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Mythos – Surround Sound Evolution

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Mythos – Surround Sound EvolutionSurround Sound Evolution finds Mythos making music the size of planetariums, and this is an album filled with massive synths that take you on a tour of the universe.

Following on from 2008’s Surround Sound Offensive, opening track “Surround Sound Passion” builds its layers of synths into a strong melody as electronic glitches add percussion beneath. The track feels like the opening titles of a sci-fi movie and hints well at what is to come. “Roots and Rocks” is the sound of travelling over a vast plateau on the moon. Its tune, vibrating off the rocks around, giving the forward momentum of moving amongst this vast landscape. “Mythosiaka” bubbles with energy, but yet again Stephan Kaske concentrates on melody over everything else. The track sweeps along with the sound of synthesizers harking back to the feel of ’70s artists such as Tangerine Dream in the way it creates new worlds. “Heart of the Action”‘s pads grow as if someone was building a colony on a distant world. The synths have a futuristic, almost robotic feel at times, but still lean towards the romantic.

“Tinba Jttai” is a big, deep space sounding track: with its crashing bass notes and lilting arpeggio it gives you time to drift within its atmosphere, and again this would sound great as part of a soundtrack. Halfway through we hit a section that almost sound Kraftwerk like but played with far more emotion before we drift back to the sound of its opening movement. “Perpetuum Mythos” starts with a melodic sequencer pattern and Moog Taurus-sounding bass as whistling lead notes take over the tune. This is Klaus Schulze meets Vangelis in some type of alternate universe. “Filter Sequence Wah Flute” is a trip through the rings of Saturn. Its sequences build slowly and here we hit a more Berlin School sound (for me this is marvellous). Rhythms play off against each other as your craft heads towards the giant sphere, then when the flute slides in you are taken to a different dimension altogether – magical.

Cold synth waves introduce “Free Panda (part 2)” and the piece has a strange oriental feel to it, not quite as overt as Vangelis’ China album or Japan’s Tin Drum, but it gives off a similar vibe. “Mythos Space” is a giant slab of cosmic synth space rock with its tune jittering around amongst a strong bass riff. This changes to a harder second section where synth noises play sprightly notes over each other, including one that sound like a Moog. Sequencers hit in and the tone of the piece shifts to something more otherworldly.

Two bonus tracks are added to the album. The first is “Das Zeitgeheimnis (part 8)” that has a near disco stomp under its catchy lead line. This reminds me of artists like Zombi of even Giorgio Moroder at times, as the track feels as if it’s running away with itself as its sequencers take over. The final track is a live one called “Fukushima Sea” that opens with whale noises over bell-like synth sounds and throbbing bass. The choir add a sense of sadness to the track and its vocoded voice sounds mournful. The whole thing resembles a ship bobbing around the waves; but this one is on a hunt for the largest and most endangered mammal in the world. This is a soundtrack to what sounds like a tragic event.

If, like myself, you are a big fan of synthesizer music that travels to different realms, then Stephan Kaske’s album is certainly for you. It does feel at times as if the music could be played at planetariums, which for me is wonderful. It’s the kind of music they should bring back the Laserium for. It would have been nice to see a list of instruments played in the booklet, but that’s a small quibble and only because I’m a synth nerd, as the whole packaging is very well done. The album conjures some fantastic musical landscapes. Now I must try and get myself the reissue of  Quasar

-Gary Parsons-

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