Oct 28, 2009

Liquid Stranger - The Intergalactic Slapstick

The American producer Martin Stääf, aka Liquid Stranger, is back with a new full-length album. The first album was an amazing journey through his sounds, very heavy in dub and overall just a very chilling experience. On his second album he continues to give us a very heavy dub sound. This time however we don't get as much ambient and vocals are present on most tracks.
The album starts out with a minute short intro track. The two following tunes are really awesome psydub. Just what I like  in this kind of music, heavy beats with a psychedelic twist, just awesome. Seb Taylor plays steel guitar on His Fully Automatic Wheelbarrow. Following the first two we get the first vocal track. The reggae sounding vocals are the main focus of the track, but it's much less complex than the first two. It continues like this through the next few songs. Heavy dub beats, reggae vocals, but unfortunately they lack the psychedelic twist I mentioned.  But even though less complex than what I like to hear, the music flows nicely. The vocals can be annoying at times and at other times they are enjoyable. Tantrum and Bodily Needs are examples of tracks where I couldn't stand the vocals. Tantrum had a reggateon feel to it which I absolutely hate and Bodily Needs, while it's a decent track overall, has some terrible vocals towards the end, both lyrically and in the way they sound. Then the album finishes off with two great tracks. Lotus is a very calming piece with softer beats and beautiful female vocals. Dew Point is the most ambient track on the album and a beautiful finish to it.
This album is something different compared to The Invisible Conquest. More focused on the vocals, it loses some of the psychedelic beauty. Two or three bad tracks are equaled out by the standouts making it a good album, with some minuses. While the change of style is interesting and enjoyable for the most part, the tracks most similar to what we hear on his first album are standouts.

Rating: 4/5
Standout Tracks: 2, 3, 12, 13
Genre: Dub, Reggae, Psychill

Release info:

Interchill Records
United Kingdom
16 October 2009


1. Hiding In The Morning Mist
2. His Fully Automatic Wheelbarrow
3. Dancing On The Petals Avoiding The Nettles
4. Soundboy Killa
5. Full Mental Jacket
6. Tantrum
7. Dub Missile
8. Mutants
9. Rough Road
10. Hexed And Perplexed

11. Bodily Needs
12. Lotus
13. Dew Point 


Oct 26, 2009

Fourth week of October update.

I want to thank everyone for your visits! I really appreciate it, without you I would stop writing.
New Easily Embarrassed album is out now! You can buy it here. I'm finished with my review of the new Liquid Stranger album. I will post it soon. There is no releases coming up this week that caught my attention, but the following week should be much more exciting.

Because of the lack of news this week I'll go a month back in time to the release of Imaginary Friends by Ultimae. Those of you who get their newsletter must have heard about it, but for some it might be news. According to Ultimae it features "a melange of styles, different facets of ambient electronica infused with neo-classical moods, acoustic sensibilities, epic melodies and impressionistic textures and tempos for a vibrant and overall warm feel". Sounds impressive. I'm not sure what to expect from this release, but I thought I would mention it here since Ultimae hasn't released a single bad album (or compilation) so far.

A new psychedelic chillout review website by Trwolfe is up. He has one review so far, a nice collection of links and a very useful artist list. Check it out at http://psyreviews.trwolfe.com/.

With the month of October coming to an end I made the October compilation of my YouTube videos. You can see it here or on my channel. A few IDM tracks again, I'm really getting into that genre now. Also featuring a track from Liquid Strangers new album.

Oct 21, 2009

Artist Profile: Sebastian James Taylor

For those who don't recognize him by his real name he is also known as Digitalis, Shakta, Kaya Project, Hibernation and also for his collaboration work, most notably as Angel Tears with Lior Miller and Momi Ochion. If you still don't know who am I talking about then you're missing out. Seb Taylor is one of the most versatile electronic music artists, often compared to Simon Posford, but unfortunately not as well known His music styles range from pure goa trance through chillout with world music influences to IDM.

Taylor started out in the early 90s producing goa trance under the alias Digitalis. Sometimes described as breakbeat goa or psybreaks his work as Digitalis is pretty unique stuff, often being pure breakbeat. He's still producing under this alias with the last EP released in 2008. In 1996 he started his pure goa project for which he is probably best known, Shakta. With tracks like Silicon Trip or Lepton Head Part III he guaranteed himself a place in the goa trance history. His sound with this alias is pretty hard and heavy sounding goa. Around the same time he also released as Somaton, also goa, but in a little lighter melodic form. It never gained as much popularity as Shakta.

But even though he is an amazing psytrance/goa producer what impressed me the most are his chillout productions. He is one of the core members of Angel Tears which started out in 1998. Wonderful chillout, with calming melodies, amazing flute playing and hypnotizing vocals. Lots of indian, arabic and african influence here. Some tracks have a bit faster beat, but overall Angel Tears offers very calming, meditative music. We hear a lot of authentic instruments like indian sitars, arabic violins, tibetan flutes etc. After Angel Tears, Kaya Project followed. Pretty similar by definition, but with a more natural, "dry" sound. It's hard to explain what makes Kaya Project unique, but just give the latest album a listen and you'll know what I mean. Really passionate music. Just when you would think Seb Taylor can't do any more styles he released an IDM album as Hibernaion. Well maybe not pure IDM, but very different from his other chillout output. You can hear some influences from the days of Angel Tears, but it's something completely new. Let's hope that's not the last he has to offer as Hibernation.

In the sixteen years of producing he released 13 albums, 9 solo and 4 with Angel Tears, and numerous EPs. Everything I heard so far is just amazing music and he keeps on evolving. And what's most important he hasn't gone commercial. We can hear passion in his music and as long as he is passionate about what he does we can only wait for another masterpiece.

Collaboration Albums:

For his complete discography go to Discogs. He has many more aliases and collaborations with only a few tracks for compilations or one or two EPs. I only covered the most notable projects.


Oct 17, 2009

New releases update plus the promised goa playlist.

The new Shpongle album is coming up very soon and it is available for pre-order from Twisted. I'm really excited about this one and I refuse to listen to any samples until it comes out.
I gave a listen to the new Bodhisattva 13:20 album. I'm not really a big psytrance fan so my rating for those albums will always be lower than some other styles (unless it's a real masterpiece), but this album is pretty good overall. 3.5 out of 5 for me. Worth checking out, but nothing amazing. It's a bit on the dark side, but you can't say it is a darkpsy release. The California Sunshine album will be an interesting listen, I'll put up a review soon.
Releases for the next week (both due October 23rd):

The new Easily Embarrassed album is one of the highlights of this month. The first one had some very interesting tracks and they sure showed they have talent so this should be good.

I also created the neo-goa playlist which I mentioned in my article. Over 52 tracks from the artists from my list. Enjoy!

Oct 15, 2009

Adham Shaikh - Fusion

As I promised I'm reviewing an older album now. Sorry for being a little inactive lately, I had some more important business but now I should post as often as before.

The first track by Adham Shaikh I heard was Opal. And I loved it right away. It's just one of those tunes that get you entranced by themselves. The flute (more specifically it's a bansuri) played here is amazing, the beat is just right, everything works. So after hearing that I didn't wait long and decided to give the whole album a listen. Adham Shaikh takes you on an amazing journey, listening to his music feels like you leave the place you are in and travel somewhere far. The most amazing thing about this album is the use of flute, how Adham mixes it in the tracks. The first two tracks are probably also the two best ones, or at least the most entrancing ones. The beat here is pretty fast, but nothing too crazy. Then we get into the more dubby part of the album with the excellent Dubfire which sounds like it could be an Ott track. From then the tracks are pretty much chillout with an indian sound, but they are very entrancing as well. The last few tracks are more trancy again, Shake It (Shaikh It) is pretty much a dance song. Which doesn't mean they are not good, everything sounds just perfect. The album finishes of with Rabbit Hole Raga (Spore Mix) on which we get to listen to some more flute playing.
This album will please psychill, chillout, ambient and maybe even trance fans with a great mix of all these genres. The great thing is that unlike the majority of producers Shaikh uses real instruments on most of these tracks and mixes them in with the rest. And fortunately here we can hear them because often if lets say a guitar was used it's sound is changed so much you can't really tell it is a guitar. It was definitely worth checking out, amazing music.
While in my opinion this is his best release his other three albums are great too. Journey to the Sun is much more ambient but the other two are very similar to Fusion.

Rating: 5/5
Standout tracks: 1, 2,5, 9

Genre: Chillout, Dub, Trance

Release info:

Sonicturtle Records
October 2004
Producer, Written-By -
Adham Shaikh


1. Opal
2. Flying Beyond
3. Dubfire
4. Infusion (Bombay Mix)
5. Ohm (Transfix Mix)
6. Gayatri Mantra Shuffle
7. Somptin Hapnin (Ganesh Mix)
8. Shake It (Shaikh It)
9. Newborn Shuffle
10. Rabbit Hole Raga (Spore Mix)


Oct 10, 2009

Release updates.

New California Sunshine album was released and a Liquid Stranger album is coming up soon. Here is the full list:

October 10th:
Para Halu - The Future Sound of Para Halu (Psylife Music)
California Sunshine - The Dark Side Of The Brain (Ultiva Records)
Bodhisattva 13:20 - Equations (2TO6 Records)

October 16th:
Shotu - Conception (Hadra Productions)
Liquid Stranger - The Intergalactic Slapstick (Interchill Records)

A review for an older album is coming up before I review something recently released. From last month's releases I listened to Open Source's album and I thought it was pretty terrible. A score of 2 out of 5 for me, not really worth listening.

Oct 6, 2009

The Rebirth of Goa.

The golden age of goa trance is widely considered to be between 1993-1999, the most known artists being Man With No Name, Hallucinogen, Etnica, Transwave, Cosmosis etc. After that the genre pretty much died. Psytrance took over with acts like Infected Mushroom gaining huge popularity and that made many goa producers turn to psytrance or psychill and later on full-on etc. Very few goa albums were released after 2000 and most of them had a lot psytrance influence. Goa was basically forgotten by most producers up until about 2005 when a lot of new names showed up with new goa compilations and albums. The leading label in all this has got to be Suntrip with 10 full length albums released since 2004, several compilations and EPs. Many artists also started releasing the music online on their own. I'll do a small overview of artists from the "second wave" of goa.

New artists:

Filteria (Sweden) - Probably the most famous "neo-goa" artist with three full length albums released since 2004. He produces beautiful melodic goa, a little bit darker compared to most Suntrip releases. His latest album is, in my opinion, the best goa release since Khetzal's Corolle.

Khetzal (France) - One of the best new goa artists. Corolle is definitely one of the finest examples of the new wave albums. Just like Filteria's, his tracks are full of swirly melodies, but his music is generally light, nothing heavy sounding. Since 2005 he only released a few tracks which appeared on various compilations, but lets hope he has more to offer.

Afgin (Israel) - Perfect representation of new goa. His albums are lighter as well, and he sounds a bit more old school compared to other artists. He moved to Suntrip after releasing his first album on his own. A bit cheesy at times, but not in a bad way.

MySpace - Last.fm - Official - Discogs

Goasia (Serbia) - This duo makes very powerful, pounding goa. A little less crazy than Filteria for example, but extremely atmospheric. Their tracks actually sound scary at times. I heard new album rumors, but so far nothing has been confirmed.

Mindsphere (Turkey) - Inner Cyclone is his only album so far, but what an album. Probably the most powerful sound out of all neo-goa albums I heard so far. He has confirmed he's making a new album, but there is no official release date yet.

MySpace - Last.fm - Discogs

Radical Distortion (Greece) - Another good project. The BPM is a little lower here for the most part. Besides their three albums they made many compilation tracks as well. New album just released on Suntrip on October 2nd so come back to read my review ;)

MySpace - Last.fm - Official - Discogs

Merr0w (France) - One of the most recent artists with his first album released this year. His style is a bit different from the other neo goa artists, but still amazing stuff. Worth checking out.

More artists:

Artifact303 (Romania) - MySpace - Last.fmDiscogs
E-Mantra (Romania) - MySpace - Last.fm - Discogs
Lost Buddha (Portugal) - Last.fm - Discogs
Aerosis (United States) - MySpace - Last.fm - Official - Discogs
Travma (Turkey) - MySpace - Last.fmDiscogs
Goalien (Serbia) - MySpace - Last.fm - Official - Discogs
Liquid Flow (Croatia) - MySpace - Last.fm - Discogs

First wave artists still producing goa:

Chi-A.D. - MySpace - Last.fm - Official - Discogs
Ra - MySpace - Last.fmDiscogs
California Sunshine - MySpace - Last.fm - Discogs
Cosmosis - MySpace - Last.fm - Official - Discogs

There is a few "stars", but the rest remains virtually unknown with only 2 or 3 tracks released on compilations or a single EP. Only a handful of full-length albums have been released since 2005, but there is a lot of compilations (often combined with psytrance tracks) and more is being released each year. The new stuff from old producers is often very close to psytrance which can't be said about most of the artists from my first list. So, for the fans of Dimension 5, Etnica and similar goa acts that never really trusted the new guys it's time to catch up because they are really up there with the old masters.

I'll make a neo-goa playlist on YouTube soon and post it up here so come back soon if you want to give a listen to it here before buying or downloading.

Oct 1, 2009

First month of my blog. September release summary and albums coming in October.

Thanks to all of you for commenting, following and visiting my blog. I managed to get nearly 500 pageviews which is much more than I expected. Hopefully the numbers will continue to grow. I posted three reviews so far and that's what I am planning on doing every month. September has been a very intense month as far as new releases go. I still haven't listened to Banco's new album, but when I do I'll post a review. Here are the releases from last month that caught my attention. If I listened to them I added my rating.

Banco De Gaia - Memories Dreams Reflections
Capsula - Sense Of A Drop (4.5/5)
Argaman - My Little Forest (3.5/5)
Side Liner - Missing Pieces Of A Puzzle (4/5)
Union Jack - Pylon Pigs (5/5)
Smiley Pixie - Chillout Moods To Urban Grooves
Open Source - Uncultured (2/5)
Soundaholix - Soundaholix Annonymous
Way Out West - We Love Machine
Heyoka - Gate Code
Lokesh - Utopia
DarkShiRe - Breakdown
Vishnudata - Vishnudata

And the first week of October watch out for (all due to be released Ocober 2nd):