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All India Radio - Eternal CD (album) cover


All India Radio


Post Rock/Math rock

5.00 | 2 ratings

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5 stars How do you classify the sound of the electronic band "All India Radio"? Yes the music is mostly electronic, but it is also experimental, sometimes ambient, sometimes trip-hoppy, sometimes upbeat and at other times downtempo, oftentimes glitchy, and ?. Well you get the picture. Much of the project's music has been used in other media, including TV shows like CSI Miami, One Tree Hill and others.

The project is the brainchild of Martin Kennedy from Australia, who pretty much oversees all of the albums (of which there are several) which also includes many EPs and remix albums. Kennedy has also used certain members as regulars on some albums and has also utilized several guests throughout the project's discography. The project has also been around since 1999, at least formally, and the music has been compared often to Mogwai and Boards of Canada. Anyone familiar with their discography knows that the music can be quite dynamic, however, at times having a sound all of its own.

In October of 2019, the project released an album called "Eternal" which swerves away from the projectory of the project into experimental territory where lo-fi hip-hop elements are mixed with space rock and progressive rock while retaining the underlying ambient elements. The album has 11 tracks with 3 bonus tracks available in Bandcamp.

"The Hidden One" begins with a robotic voice and then a mellow, mid-tempo beat and wandering ethereal music will immediately remind the listener of the mellow yet spacey sounds of Pink Floyd. The music will put your mind at ease taking you to blissful realms, but most of the tracks are around 3 ? 4 minutes, so nothing really stagnates and things stay full of surprises throughout the album. "Moviestar" has a more direct beat and introduces a sampled children's choir with spoken word samples and what sounds like a saxophone effect. The spoken word samples become just as important to the flow of the music as the instruments themselves and the choir continually bring back the main motif to the track. "The Edge of Infinity" introduces the trip-hop effects with scratching noises provided by DJ Flipflop, piano from frequent guest Josh Roydhouse, a santoor played by Cyrus Ashrafi and drums by G. Iampa. The overall feel of the music remains moderate and laid back with the santoor giving a nice sound that might remind one of a steel guitar, but more ethereal. The scratches bring in the trip-hop sound and the guitar even tends to reflect the western, cinematic sound of Morricone.

"Immortality Part II" has a darker and heavier sound to it, but retains DJ Flipflop's contributions making for a cool combination. As with most of the music at this point, there are spoken word samples that also contribute to the more upbeat feel of this album. Even with this upbeat style, the music remains a bit hazy and psychedelic which is many times the signature sound of All India Radio. "The Shining Darkness" again uses G. Iampa on drums while the music continues to spin beautiful musical textures harking back to almost mellotron sounds, a somewhat muffled atmosphere that also keeps the brighter keys to a more dream-like feel, yet seeming cinematic at the same time. "Villa of the Mysteries" is a nice, melodic and heavily layered track that exposes several different things every time you hear it. Its just full of pleasing sounds and melodies that together swirl around in a spacey atmosphere.

"The Language of Triangles" is a short, drone-like track, heavily layered and then subdued into a dark wall of sound. "Prismatism" features drums from an artist credited as SmokeFace. A simple synth loop is accompanied by the tapping percussion, almost sounding like a metronome, then some dark guitar sounds are mixed with dark sax effects, and you get the interesting Morricone-inspired music as a result. Vocal effects bring in a spacey vibe, and this all comes together beautifully. Absolutely stunning. Another quick track called "Balance" follows with a nice, atmospheric synth drone.

"End Game" brings in a direct beat and an obvious melody but flows through some nice dynamic changes, but always carrying the signature ambience through the slight muffling of tones. The most interesting thing is the way the muffling is used to give this all the dream-like feel that seems to blanket the music, but this effect soothes the listener and makes the music very blissful. The last track is "Immortality Part I", a ten-minute spacey, yet cinematic track that features Josh Roydhouse on piano again. Fans of All India Radio know of the band's links to Pink Floyd's music, even using decommissioned art work at times. This track will bring obvious reminders of the project's inspirational artist when at the beginning, you will be reminded of Floyd's "Let There Be More Light". But it only borrows from it at the beginning and later goes off into it's own further explorations with spoken word samples and a ethereal operatic vocal that stays subdued in the mix. It later becomes more ambient for a while then a beat returns with slide guitar effects swirling around. Deep down under everything, an attentive listener will notice slight crackling and popping, giving it the desirable vinyl sound, but it is almost inaudible as the music continues to ebb and flow.

This album is an excellent introduction to the music of All India Radio in that it is easy to listen to, quite accessible and less ambient than many of their albums. However, it reaches audiences that might normally be frightened away by the ambient tag that the project has. This album is proof that the music is beautiful and wonderful and may give tentative listeners the desire to search through the band's extensive discography, and in it, they will find some of the best electronic music around. Yes, a good part of it is ambient, but it is always just as lovely as the music on this album. I highly recommend this album to those interested in something relaxing and even soothing (even with its more upbeat attitude) in times of worry and stress. It will take your mind off of your cares for a short time. However, it is an album I find enjoyable anytime as there is a lot of dynamic texture and plenty of variety and surprises to make it an album to enjoy all of the time.

For lovers of Pink Floyd, Pure Reason Revolution, Alan Parsons Project, Sigur Ros, Mogwai (later years), Tortoise, Boards of Canada and so on.

TCat | 5/5 |


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