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Mantric Muse - Mantric Muse CD (album) cover


Mantric Muse


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.21 | 60 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars Instrumental space-rockers Mantric Muse have answered all our prayers to the alien gods! I'm sure we've all seen plenty of grumbles and complaints about how disappointing the last several Ozric Tentacles albums have been (for the record, they're not actually that bad!), and how `they don't make them like they used to'. Well, on the strength of this self-titled album, clearly they do, its just a different band that's offering us the goods now! Formed in Denmark in 1998, an initial early EP `Picks in Space' (see what they did there, people?!) employed a female vocalist, but 2004 eventually saw parts of the band morph into the Oresund Space Collective. Finally in 2012 we have a proper full-length self-titled release after many years hard work, and it's everything space-cadet listeners could wish for.

The compositions here are all taken originally from live jams, then worked on in the studio to achieve the best results. It pays off brilliantly, giving the pieces a tight and focused approach without missing out on the spontaneous and live energy that produced the music in the first place. The band incorporate world music elements, ethnic flavours, wig-out swirling synth soloing, pulsing bass grooves, loose and ragged electric guitar, and an assortment of live and programmed drum-work throughout seven varied pieces. It's a beautiful, flowing and thrilling fully intrumental experience. It would actually be cool to see the `all improvs, all the time' Oresund Space Collective try this method once in a while too.

While any Ozrics fan could safely pick up this album and be instantly comforted by what they find, there are many unique differences that make the Mantric Muse stand on their own. Instantly an aspect that appeals to me is a much more tasteful electric guitar sound, guitarist Magnus Hannibal never resorting to that somewhat dated 80's metal, shreddy Vai/Satriani sound that I've always had occasional problems with on the Ozrics albums. The synths here are also more subdued, happy to coast along without needing to quickly shoot off in all directions, and the band also perfect a better mix of programmed and live percussion, with more exciting drum patterns than anything heard on the last several Ozric Tentacles albums.

Most of the tracks are never in a hurry, they effortlessly unfold and help the listener float away. `Sindbad Sofareren' and `Azur' offer plenty of middle-eastern mysticism, the first with twisting hypnotic dervish guitars, purring bass, loungey-jazz vibes and early 70's Floyd mellowness, the latter with some ferocious snarling feedback-laden guitar mania and genie-bottle synth mischief. `Cinope' contrasts unease with uplifting moods. A dazzling mix of tempo-changes, tribal voices, racing moves back and forth between programmed dancey beats and commanding live drums. Reverb/delay-drenched guitars are charged with scorching fire one second, then atmospheric and emotional the next. The most gentle of synths are underwater ripples for a moment, groaning whirlpool chasms soon after, and always shimmering.

`Sfunx' gently unfolds over 10 minutes, blissful and laid-back synth clouds working up a trance-like state around frantic rapid-fire drum-work and nimble bass, with a beautiful come-down ending. The crystalline `Gnoxience' weaves droning synth loops around chittering effects that call to mind unknown alien worlds or the deepest of unexplored jungles. `Deep Sea Cheops' has a dirty slow bass groove over chiming delay-fueled spiralling electric guitar runs within ambient electronics.

Fans of the Ozrics, `You'-era Gong, Hidria Spacefolk and Quantam Fantay can add another band to that list of superb space-rockers. Mantric Muse have released a joyous cosmic trip, a truly sublime psychedelic instrumental work that perfectly balances vintage and modern influences, and listeners now have the perfect soundtrack for their next deep-space journey. Sheer space-rock perfection to my ears.

Five stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |


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