Obscura by Phosphene Acres is the type of album that requires attention and higher end speakers or headphones to appreciate to its fullest. The album offers soundscapes that can be beautiful, alien, hypnotic and more. Artists as far ranging as Stars of the Lid, Keith Fullerton, Whitman, Fuck Buttons and Jon Hopkins come to mind.
The album starts with one of the more beautiful tracks entitled “Flying Silhouettes.” It’s warm and imparts a sense of stillness and peace as the track progresses. That being said you also feel like you might be traveling through an intergalactic wormhole.
“Shepards” swirls and has a sense you are gaining power. There is kinetic energy that builds as it progresses. There is a tipping point where the song dissipates. ”Brownies” felt very meditative. The elements are clouds of reverb and notes that sometimes go backwards then forward and disappear.
“Vox Somnia” feels earthly based in comparison. The song contains a beat and is playful at times with barely audible vocals elements that you may miss if you aren’t paying attention.
“Tired Eyes” could be considered the centerpiece. The song is the most hypnotic as the synth bass line continues to arpeggiate and create a sense of psychedelia. Additional elements such as a guitar are layered in the mix as the song becomes more and more trance like. “Space Age” has a similar feel to “Tired Eyes” in that there is one synth bass that gains your attention while other elements float around it. Field recordings of a space mission are utilized on this track.
The last song “Aztecs” might be the most epic. There is a lot going on simultaneously on this track. My attention was trying to figure out where to go in a way I really enjoyed.
Don’t rush this album. Spend some time with it. I encourage you to wear headphones if you don’t have really good speakers.
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