Through the gate we go
Khoomii throat singing and exotic strings and flutes take you to a place far removed from the stresses of your current latitude, longitude, and elevation. Soothe your mind and lull into the energy of musical gifts from ancient cultures for the modern time.
Your journey continues as the lazily rhythmic drum beats kick in. You sink ever deeper into the sonic folds of mystical chanting and peaceful string layers. Bells signal the approach of deep, earthy dub bass and infusions of synth effects into a nice cool marriage of acoustic harmony.
Like a lotus blossom, the audio atmosphere opens up into a middle-eastern hip shaker that makes you want to reach for your hookah and Turkish tea set. Prepare for a magic carpet ride through the sounds of times both long gone and yet to pass. Suns of Arqa charm you like a cobra moving your mind to their hypnotic beat.
Things start to get a tad bit surreal at the onset of this track. Waves both analogue and digital mix together like colliding cloud layers, and conspire to lift you up to their elevation. Groovy reggae beats tap out staccato rhythms, helping you keep a foot on the ground. The masterful musical progression here makes this musical trip a pleasant inevitability.
Off to Pluto
Here's musical originality at its finest with Professor Stanley Unwin providing the narrative genius, pure spaced out brilliance! The bansuri, narration, flutes and dub beats make for unlikely bedfellows, but it works. "Pluto" is one to remember, a conglomeration that'll make you snort and chuckle with giddy pleasure.
Before you realise what's just happened, you're immersed in a funhouse of tribal percussion beats, each one playing your neurones like just another instrument in this cornucopia of sound, with thick, gnarly bass conveying you into your future.
A brief sargasso of synthesized sound gives you a breather before the next waveform storm. Jamaican-styled beats and rhymes duo with sitars and song from the East, fused together by a gritty industrial bassline. Frequent change-ups keep the sounds fresh and the energy pulsating.
Soupy bass and richly filtered, SUNS OF ARQA’s live sound ticks along like a clock while tampura drones and raga vocals melt away its temporal integrity. Each layer of sound seems purely handmade and comfortably organic, indeed, to label it as "electronic" does these sounds an injustice.
The woodwind section of this eclectic ensemble joins in to give the audience a moment of reflection as these acoustic rivers bend, taking you to another plane of sound. Relax a moment, close your eyes, and appreciate the cool waters of the flutes, reedy drones and methodical, hypnotic drumming.
Rosin + Reed
Sample for a moment a bit of gypsy violin... Before long we're greeted by a folksy house beat enriched by plucks and clucks of handmade woodblocks, as our flautist paints a pretty sonic skyscape. Windy oscillations across the panorama juggle your mind about for a moment before the return of sweet Celtic melodies.
Through The Gate We Go (Bhairavi Alap intro)
A minute's respite to the tune of a string soloist draws the fore curtain for a nighttime outdoor groover. Eerie fae whisperings and Arabian violin form the meat of the melody while a troupe of skilled percussionists lay down an energy collecting framework sewn together by knee-grinding bass lines. This twelve minute voyage has a lot to offer... subtle breakbeat changeups launch what was a chillout space into sexy puddles of hip-grinding mayhem, making this one an energy builder obviously made by true professionals.
This downtempo tea party continues with blends of flutes and strings set to a poppy, minimalistic bassbeat fit for induction of visions from behind closed eyelids. Listen and drift along through the waters of seemingly effortlessly calm improvisation masterfully arranged by SUNS OF ARQA.
Tomorrow Never Knows
Yes it’s the Beatles classic from the Revolver LP! Brit-rock mixes with sounds from the subcontinent and warbled digital pads to reproduce the revolutionary moods of psychedelia and love rooted in our recent past. ‘ARQA gives this seed of retroism their signature futuristic twist and adds enough organic material to make you feel like you're hearing it live.
Diaphanous quavering of antediluvian arpeggios drift through ethereal layers of iaminate stringed instruments. Feelings of hot tea sipped in a sunrise shadowed by the minarets of the Hagia Sophia coalesce in your imagination, while harmony holds your ears in rapture and soothes your stress-ridden brainwaves into calm relaxation.
Leisurely composed flute nestles amongst subtle synth pads and sweeps. Cool electric piano chords add touches of atmospheric blues every few moments. The skill and artistry is free flowing in this as in other tracks on the SUNS' latest album odyssey. Cowbellish percussive elements contribute to a sound that makes you forget your current environs.
Palatial pagodic tonalities flitter delicately through the background during a cozy drum beat and slightly filtered, alleviating flutes. Old timey stand-up bass plucks away a happy foundation for this eleven minute piece of laid back, mood lightening music. Chilled out to the max, this one's end will leave you reluctant to leave your seat.
"Whirling" makes quite a few changeups from the musically drawn out moods before it.This one is all about pitch-bent, cascading synth riffs running the spectral range and scaled to an attenuated, uptempo beat. Energies rise as more musical layers join the circle, including a pillowy dance kick, jazzy flutes, and retro digital effects that are easy yet interesting upon the ears.
Bha Ravi (Bharavi Dub intro)
Straight to the humid tropics of the subcontinent we go, to bear witness to eerily exotic soloings inducing seldom felt mood changes. Simplistically complex percussion fits right in, making the cluttering of ambiguously every day noises seem so much more surreal. The fusion of seemingly opposite ends of the musical gamut prop open cranial doors to remind you that your hookah has been bugging you for a repack. Drums of barely recognizable origin tilt the musical panorama for a greater perspective of this otherworldly audio tour.
Cosmic Jugalbandi remixes (He Did Not Die intro)
SUNS OF ARQA presents us on this double CD four different iterations of their esteemed Cosmic Jugalbandi session, with an acquaintive intro appropriate for all takes. Each one is a different slice of sublime divinity and oneness made from the same cosmic batter of sonic elements, arranged and performed to be experienced as one journey through a quartet of digital and acoustic outlooks.
Kalavati Alap (Fomorian intro)
The SUNS OF ARQA wind down this impressive dual-disc compilation of some of the finest musical expressions, interpretations, and improvisations ever heard in a genre that the group itself began forging three decades ago. A triplet of stringed and blown instrumentals return you gently like a giant invisible motherly hand into your noggin, leaving you relaxed, loose, and refreshed, and reflective upon the whole auditory actuality.
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