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NEW AGE OF EARTH

Ashra

Progressive Electronic


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loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars After leaving ASH RA TEMPEL, Manuel GOTTSCHING created a second incarnation with ASHRA combining a much more electronic sound relying less on the sound of electric guitars. The music of ASHRA is well embedded in the German electronic genre reminding me very much of the work of Klaus SCHULZE, Edgar FROSE and TANGERINE DREAM. I believe that much of the sounds on this album are derived from guitars, but must certainly be filtered through synthesizers as it does sound very spacey and much less "guitary". Songs are actually quite long and quite hypnotic at times making this is a great head phone experience album. Overall a very warm and reflective album with a highly relaxed charm and great space-like atmospheres... perfect for your lava lamp.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#23746)
Posted Sunday, May 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One of the most perfect synth/guitar albums of the 1970s, a must for any lover of ambient textures and chilled out atmospheres. Unlike a lot of lesser practitioners, Manuel Gottsching understands that 'chilled out' does not have to equal 'tedious'. The tracks on this album are hypnotic, multi layered and (if you're in the right frame of mind) trance inducing. A true master of the electric guitar, on this album Gottsching only uses it sparingly but when his axe is heard it speaks volumes. In a sane universe this would be more popular than Tangerine Dream.

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Send comments to Syzygy (BETA) | Report this review (#23748)
Posted Tuesday, December 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Content Development & Krautrock Team
4 stars The best M Gottsching's album (from the post A.R.T era). After a first exploration in ambient / repetitive guitar patterns with "inventions for electric guitar" the name Ashra Tempel turned to Ashra for the Virgin label. Musically the central interest is now clearly based on radical cosmic / synth meditative sounds. On this album the sonomontage of synthesised atmospheric sounds and the traces of emotional expressions are very near to Klaus Schulze's analog synth period (Moondown / Timewind...). Free rock improvisations have gone to let the place to powerful controlled meditative guitar / synth sections. A tremendous electronic, experimental synth album which represents the best signature of German's late Krautrock days. A standard of cosmic / relaxed prog music!!!

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Send comments to philippe (BETA) | Report this review (#38733)
Posted Thursday, July 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
jng@hjk.com
5 stars My son Michael and I love this album very much, I like to chill out to this record and the technology astonishes me and I bought this on vinyl in 1976 alongside THIN LIZZY'S jailbreak (not PROG) and SUNRAIN is a diamond gem on thois album and in 1976 I had this played in my wedding reception people thought I was odd but I want on top of the world in the 70s until punk came along and I was physically depressed in 1977 after PROG died but now I keep its legacy going as I have my own PROGRESSIVE band called "Dennis Taylor and the Scientists", Ill released an album one day and bring it to the archives, currently I do live cover versions of PROG from the 60s and 70s, my son Michael is on Guitar , Im on Keyboards, Synths and Vocals and I have a bassist and a drummer too!! we have been a band since 1998 and no line up change!!

ASHRA'S debut is a gem!!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#43316)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Between the years of 1974-79, Manuel Göttsching could do very little wrong in my eyes - whether it's creating a Berlin school masterpiece out of just a tape recorder and a Gibson SG, or forging out some of the most beautiful music ever to come out of the German electronic scene. That's where this album fits in.

Basically, if you like Virgin-era Tangerine Dream, you'll love this album. Maybe not at first, but you will eventually.

"Sunrain" and "Deep Distance" are the sort of pieces you'd expect to hear: sequenced, almost ambient and somewhat catchy (but in a good way). "Ocean of Tenderness" and the essential "Nightdust" are more laid back, ambient and relaxing.

"Nightdust", taking up the whole second half, is a must-hear. During the first 15 minutes, you're suitably chilled out and then MG comes in with an absolute pearl of a guitar solo. MG has always been great at balancing synth and guitar very efficiently, and this last section is a prime example. If you've heard "Exposure" by Robert Fripp, it's effect is similar to Fripp's effect on Peter Gabriel's "Here Comes the Flood" - somewhat eery, but remarkably effective.

Nothing short of excellence.

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Send comments to coldsun (BETA) | Report this review (#84806)
Posted Wednesday, July 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The music on this album is done mainly with sequencer loops, and I must admit that I'm not very fond about the aesthetics of the end results. An association of 1980's computer games music is too strong right from the start of "Sunrain". Melodies are quite nice still, but this is not that kind of music which I would be listening voluntarily very much. Longer piece "Ocean of Tenderness" sounds more pleasant with its ethereal electronic sounds, there are no artificial drum loops included, and there's some nice guitar soloing here too. This is truly a calm aural ocean where one could fall sleep in to. Composition "Deep Distance" has also beautiful sounds on it, but the rhythm loops sounded uncomfortable for me. This felt again like the music on late 1980's "Synthesizer Greatest Hits" albums to my ears. The last track "Nightdust" runs over twenty minutes, and it resembles the dreamy second track. In the first half of the song there are no rhythm loops present, just a vast existence of blue aural space. Sadly the drum loops emerge after ca. eleven minutes. Otherwise this could have been some kind of modern version of Ash Ra Tempel's "Jenseits". The last minutes of this song hold a very beautiful movement for an emotional electric guitar solo. If you like late 1970's Tangerine Dream and you aren't allergic to electronic drum loops as I slightly am, try this classic album. I liked the long spacey parts without drum loops, but the elements I felt annoying lowered the status of this album in my personal evaluation.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#92504)
Posted Friday, September 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Manual Gottsching left ASH RA TEMPEL after the "Join In" album which was their fifth. He then put out a solo album called "Inventions For Electric Guitar" which he also called "Ash Ra Tempel VI". He then switched record labels and continued to go solo, calling his project ASHRA, he being the only member of the band. This is ASHRA's first album called "New Age Of Earth". The obvious difference between ASH RA TEMPEL and ASHRA besides the number of musicians, is that with ASHRA Gottsching has turned to the Electronic style of music not unlike TANGERINE DREAM. He certainly began that on his "Inventions For Electric Guitar" album. I do prefer ASH RA TEMPEL and the traditional sound, and use of the guitar which Manual plays so well, but that's just my taste in music.

"Sunrain" is an upbeat tune with keys,and electronics creating the melody (rain) throughout. Synths come in 1 1/2 minutes in like the sun shining upon the soundscape. "Ocean Of Tenderness" is much more spacey than the first song as synths wash in and out slowly. Some gentle guitar comes in late.

"Deep Distance" is a blend of the first two tracks. Spacier than "Sunrain" but not as spacey as "Ocean Of Tenderness". It does give the impression we are in deep space far from all our troubles. "Nightdust" was originally a side long song at almost 22 minutes. Again the title of the song gives us a clue to what Manual was thinking when he composed this song. Spacey winds in the form of synths blow across the lonely soundscape, it's dark. Keys before 12 minutes as the song calms right down 16 1/2 minutes in. Guitar arrives 2 minutes later. Nice.

4 stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#146964)
Posted Thursday, October 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars It is the year 1976 A.D. The mid of the 70's. Lots of progressive music is composed during this year, from many areas and somewhere in Europe, in Germany, where Tangerine Dream is in his golden era of analogue synthesisers albums, somebody recorded an album. New Age of Earth- the album and composer - Manuel Gottsching.

New Age Of Earth is a work composed exclusively by M. Gottsching, the main member from Ashra/Ash Ra Tempel, and it represents a standard album for krautrock/electronic/new age music.

All we've got here is pure electronic music, and from the top. Four tracks, one more beautiful than another. If you want a nice evening or an afternoon standing and meditating, or even a headache, just simply pass over the first song (which is a little bit agitating) and you've got the perfect prescription. Very atmospheric and lushing keyboards, together with the warm influx of electric guitar in the end of the second and fourth track, had made New Age of Earth a masterpiece. I can't realize even now how a single musician could compose only by himself such unique compositions. I admit I had listened to this album hundreds of times and never get bored of it. I recommend track No. 3 - Deep Distance - as the main song of this album the last one - Nightdust - as a unique experience in floating in deep spaces and self-introspection, track No 2 - Ocean of Tenderness - in daydreaming and spending with the one who you love; and the first song - Sunrain - a splendid krautrock song, a s simply as it can be, but beautiful.

5 stars, really!

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Send comments to Sachis (BETA) | Report this review (#199765)
Posted Monday, January 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
FruMp
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Electronic Bliss.

This album is very immediate, you only need to listen to it once to understand what it's all about. What it may to some extent lack in depth though it makes up for with perfect execution. The busy opener 'sunrain' is up there with the best electronic songs of the krautrock movement. Sunrain gives way to about 40 minutes of lush expansive electronics comprising the rest of the album allowing you to complete bliss out while lying in bed or reading a good book.

I don't really find too much to fault in this album. It is conceivable that some people may be bored by it but then one would have to ask why they're listening to ambient electronic music in the first place. Overall it's just a pleasant passive listening experience full of warm sonic textures ready to embrace you like a warm blanket. This one is easy to recommend to any fan of early electronic music.

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Send comments to FruMp (BETA) | Report this review (#217346)
Posted Friday, May 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars With New Age Of Earth, Manuel Göttsching made a move from the cosmic kraut rock of Ash Ra Tempel to more electronic soundscapes. He even renamed his project to its abbreviated form, Ashra. The first album for this new project is the strongest and combines warm electronic sounds with Göttsching's unique guitar playing.

Sunrain. A playful sequence sets a minimalist pulse serving as groundwork for melodic and bright keyboard melodies. I would situate the sound and feel of it somewhere inbetween Edgar Froese's Stuntman and Philip Glass's 70's works, but given the my minimal knowledge of the minimalists, you may of course hear entirely different references. The sequence pattern and melodic themes are kept very restrained and evocative, and would make excellent soundtrack material. But this is more then just background music or new age muzak as it is profound enough to maintain an attentive listening experience.

More subtle atmospheres come on the following track. A very minimal bass pulse sustains softly waving space-synth sounds and sparse slide guitars, building up to a pensive solo for clean guitar. This one somehow reminds me of Klaus Schulze's reflective pieces, but Ashra is lighter in tone, closer to New-Age then to the desolate dream world of Schulze. But luckily it still sits at the right side of the line that divides reflective electronic music from the flowery wallpaper sound of New-Age.

Deep Distance combines the subtle upbeat sequences of the opening track with the atmosphere of the second track.

The focal point of the album is the 22 minute Nightdust, the track where the spirit of Schulze is felt most prominently. Right from the opening it evokes the mesmeric charm of Schulze's Timewind and Moondawn, bearing the same warm analogue synth sounds joined by softly pulsating sequences. If I didn't know this was Ashra, I'd swear it to be an unearthed Schulze gem. The piece ends with a beautiful brooding guitar solo. Not the wildly soaring sonic explosion of the old Ash Ra Tempel, but the other side of the spectrum, the subtle touch of Göttsching, which is also truly unique.

New Age Of Earth never reaches the heights of Tangerine Dream's and Schulze's masterpieces of the 74-77 period, but few things do really and Göttsching comes in right behind them with this remarkable electronic album. 3.5 stars for the first side, 4.5 for Nightdust.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#279435)
Posted Monday, April 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars New Age of Space (aka: MESMERIZING!)

Both, the debut and the sophomore effort by Manuel Göttsching's solo outfit, Ashra, are simply sublime spacey, electronic albums which were meant to be heard by astronauts. The debut even more so than Blackouts, and that's something hard to do!

Blackouts, Manuel's second album, was really spacey but also rather robotic-sounding, yet it had Göttsching's guitar far more present than it is in New Age of Earth, a feature that was really a bonus. Manuel, however, accomplished far more aural and spacey music (not psych) in New Age of Earth. The music in this album is undoubtedly the perfect music if you're going to go on a spaceship, it has a singular tranquil and mesmerizing atmosphere you expect from outer-space: there's nothing out there other than plasma and far, far away you can see the stars and planets, it all just seems to trap you in a chilling and unadvertised way.

Ashra's music is definitely not demanding, there's nothing really complex or really adventurous in this kind of electronic music, yet sometimes simplicity and a damn brilliant atmosphere is just needed to give a wonderful and unique experience to the listener, and the 4 instrumental mesmerizers from this album deliver you that, indeed a unique listening experience.

A masterpiece of ''hypnotizing music": recommended to anyone who wants some of the best 'sleep'/'space- travelling' music. Just in case: no I do not do drugs.

If you can't stand non-rock music at all, I still recommend you this album for sleep-use only, you won't be dissapointed.

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Send comments to The Quiet One (BETA) | Report this review (#284094)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Entirely Manuel

When German pioneers Ash Ra Tempel decided to call it a day in 1973, guitarist Manuel Göttsching took some time to decide how to further his career. A solo album ("Inventions for Electric Guitar") appeared in 1975 then a couple of years later Göttsching decided to resurrect an abbreviated version of his former band's name, and Ashra was born. By this time, Göttsching's attention had shifted away from lead guitar, his interest in the keyboard opportunities band mate Klaus Schulze had been exploring leading him to incorporate such sounds in his next project. Rather than put a band together, Göttsching decided that he and he alone would be Ashra, with everything you hear on this Ashra's first album being played by him.

The album and track titles and also the lengths give a good indication of what to expect here, the album perhaps reflecting the new age nature of these four pieces. There are strong echoes of fellow travellers Tangerine Dream and their various offshoots to be heard throughout, the album being firmly rooted in electronica. Göttsching does not give up on guitar completely though although it is by no means a key part of the sound of this album (the cover picture is of Göttsching with guitar in hand though).

The opening "Sunrain" is a fairly lively affair, the lush, melodic synth ambience being supported by a strong electronic rhythm. Göttsching avoids the pitfalls sometimes associated with such music by varying the melody on a regular basis throughout. The 12½ minute "Oceans of tenderness" initially takes us deep into new age territories, with liquid effects drifting over swirling synth. A gentle, tidal rhythm gradually invades the ambience, the overall effect having a slightly Celtic flavour.

"Deep distance" is really a continuation of "Sunrain", the sound and pace being virtually the same; it is highly addictive though. The fourth and final piece is the (almost) 22 minute "Nightdust". The track is very Tangerine Dream like in structure and sound. The first half or so is given over to meandering spacey sounds and drifting electronics. As a defined rhythm is brought in a more organised mood is captured. As a whole, the track is over-long, but pleasant nonetheless.

In all, a relaxing, enjoyable album which, while never pushing the boundaries of electronica or Krautrock, remains a commendable album in either genre.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#294355)
Posted Friday, August 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After he decided to leave AST, dear old Manuel went on his own like his mate KS. No one will ever know what they could have released together during the peak of their creativity. He went on his own and released this "New Age Of Earth". By himself, like an adult who doesn't feel the need to be surrounded by colleagues...

In a way it is somewhat a shame because while doing so, you lack the input of others while on the other hand you control the whole process of course. The music from this album is quite pleasant and should please any lover of electronic music. AST, KS and TD are of course easily identified while you listen to this album. And these are very good references IMHHO.

I would have loved more "true" guitar moments because the ensemble sounds rather keyboards oriented. The whole is wonderfully atmospheric, grandiose, pure and superbly full of relaxing music. The Palme d'Or for this latter consideration is by all means the mysterious "Ocean Of Tenderness".

I wouldn't say that this album is very original because it revisits elements from all the great bands I have mentioned previously. Still, I am quite found of this sort of music and can only recommend this work to electronic prog fans. This is a very good job, indeed.

The central piece is the long "Nightdust". And to be honest, it is really on par with the best of the likes I have been referring to earlier on. It is pure beauty, melody, and sweetness. The closing section is VERY emotional thanks to a sublime guitar break (finally).

Four stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#312483)
Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
SaltyJon
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Progressive electronic is a great genre. Often, the musicians responsible for the albums are masters of building up a slowly shifting piece of music, full of beautiful and/or haunting textures and sounds. As Epignosis said in his review of Tangerine Dream's album Phaedra, it's often incredibly hard to describe the music. So many albums from the genre feel so familiar to me, yet at the same time so alien. That is a big part of the reason why I've always been drawn to it since discovering it - ever since I was young I've been fascinated by space and science fiction, and the 70s electronic whizzes are really the closest thing I've ever heard to space/science fiction in music.

Some albums are deep space, exploring the very fabric of the universe (TD's Zeit), while others, such as this one, seem to meander about the solar system, maybe taking a trip to the center of the galaxy to see the sights, but never too far away. While I absolutely love Zeit for its exploration of the unknown, I love this one (to a slightly lesser degree) for the way much of it seems to float along; it seems to me a musical representation of being in zero gravity at times, just a nice relaxed feeling, totally at ease with itself. While a lot of my favorites from the genre are dark and moody albums, this one is more "happy" sounding, content to develop at its own pace and let everyone else be themselves around it.

One of the most important things for me regarding prog electronic is the ability to be mesmerized by the music I hear...this one does that very well. It's a great album to listen to through headphones in a dark room, and just let your mind wander where it will. As most (all?) of the others have mentioned, this one is entirely Manuel Göttsching's baby - I prefer his guitar work, but this is still an amazing album; electronic bliss, as FruMp said. This album has gotten quite a lot of spins from me over the past year, it's great for any time you want to chill out. I'm very torn as far as a rating goes though - I love it, so I want to give it 5 stars, but I don't think it's quite at the same level as many of my favorites from the genre, so I'll stick with 4 stars...for now. In a world with half stars, it would be 4.5.

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Send comments to SaltyJon (BETA) | Report this review (#357134)
Posted Sunday, December 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ashra's first album on 'Virgin' relies more on synthesisers than guitars. A very colourful and textured recording from '77 which will remind listeners of Klaus Schulze, but in a more serene setting.

Listening to it now in 2011, with a cold early March sun outdoors, trying desperately to kick start Spring is the perfect occasion to give this a whirl.

I always find it strange how Ashra went SO electronica after leaving Ash Ra Tempel. In fact I much prefer this to the old Kraut band of the early 70's. Electronic Berlin School fans take note of this one. Don't let it slip under your radar. If you do you're letting a little gem fall through your fingers.

Needless to say that being on 'Virgin' means that the production values are superb. I'm quite sure there's some VCS 3's and Arp's in there somewhere, but the inadequate sleeve notes don't give much away.

If you like 'Timewind', 'Oxygene' and 'Rainbow Dome Music' you'll love this. Too active to be called ambient - but at points it's bordering on it.

A beautiful instrumental album which should be listened to late at night when you're trying to fall asleep but are frustratingly wide awake. Excellent.

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Send comments to Dobermensch (BETA) | Report this review (#411071)
Posted Friday, March 04, 2011 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Considering that most of the progressive electronic that I listen to is generally gloomy, doomy, dark and oppresing, this beautiful and soothing Ashra album, New Age of Earth, was very much welcomed into my life with an open heart. I'm not familiar with much Ash Ra Tempel, but I know it doesn't sound anything like New Age of Earth. I've learned that coming by optimistic sounding progressive electronic that also happens to be good is very unlikely, and whenever I find an album with both qualities together I rejoice.

Hypnotic, simple, and warm are the words that I would use to describe the sound and mood of the album. Simple, catchy, and hypnotic guitar loops intertwine with with thin sounding synthesizers and a rich spacey atmosphere gently warmed by the suns soothing rays. "Nightdust", though, isn't as warm and optimistic as the first three tracks. I'd liken this track to the sound of a more interesting and electronically enhanced Pink Floyd - very slow, psychedelic, and moody with a deep spatial atmosphere.

This album is really great. I've come to realize that bands that are offshoots of other bands tend to not be so hot, so I definitely prepared myself for a letdown with this album. Fortunately, this album is amazing, and I can't stop listening to it.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#439880)
Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Manuel Göttsching follows up his work in Ash Ra Tempel with his solo project Ashra, which presents a mildly different flavour of electronic Krautrock - there's a greater emphasis on highly orchestrated synthesisers, in a mode also explored by Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze at around the same time, and less freewheeling psychedelia on offer. Manuel's guitar by and large sits back and lets the synthesisers take centre stage, but when it's given spotlight tme Manuel proves himself able to produce an excellent solo or two. A perkier and more upbeat alternative to the deep space explorations former Ash Ra Tempel colleague Schulze was producing at the time, New Age of Earth is a fine start to the Ashra project.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#550407)
Posted Friday, October 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars A sonic journey to outer space from the depths of the sea- that is the best imagery I can conjure with respect to Ashra's New Age of Earth. While it begins energetically and fluidly, it gradually lets the listener go, as the approach becomes more and more minimal.

"Sunrain" Tranquil electric piano hammers out a soft base for the lengthy Mellotron-like phrases uttered over it. Like a flower, the piece blooms into something brighter and ethereally layered.

"Ocean of Tenderness" The album dives into deeper tranquility, with washes of peaceful sound.

"Deep Distance" The continued serenity, with the high whistling tones, brings Yes' "Soon" to mind. Soon it takes on a lighter countenance of its own.

"Nightdust" It's as though the listener has finally emerged from the aquatic depths and is being lifted toward the stars. Distant tones weave a slow, nocturnal movement, as though gradually inviting the listener to a sleepy oblivion.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#918556)
Posted Sunday, February 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is a journey, plunged deep into the depths of human subconsciousness and gently lifted back to a peaceful tranquility. One thing that constantly amazes me about this record is how perfectly layered it is, often with so many different streams of sound cascading into you. What I love the most about this album however is that if I listen to it closely I am treated to some of the most thoughtful, developed and subtle psych / electronic / kraut I have ever heard. But when I listen to the album as background music it functions wonderfully as a mood inducer, and more importantly for an insomniac like myself, a sleep inducer.

I don't think the albums perfectly, the drum machine can at times be off-putting and, to be perfectly frank, this album doesn't push any envelope and remains safe. Another issue I have, albeit a small one, is that if you listen to the last song 'Nightdust' as background music it has a tendency to feel a bit empty (though if you focus in you find this is not the case).

Many reviewers have mentioned how they find 'Nightdust' to be their favorite track but for me I find that this is the opposite, it's not that the song is bad but that it feels like it meanders too much whereas the other songs accomplish what they set out to do in a much shorter and more concise manner. I feel as though 'Nightdust' doesn't really pick up until the last ten minutes which, from then on in, it is utterly jaw-dropping. For me, the highlight is the album is the middle, the songs 'Ocean of Tenderness' and 'Deep Distance' take you on such a journey in their own right, beautiful and ethereal but at the same time, feeling focused and driven.

The real strength here is listening to the album as a whole, each song individually couldn't come close to holding up to the journey that the whole album is able to take you through, from start to finish this record is absolutely fantastic.

4/5 stars but an extremely high 4 stars at that!

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Send comments to MJAben (BETA) | Report this review (#1159588)
Posted Wednesday, April 09, 2014 | Review Permalink

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