Gus Reviews :: QPA – Meta Dawn album.

Meta Dawn CD Disc LabelMusic Review – Meta Dawn –
extracted from article by Angus Maiden

Qubenzis Psy Audio or QPA for short, with his latest album "Meta Dawn" is a di.fm sort of listening experience. As linear and one-dimensional as it is, it nevertheless stirs something deep within me.

The preamble to the album is that of aliens broadcasting messages from the depths of space, of cosmic music born from the ether of a timeless, tribal "Worship Of The Vibe", as I like to (since just now) call it.

A theme often found in psy-trance is that of two seemingly opposing concepts: Aliens and Earth. It’s either about reverence for The Mother or acknowledgment of Extraterrestrial Intelligence already embedded in our culture through music and dance.

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  • QPA - Meta Dawn - I listen a lot to di.fm, an internet radio station specialising in electronic music, where you listen to a specific style of music on one of their many stations, eg. The Trance Channel, The Tech House Channel, The DnB Channel, etc. My favourite channel is the Psy-Trance Channel, I often put it on and sink into a reverie of bass and bliss. Whilst listening I am not looking for meaning, or hair-raising moments of poignant vocal prowess; there is no tempo change, there are no surprises, simply really good bass feeding through my really good subwoofer and really good trance lines synchronising my heartbeat to the rhythm of the psy-cosmos. It is a very interesting listening experience and adverse to what I would call my “intent” listening experience, whereby I listen to lyrics, bathe in the different moods of different songs and the different tempos, tonality and dynamics that come with them.

    Qubenzis Psy Audio or QPA for short, with his latest album “Meta Dawn” is a di.fm sort of listening experience. As linear and one-dimensional as it is, it nevertheless stirs something deep within me. The preamble to the album is that of aliens broadcasting messages from the depths of space, of cosmic music born from the ether of a timeless, tribal “Worship Of The Vibe”, as I like to (since just now) call it. A theme often found in psy-trance is that of two seemingly opposing concepts: Aliens and Earth. It's either about reverence for The Mother or acknowledgment of Extraterrestrial Intelligence already embedded in our culture through music and dance.

    QPA's spin on psy is a curious mix of the two. To quote directly from the album's “Total Disclosure”:

    “Knowledge = freedom. Whatever is hidden must be brought into light. The truth is for all to know. Openness and transparency is the only way to go. To embrace the forthcoming age of trust, honesty and love is the only way we can save the planet from… us!.
    Until the [meta] dawn we dance and trance into the parallel timeless dimensions of eternal sound and light.”


    In psy-trance there has always been this sense of Unity and Light. Whether it be from cosmic E.T.s showing us The Way or by lying on a field of grass staring at the sky with headphones on, it's about the deep Vibe running through our veins and showing us something that may not have existed before it manifested in our minds. This speaks of The Great Mysteries, of psychedelic experiences (with the obvious connotation of and connection with drug usage) and of Love for our planet and all Life.

    Meta Dawn” is a vastly optimistic and spiritual journey as good as anything I listen to on di.fm. It may be linear and it may not be everyone's cup of tea but if you're into mushrooms whack this on with your next bag. If you're into magick whack this on as you cast a circle. And if you're just a chilled sort of person lie down in your loungeroom, and yes, whack this on. But whichever way you listen, there is only one pre-requisite: it has to be Loud. Let the bass wind its way up your feet all the way to the cerebral cortex. You will feel Ascended. Let the Light flow through you.

    Available from QPA's site, where you can stream the album, download it in 128kbps MP3s for free, or purchase it at ultra high quality for true audiophiles (this is also an interesting marketing idea that I sincerely hope works for Qubenzis).

    “A Psychedelic Trance sonic universe delivering imaginatively, intelligently mind-bending, kick ass, electronic dance beats.” - QPA

    3.5 stars
  • Northcape - Captured From Static - I lie down and listen. I listen intently and critically, and I soak up the vibe. Time passes, and I feel If I didn't have my lava lamp to look at, I would get bored very quickly. Yet that is part of this album's charm. It teleports you to the whole “lava lamp era” of sitting on suede couches smoking joints, where not only was everything in Skye and Rainchild's apartment visually oriented to make you zone out, sounds were too. S&R would casually spin Tubular Bells whilst making a pot of coffee, and you would lie on their black and white swirly rug and stare at their colour-shifting array of ceiling lights. Just, zoning out.

    At least, that's where the album takes me, and I didn't even grow up in that era. I think, however, this is a testament to the depth of the vibes coming from this album, its ability to conjure scenarios in the head of the listener that are externally sourced. The sounds do more than just stimulate memory or imagination, they add to the mind's repertoire of imagery. Northcape has always described his music as depicting and reflecting nature, and I think this is the essence of it: it's music that depicts the world we live in, from those psychedelic loungerooms to the moors of Scotland, a quiet urban street at midnight to a backyard pergola and a windchime in Autumn. All of it is part of nature, part of our world, our collective consciousness, that we can thus associate with.

    The deep, mellow, and layered sounds strike a chord with the part of the soul that is in tune with nature, with the earth, and is perhaps just the medicine required in today's pacey world where people like me get bored without a lava lamp to look at. 4 stars.

    Freshly released today, available from Sun Sea Sky Productions. Enjoy.
  • emorej - Songs For And From The Heart - The very first thing that I thought of when I listened to this album was “Air”. Not just because the dulcet downtempo beats reminisce very strongly of “Sexy Boy” by the French trip-hop group, but also because the substance of this music is very much like the element of the same name. Paper thin, so fragile it feels like it would crumble at the slightest touch, it yet holds an enveloping feel to it. One could say the music evokes the feeling of floating in a sea of paper cranes. In gentle ebbs and flows it embraces you like a silk sheet on a mild Summer night – the perfect temperature regulation that the situation calls for.

    As I lie in the fading Autumn light at the end of a hot Melbourne Summer, nothing connects more with my state of mind than this sort of music. Entitled “Songs For And From The Heart”, it certainly captivates the essence of that organ that infuses the whole body with warmth. Soft and gentle, soothing and tranquil, the musical energy of this album flows through you like blood, and you can bask in it like a lizard does the sun. Over and around you, it is a delight to feel the closeness of the driving yet perfectly paced rhythms, the high-end chimes running trilling patterns, complimented by a smooth bassline and sunny swirling pads, all held together by a simply sublime voice. I can't tell if it's male or female, which causes some confusion as “emorej” is a play on “Jerome”, the first name of the creator of this music. Perhaps it is a duo with a female singer, or perhaps he simply has a high voice, or perhaps it's pitch-shifted, or my interpretation that “Jerome” is a male name is completely wrong.

    Anyway, it doesn't matter. I don't need to do any research on this music as I may have to in other reviews to flesh out what little I can say about it, as the music itself speaks volumes. A highly recommended 5 star album. And guess how much it is? 1 dollar. You get that in change from your coffee or soft drink, so just do it. And if you're feeling generous there's the option to pay more.

    Support independent, talented musicians like emorej and buy this album at Bandcamp. Mellow, engaging, calm waves of airy bliss await your appreciative ears.
  • Corrientes - Breathe/Respira - I was in a chatroom with Ivette Torres aka. EV, singer, multi-instrumentalist and sound engineer of Corrientes fame - the chat room is part of a weekly show called Neon Beatz where you can listen to a stream of independent music and chat to the listeners, who are often artists themselves - a song of theirs came on and someone said that EV had a "smiley voice". I think this is the perfect way to describe her voice. It is just so unbelievably uplifting, fun and beaming.

    EV sings in both Spanish and English, and this latest album is a lot more Spanish-orientated, which seems to lend itself naturally to "smiley voices". The syllables roll off her tongue like crystal clear water in a fountain, exuberant and bubbly, accompanied for the first time (on a recording) by a full live band. I understand they went through a few drummers before settling on the current one, and he’s a good choice - a cowbell here and there, just the right amount of hi-hat and snare, very jazzy and upbeat - altogether very suited to the whole "Latin feel" of the band. Also a first for a recorded album of this amazing New York City band is electric lead guitar, playing Santana-esque lines sporadically yet appropriately. The whole feel of this album is of delicacy and subtlety. The bass sits low in the mix yet moves around, you can forget it’s there if you stop listening to it yet it is the cornerstone of the chord progressions, strummed on a bright guitar by the lovely EV herself.

    Mixing a project like this is a hard task: lots of drum mic-ing and many different frequencies competing for space. Yet in the hands of EV, who has mixed and produced all of Corrientes’ albums at her home studio, it sounds absolutely mint.

    There have always been two aspects to Corrientes: their live performances, featuring less instrumentation and more intimate, acoustic sort of stuff, and their studio albums which have often involved a hefty electronic element to it. Breathe/Respira manages to combine the crystal clarity of professional digital mixing with that intimate live feel to produce a very pleasant album. I had never heard much Spanish/Latin music until I heard Corrientes, and was immediately delighted. It’s unfamiliar territory for an Australian but I understand it’s quite prevalent in America. Whether you’re a newcomer to the soulful upbeat sounds of Latin American music or are sick to death of hearing it, I would recommend this album either way. It’s top notch, refreshing and joyous.

    I can be quoted regarding Corrientes’ January ’09 album "Underlying Truth" that "I don’t need to hear anything else in 2009 to say that this is the best album of the year." And it still holds true. There are no electronics in Breathe/Respira and it’s something that seems missing, making "Underlying Truth", complete with luscious synthy elements, a better album in my opinion (full review of that one coming up); but it’s a new approach for the band, they’ve found members that they like and are sticking with, that form a cohesive "live entity", and it is also the first time that they’ve decided to branch out and sell their music.

    For a band that has consistently delivered professional, excellently produced, highly creative, and inspiring material for free, they deserve a quick visit to the online store for this album.

    EV has also provided some more tasty information regarding the mixing of the album, as well as lyrics:

    You can see the info about the recording here.

    Lyrics here.

    And you can listen to EV speaking about the recording on Mixposure’s Center Stage Presentation here.

    Smiley music to make you smile. Get it.
  • Terry Springford - Pretty Girls - Listening to "The Damage Done" you could swear it's a cover of "The Sandringham Line" by The Lucksmiths, but you would never hear the famous Melbourne band's frontman Tali White singing "Fuck a stranger at the monster's ball" with such quiet intensity as Terry does. Drawing influences from such fellow Melbourne acts as The Lucksmiths, and by extrapolation, The Smiths, as well as the general oeuvre of bands that have "that sound" like Suede and Pulp, this gentle album at first sounds like a lovely Sunny Sunday Afternoon Pub Album, yet delving into the lyrics one finds there is a sinister edge to the upbeat melodies. For example the lyric "Pretty girls are ugly inside" can be easily missed if you are merely paying attention to the lilting, carefree tone of Springford's voice and the soft, warm acoustic guitar.

    The drumming on this album is exemplary and is part of what gives the entire timbre of the songs that "pop-y", upbeat sound, that is so delightfully deconstructed by the dark lyrical moments. To compliment this, the truly uplifting sentiments such as the track "With Love" shine like a lighthouse in their sporadic unexpectedness. Terry says he spent "Nearly 6 months recording and mixing in my mountain forest home studio", and it certainly shows in the gorgeous production that includes piano, organs and string sections. Yet it his wistful voice that encapsulates you, and makes his message, should you choose to listen, a powerful one that is truthful to the bone. "How can I make change? With poison in my blood. Waiting for change. It will free me. Waiting for change. It will come".

    This delicate collection of deeply poetic and moving pieces is available for only 10 dollars at http://terryspringford.bandcamp.com/album/pretty-girls and I highly recommend it for anyone with a soul.
  • Dear Noel - Party Fouls / Hope You Get To Heaven Before The Devil Knows You're Dead - Dear Noel are technically proficient and professionally tight, they have a good grasp of songwriting, hooks, and rhythm, and both EPs have top-notch production.

    So why does it suck?

    Quite simply, these guys are playing in the wrong key. The tonality and action of their guitars are aligned for heavy metal, as is the drumming with its heavy kick drum and outstanding fills. All is aligned for neck-snapping flat-fifths and dark, minor chords. Yet they're playing this major key happy pop stuff. With heavy palm-muted guitars. !? It is just completely incongruous. And ugly, totally ugly, devoid of life or passion, and impossible to like.

    The engineer of these albums is the only one with any vision, utilising fantastic production techniques that make these packages radio friendly for sure, but the stations that play this kind of stuff, wellvomitpukeergh oh excuse me.

    You get the idea. Guys, if you're reading this: STOP with the happy pop crap and do a complete 180 into the heavy metal you were born to play, even if it means firing your current songwriter, for this incarnation of Dear Noel is a dead end.

    I have nothing more to say.

    Both EPs "Party Fouls" and "Hope You Get To Heaven Before The Devil Knows You're Dead" are available from Simple Stereo, if you want to listen to some really, really naff music.
  • The Aether Tree - The Children's War - I have put off reviewing this album for a long time, because there is so much I want to say about it, yet so little at the same time; more than anything I want you to merely listen to it. For this guy pours his heart and soul into his music; but rather than sieving it, kneading it and cookie-cutting it into a perfectly produced popcrap album, it spills over the edges, it gets smudged with dirt, its raw emotion shows through like bone in a deep wound. And this is exactly what makes it so beautiful. An artist’s toil is the pursuit of a perfection that can never be attained, and nothing is more admirable in a work of art like this album than what I call “beautiful imperfection”. His voice is rough and out of tune, his timing is off, the lyrical themes are disjointed and the guitar and piano playing is sloppy. But I beg of you, do not take this as a bad thing, for beneath the unpolished surface is a core that shimmers like a sapphire. The lyrics are absolutely gorgeous because they’re disjointed, the guitar is loose and freewheeling as the piano is whimsical and expressive because they’re sloppy; and his voice, oh his voice - such bittersweet poignancy will never grace the lips of any commercial singer - beauty in imperfection. On top of this there are glimpses of elements like soothing pads, saxophone, and found-sounds, plus a killer rhythm section, that all work together to produce something truly unique and beautiful. I hold this album very close to my heart, something about it touched me and moved me in a very deep way, and all I can say is “Listen”. Listen.

    The Aether Tree has a cosy little homepage.
  • HealeyIsland - Not Afternoon, But Evening - Utilising tones that are at the same time familiar yet veer towards an alien, otherwordly sound, the highly evocative imagery of this album is beautifully rendered in instrumental delight; describing scenes, places and moods with just a title and the music. When you listen to such tracks as "Red Car Crossing A Dimly Lit Bridge", a 1930's-style moving picture plays in your head, complete with glorious scratchings upon warm amber-hued film.

    A bizzare mixture of textures and beats combine to create a copmplex tapestry of genre-defying music. A rich barotone voice floats in and out, sitting back in the mix as if it's lounging in a deliciously comfortable armchair, making the lyrics hard to fathom. Yet lyrics are unneccesary for music that carries with it such an incredible ability to conjure concepts, themes and emotions from a purely instrumental perspective. The warm bass, at times squelching and playful, at other times deep and resounding, remind me of heavy, tired footsteps on the pavement at night. The jazzy, light piano is reminiscent of a warm streetlamp, pushing away the darkness, providing solace, yet the whole time aware of the empty blackness only meters away. Link these elements with extra-dimensional soundscapes, and both insanity and bliss are constantly within arms reach.

    There is an edginess about this music that, when resolved in fleeting moments of sheer harmony, send shivers down the spine. The edginess comes from the strange tonality that is prevalent throughout the whole album: notes that sit next to each other that don't quite fit (deliberately so), jostling for position in the forefront, arguing with each other. Despite the general first impression of a lax, drifting attitude, the album can be quite aggressive at times due to this discord. Yet tension and resolution are the keystones of great music, and the album manages to keep the tension just long enough that you feel uneasy; and then, with perfect timeliness and inclination, segues into harmonic resolution.

    Described as "Light Music meets Dark Electronica", HealeyIsland's latest album "Not Afternoon, But Evening", is suitably titled, the whole thing feeling like the fading daylight leading into encroaching night; where shapes and figures are blurred, silhouetted, undefined, and the air holds an essence of change, of limbo, purgatory: twilight.

    It's not afternoon, and something is lurking in the shadows, yet the familiar lull of downtempo shuffling tricks you into thinking this is gonna be a smooth ride. You could pay to see some blockbuster movie that tries and fails to keep you on the edge of your seat, or you could buy this album and feel the chilling, haunting vibes strangely coupled with moments of calm, beauty and peacefullness; and feel the imagery of your dreams, nightmares and fantasies become reality. A must have for those who understand that normality is banal, and strangeness: Divine.

    Out now through White Label Music.
  • polarOPPOSITEbear - p014r0pp05it3b34r - Yea. Really, yea. Like, a lot.

    My last review of these guys ended on the high note of wanting “to watch their future releases with intrigue”, having picked apart both their flaws and better attributes. This 4-track EP is one of those future, now present, releases.

    I think the title of the album is a good place to start: it’s something a person hurled forward in a time machine from even as recent as the 80s would just say “WHAT?!”, but we’re all tech-savvy net-linguists these days and we know exactly how to pronounce the name. Say it with me together guys, “p014r0pp05it3b34r”, because chances are, if the winds are favourable, you’ll be hearing it around. The title reflects the music: youthful embracement of a new era, cutting edge stuff that only the select few of us, that are still quite comfortably weathering net-waves and web-squalls, will understand. An age where you don’t need to understand the lyrics because immediacy is more important than longevity. The guy has a really nice voice and it compliments the music: immediate reaction equals happy face. No I’m not gonna rush out and buy a physical copy of the EP for the precious liner notes with lyrics, but nonetheless there has been communication.

    The communication comes mostly through the delightfully playful interaction of bass and guitar, with a simple message that says, “I am alive”, uplifting yet heavy at the same time. My review of their previous release, “The Cre EP”, noted the bass as being outstanding whilst the guitar was “exceptionally well played, even if monotonously composed”. In this release not only does the guitar appear to have considerably more thought put into its execution of riffage, but is layered with (itself? another guitar?) in a subtle, intriguing and progressive way, and together with the bass craft a familiar yet nonetheless utterly pleasurable soundscape from the solidest rock there is, that being: Rock!

    Admiring the well-hewn rock from afar, one notices etchings of “progress”, the noun that appears in the adjective “progressive”, that is thrown around nilly-willy in the contemporary music scene. Yet what does “progressive” really mean? It means it evolves. The song writing on this release is about 450% better than their last release. Each song builds and builds, morphing and twisting, the melodies and root notes summoning wreathes of charisma about their undulating forms to hit your brain at the exact same time as the final part of this manifold creation: the drums; and hit it does.

    The drumming on this release is about 875.6% better than their last release, and also highlights the winning factor for me: production. To a sound engineer’s ears this EP is heaven. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard an underground rock drum kit captured so well. Props to the engineer of this EP.

    And massive props to the band for delivering on their promise that the next EP would be much, much better. I’m very impressed.

    Say it with me, guys, “p014r0pp05it3b34r!!!!”. Yea. No, really: YEA!

    Available for free from POB's MySpace
  • Wormrot - Abuse - I am 16 again. I'm angry, the world hates me, and Wormrot are the only guys that sound like I feel. Their flesh-eating riffs and eviscerating drums relentlessly pounding my ear-drums are the only thing I look forward to after a day at school of being teased and enduring painfully long classes. No one understands me, yet these razor sharp guitars, these guttural screams of desperate insanity, are the only thing I can connect with. It is the only thing that has meaning.

    Fast forward 8 years and I'm a competent reviewer who's been given a release to listen to. Although young I am past my days of anger and despair, and look at the world optimistically. For 24 year-old Angus Maiden, Wormrot's latest release, in all its rage and fury, is just damn fun to listen to.

    With songs averaging 50 seconds long, these dudes from Singapore take a less-is-more approach to songwriting, decimating the concept of structure in favour of gunning down your ear lobes. The longest song on this 21-minute album is 2 minutes 15 seconds. The shortest: 15 seconds. Yet balancing this less-is-more approach to the actual form of the song, is a definitively abrasive more-is-more stance on what that song should sound like. More power, more brutality, heavier guitars, more more more death and destruction.

    When I first heard this album I immediately posted “Grindcore: where have you been all my puberty?” on Facebook. So admittedly I'm new to the genre. I'm ashamed to admit I only just got into Cannibal Corpse recently, and haven't heard much else of the genre. The bands label, Earache Records, blurb about Wormrot that “The new rulers of the genre display a jaw-dropping mastery of the dynamics and art of blasting which will literally shock even the most seasoned of grindcore veterans.” and for this I'm gonna have to be a bit negative. It's the reason I started my post with a flashback, and the reason for the sarcastic Facebook post about puberty; for a teenager this sort of music is literally shocking, and does mean everything in the world, but I am not even “a seasoned grindcore veteran” and I find nothing “shocking” about this release. To most of the people reading this blog, grindcore is simply fun fast and furious music to put on to wake up to or when gearing up for a night out; nervertheless, Wormrot's latest album “Abuse” is a fine example of it. Three and a a half stars.

    Out April 5th through Earache Records.
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