Sophomore albums tend to scare me. I'm always afraid that a band or artist will, at best, be able to match the level of the first release, but rarely do many of them surpass it. I'm happy to say that Amethystium's second album, Aphelion, has improved upon what was already working well on the first CD. For those of you unfamiliar with Amethystium (which is essentially Oystein Ramfjord), think of Enigma, Deep Forest, Delirium and the like.
To describe the music in another way, I'll quote the promotional material. "Amethystium pairs ancient sounds with futuristic grooves and blends them into a meditational and fresh escape from the everyday." I noted in my review of Odonata that I did not find Amethystium to be breaking new ground, per se. However, I do feel that these CDs are just as good as the one's put out by the big-name bands above.
"Shadow to Light" is a great way to kick off Aphelion. The beat starts mellow with ethereal keyboard sounds slowly fading in. It takes more than a minute and a half for the tune to ramp up. Multiple melodies are slowly intermixed. I'm not sure what is more haunting -- the intermittent flute or the short-lived chants around the mid-point and again closer to the end of this complex piece. It seems like every time I hear this track, I notice something I missed before.
"Autumn Interlude" has a light, almost airy quality to it. The piano dominates, backed by barely perceptible Gregorian chants. The flute makes another appearance. What caps this piece, however, are the beautiful vocals of Joyelle Brandt. Amethystium can mostly be considered an instrumental band, as most vocals/chanting are background in nature. This is one of the few tracks where the music supports the singer instead of the other way around. Unfortunately, she doesn't sing long enough, in my opinion!
"Elvensong" is aptly named. With the Lord of the Rings movies out, the race of elves is more on the mind than they otherwise would be. If the elves of Middle Earth were with us today, I would not be surprised to find them producing music such as this. With little imagination, it is easy to see how the dream-like quality of the music combines elements of magic and nature. Synave Flobak joins Oystein by playing cello on this track that definitely adds a sense of elven timelessness to the piece.
I enjoy ethereal electronica that fuses world music with keyboards. I think Amethystium supports this genre very well. I feel that both Odonata and Aphelion are excellent CDs. I don't think you could go wrong by purchasing either. But I would suggest you do yourself a favor. Save some time and get them both.
written by Wil Owen
published 12 July 2003
乐曲"Shadow to Light"是领略该专集的首选。随着键盘声的逐渐减弱，节奏逐渐明快起来。这种节奏持续了超过一分半钟的时间。紧接着其他多种音素便逐渐融合了进来。我不清楚到底是什么令人感到不同——时断时续的笛声和简短的咏叹在中段的徘徊，以及在结尾处的再次出现。我每次在听这首曲子的时候，都会感到在前一次聆听中遗忘了一些东西。
"Autumn Interlude"是一个亮点，甚至为整张专集注入了活力。钢琴的主旋律后是格里高利的圣咏穿插其间。而笛子的运用又突显了另一种不同。而提携整首曲子的却是Joyelle Brandt美妙的声音。Amethystium在很大程度上可以被认为是一个乐器乐队，而人声的部分只作为其烘托背景来使用。而这首曲子是以人声作为主要表现形式的绝少的乐曲之一。然而遗憾的是，在我看来，人声的演唱还是太短了。
我喜欢那种用键盘使电子音乐产生迷幻效果的风格。我认为Amethystium乐队将这种风格表现的淋漓尽致。专集Odonata和Aphelion同样是完美的杰作。如果你买其中任何一张都会是正确的选择。但我还是建议你，选择它们两个才是最正确的。 ——Wil Owen的随笔感言 2003年7月12日
1. Shadow to Light
2. Garden of Sakuntala
4. Ad Astra
5. Gates of Morpheus
6. Autumn Interlude