Old school trance vibrations from Hungary, mind-bending electronica from the U.S. and retro space music from Serbia.
Astral Travel Agency :: Digital Spirits (Self-Released)
Hungary-based producer Tamás Olejnik creates music under many monikers. Under Astral Travel Agency he conjures the ancient spirits of Goa trance and the deep vibes of the psychedelic chillout of the acid-saturated early-mid ’90s. It’s a long forgotten art form and not many can pull it off these days; however, Olejnik’s Digital Spirits sounds as if it was concocted back then when the scene was still alive and blossoming. It holds that sense of adventure and atmospheric liquid dreams feel and even the sound quality has that ’90s haziness of old school equipment. Swirling synth layers lead the way while sharp, forward-driven basslines flow from beneath and crisp beat patterns pulse vigorously. On “Gates of Zion” and “Hatha Dub” Olejnik really shines with some lovely constructions of psydub. Digital Spirits really makes you want to go out to a secret glade with some close friends and relive the old days dancing to its sounds, but it’s also perfect for warm nostalgic home diving. A blast from the past that eschews cheesy affairs and is enjoyable from start to finish.
EarthCry :: Sun Path (Self-Released)
EarthCry is the solo project of American guitarist, synth man, producer and founding member of the genre-defying band Papadosio, Anthony Thogmartin. Sun Path is EarthCry’s second album. It was released earlier this year and quickly drew an interesting comparison to the music of psychedelic downtempo electronica pioneer Bluetech. Indeed Bluetech, KiloWatts, Shpongle and Ott might come to mind while traveling through the colorful sonic districts of Sun Path, but Thogmartin has developed an idiosyncratic and highly eclectic sonic behavior that does not imitate or recycle and presented through the twelve tracks of Sun Path in full power. Fragments from a wide musical spectrum are expertly woven and processed together into a shapeshifting unique tapestry that flows cohesively and keeps the listener’s mind and soul stimulated and deeply engaged throughout. It is a crystallized album filled with enough oddness, mind-bending manipulations and sharp twists and turns to keep even the most frantic minds busy. A strong, kaleidoscopic, mystical and pulsating blend of downtempo electronica, glitch, psychill and free spirit that could easily fit the influential and inventive catalogs of Twisted, Aleph Zero and Interchill. In fact, I wish some label or Thogmartin himself will print a physical version of it. I would love to own such a piece of music on CD and these days many would love having it on vinyl as well. With a highly impressive and confident demonstration of intricate programming and wonderful synth work, EarthCry does not reinvent the genre but certainly refresh it in an enticing and quite exciting way.
Fourth Dimension :: The Core (Synphaera)
Fourth Dimension is the brainchild of Serbian producer Strahinja Maletić. After releasing several outputs on Plexus Music and Cosmicleaf Records, Maletić brings his Fourth Dimension project to the young and refreshing U.S. based Synphaera imprint and releases a brand new full-length album. Synphaera’s goal is to release high quality ambient and downtempo electronica informed by the space music of luminaries such as Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream and Ashra and influenced by the modern, cutting age modus operandi of the highly influential Lyon based imprint, Ultimae Records and its artists. Of course, Fourth Dimension’s The Core fits right into the catalog of Synphaera. The album is full of seductive vortex-like movements and ethereal atmosphere. Maletić knows how to manipulate sound retro style without falling into clichés, while wrapping the past flavors with modern crisp electronica. This combination provides a nostalgic yet refreshing listening experience both new and old aficionados of the genre will enjoy throughout.