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EYES OF ETHEREA

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Australia


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Eyes Of Etherea biography
EYES OF ETHEREA are an progressive rock from Melbourne playing instrumental music in the vein of space rock with influences of jazz and fusion, similar to OZRIC TENTACLES for example. Since the beginning the constant members were guitarist Andrew BRIGGS and keyboard player Daniel BRIGGS which expanded their line-up as time went on; on their 2015 album 'Mood Adjuster' they were joined by Colin BASS of CAMEL fame.

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EYES OF ETHEREA discography


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EYES OF ETHEREA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.25 | 4 ratings
Files from the Chronographic Institute
2008
4.51 | 7 ratings
Retropod
2011
4.05 | 3 ratings
Mood Adjuster
2015

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EYES OF ETHEREA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mood Adjuster by EYES OF ETHEREA album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.05 | 3 ratings

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Mood Adjuster
Eyes Of Etherea Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars There is a reason we call Prog progressive music as it is not only a collective evolution on the original rock format but can also be attributed to individual bands , showcasing their ability and willingness to investigate new musical horizons, never staying comfortable with routine formula. Such is the case with my new pet discovery, Eyes of Etherea from Australia. Their preceding marvel "Retropod" massaged all my otherworldly buttons, a clever concoction of mood, atmosphere, chops, and substance. Never has an album title been more appropriate than "Mood Adjuster" as that is exactly what happed in 2015 with this strikingly different album.

While the opener "Baba Ghanoush" sets the table in traditional space rock mode, the subsequent 'mood adjustments' now fall into a clear-cut jazz-rock realm that is uniquely brilliant and I daresay, audacious! Bringing in master bassist Colin Bass of Camel fame was quite the move and he adds his brilliant playing on the next two tracks. When I read a review that suggested the electric guitar playing was at times closer to jazz guitarist George Benson, I caught myself smirking at the thought. I do admire his style, but it is a little lite for my tastes. Here, it has a completely different feel, a serene funky jazziness that really does wonders for sonic diversity. To further the fusion feel, the palette offers tons of electric piano, Colin's rolling bass grooves, a steady beat and that stinging yet smooth guitar does hit the spot on "Green Velvet", a breezin' tribute to a guitar master. Daniel Briggs unleashes a serpentine synth solo that trickles along with trepidation, far from wimpy or formulaic, as he ends with a stirring organ blast.

The companion piece "Eclectosaurus" also features Colin Bass on bass (haha) , rekindling a dinosaur title on the preceding album ("Fractaldactyl") but the foundational e-piano does the most work here, room for plenty soloing : a sprinkling of alternating tonal guitar leads from Andrew Briggs and of course, a short trademark Hammond blitz from brother Daniel. Classic jazz-rock of the finest variety in the Softs -era Soft Machine, or Gary Boyle-the Dancer, both masterpiece albums that you can use as a possible guiding light.

The title track maintains the seductive pace with synthesizer fluttering galore, twinkling e-piano ornamentation, judiciously followed by a glorious sizzle on lead guitar. Short and sweet. With song titles like "Funky Rug" and "Lonely Rhodes" you can guess quite effortlessly that the mood is squarely in a guitar/e-piano/organ rhythmic zone, allied with crisp production and smooth dispositions that can surely satisfy the discriminating fan. The first is a rockier expanse that has a stimulating lead guitar line, with a touch of wah-wah pedal, a real cool feel to it, very 70s funk/fusion style, especially when the burning e-piano kicks in. If you are wondering which Rhodes is in question, it is not Cecil! A reflective piece at first, the electric piano's gleaming sheen sets the tone, providing the platform for a very bluesy/jazzy guitar excursion that seeks out a Philip Catherine mood. Daniel finishes off with a whirling organ flurry.

The band seems to have a predilection for finishing their albums with an epic and the 9 minute "Rannoch Manor" does not disappoint. This is probably the highlight track on this work, an adventurous composition that owns a strong cinematographic tendency, in describing a Scottish expanse of boggy moorland that is a World Heritage site because of its status as one of the very last remaining areas of wilderness in Europe. It pretty much has everything a prog instrumental would require, from gentle serene beginnings to moody atmospherics evolving into more blustery arrangements, the piano being at the forefront, egged along by a gruff guitar. The outro then reverts to a more solemn sound, utterly introspective and fundamentally enjoyable.

I am looking very much forward to their hopefully imminent next release, allegedly another swerve in direction that can only heighten my interest in discovering new facets to their craft. These lads are exceptionally talented and deserve a lot more recognition than currently available on PA. "C'mon everybody, get down and get with it! "

4.5 Tone agents

 Retropod by EYES OF ETHEREA album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.51 | 7 ratings

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Retropod
Eyes Of Etherea Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars This is what keeps me going, reading reviews to determine the next heart throbbing release that may have ducked under the otherwise effective radar. The Thrill of It All as Roxy Music once stated. You simply never know what musical jewel lies only a few clicks away. Eyes of Etheria is an absolute discovery, "Retropod" representing my first encounter with these Aussies, in large part due to Bertolino's review that possessed enough tantalizing bait to hook me in, line and sinker as well. The cover art similarly caught my nostalgic attention as the retro style harkened back to late 60s Jonny Quest cartoon character (Dr. Benton Quest, Race Bannon, Bandit, Hadji) and the opening episode " The Mystery of the Lizard Men". But I digress, this is about music fantasy, not cartoon fantasy!

While Ozric Tentacles are definitely the most well-known and prolific band associated with a strong Gong vibe style ( I have well-over a dozen studio albums in my collection), these hitherto unknown lads from down under are quite a different kettle of fish (Hello, Steve Hillage). In fact, Eyes of Etheria is perhaps more organic in that while it does use a lot of synths (even the bubbly ones a la Tim Blake) , the main element on keyboards is the powerful Hammond organ , which is sprinkled throughout and abused accordingly by the avaricious fingers of Daniel Briggs , surely more inspired by Dave Stewart than Tim. The guitars are slippery smooth like the Hillfish but also veers into bluesier realms, loaded to the gills with impressive stylistic alterations that keep the listener guessing.

From the opening electronic swoon of "Sublevel", the mood is set for the next hour with a divine flow of celestial space/fusion progressive rock that establishes a distinct style to great effect. These are damn fine musicians, with high level of creativity and sense of pace and tone, blending contrasts effortlessly, sudden raunchy riffs welding to first some e-piano phrasings and then letting loose on the lead synths , sounding like Jan Hammer one second and Camel's Pete Bardens the next!

"Every Point in Time" is an extended blues guitar-led space romp, interspersed with whistling synthesizer leads , bruising bass courtesy of Tom Bajor (or 'Tom Ozric' as he is better known on PA, according to my covert intelligence sources) and finally unleashing a ripping organ flurry that forces one to smile devilishly. Ebb and flow, intensity and calm all mesh together most coherently, never dull or contrived, this is clearly genius level music.

"Treeline" veers into more ambient atmospheres, where smooth crystalline swells, bell-like tingles on guitar and synthesized bliss unite, clearly a set-up for the title track .This caught my attention the very first audition and has not left since an impression of sleek comfortability as the main guitar riff kicks in putting down the foundational theme for the organ to start its rampage. And what an assault it is, sounding like a mad Brian Auger at his best, aided by that funky rhythm not too far from Booker T & the MGs, but in a more modern sheen. Dazzling!

Then the mood starts getting starker and more experimental with "Darkstar", nice Floydian instincts at first, morphing into a delicious cosmic groove that expands slowly into deeper sonic realms, the ideal platform to start soloing like madmen. The guitar riff is quite ravaging, hinting at a mellower version of "Love like Blood" by Killing Joke, the synths whistling seductively to the finale.

If you all thought the previous tracks were tasty, lo and behold the big killer piece is next (and an absolute classic track it is), "Bootsequence" being an absolutely stunner! A highly familiar sounding guitar theme is laid down, solidified and then the orgasmic ride takes off into the horizon. Both electric guitar and organ get it on, unrelenting. Divine! The mysterious, voice effects laden "The Hubble Effect" creeps methodically into the space between reality and dreams, proposing a sweeping keyboard feast tenderly sequencing along, with tinges of Middle Eastern sounds. Another splendid slice of superb music.

"Fractaldactyl" is probably the most Ozric influenced composition, armed with bubbly and gurgled synths leading way, burping bass, and huge guitar slashes. But then, Daniel Briggs whips out his organ (oops!) and lays down a thunderous barrage that pants, huffs and puffs like no tomorrow, on which he overlays a wicked synthesizer solo that just keeps on giving. Twinkling piano stars put this one to bed. Amazing!

Moody and reflective, "Falling World" is used to set the final master stroke, the epic 10 minutes+ "Vonadawn" closer that seals the deal. More akin to Tangerine Dream, a long electronic sequence right out of the Edgar Froese songbook builds the framework on which the musical expanse will take place, gradually ripening for adventure. From gentle beginnings, the arrangement keeps the eerie, spooky and disturbing pace (a glance at the cover art really sets the mood, in my opinion).

A sensational closer for a sensational album. Expertly paced, sublimely played, with great melodies, a perfect sound in a more organic, less programmed way, it has all there is to enjoy. A precious gift to all fans of Space/Ozrics/Gong/Hillage/TDream/Khan who enjoy a tinge of jazzy input and endless adventure. 5 Archaic shells

 Retropod by EYES OF ETHEREA album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.51 | 7 ratings

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Retropod
Eyes Of Etherea Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by bertolino

4 stars Mainly a trio, these australians, under brothers Briggs guidance, offer a cool and fluid version of psychedelic instrumental prog. Like mentioned in the entry, this is a digital download ("Pay what you want" to be precise and get you interested...). This, and the first album, being recorded at a stage where the Ozric's were yet to reach big, comparisons with The Tentacles are valid but not as a matter of influence, me think. "Every Point In Time", "Darkstar" or "Bootsequence" are a fit to any record of the "Pungent" era. But limiting the Etherea's sound to that would be reductive.

The overall inspration tends much more toward jazz fusion than the Ed Wynne's projects. "Sublevel", "Fractaldactyl" and "Retropod" the title track, all have a real 70's funk jazz sound and production, a bass riff reminding me of Steve Hillage's Motivation Radio's era feel for the latter. In fact, the former's Gong guitarist "space funk" sound at the end of the seventies is as much a reference point when it comes to influences. Add a smell of Tangerine Dream spaciousness, like in "Treeline " or "Vonadawn"; the latter close the record in great "Moonmadness" fashion antd thus remind of some of Camel's incense at the closure of Peter Bardens period. At the end, you have over an hour of good funky spacewalk. Recommended.

Thanks to historian9 for the artist addition.

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