Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Album Review: Portals by Ben Blackett

One of the best musical discoveries this year hails from recording artist Ben Blackett with his magnificent album Portals. Comprised of 9 compositions spanning approximately 42 minutes, Portals takes the listener on an epic chill-out escapade that seemingly transgresses the boundaries of natural, supernatural and technological realms. Brightly euphoric yet blissfully serene, Portals is atmospherically resplendent and radiant. Processed piano and electric guitar melodies are woven among translucent electronic textures, quasi-gothic choirs, ethereal vocal washes and semi-muffled grooves, which collectively create an overall dreamlike haze. Imparting sights, sounds and sensations of the elements, electricity and energy, the compositions on Portals variably evoke mesmerizing images of the sun, the stars, the rain and the sea.

Highlights include “Last Rays of the Sun” wherein majestically soaring guitar and ascending choral figures are interspersed with exotic vocal touches. Conveying a magical and mythical quality, the piece brings-to-mind that of riding on a Pegasus across a sunlit sky. My absolute favorite is “Quiet Stillness” with its sun-kissed atmosphere and ecstatic mood. Here, swirling tonal layers and encompassing muted rhythms impart feelings of being caressed by warm ocean waves and glistening soft sand, resulting in a gorgeously lush, sensual soundscape. Likewise noteworthy is “Essence” with its chill-trance rhythm underscoring psychedelic patterns of color and light, as well as “Deep Currents” with its ecstatic wordless vocals weaving in-and-out of a colorful waterscape.

A breathtakingly beautiful sonic adventure, the experience of listening to Portals is one that evokes liberating sensations of flying and floating. An absolute must-have album for fans of melodic ambient and chill-out electronica, Portals is sure to evoke feelings of peace, positivity, creativity and freedom! ~Candice Michelle

Available at Amazon, Bandcamp & iTunes.