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Aranis - Songs From Mirage CD (album) cover





4.00 | 53 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Songs From Mirage' - Aranis (8/10)

From Belgium comes Aranis, a brilliant group of musicians who resemble a classical ensemble moreso than any interpretation of a rock group. Call it chamber prog, soundtrack music, neoclassical or avant-garde, Aranis has found a sound for themselves that doesn't seem to receive the attention and acclaim it deserves. Over their first two albums, they created some pleasant instrumental music that could have fit in nicely as the score to some dramatic film. With this third album 'Songs From Mirage', Aranis develop their style of chamber rock to incorporate operatic vocals. A beautifully composed and performed piece of neoclassical music, Aranis' 'Songs From Mirage' scrapes the edge of perfection at times, but for what it may lack in variety, Aranis gies a wonderfully refreshing listen that far too few people will end up hearing.

Setting Aranis apart first and foremost are the instruments they use. Instead of the typical set up of guitars and percussion that most musicians use nowadays to express themselves, Aranis is a string ensemble, choir, and ensemble of other quintessentially continental European sounds. Expertly arranged by Joris Vanvinckenroye, one listening would not be surprised to hear this is a classical concert hall; the compositions are brooding and take their time to build. 'Songs From Mirage' generally flows as one running piece of music rather than a group of singular tracks, although most of these pieces are fairly self-contained in their ideas. Aranis play beautifully together, taking a couple of ideas for each track and fleshing it out into something quite complex, although the direction of the music is fairly simple.

'Songs From Mirage' is generally mid-tempo, soothing, and intricate. Newly added to the sound of this band are the classical female vocals, which could either be compared with the classical acapella arrangements of Carl Off, or the crazed Zeuhl vocals of Magma, depending on your musical background. Possibly the greatest thing about the music here isn't even necessarily the compositions, but moreso the way they are performed passionately by each musician. Although there are plenty of artists at work here, each one is clearly audible and brings something distinct to the table. The performances achieve perfection, and were it not for some inconsistencies with the writing of the music, Aranis may very well have released a masterpiece for the ages. Unfortunately, some tracks clearly shine above many of the lesser pieces. No piece of music here is without beauty or merit, but it would have been nice for 'Songs Of Mirage' to have been a consistently impressive achievement, rather than a generally excellent album with some weak moments.

Minor faults and weaknesses aside, Aranis have crafted a beautiful piece of music here, and one can only hope that they take this immense style of theirs and bring it to new heights with latter albums.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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