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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Or go directly to Meta Dawn album page

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  • Ralph Buckley - The Art of Magick - I love and have a great interest in art and I live for and am constantly surprised by the concept of Magick, so I was naturally drawn to this latest release by Ralph Buckley. The album's evocative title immediately forms connections with listeners who haven't even downloaded it yet.

    With such a powerful title I expected something completely different to what I found my ears wrapped around, yet therein lies one of the secrets of magick: that paths open up before you that you never knew were there, and lead you to amazing places.

    From the very first conga tap of the opening track a vibe is set, of luscious valleys of soft vocals, strong undercurrents of molten guitar lines, and gorgeously shaped bass clouds, all set to the grandfather clock tick of the simple yet outstanding percussion. One only needs to close their eyes and drift on the vibe and this album performs its Magick.

    Journeying into frantic hunts through the forest side-by-side with howling wolves, taking hot air balloon rides over velvet seas of emotions, caressing the heavens at some points and pounding at the earth at others, this amazing release that talks of The End, of The Tree of Life and of Awakening will strike a chord deep within that few musicians can evoke, but that Ralph Buckley manages to pull off with both outstanding finesse and a deep respect for and understanding of the nature of the Universe.

    Transcendental. Download it now, FREE.
  • Building Rome - Nightmare - The first track off this album immediately soars to my top 20 tracks of all time. Epic in scope and majestic in realisation, it's flat out a hit. Perfect production, absolutely flawless execution of riffs, vocals and rhythms, a politically driven message, and an absolutely outstanding breakdown makes you want to play it over and over again. It's spine-tingling stuff.

    Unfortunately the whole album, whilst passionately created and something I myself would be extremely proud of, doesn't hold the same power as the opening track. There is a sense of commercialism about this album that just doesn't quite click with me, but, for woe, will with the masses.

    It feels that they followed a formula. Heavy rock track followed by upbeat pop track followed by ballad, have a bowl of cornflakes and repeat. The lyrics could be produced by a computer that had listened to lots of Britney. The riffs are extremely catchy, they know exactly what they're doing but sorry guys, it's just a bit naff. There is nothing spontaneous, raw or exciting about this album.

    Except the first track!

    It's almost as if they wrote and recorded that track and thought "Holy shit this is amazing, let's quickly write some more stuff and get it recorded and sell an album!"

    But perhaps part of me is just jealous of the absolute precision with which these guys have velcroed together their target audience and their music. This will be a popular album and it will make them lots of money, and hey good on 'em because a lot of time and effort has gone into this and it really shows. But at the same time it's sad, because it makes me realise we're still in the era of boy bands and girl power pop, except in the approaching new decade it's clear that "Indie Rock" has taken the reigns from the RnB and Pop guys.

    This is future of commercial music, and it's pretty banal.

    Except the first track!

    !

    !!

    So... have a listen and buy the tunes for a very reasonable price at iTunes or by going to buildingrome.bigcartel.com

    If you're a fan of "Story of the Year" / "Fallout Boy" sort of stuff you'll love the whole album, and if you think like me you'll cringe. But seriously, that first song: wow. Alone in it's incandescent brilliance it outweighs the naffness of the rest of the album. For that I doff my hat to Building Rome, who have shiny roads of success ahead of them. Well done guys.

    -Building Rome's MySpace-.
    -Their Website-
  • 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.
  • Pendulum - Immersion - It's extremely hard to listen to Immersion and not compare it to Pendulum's epic Hold Your Colour, the world's best selling Drum n Bass album of all time. Not because long-time fans and newcomers alike were dying to hear how Pendulum have developed their sound in 2010, but because the similarities between the two are manifold.

    I had to listen to this album about 5 times before I really got into it, and after that I couldn't stop listening to it. The similarities abound, from an intro that has almost the exact same feel to their debut's, to an opening track that could very well be a remix / combination of Slam and Fasten Your Seatbelt, easily the two best tracks on Pendulum's 2005 album – everything from the tone of the lead synth to the key structure and breakdown immediately scream these two tracks at you. But as you progress further into the album it is exactly this aspect of the music – basically lifting things from Colour and updating them - that makes this release so tantalisingly good.

    5 years have passed between the two albums, and what that has done is basically turn Immersion into a re-imagining of Hold Your Colour, as if the boys from Perth simply pushed their first album out of their minds completely and, in laying down some new tracks completely ignored any notion that they may be re-hashing old material. The album stands tall and proud as a poetic statement as if it were Pendulum's first unveiling upon the world. This gives it a very fresh, exciting and “shiny new” feel. This time 'round, armed with a noticeably more powerful arsenal of breaks and grooves, the re-imagining ends up being rock solid by simply taking what has been done before and improving on it.

    This is what a large part of music is all about. Without Howlin' Wolf there would be no Rolling Stones, and without With The Beatles there would be no Abbey Road. Emulation and building on solid foundations are what make great albums great, and this album is great. Cliched loops, overuse of the amen break and floating vocals were all there on Pendulum's first album; Immersion merely extrapolates these, adding a few flairs like Dubstep and Tech-House ramblings to the familiar bass-lines, synth melodies and drums that are unmistakably “The Sound Of Pendulum”, whilst constantly keeping you intensely engaged with intriguing side-steps, breakdowns and sharp corners.

    Simply put, Hold Your Colour is a 5 star, outstanding album, but if I were on a desert island and had to choose between it and Immersion, it would be the latter without question.

    Available from CD stores, iTunes, etc. through Warner.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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)
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