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Sonolumina – Solar Logos

Symbolic Insight

This is a debut album by Colorado duo Sonolumina. The album mixes ambient music with world music and trance. Between the duo they play a mixture of traditional instrumentation such as flutes, violins and trumpets as well as Indian tablas. The whole comes together in a heady cocktail of Middle Eastern and Indian musics with one eye firmly fixed on the dance chill out scene as well.

“Fire” features drones and electronic percussion that sound like the beginning of a journey into foreign lands. “Sona” is bass-heavy and introduces ethnic percussion and distant wordless vocals as if crying from a rain forest at night. Acoustic guitars and traditional strings introduce “Hado” and we are immersed into the Arabian night for a track that could pass as a deep dwelling interlude for some barbarian film’s exotic locale.

Field recordings of distant prayers call in “Fatima”and percussion jangles to create atmosphere – here I’m reminded of Eno and Byrne’s My Life In the Bush of Ghosts, as stringed instruments pluck atonally over a deep bass throb. “Sengali” carries on the themes of exotic drones similar in feel to some of Suns of Arqa’s recordings. Synth pads and tablas are reminiscent of John Hassel’s Possible Musics album, the only difference being that the electronic percussion is harder and relies on Eat Static-style blips. “Moodi” is a twelve minute magnum opus, beginning with Residents-sounding piano chords and bass synth rumbles; the vocals lift this away from almost becoming a form of industrial music similar to that of SPK’s later work. Bowed instruments pick up the theme and give an unnerving feel of being lost in a strange land. “Tabla Ji” closes the album with some rather beautiful rhythms that give off a feel of a temple at dawn as drones build underneath to slowly greet the sunrise.

The album has an interesting mixture of beats, drones and ideas. I found the field recording elements really enhanced some of the tracks on the album. It would be of particular interest to those who are into ISHQ, Dead Can Dance, Transglobal Underground and late 70’s Eno for its travelogue style and sense of the mystic within its cuts.

-Gary Parsons-

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