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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 

 ------Rohan - Roots RMX
STYLE

 

 

This is a remix album on the chilled side of drum and bass with a strong Indian flavour. Rohan's original tracks are restructured in arrangements that range from the gentle, blissed-out Vanilla Sky RMX of Awake to the once serene Siren's Song here remixed into an uptempo break-driven offering by Sharaab. This ethno-techno collection is enriched by soaring and dreamy female vocals, heavenly pianos and variety of Indian loops, flutes and drones. There are plenty of trippy, quirky atmospheric interludes with breathy spoken voices, some dub oriented moments and mellow sections interspersed among the more dominant phat basses and pumping junglist tracks.

 
MOOD   A generally bright sound and energetic approach characterises most tracks with an exotic mood (to the western ear) produced by the Indian origins of many of the musical elements. To further stir things up, we have murmuring French vocals, wailing Irish pipes and some deft synthesiser programming. Restful passages occur when half speed melodies or voices amble along among the crisp higher tempo beats.
 
ARTWORK   Rich reds and oranges bathe a contemporary ethnic collage in sunset hues. Names of the major contributors are prominently displayed on the front cover - Rohan, Karsh Kale, Analog Kid, Sandeep Chowta, Ryukyu Underground, Sharaab, Dave Sharma and Dimm Summer. The reverse includes credits for each track and a bpm listing. We're reminded that this is a remix of Rohan Sukhdeo's previous CD 'Roots'.
 
OVERALL   

One reviewer used the term ethno-hypnotic to describe Rohan's sound and that fits well - this CD is full of dreamy atmospheres, resonant Asian ambience and gorgeous mellow breaks brimming with barely restrained energy. Rohan has not simply handed over his originals to the masters of the drum and bass genre, in a couple of cases he remixes his own tracks with intriguing results. With regard to this project Rohan said - "The goal of the remix record was to give the original songs from Roots a chance to be reinvented by other artists and to take on a life of their own in the hands of others. It ended up being quite an international affair, by having remixers from all over, like Japan and even from India, revisit these tunes. I think this ended up giving the project a broader sense of musicality".

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Fans of the Asian massive, ethno-techno lovers, chilled d'n'b listeners - this is a well-unified collection with twists and turns in a variety of interesting directions. If you like Indian sounds with a western backdrop ths CD might well appeal to you.
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 

 ------Alio Die/Safron Wood - The Sleep Of Seeds
STYLE

 

 

Three wandering tracks of evolving drones and percussive scatterings. The artists suggest a ritualistic approach to music creation making creative use of such diverse sonic sources as flutes, tubes, various objects, rattles, shells and bells along with ambient drones, loops and effects. An accordion is played but not for melody, more as if exploring the instrument as an unfamiliar sound object, producing long droning strands.

 
MOOD  

This CD feels almost like the soundtrack to a piece of outdoor performance art, as manipulated natural sounds unfurl among flutish breaths, metallic jangles and whirling tubes. At times the impression is one of lonely winds blowing through derelicts, at other times the loose structure produces an almost carefree feeling - all the while the titles draw us downward into nature with all of its urgent serenity. Dissonant layers, water effects and thick rolling textures work to bind everything into a focussed poetry of montaged sound.

 
ARTWORK   In keeping with the theme of the project, the cover artwork features a collage of seeds, seedpods and rich texture all carefully laid out like a gallery presentation. The original edition packaging of this CD is quite an elaborate affair, with compositions of actual tissues and seeds inside the tray. Stefano says ".I pesonally did already 500 of them in the last year." Inside we have the three track titles: The Sleep Of Seeds, Awakening In A New Form and A Dream Of Mother Ground along with appropriate credits. The package works well to create a unified vision of the life cycle and dream world of plants and soil. Both Alio Die and Saffron Wood pleasantly invite contact by including their email addresses alongside photographic portraits.
 
OVERALL   

Three haunting explorations of unearthly sound built around a very earthly concept. Many of the elements sound improvised to such an extent that they're almost too random to be of human origin - thick breathing and rumbles, water noises and bestial snorting. By contrast the introduction of a gently plucked zither produces a warming melodic tenor. Stefano tells us regarding his approach to recording "sometimes the quality of the sounds, I mean special tunings and kind of vibrations, can help a lot to go into a new layer of sensibility. In the studio process this discovery opens possibilities to enter into the special taste of the specific sound combinations. Then finding the best approach for the occasion, it becomes transparent that the music form starts to shine itself".

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM  

Ambient fans who enjoy an experimental sound. The Sleep Of Seeds will appeal to those who like a 'natural' atmosphere and improvisational approach.

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 

 ------Androcell - Emotivision
STYLE   Crystal clear, dubby, psychedelic electronica with a scattering of ethnic elements and plenty of luxuriant atmosphere. Like most albums of the genre, tracks pass through phases rather than any verse/chorus structure and melodies loop, cycle and flux as rich processing effects lend colour and depth. Emotivision is an exploratory downtempo journey with a very contemporary sound that, at the same time, taps into a timelessness through the imaginative use of sampled voices - both ethnic chants and spoken English. We're told Tyler created Androcell "as an aural habitat for all cognizant beings who experience the emotional palette of chilled, psychedelic wonder that awaits inside his music".
 
MOOD  

The dominant mood is one of trippy brightness with heavy basslines that suggest a huge, looming presence accompanying us somewhere under the surface. Juicy, effected synth tones and contorted ethnic samples introduce an exotic aspect, whilst the silky production and generous application of modern technology establish a contemporary perspective. The feeling is primarily positive and expansive rather than moody or sorrowful - the approach of cycling and evolving repetition of the melody lines works to absorb the listener into contented nodding submission as we're swept willingly along way out into Androcell's deeply chilled world.

 
ARTWORK  

The packaging of this CD is of a high quality - a glowing digipack that lets the viewer know exactly what to expect from the musical content. The front cover features a bizarre montage of a tropical octopus headed, hue shifted human face and a massive graven stone disc - tendrils reach out across the back cover veining a soft orange sunset over water. Andocell, AKA Tyler "Quasaga" Smith creates his own artwork and here provides a sharp eight-page booklet of digital imaginings along with the CD to deepen our immersion into Emotivision. Regarding the artwork Tyler says: "A little insight about the cover art from Emotivision: An octopus has chromatophores in it's skin which visually communicate it's mood, through a series of highly complex texture and color pattern shifts. It ranks up high as one of the most psychedelic biological occurances I've seen and I often think about how communication between humans could be much simpler if we had these biological adaptations in place with our own species. So the octopus body fused atop the human head is symbolic of emotional psychedelic communication and illumination. A human being able to communicate their thoughts and feelings instantly by a visual display of emotionally triggered color patterns and textures on their skin would be a great gift to humanity indeed. If we could "see" how each other "feels", and "show" others how we "feel" ,without the apprehension or confusion that verbal language can often invoke, we truly all would have "Emotivision". Despite my lack of chromatophores, I'm compelled to display how or what I feel, visually, through the creation of visual art and hopefully showing each individuals mind's eye an emotionally visual experience through sound."

 
OVERALL    Track titles such as Purple Aura, Dub Crystals and Fungus Garden nicely sum up Emotivision for me. Full of electronic squidges, squelches and general weirdness - punctuated with tribal percussives and deeply effected utterances - anchored to loping downtempo beats and blunt driving basslines. Emotivision revels in the interplay of different layers of shifting cycling electronica, synthetic atmospheres and even the odd environmental ambience. Tracks merge one into another, often by way of some peculiar sonic montage that maintains the established mood before we're off and swaying to the next heady mix. The CD was digitally mastered by expert fellow artist Yaniv Shulman.
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM  

Androcell approaches his chillout music from the psychedelic trance school of thought, he clearly enjoys thick dub-induced bass and flights of musical fancy. If you like downtempo with an exotic edge or chilled electronica with a strong beat - have a listen to this CD.

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------Viia - 8 Track Demo
STYLE

 

 

Melodic, electronic pop carried along by lush, inventive female vocals. Viia's sound is largely built around uncomplicated arrangements of guitar, bass and drums - having said that, pianos and synths take their part in what is a pleasingly contemporary sound. Jody Quine's voice soars, lingers and glides with an emotional intensity that lifts her way above the crowd. Viia's tracks are primarily moving songs of 'ethereal love' with traditional verse and chorus, yet the structures feel as close to the electronica of Balligomingo as to most guitar music. With this powerful blend of infectious beats, impassioned vocals and driving instrumentation, Viia is crying out to be heard live.

 
MOOD   The mood of this CD is one of emotional warmth and deep feeling. Bright, crisp beats and guitars, passionate lyrics and vocals combine to present tracks that you'll want to sing along to - but the richness of Jody's voice sets any takers quite a challenge. Vik's guitar work doesn't set out to impress with virtuoso fingering and flamboyance, but rather focuses on sensual chord progressions and cool, moody bass lines.
 
ARTWORK  

Since the CD I currently have is a demo - there is no artwork as yet. However, the aesthetic appeal of the present website leaves me hopeful ...... http://www.viia-music.com

 
OVERALL    Vik and Jody first worked together along with Garrett Schwartz on the electronic project Balligomingo. Around the same time they began exploring the idea of a solo project and an early result was the track 'Frozen' which subsequently got leaked onto the internet and was thought by many to be a Balligomingo piece due to a clear similarity of sound. With the passage of time Viia's own individuality has more fully developed, having now the rock edge evident in 'Again', the pop appeal of 'This Girl' and the intimate drama of 'Invitation'. All the instruments on this CD are played or programmed by Vik Levak and Jody tells us that once the basic arrangements are laid down, she then begins constructing vocal melodies and finally lyrics.
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Viia should please fans of Vik and Jody's previous work with Balligomingo, so too, if you like electronic pop that has more feeling and individuality that is usual - this might be for you.
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------Various - French Kiss
STYLE

 

 

A collection of 'chill-out' electronic pop that draws together elements of downtempo, lounge and worldbeat all coated with a sugary French frosting. Bright mid/downtempo grooves with uplifting keyboard, piano and synth arrangements work as foundations for some fresh melodies and whispery female vocals.

 
MOOD  

Initially as light and airy as an early summer's day, French Kiss becomes increasingly sensual as the CD progresses into warm evening atmospheres. Sultry French vocals woven among unhurried beats, soft organ-vibes and echoing chords suggest a European cafe ambience, an intimate romantic flavour, a late night urban winding down.

 
ARTWORK   A glossy digipack supports a lavish montage of red roses and grainy black and white photographs of Paris. As we look closer other visual elements such as the lips of a model, graphic panels and swirling calligraphic lettering are all layered into the mix. Titles are a deep red and credits highlight the contributions of the various artists. French Kiss has a definite image that it wants us to embrace - the cover sticker proclaims that it is "irresistibly sexy and stylishly cool ..... a soundtrack for lovers sealed with a kiss".
 
OVERALL    A gentle backdrop to a Parisian seduction - this CD draws together the passionate gypsy violin work of Govinda, the chilled d'n'b hints of Rohan, the trip pop sensuality of Radiophonic. We also get here an idea of what we might expect more of soon from Mark Adams Allison (previously Spirit Level and Phobos) under the new moniker 'Mysteria'. The overall sound of French Kiss is surprisingly unified and consistent - Intentcity have compiled an inventive collection that beckons to a continental summer.
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Worldbeat lovers looking for something with a European image, chilled electronica listeners and cafe culture romantics could all find something to enjoy on this CD. Play it driving with the roof down in the sunshine, sipping a latte at a street cafe or with the lights down low.
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------Sleepwalker - Flower Of Life
STYLE

 

 

World beat music on the new age end of the spectrum. Sleepwalker tends toward Native American global sounds with a live Native American walnut flute player and various voice and drum samples. The main musical structure is one of pianos, synths and guitars laid against programmed easy breakbeats and atmospheric interludes. Some of the most striking sounds on the album are a pair of operatic voices that are credited to guests Aglika Petrova and Svilen Nikolov. A smooth violin is at times reminiscent of Sacred Spirit and is again played live for the album.

 
MOOD  

The mood here is mainly warm and friendly with some pleasantly contrasting moody corners between tracks. Drum loops and keyboard patterns are generally comfortable and although the arrangements hint occasionally at mystery - even becoming slightly bombastic with the operatic vocals and heavier guitar work - still Sleepwalker most frequently inhabits a restful new age territory where Dimo Vantchev's flute amicably fills in the melodies.

 
ARTWORK   The artwork for Flower Of Life makes use of computer generated imagery with two shining, metallic figures dancing against a yellow/blue sunburst backdrop. Titles are uncomplicated and credits on the CD highlight the various contributors from musicians to mastering.
 
OVERALL   

With clean guitars and cheerful synth work, Sleepwalker presents an optimistic, melodic sound with a sprinkling of owls, crickets, bells, thunder and the odd birdsong. The project is primarily the concept of Bulgarian musician Lyubomir Yordanov who composed and arranged all of the songs on Flower Of Life. In relation to the CD title the band is quoted as saying, "We believe that music is the language of the human soul and the love it gives us; it helps the flower of life in each of us bloom and grow. With this music you can relax, rest, meditate, reflect, think, build other worlds, change your spirits - to be sad, joyful, dreamy and inspired".

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   New age fans who enjoy global sounds in their mix will be interested to hear this CD. Anyone looking for some live Native American flute sounds against a worldbeat backdrop.