I close my eyes for a second, and when I reopen them I am standing at the mouth of a massive cave. A quiet breeze blows around the cave, gently swaying the long grass that covers miles of fields as far as the eye can see.
A moment later, I enter. The mouth opens up into a giant cavern, which is filled with echoes of an otherworldly and ethereal sound. The surroundings are dark, but serene. Traveling through the cave fills me with a sense of wonder, and conflicting aires of mystery and comforting familiarity compete for control of my state of mind.
A bell rings faintly in the distance. Searching for the source, I walk deeper and deeper into the recesses of the cave. Yearning to discover its source, I begin to run. The ground begins to slope downward, speeding my pace and causing the run to bring me no fatigue. Suddenly, the ground become a vertical wall and I begin to fall. Still, I do not become alarmed; I don’t even try to make sense of the situation. No, no – the adventures first; explanations take such a dreadful time… I fall into the blackness.
No, I’m not doing copious amounts of LSD. It’s music!
This week’s review comes from a fellow member of the Overclocked Remix forums who calls his project 12 Followers/Meteo Xavier. Why his project has two names, I don’t know – but his latest album, Espers, is good enough to make any questions I have disappear.
Espers is an ambient album that needs to be listened to with a good pair of headphones. Utilizing layer upon layer of varying instruments and samples, 12F/MX creates an immersive soundscape that makes you feel as if you’re in a different world. This is why I started out the review so oddly; I was trying to write out the images I pictured when listening to the first couple of songs.
Each song on the album is very different from the last, though they are all very layered and all have a very ethereal quality to them. The opener, “Tritochiark – Vestigial Dreamcatcher for the Heavenly Integer” (all the songs are named like this) starts with a very ominous, huge-sounding soundwave that, to me, created images of the opening of a huge cave. The song transitions after about a minute, becoming a something still ethereal, but much more intimate – an icy entrance to a cave, you might imagine.
Although Espers is only eight tracks in total, it contains a solid 60 minutes of music. Also, each track runs right into the next, so you can actually think of it as a single, long piece of music. It’s something you should enjoy the entire time, save for one possible exception…
The album’s middle section becomes a lot more repetitive than the beginning, which isn’t really a problem as long as the soundscape is good. This is definitely the case, except on the fourth track, “Saelmeth – The Rusted Voice of a Forgotten Godwraith”. I can tell the artist was going for an ominous, intimidating feel here, but to me the track is kind of annoying and entirely too repetitive. It’s one I usually skip. However, it still exudes the same quality as the other tracks, so you might like it; it’s just not my taste.
An album can’t be judged on the merits of just one song, though, and the rest of Espers is simply fantastic. In particular, the last track, “Sagetellah – The One Who Waits for the Life to Come” is extremely enjoyable and demands repeated listens. Breaking away from the ethereal, ambient soundscapes of the previous seven tracks, this album closer features nothing but a solo piano. It’s ten minutes of piano that ranges from calming to epic, simple and serene to virtuosic and grand, which could symbolize the end of the journey that the album’s imagery can create. I’m certain you’ll love this track, even if nothing else on the album appeals to you.
All in all, Espers is an extremely well-produced and enjoyable album, especially since it’s an independent project made by one person (I believe). I’ve included a few tracks for you to preview, including the amazing closer. If you like this, be sure and support the artist by downloading the album for just $6 on CD Baby (it’s actually more expensive at Amazon). You can also help 12F/MX gain a bigger audience by liking him on Facebook! Check the Hipsterometer below to see how much hipster bragging power you’ll get if you do.
If you’ve got a recommendation for a study album or energetic album, let us know in the comments!