A wonderful high register bouncy sequence provides an uplifting start to ‘Olag Bamurpha’. More melodic pulsations create a forceful lead line while lovely sighing pads add soft backing. The sequences depart in the second minute to be replaced by subtle percussion, a deep pulse and melodic pads. Slow jaunty rhythms are the perfect accompaniment to a new lead line- and what a stunner it is- serene and thoughtful. In the fifth minute a completely new sequence starts up sounding as if it could have come from Tangerine Dream’s ‘Tangram’. More swirling pulsations are introduced one after another and in no time at all we are belting forward at quite a rate. We slow down for the finish and are treated to some beautiful acoustic guitar. What an awesome track this is!
Fizzing pulses of sound set a rather eerie scene to ‘Helm’. A slow melodic sequence quests into the unknown and a lonesome deep bass lead gives a touch of bite. A rhythm and more strident lead are added. I just closed my eyes and let the music seep into my very soul. A virtual guitar gives even more oomph. The melodies keep coming, each better than the last, creating enough euphoria to get me punching the air just to release some of the energy and excitement. This is carefully crafted and composed sequencer based music but also so powerful- quite some of the most skilful I have heard since Arcane’s ‘Future Wreck’. ‘The Dragon’ begins moodily with swirling misty pads creating quite a desolate feel. A very 70s sounding analogue sequence rises through the haze (think Tim Blake ‘Crystal Machine’). Wonderful deep bass stabs increase the tension. Further sequences are added and the effect is devastating- imagine the perfect melding of Tangerine Dream’s ‘Force Majeure’ and ‘Sorcerer’ albums. Even greater angst is created as more contemporary rhythms arrive oozing attitude. With about three minutes to go virtual electric guitar really lets rip with devastating results. Unbelievably this is probably the best track yet!
We flow straight though to ‘Sanctuary’. A rapid twangy sequence takes things forward then a bass rhythm joins it. Wordless vocal chanting adds a faintly ethnic touch. This is like nothing else on the rest of the album becoming more commercial sounding by the moment. I can well imagine Joint Intelligence Committee coming up with something similar. It would be equally at home being enjoyed in a club or being listened to from the comfort of the sofa. As with everything on this album it is wonderfully composed and boiling over with excitement. Normal service is restored with ‘Ether’. First one rapid tinkling sequence then a steamroller bass one escape from lush swirling backing. Yet another devastating lead is let off the leash and once again I’m in Heaven- ‘Rubycon’ meets ‘Poland’!!! Again Arcane came to mind. Things calm down in the eighth minute but even then subtle melodies abound. The sequences start their steady build once more, fencing with the exquisite melodies but at the same time taking strength from one another, each perfectly balanced and combined to create the most amazing high.
I played this album three times in succession, something I haven’t done for a very very long time and it took me most of the rest of the day to come down. No ifs or buts, this is the most essential purchase so far this year. No serious Electronic Music collector can be without it. (DL)