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Aranis Songs from Mirage album cover
3.98 | 54 ratings | 3 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ouverture (6:20)
2. Fresia (2:03)
3. Chamber Rock (2:19)
4. Reprise (0:50)
5. Lullaby (3:02)
6. Airesym (4:22)
7. Aynu (2:53)
8. Lever in Plakjes (3:15)
9. Jelimena (4:34)
10. Keria (3:03)
11. Out Ama (7:31)
12. Enjuminenna (3:27)
13. Ilah (4:35)
14. Finale (10:09)

Total Time 58:23

Line-up / Musicians

- Linde de Groof / violin
- Liesbeth Lambrecht / violin
- Marjolein Cools / accordion
- Stijn Denys / guitar
- Axelle Kennes / piano
- Jana Arns / flute
- Joris Vanvinckenroye / contrabass & composition
- Els van Laethem, Anne Marie Honggokoessoemo, Herlinde Ghekiere / vocals, choirs
- Els Vrints / piano
- Ward De Vleeschhouwer / piano

Releases information

Home Records

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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ARANIS Songs from Mirage ratings distribution

(54 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(54%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

ARANIS Songs from Mirage reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Even if Aranis' EP Hidden Soundscapes was a collaboration with Toon Fret and not an album per se, it was warning us that changes were due to their chamber prog realm; and Mirage is the first step to these changes. Among the changes is definitely the artwork, the results the encounter of the two males of the debut's cover and the five females of their second album's sleeve. Obviously the baby present here will be on most of the member's minds in the coming years, starting I think with their piano player that has not played the two French gigs this year. Then of course there are three heavenly singers, each as beautiful as the five other female muses of the group. I think Stijn and Joris are among the luckiest male musicians around.

First and most striking is the addition of three singers that act mainly as choirs (but not only) much the way that the Kobaian singers do for Vander's Magma's music, even if Aranis doesn't go Zeuhl. The next striking thing is how darker Aranis' musical realm has become: from light and happy and falsely careless (the band is always very tight) to now darker, thoughtful, sombre (but not sinister or macabre), it's quite a swing they managed in just one album. And as a result, Aranis plays much slower music than in their first two albums, but also becomes more solemn at times.

From the contrabass drones come out one then three slow moaning voices, leading the way for Marjolein's accordion, before Axelle's piano leads the same accordion into a French-sounding valse? The 6-mins+ Ouverture certainly give plenty to the listener, but the boundaries are not set yet. Probably the most energetic track of the album is Chamber Rock, a track that brings us back to the first two albums, but it is sandwiched between two slow sung tracks like the single voice Fresia and its reprise. A little further Airesym and Jelimena are obvious highlights as the closing 10-mins Finale is. A bit more dissonant (that's rather new also from Aranis) are tracks like Aynu and Lever In Plakjes and one can feel that they need more experience to venture out in this area. Enjuminenna is more of the same in that area.

Well if you liked the first two albums with its instrumental chamber prog, you might want to be careful when approaching this third album, which has taken a deep and slower pace and turned in some ways a bit between Magma (the unavoidable comparison due to the choirs) and Univers Zero (the slow dark chamber music) without going to the extremes of these two, but Songs From Mirage is just as worthy as its predecessors, if not more.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars With their third album, Aranis took their chamber rock in an entirely different direction. By adding vocals, their music has taken an additional step upwards to almost masterpiece-ness.

The two female vocalists give the music an entirely new dimension. The voices are classically trained but not operatic. They sometimes remind me of medieval and early renaissance music, very delicate, harmonious and melancholic. Combined with the pulsating energy of the music underneath, everything gets something of a Zeuhl touch. Not the excessive flavour of Magma, but the more accessible voices of Eskaton comes to mind.

Compared to the debut, the music has become more introvert; still very intense but less wild. As on the second album, the influences from Philip Glass are prominent, on occasion even in the vocals. So the closest I could come to describe this album is as a mix of Philip Glass (Satyagraha style) with a brighter kind of Univers Zero (Ceux Du Dehors). Fans of mentioned artists should be aware that Aranis has no drums or percussion and that they maintain a slightly folksy touch as well. Not the pastoral kind, but there are certain traces of European folk traditions. So also the 2 other Flairck fans here might lend their ears.

With no flaw in the quality of the material or the performances, Aranis truly came into their own on this album. The legacy of mentioned influences can not be ignored but with the addition of the vocals, Aranis have become a truly original act in today's crowded chamber rock niche in Belgium.

It's a solid 4 stars for me and one of the best albums from 2009, I just got it too late to make my list.

Review by Conor Fynes
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.

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