« on: March 31, 2008, 12:21:23 PM »
Hope no one minds if I toss my freshly finished review in here....
The new Hypnos compilation Sounds Of a Universe Overheard is another of those disks that are hard to review cogently because it’s another of those disks where somewhere in the middle you suddenly realize just how far you’ve drifted along the soundcurrent without realizing it. And then, noting same, you try to be more mindful but within a short while you’re floating again, quite pleasantly so, and you wonder how you’re ever going to comment on something you can’t entirely recall, other than to say it was so lulling and lush that you can’t entirely recall listening to it. Hypnos head M. Griffin has done an amazing job not only of culling together from disparate sources a soft and dark blend of slow-moving ambient, but of seamlessly melding them one track to the next. There are no bumps here, no abrupt switches in styles. Griffin opens the disk with the geometic precision of Jonathan Block’s “The Language of Rocks” before fully immersing us in the flow. The listener is carried through the shadow-cave depths of M. Peck’s “Somna” and “Nitrous” by Freq.Magnet, the latter coming dangerously close to inducing a hypnotic state, and on through the descriptive aural text of Kirk Watson’s “Scarecrow” as it glides from its creepy beginning to a more soothing sense. From there, dreamSTATE launches into the spacey drone textures and sighing distances of “Ghost Nebula,” depositing the listener in the nervy, penumbral landscape of Seren Ffordd’s “Strange Attractor,” perhaps the darkest and sparsest track on the disk. The dark continues through Dwight Ashley’s “Behold the Trampled Wheat,” painted as always in the artist’s beautifully murky palette. This track takes the listener briefly out of the drone zone toward the end with some gracefully orchestrated string sounds. Justin Vanderberg dials it all back down with the smooth, drawn-out washes of “Infection.” Glimmers of light peek through the well-drawn shadows across the span of Igneous Flame’s gracefully soaring “Pandora” and Tau Ceti brings the disk to a gentle close with the soft fluidity of “Float.” Universe is dense, rich, and heavily layered with sonic imagery. I cannot call out a highlight here, despite the inclusion of several artists I rank as my personal favorites, because the disk simply has to be taken as a whole—a whole and wholly engaging voyage through a universe which does, indeed, deserve to overheard. Often. Sounds of a Universe Overheard is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.