Remember back when Adult Swim was still good and it showed those intermissions of monochromatic photographs to the scores of world electronic music? Do they still do that? Anyway, Energy Eternal is five songs full of that kind of music.The brainchild of this outfit, Eric "Modean" Mantras, produces, records, mixes and masters every single note you hear on the album so however you feel about it, this EP is quite personal, and there's enough going on in this striking, sometimes bizarre, form of music to lend emotional weight to a genre that doesn't carry it too well. Also, I'm just gonna throw this out there; Modean has played with members of the likes of Digable Planets and Bassnectar.Anyway, Energy Eternal fuses elements of baroque, the cool parts of dubstep, hip-hop, IDM, raga and samples of Middle Eastern and Arabic instruments and vocals are prevalent throughout its five-track run.
"Gonzo" opens up with some operatic string arrangements, cello in particular, that abruptly shifts to a thick wub-wubby dub sound and back again. "Cloud Buster" is where Modean kicks up his ethnic (tried to avoid using that word, but failed) influences in high gear. We're talking, if my ear got it right, qanuns, tanpuras and the like. Even if I'm wrong, the music transports you to exotic places in your imagination that call to mind the dubious nightlife of faraway arid countries. The final eponymous track is a jaw-dropping combination of break beats, violin swells and tribal chanting that conveys a last-day on earth sound that's still giving me chills as I type this. Most of the tracks make good use of drone while Modean works away at his eclectic collection of beats. The result is a complicated synthesis of old and new world sounds that takes a worldly musician to pull off properly, and Modean manages to do it.
Perhaps the biggest problem with this EP is that you can only hear the music, and Modean makes it clear in his profile that Illuminertia is an audio-visual experience. His live shows are often accompanied with rare film footage, animation and live dancers. So if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, do yourself a favor and catch him in the act. Besides that, I can see the music alienating people looking for a casual or safe listen. You will know before the first track's end whether or not you're going to enjoy this EP. I knew by the final track's end I found an artist who demands more recognition.
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