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Saturnia Saturnia album cover
3.83 | 16 ratings | 2 reviews | 6% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Club Aquarium (5:58)
2. Gemini (4:47)
3. The Twilight Bong (7:31)
4. Iris (4:12)
5. Interstellar Rainbow Lung (6:19)
6. Sculptress Sublime (6:02)

Total Time 34:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Luis Sim§es / guitar, Sitar, lap steel, bass, Theremin, gong, sequencing, vocals

- Eduardo Vasconcelos / organ, synthesizer, gong
- Flapi Sim§es / flute (1)
- JoŃo Gomes / Moog (2)

Releases information

CDr self-relseased (1999, Portugal)
CD Elektrohasch Records - EH 131 (2009, Germany) Remastered by Bruno Lobato

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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SATURNIA Saturnia ratings distribution

(16 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(56%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

SATURNIA Saturnia reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Guldbamsen
4 stars Aladdin┤s first bong

Some times I use months upon months trying to decipher a specific album┤s armour - trying my best to understand what its getting at, if it indeed is getting at something intelligible and more importantly to something interesting. Other times you don┤t need any interpretation - no second guessing - it just works from the get go. Saturnia┤s debut was like that for me. Maybe docile is the wrong word here, and maybe I should use friendly or welcoming, but there sure is something about the music here, that leads you to believe that almost anyone could enjoy it.

This album sounds like the bastard child of an Indian version of Prodigy beats man Liam Howlett and Porcupine Tree┤s first album. The drum n┤ bass foundation of the first all wrapped up with some delightful Indian touches, and the fragile singing and melody laden aura of Porcupine.

This kind of music is very smooth and fluffy - it makes you feel relaxed and almost as if you┤re lying on some beach in Goa sipping tea and watching brown girls walk by in the yellow sands. This is of course down to the sitar and gong, which are instruments used quite frequently on our vacation to the Buddhist part of the world, but even more so, I think the guy running things here actually knows a thing or two about the strange music of the far East. I think I read something about him studying meditation, but then again don┤t you worry, because this album is far from being that: Meditation music. Too many twitches and wobbly bits for that to be true.

Imagine these long drawn out psychedelic soundscapes of bubbling organs, highly infectious programmed beats, the occasional sheep heard flute, reverberating gongs, nervous yearning theremins and the most gelatinous sounding wah wah guitar you┤ll ever come across, and you┤re almost there. The wah wahs here are not like you┤ll here in Cream - with that overpowering fuzzy grizzly bear attack, but rather like soft cuddly string work with a clean echoing effect, that reminds me of multiplying ripples upon ripples. Often you┤ll dream yourself away to some psychedelic Bollywood flick with sensuous belly dancers and clouds of weed smoke, and then out of the blue you get these wonderful vocal sections that lie somewhere between that first Porcupine album and Floyd┤s Saucerful of Secrets. Sweet - sweet like jelly beans and honey.

If you┤ve ever heard some of The Prodigy┤s more laid back psychedelic material like 3 Kilos or Narayan, then imagine this kind of electronic wavering music spliced up with some curry powder and a big chunk of mango chutney. If you on the other hand have lived through the 60s and 70s, and already have made your mind up about what constitutes proper electronic music, -and you think that beats such as one can find in the likes of Massive Attack and Prodigy are immensely overrated and grating and only for tiny girls with neon make-up, - then do yourself a favour and drink a bottle of tequila before you put this album on, roll up a doobie, fondle your missus hand bags - and then go have a listen just like you did way back then. I think this album works very well, whichever way you want to approach it from. Be that from the old school hippie psych pastures or perhaps the "new" electronic fields with a bouncier beat and a different twist to the usage of droning textures. Just don┤t forget that ze Germans invented that droning kind of music back when Klaus Schulze started out playing refrigerators and other big boxes.

I┤d like to think that I can recommend this album to just about everyone here, well maybe except for people who only stick to marmalade and French toasts. Anyway, this album really is a lovable affair that takes you under its wings and just floats on by like some magical oscillating carpet ride beneath the Eastern skies.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Anyone who thinks that the flower power hippie movement ended when the odometer hit 1970 couldn't be further from the truth. While nihilism and cynicism crept back in to rain on the peace and love parade, the overall vibe of the 60s never really left. It may have taken a snoozer now again but the alarm clock inevitably chimes and new generations are attracted to its lost promises. Such is the case of the Lisbon, Portugal based SATURNIA which was the brainchild of producer and multi-instrumentalist Luis Simōes who alone covers guitar, sitar, bass, theremin, gong as well as vocals.

Thirty years after the 60s ideology faded like Vietnamese villages smothered by agent orange, the hippie vibe was resurrected in Portugal as Simōes planned on creating a communal band however despite his achronistic tendencies, he nonetheless failed to attract kindred spirits to carry out his intended plans. Thus he became a one man band with a few guest musicians helping out.

Over the years Simōes has worked with many such guests including Gong's own Daevid Allen, Hawkwind's Nik Turner as well as Colour Haze's Stefan Koglek however on this eponymous debut that emerged at the turn of the millennium in 1999, the guest roster is a little more mysterious with no reliable credits cited over the internet (unfortunately i do not own this fine pleasantry so perhaps liner notes exist to shed light on this nebulousness).

If one was to judge from the album cover, this could've sat in the vaults since 1969 when artists like Quietessence, Oriental Sunshine, A=mh2 and Ananda Shankar were following the trend set forth by The Beatles to incorporate everything Indian into their rock music paradigm. However, this was the end of the 90s and much had changed in 30 years and the SATURNIA project utilized the similar in vibe electronic and indie aspects that graced the 90s with impunity.

This debut album embraces not only the feel good Rancho Relaxo vibes of the Summer of Love years but also takes advantage of the wealth of technological advances that had resulted in the ensuing decades. Since this falls into the Raga rock camp it goes without saying that the sitar is a predominant sound encountered in this album's run however what's unexpected is that this is equally a space rock album with techno drum and bass percussive drive with lots of ambient electronic effects as well.

Sounding like something between the 90s bigbeat Prodigy and more downtempo Portishead, this could easily have been played at a more chilled out gig in Ibiza with all the spring break college students smashed on E dancing their asses off like there's no tomorrow. Add to that a serene and chilled out church organ that slinks alongside the hyperactive beat adding a smoothed out chill zone. Also predominant are erratic fluttering electronic effects, another 90s trait. The production and mixing are masterful.

The vocals are quite subdued and even buried beneath the mix and the album comes across more as a DJ's tribute to an era passed as it certainly sounds more 90s than classic Indo-raga from the heyday of its popularity. This is definitely party music here. Not the the unhinged raves where the cops bust down the door and break out the firehoses but rather the nice house parties where friends come over to chill out and perhaps play Pictionary!

While the fusion of electronica and ethnic influences is certainly nothing new and especially in the 90s when whole compilations such as the outstanding Buddha Bar series exhibit similar sounds, SATURNIA is quite unique in how the drum and bass interacts with the organ, theremin, piano and sometimes off kilter no wave type guitar runs such as on my favorite track "Sculptress Sublime." While one can chill out and pay no attention to this music, the subtleties are quite attention getting. Really only the last track is bombastic. The rest is a cloud ride through the skies on that magic carpet ride. Nice!

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