Sunday, January 17, 2021

PGM 289: Northern Lights 7

Another luminous soundscape inspired by the aerial majesty of the aurora borealis!

Artist Name / Track Title / Album Title
Erik Wøllo / Virtual World / Emotional Landscapes [Remastered]
Alpha Wave Movement / Dusk Descending / The Edge of Infinity
Kevin Keller / The Sky Below / The Front Porch of Heaven
Patrick Kelly / Adrift in Time / Beyond the Horizon 2: Mystical World
Jarguna & Uzbazur / Sublimation / Sublimation
Johan Agebjörn / Siberian Train Part II / Mossebo [Remastered]
David Helpling / The Black Rock / Rune
Thierry David / Galactic Bliss / Stellar Connection
Jeff Pearce / A Surrounding / Archive 1: Songs for the Gathering

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Album Review: Hemispherica Portalis (Portal of 1000 Years) by Desensitized

Desensitized is the musical duo of Deborah Martin and Dean De Benedictis whose collaborative debut album Hemispherica Portalis (Portal of 1000 Years) was released on the Spotted Peccary Music label in the fall of 2020. Comprised of 7 compositions spanning over 75 minutes, the music is accompanied by one of the most visually stunning and interpretive album artwork designs that I’ve seen in recent memory, courtesy of Daniel Pipitone. Additionally, Hemispherica Portalis was mixed by fellow Spotted Peccary Music resident Matthew Stewart and mastered by Howard Givens at the label’s studio in Portland, Oregon.

As someone who’s enjoyed Deborah’s and Dean’s previous individual and collaborative works with other artists, I was immediately intrigued upon learning sometime back of an upcoming collaboration between the two, particularly since the stylistic flavors of these two artists are quite distinct from each other. Deborah’s sound tends to occupy a more ethereal realm influenced by new age and world music leanings that often explores cultural, mythical and earth-centered themes. By comparison, Dean’s music (which also includes his works under the project name Surface 10) is overall darker, more experimental, industrial and alien with often glitch-like minimalist beats. And yet together these two have created a lushly hypnotic masterwork wherein the signature hallmarks of each artist merge seamlessly to form a new element like perfected alchemy.

Right from the opening title track one is immediately led through a deep exploration of fluidly freeform and blossoming patterns that seem to musically interpret varying biological metamorphosis and photosynthesis from an immersive, microcosmic perspective. Observational yet sensational in nature, familiar yet abstract aural textures paint a surrealistic dream-world that is strangely idyllic and beautifully bizarre. Shaped throughout by bioluminescent soundscapes that are distinctly electronic yet feel very much organic, the compositions move through simultaneously aquatic, biotic and mechanical sound environments that convey a strikingly vivid alternate reality.

Recalling at times the ambient classic Orchid by Ishq, Hemispherica Portalis offers a similar sonic immersion along with the hyperreal imagery it evokes. Easily one of the most stunning albums of the year, it's not only sure to remain a standout on the Spotted Peccary label but hopefully results in more collaborations between these two brilliant minds in the very near future! ~Candice Michelle

Album & artist links:
Spotted Peccary Music
Deborah Martin
Dean De Benedictis

Monday, January 4, 2021

PGM 288: Frozen Skies 2

Another glacial ambient-space mix for wintertime stargazing

Artist Name / Track Title / Album-EP-Single
Jim Ottaway / Ice Age / Aurora
Shunkan Idou / Formerly Seen / Formerly Seen
Isostatic / Crystals of Ice / Cloud Forms
Time Being / Drifting Form, Ineffable Void / An Ocean of Time
Robert Carty & Brannan Lane / Polar Shift / Climatic Infusion
Isostatic / The Endless Tundra / Glacial Epoch
Shinpal / Winter Solitude / Momentary Disappeared Memory
Michael Crain & Jason Carey / Glacier / Tiamatu: Twilight of the Arctic

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

PGM 287: Hypnotic Voyage 6

Another trance-ambient excursion through mind-bending otherworlds!

Artist Name / Track Title / Album-EP-Single
Zero Cult / Air / Air
Arkanna / Wonder Cloud (Side Liner Remix) / Wonder Cloud (Side Liner Remix)
Time Traveler / Explorer Beware / Sky Falter
Echo Season / Pilot / Solarmetric
Eguana / Night Starry Sky (vocal version) / Flawless Nature
Moonsong / Transequence / Ambient Odyssey
Transponder / Europa Prime / Hyperion Gate
Unusual Cosmic Process / Elysium (Lounge Remix) / Elysium

Monday, December 21, 2020

PGM 286: Divine Offerings 3

Another ethereal-ambient chillscape for the winter solstice & Christmas season!

Artist Name / Track Title / Album Title
Pilgrimage / Campus Stella/Field of Stars / 9 Songs of Ecstasy
Shunia / Alleluia / Breeze at Dawn
VocaMe / Aer Enim Volat / Hildegard Von Bingen: Inspiration
Christel Veraart / Celaeno / Pleiades
Divine Works / Divine Works II / Soundtrack to the New Millennium
Marya Stark / Negra Luz / Sapphire
Samite / Stars to Share / Winter Solstice on Ice
Paul Avgerinos / Song of Gladness / Phos Hilaron
Mythos / Sirens / Mythos
Voxfire / Rosa Das Rosas / Fontis
Mysteria / Seraphim / Chasing the Divine

Sunday, December 20, 2020

PGM 285: Beyond Perception 2

Another ambient-electronic voyage through interdimensional dream-worlds!

Artist Name / Track Title / Album Title
Evenfall / Monsoon Winds / Monsoon Winds
Retro Rider / Lonely Cowboy (West Beach Mix) / Winter Time, Vol. 9
Dr. Psychedelic / Power of Dub / Chill Out Trance Vol. 2
Echo Season / Elevated / Solarmetric
Jim Ottaway / Diamonds in the Rain / When Eternity Touches Time
Eguana / Listen to the Universe / Destiny, Vol. 2
Kick Bong / Let Me Fly / Zelitude
Richard Ross / Oort Cloud / Event Horizon
Starterra / Council of Nine / Celestial
Germind / Last Humanity / Antimatter, Vol. 5

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Album Review: Pleiades by Christel Veraart

One of the most hauntingly beautiful recordings to come my way this year is the album Pleiades by Christel Veraart. Aptly comprised of seven compositions spanning approximately fifty-three minutes, Pleiades offers a mystical sonic journey hat seemingly bridges an invisible portal from earth to the cosmos. Although Christel has released several prior albums, I’ve only recently become familiar with her work and I’m beyond delighted to have discovered this musical gem in particular.

Likewise, I’ve always been fascinated by the constellations and the ancient mythologies connected to them, with the Pleiades (also known as "the seven sisters") figuring prominently in many cultures throughout history. Named for each of the seven stars in this mysterious constellation, Pleiades features monastic-style female vocalese that effectively recalls the sacred music of the 12th-century mystic nun Hildegard von Bingen. With her otherworldly incantations wrapped in droning electronic soundscapes that are often accentuated by repeating melodic bell-tones and subtle ethnic percussion, Pleiades can be likened to that of exploring a secluded forest cathedral within an icy dreamland, which lies somewhere beyond the ether.

Personal favorites include “Asterope” with its darkly minor-key figures, along with the ghostly encircling “Celaeno”, both of which exude bewitchingly strange and sensual atmospheres. Also noteworthy is the somewhat Celtic-esque “Maia” wherein Christel’s tantalizing vocals echo among shadowy harp timbres.

Sonically immersed in a divine feminine aura of sacred mystery, Pleiades is an engrossingly enchanting album best played at night and will unquestionably appeal to many fans of Lisa Gerrard, Áine Minogue and Hildegard von Bingen! ~Candice Michelle

Available at Amazon, Bandcamp and other online music retailers. For more information, please visit the artist's website

Monday, November 30, 2020

PGM 284: Enchanted Worlds 4

Another bewitching blend of ethereal vocals & lushly chilled soundscapes!

Artist Name / Track Title / Album Title
Jillian Aversa / Aletheia / Atlantis Awakening
Marya Starks / In Between / Sapphire
Blue Stone / Set Me In the Sun / Messages
Eurielle / Gold / Arcadia
Oslee / Song of Bliss / Elevate
Delerium & Kirsty Hawkshaw / Inner Sanctum (Journeyscapes radio edit) / Poem
Static Shore / Hush / Panikon
Ananta Govinda / Onto the Timelessness / Mirror of Desire
Kerensa Stephens & ZX1899 / Solar / Supernature
Christel Veraart / Alcyone / Pleiades
Amethystium / Strangely Beautiful / Isabliss
Eden / Adonis / Return to Innocence

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Album Review: Beyond Skyrim: Three Kingdoms by Various Artists

If you're looking for a phenomenal fantasy music soundtrack to immerse yourself in, especially during the colder months of the year, then you’ll certainly want to grab this fantastic set of music that spans over a sojourning six-and-half hours in length. Beyond Skyrim: Three Kingdoms (Original Game Soundtrack) is an extended collection of music by five different recording artists – one of them being Jon Richards whose excellent work I’ve been intimately familiar with for several years now via his past releases on Medywn Goodall’s MG record label. The other four artists in the impressive line-up include Alex Catana, Alex Jordan, Sergey Neiss and Vladislav Saturian – each of whom contribute a full album’s length worth of music in this expansive musical set.

Although not a gamer myself, I've certainly become quite a fan of the many atmospherically immersive soundtracks that much of the gaming world churns out – and this album is certainly no exception. As part of The Elder Scrolls action role-playing video game series, Beyond Skyrim is a cinematic blend of symphonic ambient and ethereal neoclassical music that ranges from atmospherically dark and minimal to brightly epic and celebratory. From thundering crescendos to droning soundscapes, Beyond Skyrim takes the listener on a fascinating journey though varied musical landscapes of otherworldly enchantment. 

Like being transported back in time to a supernaturally mythical realm that simultaneously occupies earth-plane reality, the cultural and geographical backdrop for this listening adventure conjures images of cold northern European terrain where ancient Norse, Celtic, druidic and medieval legends are reimagined and revived through creative musical interpretation. In fact, fans of David Arkenstone’s Celtic, medieval and fantasy inspired works like Music Inspired by Middle Earth are particularly apt to enjoy this album, with similarly evocative imagery of castles, dragons, elves, wizards and mist-filled landscapes imbuing these compositions.

A thoroughly captivating collection of music that’s especially suited for autumn twilights and winter nights, Beyond Skyrim: Three Kingdoms naturally serves as a perfect listening companion for avid readers especially of fantasy novels, who will easily find themselves lost for hours in whatever fascinating storyline they choose to embark on! ~Candice Michelle

Available at Amazon, Bandcamp and other online music retailers. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

PGM 283: Cosmic Visions 7

Another floating ambient-space mix inspired by contemplative stargazing!

Artist Name / Track Title / Album Title
Desensitized / Hemispherica Portalis (Portal of 1000 Years) / Hemispherica Portalis (Portal of 1000 Years)
Eguana / Circling Galaxies / Destiny, Vol. 2
Starterra / Time Portal / Celestial
Ancient Astronaut / Free Floating / Spheres of Love
Hollan Holmes / Malus / A Distant Light
Solarsoul / We Can’t See Borders from Outer Space (Original Mix) / Sunset Eclipse
Time Being / A Perfect Heart / An Ocean of Time
Sam Rosenthal & Projekt Artists / Under the Bright Cuernavaca Sky / Tim, Where Are You Now?
Jake Stephenson / Sunrise / Chill-Out Trance, Vol. 2