Tsode is the recording alias of Jesús Valenzuela who hails from Córdoba, Spain. Conjuring an essence of enchanting otherworldliness, his album Yggdrasil gets its name from a mythical tree that connects the nine worlds of ancient Norse cosmology. Inspired by musical legends such as Mild Oldfield, Schiller, Enigma, Jean Michel Jarre, Enya and Vangelis, influences of these artists can be heard throughout the album’s ten gorgeous compositions.

“The Roots” introduces us to an intriguing blend of biotic and synthetic sounds that eventually build up in a cinematic fashion, seemingly unveiling a magical, mythical world of fascinating discovery that lies somewhere ahead. “Flying Hawk” follows next in a beautiful electronic arrangement accentuated by ethereal voices, ethnic percussion and soaring electric guitar courtesy of Miguel Engel Arcengelus, which is somewhat reminiscent of Mike Oldfield. Continuing on to “The Dance of the Forest”, the soothing sounds of a waterfall, chirping crickets and indecipherable whispers conjures mystical twilight images. One of my favorite pieces on the album, it fondly reminds me of the music of Amethystium with is beautifully complex arrangement of instruments. A haunting piano melody is carried throughout among its ensemble of cello, chimes, duduk, ethnic voices, electronic and tribal percussion. Flashy and sparkly sounds along with echoing piano notes amidst an ambient backdrop characterize “Nine Worlds”, which progressively builds throughout in a cinematic quality that reintroduces electric guitar, this time performed by Paco Salazar. The more dance/electronica-styled “Le Parfum du Petrichor” ensues with drifty piano and an enveloping rainstorm that soon introduce haunting chords, thundering effects, distant exotic voices and a repeating duduk motif throughout. Another favorite, this catchy and melodic piece reminds me of much of Schiller’s work, with its spellbinding combination of chill-trance and world music flavors. Named for the Norse goddess of love and magic, “Freyja” is an ambient-style piece characterized by spacious chords, echoing drums and a sprinkling of bells throughout. Ethereal voices and gentle piano lend an added supernal quality, bringing images to mind of a spectacular castle set high in the mountainous mists. Further chill-trance influences can be heard on the equality enjoyable “Journey for the Iving River” and “Mannaheim”, which employ heavily digital and high-energy sequencer effects. Comparatively, the more gothic-tinged “Jotunheim” reminds me of David Arkenstone’s middle-earth inspired works. Finally, swirling breezy sounds and breathy intonations grace “After the Storm”, peacefully concluding this fantastic and magical journey.

A stunningly crafted album that will certainly appeal to a wide range of listeners, Yggdrasil touches upon ambient, electronica, new age and world music influences, variably blending these styles both cohesively and seamlessly into a gorgeously illustrated otherworldly adventure! ~Candice Michelle

Links & Purchase: Amazon, iTunes, Bandcamp

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