On Your Way Home
Various reviews (credited at end of review)
On Your Way Home is a Limited Edition of 150 copies, as a consequence there are few reviews, in fact this may be the only one.
From its atmospheric beginnings, the new CD by electronic music project Etherfysh, immediately creates the impression of its intention - a journey. The moment that the brooding fires of the deep bass synth and cosmic rumbling engine are lit with melody, to be followed by the sound of a train heading into the night, you know that this is going to be a trip to remember.
From "Departure", we head into "Rundfunk '78" via cyclical sequencer lines and swirling synth leads, the extra presence of full-sounding synth textures that provide an almost cloud-like wistfulness above the electronic wheels that carry you off into the distance, creating a panorama that is truly warm and spellbinding. The backdrop of interweaving synth melodies and spacey ambience is never obtrusive, but at the same time, neither is the sequencer rhythm combination too upfront - the balance is absolutely perfect and provides the impression and feel of some lost seventies piece but without sounding in any way dated.
The third track, "Salamina", continues the feel, only this time in an altogether different setting, like traveling past a scenic rain forest into an unending horizon of fields, inhabited by workers and machines. The shuffling electro-percussive rhythms, are topped with this bubbling sea of synth swirls and cosmic undercurrents as a flute-like lead melody and solid piano-like synth soar and shuffle respectively, the sounds changing shape as the track progresses by means of chord changes and melodic cascades, while the whole feel of the track is maintained at a gorgeous sounding chilled-out level, calm enough to soothe, interesting enough to keep your attention. It's the musician's attention to detail that makes the music work so well, keeping things simple and yet busy at the same time, a feat that really produces a result.
"Sunrise Over Salem" takes your journey onwards to the vast sprawl of the burning hot desert, the rhythm of the engine topped with a red hot but shimmering electric guitar lead that reflects the heat, as a cool-sounding lead synth weaves a simple melody on top. The guitar, an example of superbly arranged restraint, flies onwards as the slowly train-like rhythm continues, and an assortment of melodies are heard as things continue, once again, subtle but right there in front of you, as the guitar lead comes and goes. Further down the line, the presence of a barely discernible tabla-like rhythm on top of the leads and cosmic undercurrents, adds depth to the high-flying guitar and space synths that make their calm and purposeful way ever onwards, a quite breathtaking track on a spellbinding album.
"Journeys With Ama" opens with shimmering space synths, chanted female vocals in the background and a vast soundscape of cosmic bliss as a percussive undercurrent gradually makes its way to the surface and this wondrous mix of middle east and western makes its gorgeous presence felt, the combination of cosmic surrounds, slowly ascending melodic backdrops and delightfully understated rhythms, combined with the unobtrusive but absolutely essential sound of the wordless voice, make this a treat above treats. Slowly the voice dies, a slow moving synth lead appears almost from nowhere above the glissando-like sea of bliss that's circulating underneath and the feel is of a mix of Tim Blake, Steve Hillage and Banco De Gaia, all in one beautifully restrained moment in time, as, finally, a lead synth appears to provide a sense of direction to the vastness that surrounds.
"On Your Way Home" is pure, grand-sounding, symphonic cosmic space bliss, with this huge universe of warm-sounding string synths that stretch far into the heavens on a glorious space staircase of glittering undercurrents and magical spacey string synths, all gathered into this epic sounding slice of calm tranquility that exudes heart and soul from every pore, as touching and emotive as synth music gets, it's simply superb. With added extras along the way, again subtle but there, such as a brief appearance of sequencer undercurrents, the distant ring of a bell-like synth and swirling whirlpools of electronic gorgeousness, all make this something very magical indeed, and a track that reaches your heart every time you hear it.
Finally, "Hearth (The Seraphim)" ends the journey and if you thought the previous track was good, this is absolutely spellbinding. Similarly cosmic, only this time without the strings and the grandeur, this is breathtaking in its effect as a legion of space synths simply glide calmly and effortlessly across your brain and into your heart, before finally you emerge from the spell in a clatter of sequencers rhythms and upwardly flying space synth surrounds. Shortly a myriad melodies from electro-percussive to "traditional sounding" synths are overlaid on the rhythmic base and the track builds and builds but never becomes overburdened or overbearing, once again, its attention to detail, simplicity of arrangement and multi-layered splendors keeping it together and proving as spellbinding to the listener as everything that's preceded it.
In essence, this is an album that you have to listen to as an album - that you will WANT to listen to as an album - for it is its own entity, it is its own concept and every bit of it works a treat. As a CD of melodic, cosmic and rhythmic synth music goes, it's quite outstanding, there's not a less than riveting second on it and possibly one of the best synth releases you'll hear in 2008.
Andy Garibaldi (Dead Earnest)