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Afgin ‎– Eternal Freedom


AstralSphinx
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Tracklist 

Enhanced Acid 8:32

Eternal Freedom 11:10

Himalayan Heights 9:30

Electric Outburst 9:54

The First Expedition 9:15

Lucid Feelings 9:24

Around The Stars 10:48

Reaching Sunrise 9:20

I think the artwork is colorful, warm and inviting, and retains the Suntrip tradition of cover artworks with a more organic feel to it. I'm not sure what the original medium is, but it reminds me of the appearance of sand mandalas made with small colored sand granules. Perhaps it's some type of fabric or a painting with mixed medium. It has atleast a digital retouch in photoshop, so either way it's a mixed medium of sorts. ;) 

https://suntriprecords.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-freedom

Listening to Himalayan Heights, it's a 90's throwback for sure. It reminds me of the genre Dream Trance and fuses some beautiful and rather majestic chilled pads with the type of uplifting acidic 303 layers we've come to expect from Afgin. This track also have some clear inspiration found in the Hardtrance and Acid Trance genres. The feelings conveyed are those of pure nostalgia, and also indeed as marketed by warm sentiments which will teleport the listener to a nice sunny beach in the middle east. 

Nice track, only remarks I have is the panorama effect on the main 303 line. It's a bit dizzying, could have been toned down a bit. :) And the kick is a bit on the weaker side, I prefer the big Nitzho kicks but that's just a stylistic preference. The bass as pointed out is a bit low compared to the rest of the elements. However I'm not a fan of modern Psytrance either where the bass is the focal element of the tracks, to the point of becoming the lead element in a way. In classic Goa Trance, the bass played more of a supportive role to the rest of the elements. The melodies will always be at the center stage in Goa Trance IMO. That beeing said, maybe the mastering engineer could have boosted the bass a bit? 

On to the next track which is Around The Stars. I just pressed play on Suntrips youtube channel, so the track order isn't correct. This track starts of harder, the kick is more doof and deep, and the track gives of a more hypnotic Acid Trancey vibe in the first part than previous track. Around the 6 minute mark comes a nice surprise, it changes mood completely from the hypnotic and more monotone Acid Trance sentiments, to a much more elevated and indeed euphoric pad-driven sensation. Providing a cathartic final part to the song, which is a successful concept.

 Amazing track favourite track so far. The best way I can describe this track for comparison, is that it sounds a bit like the kind of euphoric Goa Trance that Artifact303 makes, but through a 90s Dream Trance/Acid Trance prism. It's more scaled back, not so much focus on intricate layers, but instead on pure emotions and clarity to hear those sounds which truly matters the most. Which are the harmonies themselves, and the 303 lines.

I think this track might provide more insight into how Afgin have chosen to interpret the 90's Acid Trance/Dream Trance aesthetics. Since in the Acid genre and its related offshoots, the TB-303 often played the simultaneous role of bass and acid line/main motif. So to put the 303 at center stage as in the good old days of those genres, the actual synth bass might've been toned down. 

Next track I randomly chose is the closing number Reaching Sunrise. The intro reminds me of type of clubby music Antiloop or Richi-M made in the 90's. Besides the intro the track is more is firmly achored in the Israeli Goa tradition established by MFG and Astral Projection around their early albums. (That beeing said, Richi-M had some rather oriental/Goa sounding tunes as well.) There is a very spiralling and sparkling sensation to the first of this track, the main lead is surrounded by carefully sculpted 303 layers. It sounds fresh and uplifting, and there are some unexpected bass keychanges thrown in for good measure. Overall it's a simpler approach however than the early Goa Trance made by Astral Projection and MFG. As the sound image is not as densely layered with regards to psychedelic background sounds, as those albums. Which I think fits this more Trancey  take on Goa trance. What's here however really counts, and you'll be delighted to hear this fresh take on a genre which according some might've stagnated in the last couple of years. Re-threading some familiar formulas, Afgin is however not afraid to experiment and go back in time for inspiration among the heroes of yesteryear. The big 2 minute break in the middle of the track is excellent, and and evokes some rather interesting cinematic scenery. A purely epical reality-escape courtesy of these light-laden grandiose pads.

This is something I would welcome more into the Goa Trance genre, I love this aspect of regular Trance. And indeed in modern Techno, which as become fused with Trance elements these days. When I think of it, this album might have some influences from early Yahel and Eyal Barkan tracks as well. The main climactic part which comes after the break, gives me a huge flashback, I'm not sure to exactly what track. It just feels familiar in the way it changes keys. A very nostalgic and euphoric track. I like this one even more than Around The Stars, which I think is a very solid track. When I think about it some more, the style reminds me a lot of an old group a couple of friends of mine had in the 90s here in Sweden. Atomic Troop/PL-Prophecy, they were quite big on mp3.com. But I don't think Afgin heard them?  :) They and many other artists/groups of this era often did these types of key changes in the bass and the melodies. 

https://goatrance.xyz/music/atomictroop/

https://ia800504.us.archive.org/25/items/iuma-atomictroop/AtomicTroop_-_Infinite_Arousal.mp3 (Melodic Acid Trance/Hardtrance)

https://ia600504.us.archive.org/25/items/iuma-atomictroop/AtomicTroop_-_Im_in_love.mp3 (Acid Trance)

https://ia600504.us.archive.org/25/items/iuma-atomictroop/AtomicTroop_-_Paralyzed_By_Trance.mp3 (Goa Trance)

Real euphoric 303 Wizards of yesteryear. :D 

So I'm really happy to hear Afgin reviving these type of styles. It's actually uncanny to hear how close Afgin managed to get these older styles in terms of how they mixed back then, the bass was not in your face back then. Overall I think on this album Afgin appears to be less constrained by expectations on the style. He here shows a maturation of his artistic repertoire, and provides a rich interpretation of styles. In the process creating something new. This album doesn't seem to be as honed in on recreating the Astral Projection sound as his debut album at times was. Which is great, and makes me curious as to what paths Afgin choses to take in the future. I hope it's an illuminated path full of light, my best wishes!

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Afgin uses goa sounds but the whole album just sounds trance, not goa. For me this is just another attempt at copying Astral Projection but without sounding psychedelic or subtle, it is too mellow, too happy and in your face, cheesy. The best Astral Projection tracks are the ones that are bit darker and have a real psychedelic texture.

By the way the bassline is every track is too weak compared to the kick. Probably why it sounds flat to me. Not my cup of tea and to be honest this is a style I never liked but it seems popular among the younger people in the scene. I doubt fans of the 90s will like this sound. 

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5 hours ago, Prana4ever said:

Afgin uses goa sounds but the whole album just sounds trance, not goa. For me this is just another attempt at copying Astral Projection but without sounding psychedelic or subtle, it is too mellow, too happy and in your face, cheesy. The best Astral Projection tracks are the ones that are bit darker and have a real psychedelic texture.

By the way the bassline is every track is too weak compared to the kick. Probably why it sounds flat to me. Not my cup of tea and to be honest this is a style I never liked but it seems popular among the younger people in the scene. I doubt fans of the 90s will like this sound. 

It’s always interesting to read different opinions around here. I think Afgin was indeed producing some regular/classic Trance as well as Goa Trance. So that would explain what you perceive/hear in terms of a Trance coloration to his sound. I don’t mind such influences though, so I’m curious to hear what I’ll hear in terms of influences. I’m quite into regular Trance though, so I’m not a purist in that sense. But hey maybe you went in with some other type of expectations/preferences. :) 

On a sidenote I agree regarding AP that some of their best works are the darker tracks, of which there are few unfortunately.  

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With Suntrip we try to cover all ranges of goa-trance. From melodic forest (Carpe Noctem) to spiritual tribal (Khetzal), from pure acid 303 (Triquetra) to the crossover between trance & goa (yes, Afgin). Its not a big secret he loves "normal" trance. Its not a copy of Astral Projection, its just... Afgin. A mix between goa and trance with the focus on positive, warm, light melodies to make you smile on sunny days or blisfull mornings on a dancefloor. 

12 hours ago, Prana4ever said:

 Not my cup of tea and to be honest this is a style I never liked but it seems popular among the younger people in the scene. I doubt fans of the 90s will like this sound. 

This is such a weird statement. The personal style I understand fully, but... It is actually more popular by 90s people (and it sells actually better then Triquetra etc). Not sure where you are from? But in Belgium/Holland/Germany/France "normal" trance was huge in the 90s. Slowly this sound faded away into terrible EDM. But people that love this old school sound (mostly people that were on dancefloors in the 90s) miss this sound big time and... they love Afgin, because it brings them back to times genres were not defined. There was trance with a goa touch, goa with a trance touch. Pure Nostalgia for most 90s people. There is a reason why Man With No Name is booked over and over again... 
Also, its not brainfuck music, a lot of the 90s people are bit older now and aren't always searching to the most crazy or psychedelic any longer. 

I seem to be one of the exceptions. Loving both very melodic, positive (goa)-trance stuff and super psychedelic darker acidic stuff :) 

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I like trance music from the 90s, or should I say the golden era (98-2005), this album does not come close, issue with the bassline (not audible) and the melodies which are not memorable. It is stuck between an attempt to copy Astral Projection and an attempt to create melodic trance but without the subtleties or deepness. It sounds too bland, cheese in your face. I am glad some like this style though.  

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i like Afgin (some of his stuff anyway, like Shine on, my fav) but this album seem to be mixed a bit strangely. I am also lacking alot of depth and bottom end (and pretty non-existant basslines)with fairly loud hihat (and highs overall) sections all around. Im wondering if his studio maybe have some issues or if he is going deaf for the higher spectrum - both very plausible explanations as we loose high def once we age. if you can hear 17k+ pure sines consider yourself lucky :) and he might be using a subwoofer that gives him extra bass and fools him? not sure since these are all rookie mistakes, doubtful anyone making music for so long would make.

but it should have been quality controlled at least at the mastering/release stage. just comparing to Shine on which is much older, in fact its damn near old school at this point - over 10 years. It sounds much better to me. Tbh much of the newer stuff coming out now has similar problems. Thin and without depth, but loud hihats.. Shine on too has a bit too loud hihats for my taste but this album was something else, mix wise.. sounds very "software" and lacks ALOT of depth and character to the sound. Flat is a great word for this.

This is a sad evolution as it seem to be going in the wrong direction.

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2 hours ago, Prana4ever said:

I like trance music from the 90s, or should I say the golden era (98-2005), this album does not come close, issue with the bassline (not audible) and the melodies which are not memorable. It is stuck between an attempt to copy Astral Projection and an attempt to create melodic trance but without the subtleties or deepness. It sounds too bland, cheese in your face. I am glad some like this style though.  

 

*Ah sorry I saw now that your reply was to Anoebis. :) I thought my answer was directly above yours.

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Give this album a chance! Don’t go in expecting the same type of Goa Trance we’ve been expected to hear these days. I think Suntrip and Afgin did a brave thing here by trying something unexpected. And in the process show that there are many facets is to this genre. Which of course becomes evident just by browsing the Suntrip catalog. :D Which to date has managed to become a sprawling library of different Goa styles.

This album showcases that not everything needs to be about maximal layer density, and that there is ample room for exploration of older styles and fusing of genres. In the end this approach provides a wider range of tonal expression.

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