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Artist: Khetzal
Title: Etamines
Label: Suntrip records
Release: 15th of March, 2021

Tracklist:-
1. Admonition
2. Zigggurat
3. Grey Kitty In The Box
4. Gather Your Herds
5. Acide Formique
6. Pavane
7. A World Of Outmoded Ideas
8. Didge Voices
9. Ealitas Ex Nihilo

 

Please do not hesitate to enjoy

 

 

https://suntriprecords.bandcamp.com/album/etamines-3

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Holy shit....

 

Never thought he would release another album again.

I thought he once said he lost interest in the genre.

 

We all come back after a while eventually, it's just natural.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Holy crap, that's a worthy review, Tsotsi! You're the master of video editing, you've put some time into it. I really enjoyed it.
I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the music. Khetzal delivers again. Very mystical sounds, a lot thicker sounding than Corolle, I say.
In terms of sound, Khetzal, Ra and Antares are a bit on the same line here. Mystical, eastern-like sounds.

This is a hell of an album. It's got power, yet it feels very warm. Favorite: Acide Formique. Great percussion backing up a lightning of goa sounds.

:wub:

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  • 2 months later...

The Melodic Genius returns.

So 17 years later, Khetzal, who scored a hit with the melodic Goa trance album "Corolle", returns with a new record! That's a long time by anyone's reckoning for a second album.

Matthieu Chamoux is a melodic genius. He has a dynamic sense of melody, meaning that his melodies really move. He is able to make melodies sway, sweep, waltz, bounce, zoom off and develop. The development of these melodies is important: there is real storytelling structure in the songs, which speed up and slow down and change moods at points - this is derived from traditional symphonic structure or argument. "Corolle" was a hit, cited by a number as the best neo-Goa album, partly because of this melodic brilliance. It seemed to me that it stood directly in the line of classic 90s Goa from Astral Projection, TIP, Etnica et al. This was not only because it was not afraid to make big melodies, often with Oriental scales and motifs. In my estimation, it was also so good because it had a degree of simplicity: "Corolle" was just a bit less layeristic than most of the other neo-Goa from Filteria, Artifact 303, E-Mantra, et al. (Haha, I had to laugh when Morphic Resonance released "Perplexity" in 2018 - that can indeed be the response that excessive layerism can result in). "Corolle" was also not afraid to slow things down; quite a few of the tracks have modest bpms and are not shooting for high speed take off. To my way of thinking, this relative, I repeat relative, simplicity and slowness, along with the melodic genius, were the reasons for the success of "Corolle". Restraint, or at least some degree of restraint, is necessary for art: drama requires it. Hell for leather from bar 1 is a recipe for exhaustion, not for drama and intrigue. Restraint is often the mark of a master.

So what about this 17 years later second album? Well, it is definitely Khetzal. A similar melodic sensibility is on display, similar Oriental motifs, similar restraint. Similar, but not the same. This album does not have as much of a consistent Oriental vibe as "Corolle" did. It is not as restrained and goes a little faster and more layeristic generally. Is it as good? Hard to say. I wouldn't say it is as memorable or as outstanding as the first album, but that does not mean it is not as good.

"Admonition" is a strange title for the first track of an album, suggesting that things did not start off so well for the composer. Whatever, it has an atmospheric start, and soon becomes quite mystic and wondrous due to background choirs and drones - a building beginning.

"Ziggurat" is percussive and grows into a psychedelic monster with spinning melodies with oriental drones in the background - nice!

I must make mention of the background drones that set off the main melody so well in "Grey Kitty in the Box" (weird title - Matthieu got a present of a kitten?).

"Gather Your Herds" is a real head-nodder of a track with a highly memorable whistling main theme.

The melody in the next track "Acide Formique" is quite similar - a kind of continuity.

"Pavane" as the title suggests is a real bouncy dancey track with an addictive bassline and some cool percussive breaks - this track sounds a lot like Filteria in that the melodies seem to multiply and fly off or fizzle out in a drizzle of wiggles. Really an extraordinarily psychedelic track which even has sounds like lasers in a Star Wars movie and what sounds a lot like a violin or viola gypsy-style main theme - very, very, very nice! Khetzal outdoes himself in this track which is a masterwork and arguably the best track he has thus far composed.

"A World of Outmoded Ideas" is quite fast and busy - lots of fractal pixillations here and babbling long melodic lines. The main melodic theme which works with stabs does not work so well for me - it is just a little too chintzy and bright sounding for this listener. This track is sort of like a sped up Astral Projection.

"Didge Voices" slows things down a little and offers a haunting Arabic melody with a flute sound from the get go. This main melody owes a lot to music and film - it could easily be from "Lawrence of Arabia" or any number of other classic films with its combination of yearning and minor key gloom. What a great track.

"Ealitas Ex Nihilo" is a nice closer going a bit slower than most of the other tracks on the album. Nothing too special or outstanding on offer here, though it does have an epic sensibility.

So Khetzal has created another fine album, albeit not as restrained as the first record. I'm not sure that this works better for the album as a whole, but it has helped him create some of his best melodies thus far, particularly on "Pavane" and "Didge Voices". This album was not as immediately memorable as the first album for me. Nevertheless, it is a superb work that may just have more staying power; only time will tell. Seeing as "Corolle" got a vinyl release (at last!), Suntrip are obligated to give this a vinyl release too. C'mon Suntrip: you can do it. ~*~

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  • 2 months later...

15 or so years ago, I was walking on this earth, in what resembled a true paradise. It was that sweet-spot in the year between spring and summer. When the weather is just perfectly splendid, and the birds and nature encompasses you into its divine secrets. That was when I first came in contact with the music of Khetzal, it left an indelible impression on me ever since. The music itself managed to capture exactly what I was experiencing, in this total blissful moment of joy as I experienced a very close bond with the earth and nature around me. There was an optimism in the air, I felt very excited about the prospect of the Goa Trance revival. Which seemed like a very creative and inspired movement. It was a new dawn for a genre which had been slumbering. 

So now we are blessed with yet another finely crafted piece of Goa Trance by Khetzal, which hopefully will awake the inspiration of a new generation of Goa producers. I will need to re-listen multiple times to catch all the details on this album. But so far it has been beyond expectations, a very nice cinematic and somewhat ambient-like approach on the Goa Trance formula. And it's very apparent that Khetzal spent a long time honing his skills between the time of the last album in 2005 and this new album.

In particular what's striking is a skilful play with colors and careful balancing of light and dark atmospheres. The melodies are evocative of oriental geometric textures when I close my eyes. A very lush and richly textured meditative Goa Trance, which is uplifting for the spirit and contemplative for the mind. The third track is unfolding now (Grey Kitty In The Box) And it's soo beautiful! It feels like I'm flying over ancient lands in a Vimana, above colossal statues and temples in every direction, with their surrounding sacred precincts illuminated by a radiant red sun. Which spreads its beams in every direction, picture something like the Angkor Wat temple complex. To quote something from wikipedia which captures the mood: 

In the Ramayana, the pushpaka ("flowery") vimana of Ravana is described as follows:

"The Pushpaka Vimana that resembles the Sun and belongs to my brother was brought by the powerful Ravana; that aerial and excellent Vimana going everywhere at will ... that chariot resembling a bright cloud in the sky ... and the King [Rama] got in, and the excellent chariot at the command of the Raghira, rose up into the higher atmosphere.'"

Massive tune that feels like a contender for the next benchmark in Neo Goa.

Acide Formique is another track which really captures my imagination, a very intense euphoric rollercoaster. This is like a serotonin overload, bombarding your synapses with pure unadulturated euphoria. Which is sure to put a big grin on your jaw which is dropped squarely on the floor. And if that wasn't enough, I have barely recovered from the epicness of the previous track, let alone collected my thoughts enought to write something comprehensible. When we are thrown into yet another solar storm of a track: Pavane

It continues with the same unrelentless drive as the previous number. It feels a bit darker and is captivating, employing a foreboding and mysterious storytelling mode. Spiralling your mind further into the vast depths of the undiscovered potential of your consciousness. This track showcases Khetzal's knowledge of the violin instrument. I do not know if he plays a real violin in the track or if it's sampled and played on keyboard. Either way the result is fantastic, it reminds me a bit of the violin segments in Dancing With Kadaffi by Infected Mushroom. So it's played or programmed in a very oriental vibe indeed. With natural points of articulation. Which makes me lean on the notion that it's a real violin, but you never know these days. :D 

The closing track: Ealitas Ex Nihilo starts out like an ambient track before it picks up speed and becomes a more chilled uptempo track than the previous hyper-energetic outings. Stylewise it reminds me a bit of California Sunshine - Green Sky. Very hypnotic and dreamy, something like a fusion between Goa Trance and Dream Trance. This notion is accentuated by the arpeggiated piano layer which appears in the beginning and the end of the track. This type of track is a wise choice for saying goodbye, and landing after an eventful journey.

This ending track could also work really well to open a set or a playlist. Really nice build/progression in it for that purpose as well.

The artwork for this album is also very peculiar and interesting, it looks a bit like Angels Trumpets. :) With some cute hummingbirds sipping its nectar. Alluding perhaps to the mysterious world of entheogenic plants. At the same time these flowers almost look like some type of tivoli tents with the flower stamens resembling illuminated lamps underneat. These bothanical fantasy creatures have bird-like features. Somekind of hybrids or flowers and birds? The flower to the left looks as if the hummingbirds have been caught and are now a permanent fixture connected to it. And appear like a tivoli carousel for kids, all aligned in a circle. There’s also a band of smaller lamps hanging between the flowers. I can’t find any info on Discogs as to who the artist behind this artwork is. It’s very psychedelic and imaginative.

Edited by AstralSphinx
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  • 1 month later...

Man, remember when Corelle first came out? Suntrip was just a baby, but they released this iconic gem that was met with universal acclaim. Fast forward 16 years and Matthieu Chamoux picks up right where he left of. This guy from France has such a complete understanding of melody and paints his art with delicate touches. Nothing is abrasive and all is welcoming.  Every track is full of spiraling melodies and liquid layers creating a living, breathing entity.

Notes:

Admonition- Slowly unfolding beginning that oozes sunlight and mysticism.

Ziggurat- Who doesn't love a good tabla? And that bouncy melody? So. Much. Rapture.

Grey Kitty in the Box- You can feel and hear the constant exhalation as melodies dance above and below. Super duper.

Gather Your Herds- Gentle, interwoven melodies bring sunshine at every turn.

Acide Forme- Pure goa brilliance. Like surfing on an endless ray of sunlight.

Pavane- Delicious from start to finish, but especially the finish with the violin.

A World of Outmoded Ideas- More of a trancey sound, but his ability to mix his layers with just the right amount of dynamism is impressive.

Didge Voices- Forlorn, melancholic, and deeply entrancing with a lovely tribal touch. One of my faves.

Ealitas Ex Nihilo- This one didn't grab me like EVERYTHING ELSE did.

 

Bravo to Khetzal for making an album that gets better and better with repeated listens. It's almost perfect in my eyes and a worthy sequel to cement your goa trance legacy!

And kudos to Suntrip for delivering this wonderful music and not being afraid to release different types of goa. This type will always be welcome.

 

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  • 5 months later...

Khetzal - Etamines - Full Review

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17 years... It's been 17 years since the release of Corolle (2005), one of the best reviewed albums in Goa music. Aspects that always impressed me include the debut's ability to engage- its living, breathing, atmospheric storytelling structure (sound/melody work), and direction. A song would begin with a compelling intro, such as placing the listener in a forest. You could hear the leaves rustling and nature sounds as if you're really there. These details added to the immersion, bringing the chapter(s) to life. Furthermore, each song was light on the mind, fun, so you're never bogged down. Also great was Corolle's ethnic influence and approach, be it Indian or oriental. World building doubled with story progression, so neither was boring. The Eastern approach was dynamic, whimsical, enchanting, and lively, with tempo changes, intriguing interludes, buildup, climax, cinematically inspired sounds, accents, and more. The debut was anything but ordinary, and showcased aspects we love about old school Goa Trance, yet the artist's delivery felt fresh and inventive, bursting with memorable melodies, surprises, and dance friendliness, as if Krishna was playing alongside or channeling through the artist.

17 years and a decent amount of compilation songs later, Matthieu Chamoux returns with his first main album since Corolle. It retains ethnic-influences, is less oriental, more psychedelic, features more [pure] old-school Goa concepts reinvigorated for our time now, and whooo man here we go!

1.  Admonition begins with an alluring, atmospheric intro. The first synths emerge as a powerful storm approaches. It's joined with a mid tempo kick drum, baseline, and textures. An overture-esque main melody arrives at 0:44. It's strong and unwavering, accompanied by ambience (harmony). The feels are provocative, as if we're being guided to a pyramid or some lost forgotten treasure. The first 3:40 takes us to an interlude. The windstorm re-emerges. Ambient harmonies intermingle with the atmosphere as melodic particles simmer, a fanciful sequence. The energy picks up, returning the beat with stronger synths- faster, punchier, favorable to the song's mature tone. After another brief interlude, we chill for a beat. Then the vehicle takes off,  gliding across the desert. Compared to Corolle's harmoniously solid opening track, this is more interesting, involved, layered, and dynamic (varied). The song's easily digestible, whimsical, mystical, and engaging throughout. Best of all, it's fun, with touches of mythos and lure. This is a strong way to start off the album. Excellent track.
A-

2.  Ziggurat is the only track I care less for to the point I sometimes skip it. The first act's sound work and arrangement is not very interesting nor engaging. Its arguably tinny and repetitive compared to the dynamic opening [Admonition], and the low key synth at 2:13 is pretty mundane. Positives include a dribbling, tribally synth early on, the fresh melody at 2:53 followed by ambient (very nice!), and the Egyptian/Arabic feel. The more energetic/saucy synths and melody work from 3:35 to 4:31 worked well. Next, interlude. It sounds promising, coupled with an obe or clarinet. The energy combines and the music returns, though with little developmental improvement in arrangement or composition. What follows (from 5:52 to 6:16) left me feeling perplexed, restless, and unsure. This would have been a great opportunity to improve the song. Fortunately, the music improves (6:35 to 7:30) thanks to harmonious development and structuring. Is it just me though, or does this song feel like it could have been produced around Corolle (2005), but and if so, didn't make the cut? Just a thought. I don't feel that Ziggurat shares the same level of lively dynamic interest, ingenuity, or refreshing/arresting aspects that the other songs here do. At worst, I find it a bit lazy and forgettable despite the best of intentions. On other days, I find it pleasant on the ears and mind, and quite enjoyable, though it's my least favourite track on the album.
B

3.  Gray Kitty In the Box is a return to form after the previous quandary. This is where the album levels up! It has one of the best accents, a briefly sustained bass hum, followed by a fantastic main melody. Same goes for the rest of the synths, arrangements, mixing, layers, and direction. The main rhythm is sleekly articulated. The visionary approach to this song is dynamic and varied. At one point, the music dissipates into thunder-esque sounds for an imaginative interlude before re-emerging- more psychedelic, interesting, enveloping, and arresting than before. The song's sound/melody work is eulogizing (praise worthy), elaborate, intricate, and captivating. There are brief adjustments in structuring/mixing (twists and turns) like a 4th dimensional roller coaster without attachment to the tracks. I love how fluid and exciting this song feels, the high octane feels and (what sounds to me more) cosmic, modern approach. The result is one of the best Khetzal tracks- a delicious, mesmerizing cocktail doubling as a crocket across an imaginatively invigorating and arresting Universe. Even in its last minute, the song is engrossing, leaving me to wish we had a song more on this level and standard in place of Ziggurat, though the previous track was far from bad. To me, Tracks 1 and 3 so far show me where the artist is at now, in terms of advanced applications and top shelf excellence. I  prefer not to swear in my reviews, but if I did I'd say the song is f---ing awesome. Grey Kitty In the Box is superb. 
A

4.  Gather Your Herds opens in a meadow or field. Running water. Birds chirping. Soft wind. It's here that we're treated to the overture sound. It carries us out of the field and into a cosmic, orchestral realm of sounds and melodies. Gather Your Herds is Goa in the purest sense of storytelling, following the characters of the melodies as they develop together, and until their reality transcends into a higher frequency range of consciousness, seemingly conveyed here in the last act. Two interludes, both elegantly composed later, the song deepens in feels and development before initiating what I consider developmental growth and evolution. What follows is a melody lovers dream come true. A key change three-quarters through unlocks the dimension of the song, evolving it in ways I find challenging to describe. Gather Your Herds has tunes that stay stuck in my head They're memorable! The artist's direction, storytelling structure, and sounds/melody work is outstanding. This is a beautiful song bursting with tasty melodies, passion, spirit, and substance from start to finish. It's a joy to listen to, and did I mention melodies enough times yet?  :) :wub:
A

5.  Acide Formique is another gem. I like how it starts- exciting, energetic, sleek, borderline futuristic, and stylish. Man this artist has opened the door for so much expansion by now on this album alone. I pray it's not another 17 years before he's inspired to release another main album. This is a great spot for this track. Coupled with sonic boom effects early on that accentuate the fun, energy increases symbiotic to intricately fresh, gripping synth work. The direction is dynamic. The song has such momentum and tangy, nighttime energy. As with the previous two tracks, Acide Formique is tightly woven and consistently strong across all three acts. The music never losing steam or intelligence in the sense its brief transitional interludes allowsfor smarter development. Layering is articulative, never overstuffed or overly layered while continuing the more elaborate, ambitious Goa approach on Etamines. The result is a delectably stylistic, smart, and arresting fun track, full of nuance and high powered moments.! I'm impressed with every song on the album thus far, save the second. The provocative, more adrenalized song works well in this place on the track list too. Stellar track!
A

6.  Pavane allows us to catch our breathe after the previous, more elaborate trio of gems. The first act is gripping, thanks to great synths, complimented by an undercurrent (lower octave one). The second act builds beautifully on the first, incorporating fresh ingredients, arrangements of growth and development. The interlude is atmospheric and suspenseful, leaving the door to virtually any open for the third act to commence. The music returns with climax. It reminds me of Infected Mushroom in their prime- through Khetzal's directly (or not) inspiration. It's excitingly fun, and soon exits. We breathe for a moment, and the last part begins featuring what I'd describe as evolution. Beyond changing, elevated the music's feel to higher levels, the artist mindfully incorporates ingredients to support and accentuate the high. This is something I wish Morphic Resonance's Perplexity album did per its style rather than showing shorter arrangements. The result is so effective and enjoyable here, thanks to the artist who is accustomed to healthier durations of developmental arrangement, and in relation to tunes that are memorable. Beautiful track! 
A

7.  A World of Outmoded Ideas follows Pavane up nicely with a faster tempo and feel a la- and as if inspired by old Astral Projection. There's not much intro. That's okay here though. The song's ingredients are gradually added into the pot- at 1:36, 1:48, and 2:26. These are merely pieces to the whole that coalesce from 2:47 to 2:51, before breaking out with the main melody (story arc's) theme and arrangement. The result is warmly beautiful, uplifting, and infectiously euphoric. The synths in the forth minute are great, reminding me of old AP, zippier in energy, adding variance to the song's feels. We reach an interlude with a brief voice sample. More ingenuity could have taken place with the music's return IMO, though the accentuation to the bass line and added pizazz is nice. A lower octave synth at 6:50 returns briefly, though it sounds less complimentary here. It soon exits for a fun, bouncy segment of psychedelia at 7:16. The music coalesce once more from 7:33 to 7:54, and from 7:55 on is one of the best moments on the album, a resurgence of the harmoniously, uplifting main theme, with more arresting elements like a liquid neon sky. All in all, and despite a few compositionally less-than-stellar bits, the song succeeds thanks to memorable, inspired sound/melody work, arrangement, and design, and the key changes do wonders the way they're utilized on here, as they were on Pavane, etc. The highs are so high when they hit. Magical melodies!
A-

8.  Didge Voices is a bit slower and grounded in direction (more on that in a moment). I love the more organic, worldly tribal and Arabic influence and approach here. The song feels otherworldly filmic, not soundtrack-y thankfully! As with Khetzal's Aramean Dreams on Suntrip's Blacklight Moments comp, both songs reward the listener after featuring an intriguing, contemplative interlude. The returning music here is akin to a family of eagles in some epic story or film (or real life experience that the story's inspired by) taking flight for the Heavens, as the skies part to accommodate their transformative ascent. It's an unconventional, confident, and soaring climax- a refreshingly contemporary high. The sequence is downright (or upright based on your perspective) wonderful and  full of feels, elevating everything that preceded it and lifting my vibration in the process. Initially I didn't think much of this song if you'd believe that, until the final act. Now I find the first two acts symbiotic, excellent, and essential to the superb finale. Beautiful, mystical, and spiritually expressive work!
A

9.  Ealitas Ex Nihilo just to note: I'm really glad the album didn't end with a slow (downtempo) song, as there is no need or pre-requisite for every Goa album to do that, as many did- some still do. If it works great! I say go with what inspires YOU and I'm happy to see the artist did exactly that. The album ends on a higher note in the form of uplifting, morning-inspired that I don't recall the artist creating to this degree before. I like the more energetic, punchy arrangements and composition. I find the song dynamic and fun. The last chapter is full of radiant energy, dance-friendliness, and sunshine/LIGHT, along with power [the finale] married with warmth and euphoria a la feels, thanks to great usege of key changes that compliment the music with positive vibes. The song is heartfelt without ever sounding cheesy. It's like a reunion on a beach for spirited, loving souls across lifetimes, all taking part in a dance that has transcended (in this sense literally) the test of time. It's a beautiful closing track with three strong acts, and ends the album on a high note.
A

CONCLUSION

Examines is a strong, mature, imaginative, and engaging sequel to Corolle. is it better? Time will tell. Both feel special for their times to me. I honestly felt guilty for not reviewing this sooner. The only song I care less for is Ziggurat. The album is too good for it IMO, but it's not bad. The album features less oriental melodies than Corolle. It's more contemporary, elaborately layered, with undefined worldly, Middle Eastern influences, e.g., Indian, Egyptian, Arabic, Turkish, etc. I'd surmise a touch of cosmic/intergalactic too and spiritual goes without saying. The intrigue, excitement, and rewards never end until the credits roll, and that's a beautiful thing thanks to memorable sound/melody work and nearly 80 minutes of it. I was intrigued by the dualistic (light vs. dark) subtextual and contextual tones throughout, though the music's never bogged down with lower vibrations. There's much I found inspirational and more expansive relative to mystical, adventurous, sleekly edgy, infectiously intricate, and higher vibrational. Additionally, I appreciated what I felt was inspiration (at times) for overcoming duality relative to the practice of non-duality towards the end of Didge Voices and the closing track. In addition, Etamines is a highly danceable and fun album, and yet there's an undefined, attractive amount of space for listeners to explore. The album is rich with storytelling, mythos and lore, context and subtext, narrative beats, feels, world building, and a healthy amount of super songs. Matthieu Chamoux is somewhat of an enigma, returning 17 years later with a sequel to Corolle this strong, ambitious, meticulous, and articulate. He's clearly a conscious aware artist. This is easily one of my top favourite albums of the 21st Century. Highly recommended for those who love intriguing, dynamic, and ultra melodic Goa Trance!

Favourite tracks:  EVERYTHING RED :)
A
Sample
https://suntriprecords.bandcamp.com

Order / Buy
https://suntriprecords.com/release/cat/SUNCD66/

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