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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  • emorej - General Electronica - This album is kindly available from the illustrious emorej as, to quote directly from Bandcamp, a "Pay what you want or download for FREE. your choice" download.

    I decided this album was worth exactly 7 dollars and 77 cents. It's not just because it's great music that I decided to pay a higher price than what I normally would for pay-as-you-wish downloads (in fact most of the time I accept the "free" option), but also that the mystical, often haunting sounds I heard whilst listening on the player aligned my aural mechanics with the movements of the planets, or something, and made me decide that three lucky 7's were the go.

    It's kind of hard to put into words, but before you listen to emorej's stuff, and afterwards, you are a different person. I am currently the sort of person that imagines giving him $7.77 for the privilege of owning his album will have some profound and positive karmic resonances with the man behind the music and, like a butterfly flapping its wings in The Amazon, will ripple its way through the cosmos to create peace and harmony on Romulus. Or something.

    Like I say, it's hard to put into words, but from the first note I heard of this guy I just thought "Fuck yea, this is what music is." He is unmistakably a genius, and I am hardly surprised that this album, "General Electronica", so humbly named yet gloriously sculpted, amazes me at every turn. I now own all of the albums he has put on Bandcamp and am damn proud to have them in my music collection, not only standing next to, but shining brighter than, more everyday names like Infected Mushroom and Boards of Canada.

    The electronic flavourings of emorej are somewhere between the extremes of mind-bending psytrance eg. the above mentioned Infected Mushroom, and chilled vibes from those Canadian Board Guys, yet it is distinctly original. It is so, so, so easy for "electronica" to sound unoriginal, detached, and, well, like it was made on a computer. Yet in every emorej album I have heard so far I feel nothing but original, complex, scintillating, organic, evolving, and completely enveloping music that deserves a better tag than "electronica".

    So, I am hereby labeling it, despite all my disdain for tags and out of a necessity for succinct descriptions, especially since I just joined Twitter: "Fantasgamazinga".

    If you want to hear these Fantasgamazing sounds simply head on over to The album's page on Bandcamp and grab your FREE copy, or whatever price you put on it.

    For me it's "Seven Dollars And Seventy-Seven Cents For A Five Star Album That Stimulates The Senses"

    emorejemorejemorejemorejemorejemorejemorej!
  • Hox Vox - Mjöllnir - Structureless chaos that is yet coherent and comprehensive.

    Hox Vox is an artist whose roots are in DaDa-ism, yet consistently pumps out the antithesis of DaDa: The Concept Album. He is a strange one to pin down and describe, not least because his music is absolutely and completely, irrevocably, inaccessible. Yet he doesn't care. With an intellect rarely found he composes vast works of epic proportions that are meticulously sculpted to instil the most severe sense of unease in the listener. And yet, it is thoroughly enjoyable.

    In this latest instalment of the bizarre series of works that is Hox's discography, we journey through several intriguing portraits of Norse Gods, and eventually find ourselves on the battlefields of Ragnarök. Having been dealt an onslaught of arpeggiated midi notes, barrages of drum fills, ever shifting keys, innumerable time changes and mind-boggling blitzkriegs of unintelligible sounds, we arrive at the end and say “What the fuck just happened?”

    A work with such power is a diamond in the rough.

    Mjöllnir comes with a .pdf booklet, a gorgeous treasure with breathtaking artwork and liner notes with information about each track. For a concept album without lyrics this is a convenient way of portraying the portraits and storyline. Had I have been listening without reading this booklet I would be lost amidst the swirling notes and complete lack of consistency in tonal and modal qualities. As I said, it is inaccessible. Yet it is the combination of the booklet and the music that creates coherence, and makes for a compelling, engaging experience. This is not surprising from an artist who is also an extremely competent video producer. His whole schtick is multi-media in the true sense of the word “multi”. His art aims to immerse as many of the listener's senses as possible in imagery to convey his message.

    But what is his message? Well here we get back to his DaDa roots. DaDa was the art that defied art, and I have always felt whilst listening to Hox Vox's music that it is a product of entropy - a breaking down of preconceptions of what art should be, whilst at the same time raising the stakes of what is expected of a listener and their engagement with the work. I say entropy because in the end we have two polar opposites – breaking down perceptions and building up imagery – that meet comfortably in the middle, at a point of stasis. Whilst the sounds coming from this album are like a tornado, the eye at its centre is the solid, unwavering conclusion of “lofty ideal meets pragmatic delivery”.

    In case you can't tell, this music gives me a lot to think about. I have often thought as I listen to Hox Vox's albums that they are dissecting me more than I am them. If you want to know what the fuck I'm talking about, download this album, completely free, from Jamendo. It can also be legally bit-torrented, which is a fantastic way of getting the music out there (yes people are seeding it, I got it in 30 minutes).
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Red Friday - Nothing Is Free - I get very excited about great music, and often my reviews are hyperactively praising, but this time there’s really just not enough I can say to justify this album. I am blown away. I wish I could go back in time and tone down the enthusiasm of some of my earlier reviews to give this album the relative standing it deserves. VAST’s self-titled album was amazing. “Nothing Shocking” by Jane’s Addiction was more amazing. “Mer de Noms” by A Perfect Circle: exquisite. But holy fuck, Red Friday’s debut release, “Nothing Is Free”, is better than all three combined.

    Those three names came to mind as I listened again, and again, and again; not just comparing the production values and composition of this jewel to those classic albums, but also because of what the sonic scope incorporates: warm yet heavy guitars, a voice that expresses, soothes and provokes; that is raw yet clean - segueing easily between different styles - carrying lyrics of hefty weight and emotion whilst still somehow retaining a hauntingly cold distance; drums that punch straight through the mix and combine with a positively droolifying bass to get that spinal action happening; and the light, albeit perfect amount of, electronic elements.

    It’s a special sort of sound that a lot of bands aim for and miss, and that a rare few like the ones I’ve mentioned nail, yet at 25 minutes long, this 8 track album manages to compress all those juicy elements into the sweetest fruit possible. All killer, no filler, engaging for every single second, superbly produced, and an album you simply cannot live without. So it’s a good thing this album can be downloaded in its entirety from their website (free), for without it life would just be… less.

    www.redfridayband.com
    Red Army (Red Friday's fan site)
  • 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.
  • Nezumi - The principle of relative constancy in metamorphoses - The true meaning of ambient is not “elevator music”, which unfortunately it has come to mean, and even more unfortunately is what a lot of its purveyors continue to flavour their music as. The dictionary definition, from dictionary.com, is:

    ambient

    [am-bee-uh nt]

    –adjective

    1. of the surrounding area or environment.
    2. completely surrounding; encompassing.

    This music envelopes you. If you close your eyes it takes you to another place, a place fabricated from the tonality and texture of the pieces, that are “of the surrounding area or environment”. Yet it is a surreal environment, a place that doesn’t exist in the “normal world”. This is true ambience, yet there are no chirping birds or wind through bamboo to be found here. The music takes your hand, quite gently at first, and leads you to a door to another plane. If you resist it grabs you more firmly and pushes you through.

    Haunting, disquieting, the ghost-like atmosphere of this compelling album is made up from a variety of only vaguely familiar sounds, like the dropping of water in a deep cavern, yet not quite. Like two discordant notes played on a sitar, yet not quite. And the whole time, there is an emptiness that conveys vast reaches of uninhabited space. Merely the Universal Hum of something borne of chaos. With swirling dynamics and disparate textures this powerful album comes at you from all sides. It is often quite scary, feeling as if everything is closing in on you, yet that is part of its magick.

    Nezumi is a lover of the metaphysical, the mystical and the unknown. His attempt at creating soundscapes that depict the multitude of parallel universes and dimensions, so far away from normality yet always deep within our souls, is realised quite incredibly on his latest album.

    When I first listened to a release of his in late ’07, it sounded like a kid toying with midi for the first time. Although I could tell there was so much he wanted to convey, the instrumentality was primitive and thus did not do his imagery justice. A few years and two releases later (that I’ve heard, there are more), I’m amazed at how he has progressed as an artist.

    This music is truly the definition of ambient, “completely surrounding; encompassing”. And of course, I wouldn’t be raving about it so much if it weren’t my favourite sort of music: Dark. Very, very Dark.

    Set to release in early 2010, this album is now available as a pre-release from sendspace.

    (that link will expire so get it quick)

    The Ambience has spoken, and it demands you take a trip through another dimension...

    http://www.sendspace.com/file/j7nbif

    Nezumi's artist page at LastFM
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
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