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sandbender - Overflow


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Artist: sandbender

Title: Overflow

Release: December 24, 2020

Genre: Chillout / Downtempo


Tracks:

1. in heaven 07:00

2. hide 08:43

3. sunrise 09:02

4. identical differences 08:35

5. leaves they fall 08:18

6. wellbeing 06:00

7. cloud city 06:18

8. daffodils 04:52

9. (bonus track) szabad élet, magánélet (feat. PRK) 07:18


Hello guys!

This is my first post here and my very first album review ever, so I hope i make everything right... ;)

First some general words, because the rules & guideline told me, to make the first post little bit longer! :P

Although the review section is clearly dominated by classic goa with all its subs, I enjoy it when there is some chillout review here and there. Also this genre (particular Solar Fields, Shpongle and stuff...) brought me to the psy scene about 15 years ago, and from then on I stayed. Chill and Psy still occupy most of the space in my music collection. Still, I was always more on the chill side, trying to support this unterrated but so important part of every party. So my aim is to contribute in here and share my longyear knowledge.

Btw, I noticed that the 2020 section has only 90 (!) posts so far, the numbers went down continual throughout the last years. The best years have almost 5000 posts! No need to say whats going on here...

In the psychedelic chillout scene, things are also going down. The good times with CBL, Shpongle, Solar Fields, Asura, all the great early Ultimae stuff are over. No more ideas, no more musical talent. Nowadays its glitch, psybreaks, chillgressive (what an awful word...) and all this experimental and imho questionable stuff.

So why did I chose this album? Its an underground and more of a hobby-like artist, who does music because he loves it and believes in it, not because he is financially depended on it. At least I think so. Its not released on any label and still it has more musical talent in it, then many of the professional stuff on major labels. It involves real instruments and with some polish, it could make a proper full band live concert on a festival. Not Shpongle, but almost... B)

So here we go! LET'S MAKE CHILLOUT GREAT AGAIN!


1. in heaven

The album starts with some nice dreamy guitar play and soon introduces more layers, like synths and beats. Great progressing and evolving and the right introduction to let the audiance know what this project is about. As soon as the great drumming kicks in, we hear the massive Shpongle influence on the track. I think its mainly Electroplasm from Ineffable Mysteries, what we recognize here. Just wonderful and good drumming skills. After that first taste, we get a small break with some intelligent and provoking voice sample (actually about "how you can go shit yourself"...). Finally not the usual boring and trivial new-age stuff about time, space and consciousness. Track goes an and finishes as it started, with some nice guitar picking.

A+


2. hide

Here comes my favourite track (despite the intro track). Again we have some driving percussions. Its a switch between 80 / 160 Bpm and therefore quite danceable to the end. We also get introduced to the dreamlike and operatic chants of a female singer and even some piano play. And guess what, the effect processing of the voice is very Shpongle-like... Best part comes after a vocal solo, when the drums kick back in. Very satisfying. Only downside is the imho bad mixing, which goes through the whole album. Singing could be louder, for example.

Still an A for this one...


3. sunrise

After the great start of the album, we come now to the more ordinary side. Synthesiser and melody sound a little cheesy, nothing outstanding. But we have some journey through the melody progression, so it never gets really boring. This track seems to show the more electronic parts of the project. And again we get the female voice (is it some pseudo language like from Lisa Gerrard? Or is it hungarian? I dont know...). The transition from music to solo singing is too sudden and sounds odd, could be better... Then comes a part with music and singing, which flows pretty good. More satisfying then the start. But all in all, we dont have much variation here, neither any ideas in composition / arrangement. The parts of the song sound like bricks that are put in a row, without a flow.

C+


4. identical differences

Here we come to the psychedelic side again. Good drumming, guitar riffs, progression and an uplifting melody suddenly kicking in. Also more variation and experimentation here, no song part sounds exactly like the other. At a break to the end, we hear some voice that tells some not so stupid philosophical stuff. Music comes back with the known but well-working pattern of drums and guitar riffs. The whole track reminds me a little bit of Entheogenic, who also sometimes puts some guitar here and there...

B


5. leaves they fall

Another truly dreamy trippin chillout gem and peak of the album. Only this ongoing high-pitched effect that accompanies through almost the whole track is imho too much and present. Should be more subtle and varying and therefore ruins this otherwise great track a little bit. But we get beautiful lush singing, violins (!), drumming, melodies and a real journey. The break in the middle-part seems little bit out ouf place, but then passes into the more satisfying vocals and guitar play, before the drums and finally the violins kick back in. These are the parts, where the track works best.

A-  because it has so much potential...


6. wellbeing

Starts with some flute and violins, some layers and effects and soon the great drumming and some bass guitar come in. The parts go well with each other, untill a break comes and stops the flow. Imho a little bit too harsh, I would love to be at least carried a little further with some background layers. You dont need to stop almost everything before the voice sample comes in. The part 2:30-3:00 with some fading to the end would have gone well for the voice sample, to still be understandable, without interrupting the flow too much. I think its a general problem throughout the album that sometimes there is too much goung on, other times too little. The song structures are more common and predictable, so after the break we finish the same we started.

B


7. cloud city

A nice start, with vocals and violins, but the synths could be more present, because they definetly play a role in here. After a while it gets boring to always here the same arrangements. Well, after the start we get some variation and they show us layers, effects and stuff before we get some extatic dance part with synths and drums. The voice suddenly gets us back, beautiful but too sudden and again too common structured.

B-


8. daffodils

The guitar play in the song intro reminds little bit of old woodstock hippie bands, very nice. But again, these special parts could be far more focused, elaborated and louder. The beginning of the album was better, concerning these parts. You dont have to be Pink Floyd, to place a guitar solo... (Remember the intro track...) Soon it gets replaced by a crescendo of drums, vocals, violin and synths. Very uplifting and great final track for the album. Downside here is some effect layers, that are again present through the whole track without bending or variation. Again some lost potential...

B+


9. szabad élet, magánélet

Whooohoo, an extra bonus track! :+1:

And finally some real hungarian singing, title translates as "free life, privacy"??? :huh: Whatever..., kind of an earworm, uplifting, solid, we get the piano again, subtle proper synth usage and a good finish on this rich journey.

A


Sooo... difficult piece. One the one hand its a fresh discovering with amazing musical talent put in. On the other hand I am not fully satisfied and see much wasted potential and (in my eyes) unnecessary mistakes. Bad mixing, good parts could be more and longer, simple song structures. This is what irritates me, that we have such a unique piece here, that has so many good approaches but could be so much better in some points, without spending much more effort. It somehow disturbs the listening experience for me. But I am just a reviewer and not a professional musician, and talking is much easier than making music like this, right? Also considering that there is no professional label behind this and I am too much spoiled by commercial and well polished music...

Anyway, I am absolutely impressed by the musical range of this project and the fact of using real "hardware" instead of some cheap computer programming. The musical and technical effort put in this are outstanding, especially because it seems to be some hobby project. Lots of professionals make lots of money with much less effort.

But I am sure there is more to come and if I am lucky, this piece receives some remaster in the future. And hopfully we see this project live in concert on stage on some proper festival, because they definitely have the guts!

 

Available on bandcamp with "name your price" option:

https://sandbender.bandcamp.com/album/overflow

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Hi welcome In and nice review.

 

I gave this a go while drifting off the other night, need to listen again to really have an opinion. 

Chillout and Goa both seem to be on the down (if the forum is anything to go by) but there seems to be more artists than ever in both scenes so I can only hope the parties are great.

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