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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------Na-Koja-Abad - Dreamfall: Veils and Visions
STYLE  

Bird song, vaporous drones, shakers and low moans in the style of a traditional Indian male singer open the album. Indeed a carefully balanced richness floods this whole release - there are percussive peripherals: drippings, shiftings, hand drumming and gorgeous rolling rhythms - the drones range from toneless disturbances of air through cloudmass wellings of tone to colourful swells and washes - the beats reverberate in soft depth, in lazy, hypnotising regularity. Na-Koja-Abad employs rattles, frame drums, tinkling rainsticks, sonorous pebbles, sand and shells alongside didgeridoo, flutes, and voices, field recordings and, of course, all manner of electronic texture and sound. Each track has a clearly distinct character - beautiful woolgathering, a touch of eerie solitude, crepuscular reverie - the three pieces working also together to form a powerful suite that will steep your senses in sonic association.

 
MOOD   Dreamfall has a wonderful otherworldly quality, shrouded in atmospheric mist, thick with mystery, hanging just on the edge of music so that the listener is drawn into filling in much of the associative imagery. Gentle and lazy yet at the same time darkened by a sense of unease or foreboding. The warmer tones gather in places building a dreaminess, a sense of willing floatation. There is a sense of vast scale to much of the music as though the listener is at the centre of a huge panorama enjoying close-up textural detail surrounded by hazy space.
 
ARTWORK   This is a delightful package - the usually attractive graphic design of Na-Koja-Abad is here enhanced by the addition of a four page insert of poetic text and various hand placed items within the jewelcase itself. The cover art is stunning - hazy, dreamy tree silhouettes their roots threaded into lush green soil are dotted with birds frozen in motion. Strong textures and deep tints add to the effect which is carried across to the rear of the package - this time the trees framing the panel - titles running along the earth. Carefully placed into the jewelcase spine itself is an arrangement of delicate twigs bound with thread - this construct continues inside behind the CD with pressed leaves and stalks and coiling tendrils of the thread from the spine. The glossy booklet holds four pages of text printed on plain paper - a story, a description, an accompaniment to the music, a journey, a poem, realisation. A timed tracklist, full gear list, credits and contact information completes the package.
 
OVERALL   

This limited custom edition is released via Blue Water Records, coming as the sixth full album from Sarajevo based ambient excursionist Muamer Music. For this project Muamer is joined by fellow ambient musician Max Corbacho and Aida Mocevic a vocalist from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The promotional material for the album well explains the purpose of the release "Bordering between the sensual and the mystical, Dreamfall, with its dense atmospherics and evolving drumscapes, is always immersive and immensely evocative". A masterful interweaving of electronic and organic sound, this CD is truly transportational - captivating atmospheres carrying the listener into far off imaginings, engrossing beats lulling and beguiling, a fine balance between ambient space and melodic movement holding the attention whilst at the same time acting as catalyst to distraction.

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Na-Koja-Abad works within a similar field to Steve Roach and Max Corbacho - if you enjoy lush, emotive ambience carried along on tribal rhythm then this CD is a must.
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------Abandoned Toys - The Witch's Garden
STYLE   Cinematic new age instrumentals and semi-classical/ambient mood pieces. Tinkling pianos with surrounding arpeggios meander up and down the scales in gentle impressionist melodies underlaid with fine, subtle electronic textures. These ambient synthetic strains sometimes come to the fore in shadowy smoothness, at other times hanging behind a piano or violin like shadows collected in corners, flecked with occasional shiftings of bright dust in shafts of light. Orchestral elements and choral voices bring a dark, romantic soundtrack quality to the album in places, so that the album alternates between melodic new age fairyscapes and neo-classical gothic shade.
 
ARTWORK   A sharp digipack featuring the painted work of artist Eleanor Brickdale. Each panel is carpeted with lush imagery - a Pre-Raphaelite style maiden in green stands knee-deep in meadow flowers brimming with fairy figures, a trail of pigeons descending toward her feet. Details of this main image are taken up on the inside of the package, focussing here on the tiny female forms wading among the foliage. The tracklist is on the rear cover, with brief credits and website details within.
 
OVERALL   

Abandoned Toys was formed in 2006 as a parallel project to The Synthetic Dream Foundation. This nine track debut album under the new title is released through Mythical Records. Based in the US and describing himself as "a multi media surrealist artist" the man behind the music has worked as a classical music composer, a game music composer and film music composer. Exploring the fields of dark ambient, new age, and experimental classical music, the arrangements here clearly benefit from a sound formal classical training including a degree in music composition. A lighter side of the talent behind The Synthetic Dream Foundation.

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------Byron Metcalf - A Warning From The Elders
STYLE   A mesmerising combination of drums and drones. Byron Metcalf delivers his tribal influenced hand drumming against a lush backdrop of organic vocal drones and didgeridoo performances. Sounding for all the world like an artificially produced electronic sound canvas Byron uses overtone singing and vocal harmonic drones along with low throat singing to create rich harmonious layers of tone. The varied layers and densities of utterance hang cloud-like around the deep vibrations of sonorous didgeridoo rhythms, surges and textures. Guest vocalists and Tibetan bowls along with a large gong broaden the sound further whilst trance inducing beats propel the music into motion. Like low thunder at their most intense, or easily, hypnotically rolling along the beats are clean and clear - shaking the air, beats within beats, subpatterns and overbeats enlivening the grooves. Beautiful production and recording quality deliver this series of uplifting tracks to the ear with a natural dynamism and potency.
 
MOOD   A Warning From The Elders conveys a sense of primitive dynamism, an optimistic vibration to stimulate inner vision and, the hope is, to the urge look outward and react. Luminous warmth and the suggestion of scintillation match the glow of the cover art work. Mesmerising grooves both lull and stimulate, cycling in serene repetition, thumping like a huge organic process - the measure of the earth, the pace of the planet.
 
ARTWORK   A warm digipack presentation - the whole package is bathed in an amber hue picked up from the front cover sky. Here a rocky outcrop thrusts majestically above the clouds - its jagged surface in stark contrast to the enshrouding mists and distant hazes. The back of the case holds a tracklist and a brief explanation of the project along with the legend SONIC JOURNEYS FOR HEALING THE EARTH. Within, the CD sits atop a personal note from the artist revealing his motivations and experiences surrounding the process of creating this album. A full list of instrumentation and a run down guest contributions can be found on the leftmost panel.
 
OVERALL   

Byron Metcalf began as a professional drummer at the age of fifteen and has since been successfully working the music business for over four decades exploring a variety of styles. Solo projects over recent years have allowed Byron to enjoy his personal interest in musical healing - this latest album furthering that particular avenue of performance. However, he has also worked in collaboration with other artists such as Steve Roach, Mark Seelig, Ron Oates and Jack Coddington. A Warning From The Elders is released via Dr, Bam's Music. This CD introduces Byron's overtone singing for the first time and is presented as an alert to current global issues in the hope of "a radical global awakening".

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   

This CD is one for lovers of gutsy hand drumming and visceral drones presented in bright lucid space and sharp focus.

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------Psicodreamics - Mythomusic

 ------Psicodreamics - The Garden

STYLE  

New Age instrumentals with strong melodies and supporting electro-beats. Mythomusic features a vivid palette of strong sonic colour - melodic lines of artificial chimes, pianos and synthetic voices sit upon beds of soft washes and bright strings. The mood is one of gentle vibrancy and romantic fantasy with neo-classical structures that are employed to suggest a certain timelessness. The Garden works around a similar dramatic new age sound but introduces a wider range of additional influences and sound samples - spoken voices muse within the mix, water and nature waves build aural images, touches of trance arpeggiation up the pace amid dance floor rhythms, the is even a hint of drum and bass. There also Gregorian vocal chants and choral voices lending an ethereal otherworldly quality to some pieces.

 
ARTWORK   The cover artwork for this pair of CDs is equally rich in hue and saturation as the music. Mythomusic has a dragon soaring against a deep blue night sky - lit in shades of orange, gold and shadowy green. The garden uses a similar selection of luminous hues this time to depict a waterfall draped across a glossy landscape. Both CDs have a tracklist of the rear with track times alongside. Both also contain audio and mp3 files. The albums are packaged in simple satin finished card sleeves and so contact details and website information is also found on the reverse of each.
 
OVERALL   

Mythomusic and The Garden (of Good and Evil) are re-releases from Psicodreamics back catalogue, now remastered and repackaged. The former was initially released back in 1997 and this version comes as a tenth anniversary edition as it were. The latter first saw the light in 2000 and builds on the sound explored on its predecessor. Psicodreamics is Spanish musician Salva Moreno who is steadily building a solid discography that more recently has moved away somewhat from his new age roots to a more trance induced sound with gothic shadow.

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------Objekt4 - Space Jungle Slums
STYLE   Rhythmic ambient structures and spacey beatless zones. Objekt4 gives the listener the impression of passing through a futuristic urban twilight where different aural states arise from each consecutive area. Mechanical beats and seemingly incidental rhythms flow from one into another - sometimes abruptly as if the listener had stepped without warning into a new sector, sometimes smoothly, fluid, gradual like a natural digression. Zones free of percussion hang in the spaces, often pregnant with expectation, anticipating the next variation. Beats range from booming post industrial lattices and muffled engineering that could almost be found sound to grooves that are just at the edge of chilled downtempo programming. The electronica maintains a similar ghostly quality suggestive of environmental sound, very modern, almost freeform synthetic meanderings that tend to be laid out in repeating arrangements and cycles that roll one into another. Tracks frequently cross refer so that a sound can be picked up in more than one piece tying the album into a unified whole.
 
MOOD   Space Jungle Slums conjures up crepuscular visions of abstract cities, indistinct snapshots of contemporary life, distant haziness and blurry intimacy in constant flux. There is a bleak quality about much of the music, s detachment; despite the obvious proximity of life, the human touch seems a step removed from the listener as though he or she were observers unnoticed by the world.
 
ARTWORK   This jewel case presentation is fronted by a shadowy photomontage of indistinct mechanical city structures. Glowing lights illuminate small sections of the design, cubist edges fragmenting the image. The reverse holds a skyscraper montage with black outlines and fuzzy lights - the only information here being contact and label details. Inside the CD is painted with a lush organic piece of graphic illustration which contrasts the glass and concrete of the sharp photograph hidden behind. The booklet holds track titles and credits on one side opening out to reveal a hazy shot of pale water pouring over a stepped surface - no words.
 
OVERALL    Space City Slums is the latest offering from Dutch independent label Ajana Records - a company that has gradually built up a solid catalogue of electronic music covering psychedelic downtempo, ambient chill and experimental electronica. This current CD is one of the label's most loosely structured albums so far, described as "bleak industrial ambient" and "downbeat chillout". Objekt4 is a one man project from Anders Peterson who began this current line of musical exploration in 2003. The music is separated into two sections Nexus Sector A/D recorded between 2005/6 and Jungle Vibes from 2006. Eight tracks in all that will appeal to fans looking for something straddling the space between chillout experimentation and structured ambient.
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM    This CD has a foot in the camps of both ambient experimentalism and free form chill out. Object4 will likely appeal to fans of ambient downtempo looking for something that works with a much less structured approach than the previous output from Ajana.
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------Between Interval - Radio Silence
STYLE  
Ambient electronic chill. Radio Silence presents a series of tracks that alternate between blissfully serene downtempo and cloudy techno ambience. There are some very beautiful melodic tracks where soft beats and moody peripherals hang in the background supporting the attractive lead lines on lush shifting beds of sound. For a number of the pieces, there are minimal percussives or even no beats and the harmonic content is quite subtle - bleak almost, atonal drones and indistinct shufflings thick with reverberation work against static flickerings or degraded environmental recordings and voices.
 
ARTWORK  

This album comes in an attractive package of hazy grey-green. Distant hills and huge dishes pointed unblinking at the sky can be made out deep within the streaked atmosphere. Beams of light and specks that could be stars or dust motes stud the smoothness of the expanse. A timed track list is on the rear of the jewelcase alongside crucial logos and contact details. Inside - the booklet holds the legend "A place where no one finds me; a place where I find no one." Opening out, the sleeve presents some brief credits and thanks.

 
OVERALL   

Radio Silence was originally composed by Stefan Jönsson during 2003 - 2004 and has now been remastered with Spotted Peccary Music re-releasing the result. The original limited edition appeared on black CD-R and sold out completely. Two albums have followed since Radio Silence - Secret Observatory and Autumn Continent, these too via Spotted Peccary. If anything, this earlier creation is more readily accessible and more clearly structured that the successors. The album has been described as "a dystopic vision of a future where technology has failed," indicating the sense of decaying civilization and residual sound echoes. The track Wishful Thinking was picked up by Ultimae records and appeared on the ambient chill compilation Albedo.