhancer by a very fat chorus or unison detune, also similar to Afgin's approach to sweet unison basslines. It's a smart choice to start the journey with this track, as a way to slowly start the climb towards the higher levels on this pyramidal voyage. It's a smooth hypnotic ride, and before you know it, the track is over. As with all good things, they usually end too soon. Not because it's too short or anything, but because times goes fast when you're enjoying the music.

The next track in the playlist is Pharaohs of The Galaxy, which starts smoothly with what I suppose is white noise on a synthesizer, which creates the illusion of the sound of the wind blowing. Underneath the windy sounds, is a choir pad and a synth pad. Which are sustained for a while in the same key, to create suspense like a drone. After a while the key changes and the bassline is introduced, by then the choir pad becomes trancegated, which is the classic stuttering effect which has been a staple in goa and trance since the 90's. More sounds are introduced gradually, before the kick drum enters the scene, and your feets starts to move in anticipation. The bassline in this track is very nice and deep, more reminiscent of the deep subby bass utilized in Miranda's track Gnocchi. One could argue that the track has two basslines, one lower subby one and a higher melodic bass part as well. Which was very common in the old school era. The kick drum is solid and never feels overwhelming, it's there doing its job. Giving the rest of the sounds space to fill out the aural palette. The melodies are short and trancey, It's almost like an uptempo ambient track in a way, which makes the transition from the introductory Downtempo track very seamless. There is a very controlled sensation in the track, it's taking its time to do its thing, and carries a very dreamy and nostalgic sentiment.

Next we have the track Endless Sunshine, in which the energy level is raised a couple of notches. As the name suggests it's a sunny emotional piece. This track reminds me a lot of early Yahel and Eyal barkan. It reminds me of Yahel's Waves of Sound album. It has those piercing solar powered synthesizer leads, that are only found in sunny Israel or Greece. The track reminiscent of the track Sun Scream on that album. Which makes me nostalgic, as that album holds a very special place in my heart. It was a great era for this genre around the turn of the millenium. I got the Waves of Sound album as a gift from a friend who had been on a holiday to Tel Aviv, and purchased some CD-R copies which someone sold at the beach there with photocopied cover artwork. Like a perfect postcard carrying a sun-drenched message from a beautiful country far away, from ice-cold Sweden. A very good track indeed, and gives me hope for a bright NitzhoGoa future, this is the first album of this artist, so I'm looking forwards to see the artist develop his style even further. The Freeman, picks up the energy level once more. This time, we are introduced to the full glory of this Israeli morning style. It's the most euphoric track so far. It has very nice oriental percussions in a bridged section of the track, underpinned by beautiful choir pads which emphasize the emotional tone of the track. The melodies are dancing around in a total state of bliss, this would be really cool to play in the desert in Israel, or at a beach party. This is my favourite track so far, along with Endless Sunshine.

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