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Aionigma by Aionigma
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 4/1/2023
Some of the finest music



Written by

Steve Sheppard

Aionigma are an Austrian overtone music ensemble compromising of artists Bernhard Mikuskovics, Jodel, Fujara, Rav Vast, and Gerhard Kowarz. The instrumentation is far and wide and very different as well, but here within lies one of the most fascinating creations manifested by a band this year, as we begin our journey through the ages.

Our starting point is a well-known offering entitled Allelujah, this Gregorian chant styled piece shouldn’t be overlooked, as its complex plainchant is a skilful thing to achieve, but it has been done beautifully and contains melody, harmony, rhythm and form with such ease and style.

Following this track is a creation entitled Sungaze, a more gentle start you will not find. Here is a composition that has a delicious rhythm to its progression, with the inclusion of a veritable orchestra of light percussion and instrumentation, this piece gifts us a radiant offering to thoroughly enjoy.

Aionigma is also of great interest to me as I live on an island that is birthed from ancient Greek culture, the word itself is made of 2 Greek words, "Aion" and "Ainigma“ so together translated loosely means infinite secret, that energy is within this quite creative and artistic album, and tracks like Synode are a fine example of that, the translation reflects an assembly of sorts, and through the music one can perhaps feel that begin to build, through the tonal structures one can also sense a meeting or gathering beginning to occur, in what is a quite fascinating opus.

Der Lindenbaum truly encapsulated me, a piece filled with the energies of nature and growth, the light and rhythmic guitar along with the vocals manifested something truly peace filled and listenable, and reflected a folk styled ethic within the creation of its arrangement.

One of the things that truly rooted my attention was the ability of this album to take me on various twists and turns and many musical footpaths along its way, an example of that can be found of the almost dance styled offering of Taklimakan Blues, with eastern influences, and the inclusion of the Jews Harp, one could easily be moving in a caravan across a wide far reaching desert.

There are several unique creations on this album, one would be Draeo, and a Jews Harp leads in to a colourful array of vocal mastery, one which flows with great style and panache into the title track and band name itself on Aionigma. There was something so simply beautiful to listen to here, it encapsulates everything harmonic about Gregorian chants, and bathes the tones into an eternal ocean of timeless vibration and harmony, and this would indeed be one of my personal favourites from the album.

When I first heard this piece it was instantly recognisable, An die Freude was originally set to music by Ludwig van Beethoven using the 4th movement of his 9th Symphony, here on this piece guitar overtones and other assorted instrumentation, give us a harmonic convergence of utter beauty on Ode an die Freude that will long stay in our musical hearts.

The penultimate piece is entitled Wurzhorner, one of the main gains from this album is the research I have had to do during the creation of this review, and from that I can inform the listener that this long form opus of exactly 10 minutes is the longest track off the album. Wurzhorn, means a kind of alphorn, once well known in the Dachstein region, the classical Wurzhorner has a length of 10 bars, two and two bars joined together, shaping in the whole a simple ternary form, so now you know all of that, sit back and listen to some of the most addictive musical vibrations you may have heard on this almost meditative composition.

We can now conclude our journey with the final track off the album entitled Aiono, mostly translated as eternity, although this in ancient Greek would originally be known as life or life time, this is our final port of call on our musical journey with the band Aionigma, it is a wonderfully ambient ending and also a clever track to finish with, as, is it just the end, or, the end of the beginning!

Aionigma by Aionigma has to be one, if not the most original albums I have had to write about for a few years, the productions and performances that are contained within are some of the finest, and should appeal to listeners who had a fond passion for Gregorian chants and folk music across a general musical landscape, and for those intelligent musical seekers who are always searching for something to satisfy their melodious desires.
Rating: Excellent
Geodepedie: Hidden Light by Christina Tourin
- posted by Robin James on 3/29/2023
Geodepédie - Hidden Light
Imagine cracking open a geode and experiencing the crystalline beauty that can only be seen when you expose the outer layer and let the light shine into the center of the stone. This reminds us that when we share ourselves with others and spread our inner light, everything is brighter, opening a deeper understanding of the interconnected nature of reality. The word in the title "Geodepédie" is an inventive blending the word "Geode" with the suffix from Erik Satie's Gymnopedie. This music is based on the distinct sounds of the harp, sometimes accompanied by vocals, minimal percussion, and just a hint of synthesizers, mostly solo harp or in layers, powerful, soothing, sparkling, magically lyrical, eloquent, multi-faceted expressions, infused with a deep respect for the universe, a comforting soundtrack to life’s ups and downs.

"Land O' The Leal" (3:20) is a beautiful Scottish traditional tune, one that musical healers often carry within when playing harp in hospice settings. In this song, the man sings to his wife who is in the process of leaving this earth experience and he is saying to her, “It won’t be long before I see you again. You will be going to see our wee bairn who left us too early. Go, be with her and we will meet up soon.” Now picture beautiful colors dancing in the sky, painting unforgettable visions, "Icelandic Northern Lights" (6:57), glowing through the aurora borealis.

This journey of peace and wonder closes with an instrumental and layers of ethereal vocals, "Colors Of The Season" (2:56). In the boundless immensity of the sky, the sun reflects itself in the smooth waters of a lake, blending the colors of the galaxies, the colors of the crystals and gems; the colors of the seasons - winter, spring, summer and fall.

Healing with sound, working in hospitals and hospices, the labyrinth, composing, teaching, and writing books round out her full life, Christina Tourin is a Therapeutic Musician (TMus) and Music Therapist (MT) having studied under the tutelage of Barbara Crowe at Arizona State University. Her main focus is bringing together all those who use music, sound and the arts for enrichment and well-being.

01 Geodepedie Hidden Light
02 Music Is Love
03 Passacaglia - Handel's Healing Harp
04 Brigid's Green Mantle
05 Land O' The Leal
06 Early One Morning
07 Walk Through The Sunflowers
08 Reminisce
09 Sommarpsalm
10 Icelandic Northern Lights
11 Grieg's Morning Mood
12 Largo - Vivaldi's Vision
13 Arigatou, I For You
14 Amethyst Of Avalon
15 As Above So Below
16 Colors Of The Season
Rating: Excellent
Entering the Axis Mundi by Bart Hawkins
- posted by Robin B. James on 2/17/2023
Entering the Axis Mundi
Entering The Axis Mundi, by modular synthesizer composer and visionary artist Bart Hawkins, is inspired by the mystical source or center where all things exist at the same time. The "axis mundi" (also cosmic axis, world axis, world tree, world pillar, columna cerului) is a point described as the center of the world, the connection between earth and heaven, the gateway to Shambhala.

The first track is actually the end of a cycle, "A Joyous Return" (8:00), sparkling layers of tiny sounds swirling, an interlocking of the heavens with mountain peaks, with currents blending into a rich and colorful cloud. "To Ride A Pterodactyl" (10:20) is a real thrill. A Moog Theremin evokes this insane ride pulling up to 5gs, the listener can feel the throbbing as the beast runs, we ride and learn to hang on through all the surprises. For the track "An Owl's Dream Of Me" (7:44), Bart and the owl get along very well, the sound is playful and upbeat with a mystical framework. The sequencers guide the way. The album’s mood is easy and calm with constantly evolving patterns that emerge, laced with sound samples, a creaking door, seagulls, electronic laughing birds on top of caves or subterranean springs, which are probably openings to the underworld. Now consider the track "The Secret Of 33.3" (8:49), some numbers make patterns with infinity as the background, I hear shimmering patterns that revolve and open into unexpected territories, a symbolic and mathematical exploration of lots of activity in the higher frequency sounds, tinkling bells and ringing metal.

Entering the Axis Mundi is a musical place of connection between heavenly and the earthly realms, and you can enjoy this phenomenal cosmic experience in the comfort of your headphones with no worries of close encounters with huge ancient flying lizards, space travel, the dreams of owls, navigating the dark oceans over Atlantis, or calculating magic numbers. The feeling is of the connection between Heaven and Earth, this amazing album of electronic music provides access to the particular spot that one occupies standing at "the center of the world."

1 A Joyous Return 08:00
2 To Ride A Pterodactyl 10:20
3 Race To Cosmos Redshift 7 Galaxy 07:24
4 Parisa And Miriam 06:27
5 An Owl's Dream Of Me 07:44
6 Entering The Axis Mundi 07:13
7 River Boat To Atlantis 08:17
8 The Secret Of 33.3 08:49
9 Blessed Under Your Feet 08:09
Rating: Excellent
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