Numina - Shift to the Ghost
Title: Shift to the Ghost
Label: Hypnos Recordings
2007. Numina's third album on Hypnos Recordings is "Shift to the Ghost," a long-form continuous piece, which is a format that is actually fairly new for Numina, despite his many prior recorded releases. The album does include indexed track points for convenience in navigating through the CD, and each song is distinctly different in feel, but the songs evolve seamlessly into one another. The continuous, long-form ambient format works very well here, never droning on too much or dwelling too long in a certain sonic space.
Numina himself states that the album "is about the life and death of the physical self," hence the title. Whatever the concept, this album contains all the elements Numina fans enjoy, from deep and sombre ambient, to twinkling, swirling space music, constantly evolving. It's a long, fascinating visual journey, and it never grows tired. The latest work from ambient "rising star" Numina is possibly his best yet.
Track listing with MP3 samples:
1. Secret Souls mp3 clip
2. Through the Unseen Barrier mp3 clip
3. Spiral Reminders mp3 clip
4. Arrival to Nowhere mp3 clip
5. Light Travelling mp3 clip
6. Forever Falling mp3 clip
7. The Hostless Ghost mp3 clip
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Reviews"Top 25 Albums Of 2007"
--Scott Raymond, WVKR-FM "Secret Music" radio
"This release from 2006 features 70 minutes of eerie tuneage. Numina is Jesse Sola. Pensive tonalities rise to insinuate a portentous presence into a brooding darkness. It's a tenuous presence, however; one that exhibits little animation, watching with unseen eyes and subtly influencing its immediate environs. Sighing electronic textures undulate with luxurious determination. Ethereal waves seep across the firmament, occluding silence with a translucent demeanor. A liquid undercurrent aids this vaporous resonance. Buried in the atmospheric flow are hints of violins and drawn cellos, so deeply immersed that they could well be illusionary sounds. Also lurking in the mix are traces of more demonstrative electronics, but pulsations actually surface to calmly dominate the ambience and generate a savory tension. An eerie mien permeates these songs, but there's nothing ominous or threatening about these sonic ghosts. They are congenial spirits, conveying wisdom and introspection to the listener. Sola's predilection for seasoning his pure ambience with softly churning activity imbues this music with a seductive quality. The compositions maintain a resolute dedication to a borderland between minimalism and density, producing tuneage that glimmers with implications as it seethes with gossamer vitality. Harmonic passages are tinged with evocative substance."
--Reviewed by Matt Howarth, Sonic Curiosity, www.soniccuriosity.com
"a Great album. calmful and dark beauty, Highly Recommended!"
--Parallel Worlds, on the Hypnos Forum
"Interesting what a bit of non-musical research can do to maximize interpretivity of musical meaning and “explain” an artist’s sound. Basic etymological digging to illumine Numina as plural of the Latin numen meaning “divine majesty.” Further archaeology to reveal the “numinous,” coined by German theologian Rudolf Otto, as that which is “wholly other,” leading variously to belief in deities, the supernatural, the sacred, the holy, and the transcendent. Numina’s conceptual universe thus mapped, Hypnos’ blurb handily trails the title’s ambit as “the life and death of the physical self.” Quick switch in research strategy: the general info section on a musician’s MySpace page is an interesting gauge, especially where “influences” are concerned. Some opt for reticence, as if putting their music above possible connection with anyone else. Others, though, will quite happily reel off a long-as-your-arm list. Numina cites Steve Roach, vidnaObmana, Robert Rich, Lycia, Raison d'etre, Michael Brook, Delerium, Enigma, Dead Can Dance, The Unquiet Void, Cocteau Twins, The Orb, and This Mortal Coil. Revealing, as well as being refreshingly honest, it suggests Jesse Sola wouldn’t mind admitting that Numina bears imprints of the signature sounds of others. And indeed, were you to extrapolate from this list (factoring in beatlessness), you’d likely arrive at the sound of Shift to the Ghost. Essentially a long-form continuous piece, it bears seven track markers enabling perception of stages of navigation through the work and the distinct moods cycled through. Numina music is a blend of synthesized ambient and classic spacemusic, its drones river-deep rather than abyssal, at times somber and mournful (“Spiral Reminders”), even Goth-like (“Light Travelling”), at others majestic and seeking to surge towards the light (the finale “The Hostless Ghost”). The whole is imbued with a palpable caché of those earlier mentioned mystical metaphysical elements. The prevailing sonic dynamic of breathing, oozing, slow flow adumbrates a drift-zone familiar to ambient-space aficionados from mid-period vidnaObmana. Synthetic architectures, for example, have resonances of that artist’s ’90s Extreme (Echoing Delight) and Projekt (Crossing the Trail) releases. Magisterial opener “Secret Souls” also bears more than passing resemblance to Roach’s “Begin Where I End” (the final track on Artifacts). While Ghost is not sufficiently distinguished for that elevated company, and signals no great development from previous releases Eye of the Nautilus and Sanctuary of Dreams, it is decidely the most eloquent statement of Numina’s spiritual space manifesto yet."
--Alan Lockett, www.ei-mag.com
"Jesse Sola’s latest release under the Numina name brings us another class assortment of deep dark dreamy ambience. Dedicated to the concept of death and passage into the afterlife, the music swirls about, alternating between dark and light, though often the former. Throughout there is a sense of mystery. “Secret Souls” starts with a long slow fade, virtually imperceptible for the first minute or so. Dark pads ebb and flow as vaguely female choir sounds emanate from the mix here and there. Each track segues seamlessly into the next. Gurgling water sounds announce the arrival of track two, “Through the Unseen Barrier,” which has a brighter, shimmering timbre to it. Some gentle sequencing even makes a surprise albeit welcome appearance, probably my favorite on the disc. The cleverly titled “Spiral Reminders” aptly has a circular sound, with an interesting interplay between two primary tones, one higher and one lower. “Arrival to Nowhere” is another where the name matches the mood quite well, a formless floater. On the other hand, “Light Traveling” is perhaps the darkest sounding. It also has a highly pronounced panning effect from left to right throughout the entire piece. Two more lengthy sonic sojourns close out the ethereal journey."
© 2007 Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
"In crafting a sonic narrative of the journey from life to afterlife, Numina has created a listening experience that is utterly immersive, a set of pieces that pull you in so deeply that trying to find adequate words for them once you’ve surfaced is difficult. This is signature Numina, moving as slowly as sleeping breath, elegant layers laid thickly upon layers with a certain and graceful hand. Sound textures course across the skin and into the spirit, coaxing the listener with warmth, beauty and imagery. This is the sound of the soul departing, and the sense of the journey itself. Rhythms rise only where they’re needed, as in the dramatic push of “Through the Unseen Barrier.” Shift... is heavy with well-realized aural scenery and emotive tones that fully suit Numina’s intent. The slightly serrated drift of “Arrival to Nowhere” points up the disk’s embrace of dark awe, and “Light Travelling” celebrates the upward release from being with some intriguing sonic turbulence. Who knew crossing over felt this good? There’s a distinct sense of the sacred here in hushed hymnal tones and choral whispers. There is the pull of coerced introspection, and a pure, overarching beauty. There’s not a moment on this disk that isn’t eminently listenable, down to the final quiet exhalations of the gorgeous closer, “The Hostless Ghost.” And that’s why Shift to the Ghost is another Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD from Numina."
--Reviewed by John @ Hypnogogue