« on: November 05, 2008, 01:53:28 AM »
Haven't seen many (any?) comments on this CD so thought I'd dive right in with my review. This one's turning out to be the perfect soundtrack to the fall/winter season, full of melancholy floating watery soundscapes. The beautiful cover art on this release really fits the music contained within. Unfortunately, the disc opens with an awful track that annoys rather than soothes, "Nufon" by Margaret Noble. Didn't quite see how this one fit. Luckily it is only 3 minutes! Onto track 2, "Hibernia" by Stellaria Fenica. Now I never would have guessed I'd hear something like this on a Hypnos album, but it's great stuff. File under "goth ambient." If you're familiar with the Swedish goth band Arcana, who are one of the few (IMO) artists to do the Dead Can Dance style with class and originality, this will be right up your alley. Martial drumbeats, melodic piano, Lisa Gerrard-like vocals, and tons of reverb. This would have been a much better opening track. Track 3, "Slew Wave," by Kristin Miltner. Wow, what a great track. Think female Saul Stokes, I kid you not! Drifty experimental ambient w/heavenly processed female vocals. 13 minutes very well spent. Track 4, "Floating Tones" by Clarissa Borba. Keeps the "water"' imagery going with what sound like a xylophone and bells. For some reason I think of Harold Budd on this one, perhaps in that it's quite "musical" and a bit avant-garde. Very nicely done. Next up is the Sara Ayers track "There Was No More Time." She's one of the few artists I'd heard of before on this collection. Some great (female of course)choral voices reminiscent of Eno's "Music for Airports" augmented with beautiful electronic drones. Definitely one of my favorites on this disc. "An Unheard Message" by Rose Bolton--we're back in Harold Budd-land with Budd-like piano chords and tinkly flourishes of notes, cello, bells, some Alio Die-infused organic scrapes, and nice effects processing. Again, quite "musical" like the Borba piece, and again very aquatic sounding. Next up is Gydja, who I'd heard before with her excellent Mystery Sea release a couple years back. Nice electronic based soundscape with watery effects, some samples of a female scientist(?) speaking about cosmic rays. Another very cool track. "Kanam" by The Floating World (aka Amanda Votta) is a dark ambient stunner done in collaboration with Gustaf Hildebrand (Cyclic Law label). This is some very deep cosmic/organic ambient, Oophoi fans take note. An amazing track. "Of the Ancients" by K. Cornelius fuses reverb-drenched bells, and echoing electronic effects, reminded me very much of Rapoon/Zoviet France (two very good reference points!) Another fantastic piece. Finally, we have Lena's "She Forgot, She Dreamed," heavily processed viola piece with a very big Alio Die feel to it. A great way to close this very psychoactive and meditational album. This disc is really successful in keeping a theme going (for me, that was water) and moving seamlessly from one track to the next, even though some of the pieces are quite different stylistically. I am counting "Echoes of Polyhymnia" among my top five of 2008. Great job, Lena!!!