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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 Corolle'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 him.

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 old-school Goa concepts reinvigorated for our time now, and whooo man here we go!

1.  Admonition begins with an alluring, atmospheric intro. Synths dangle across the sky as a powerful storm approaches. They're joined with a mid tempo kick drum and baseline. The overture/main melody arrives at 0:44. It's strong and unwavering, accompanied by ambience (harmony). The result is provocative- great, as if we're being guided to a pyramid or some lost forgotten treasure or artifact. Production wise, the sound/melody work is crisp, fluid, and attractively arranged. The first 3:40 of mid-tempo takes us to an interlude. The windstorm re-emerges. Ambient harmonies intermingle with the atmosphere as sound particles simmer, a fanciful sequence. The beat returns at 5:14- higher in tempo, faster, punchier, with stronger synths. After  second, brief interlude, we're off, gliding across the lands with the addition of palatable soundscapes and synth(s). Compared to Corolle's opening track, I find this more interesting, involved, imaginative, and dynamic (varied). The song's easily digestible, whimsical, and engaging throughout. Best of all, it's fun, with touches of mythos, lure, and fantasy. This is a strong way to open 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 or engaging compared to the more dynamic, previous song IMO, and the low key synth at 2:13 I go back and forth on. Positives include the tribally synth early on, delectable melody at 2:53, ambient, Egyptian/Arabic feels, and the saucy synths from 3:35 to 4:31. We reach an interlude. It's interesting. The music returns undeniably danceable, though with little developmental improvement in arrangement or composition. What follows from 5:52 to 6:16 left me feeling somewhat perplexed, restless, and unsure, as this would have been a great opportunity to improve things further. Fortunately, the music improves from 6:35 to 7:30, thanks to some lovely harmonious and structuring. Is it just me though, or does Ziggurat feel like it could have been produced around Corolle (2005), but- and if so, didn't make the cut? I don't feel that Ziggurat shares the same level of lively dynamic interest, ingenuity, or refreshing, arresting aspects on Etamines that the other songs 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, quite enjoyable, though it's my least favourite track on the album.  B

3.  Gray Kitty In the Box is where the album levels up. It opens sublime, with one of the best accents, a briefly sustained bass hum. Additionally, the main synth is fantastic, coupled with rhythmic supporting ones, and the key changes compliment. At one point, the music disengages its layers as the trailing bass hum accents across an atmospheric interlude. I loved this part as suspense mounts, and the few impact sounds are perfectly placed. The music re-emerges more psychedelic, eloquent, and captivating. I love the song's ethnic flavors, and the intergalactic/cosmic approach as if inspired by Filteria. The result is one of the best Khetzal tracks: a visionary, mesmerizing cocktail of a rocket, thanks to strong synths, composition, direction, and arrangement. Even the last minute is engrossing. 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 (main theme/melody). It carries us out of the field and into a colourfully cosmic dimension. Gather Your Herds is an example of great storytelling, defining melodies like characters as they develop and support the main leading one. Two eloquently composed interludes later, and I realize I'm plot jumping here- the story deepens in feels before encountering what I refer to as developmental growth and evolution. What follows is a melody lovers dream come true. A key change three-quarters through unlocks the dimension to Valhalla so to speak, allowing magic to pour through, altering, raising the music's vibration. Gather Your Herds features lush, articulative sound/melody work that puts a smile on my face. The artist's direction and passionate skillset for arrangement and composition is outstanding. This is a beautiful song from start to finish.  A

5.  Acide Formique is fun, energetic, and stomping in all the best ways. The Eastern influence is sleek and tasteful, complimenting the harder hitting (dance friendly) approach. I love the sound mixing- the psychedelic synth effects, accents, textures, etc. Coupled with boom effects early on, the first act lets go of layers for a kinetic sequence (I love this) before upstaging the rhythm with greater intricately and development. The second act shifts the kick drum to mid-tempo a la subtle pitch bends, a comfortably arresting segment before integrating buildup and boosting via effect the music into adventurously driving climax in the third act. The tempo adjustment in the middle act allowed this final act to stand out that much more! To reiterate, each act feels like an upgrade to the previous one, incorporating fresh synths, innovation, complexity, and excitement. The artist's ability to marry ethnic flavors to the more cosmic/intergalactic adventurous style on Etamines is refreshingly catchy and fun. Stellar track!  A

6.  Pavane is next up. The first act is gripping, thanks to great synths accentuated by a lower octave one a la undercurrent. The second act showcases strong growth and arrangement. The atmospheric interlude is good, opening the door for the music's return via climax. It's whimsically fun and reminds me of old-school Infected Mushroom and soon exits. The last card up its sleeve begins with another example of what I'd describe as evolutionary development (or developmental evolution) since Act 3 on Gather Your Herds. It's a terrific moment, bursting with higher ascensional feels. I wish more artists took the time to create more developed, catchy arrangements. The result is so enjoyable to hear. It's clear that the artist is accustomed to healthier durations of developmental arrangements, and in relation to tunes that are memorable. Gorgeous track.  A

7.  A World of Outmoded Ideas follows Pavane up nicely. It's faster in feel and tempo. The lack of intro doesn't bother me here. Pieces are added to the whole via 1:36, 1:48, and 2:26 that coalesce from 2:47 to 2:51 before breaking out with the main melody. The result is warmly euphoric and uplifting. The synths in the forth minute are great, reminding me of old Astral Projection, zippier in energy, adding variance and 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 (it seems) works well. Anything else constructive, I'd say the lower octave synth's return at 6:50 felt less complimentary. Thankfully it soon exits for a fun, bouncy segment of psychedelia at 7:16. The music regroups once more from 7:33 to 7:54, and 7:55 onward is wonderful, full of harmonious growth, development, and key changes that have been wonderfully used throughout the album thus far. Another strong track.  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 prerequisite 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 an ambitious, imaginative, and engaging sequel to Corolle. is it better? Time will tell. I felt guilty for not reviewing this sooner. The only song I care less for is Ziggurat, but it's not bad. I jus think the rest of the album is on another level by comparison. Etamines features less oriental melodies than Corolle. It's more contemporary, psychedelic, and layered, with more elaborate mixing and direction. Middle Eastern influences include:  Indian, Egyptian, Arabic, and Turkish. I generally wouldn't describe Khetzal tracks as cosmic or intergalactic, but I associated some of that on a few tracks here and the result IMO feels infectiously upgraded and unique from Corolle. 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. There seems to be a unique balance/mix of dualistic (light vs. dark) energy going on, but in a fun, creative way. Thankfully the music's never bogged down with lower vibrations. Moreover, there's much I found inspirational, mystical, adventurous, exploratory, and elevating in frequency (state of consciousness/mind) vibration. I appreciated what I felt was inspiration (at times) for overcoming duality (the practice of non-duality) in Didge Voices, especially in the end. I found these moments profound and powerful, as if was feeling the artist's inspirational intentions of the track. Etamines is a highly danceable and fun album, yet there's room for exploration. The album is rich with storytelling, mythos and lore, context and subtext, narrative beats, feels, world building, and super songs. And if you let it grow on you as I did, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised as song's sound more identifiable past the initial getting-to-know-you part of the relationship. Matthieu Chamoux is somewhat of an enigma, returning 17 years later with a sequel to Corolle this riveting. Highly recommend for listeners of Goa Trance.

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

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

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