Mirage Of Deep – Northern Lights: New Album Review by Darren Pearson
Greetings from London M2D member & reader,
Something different here for us here, thoughts most welcomed.
One of the perks of being privileged to have a strong network of talent & creative people in my beloved world of Music, is that I’m fortunate to occasionally get insights to new releases/draft tracks per invites from artists/labels & DJ’s. This could be ahead of a formal label release-date (in this case released via the excellent Lemongrassmusic label in Germany) and sometimes, it’s simply from one creative music-soul to another for an informal ‘whaddaya think so far?’ view on their current work-in-progress.
This scenario & background is what led to the production of the following review. Nacho Ferrer (or the excellent soundscape-painter & artist known as ‘Mirage of Deep’) reached out to me a few months back for such a view as we have spoken about music on many occasions.
For myself, any such writing is pure-pleasure as a combination of words and music is one of my personal life-loves so Sara had the idea to also share this review via the M2D blog. We both felt that it could be interesting for our music-lover readers to gain some insights into this reviewers ‘process’ for producing such work and of course, as an introduction to the review itself so, here I go, please read-on;
Typically, I’m an early riser for various reasons so I get into my creative-writing at that time of the day when the house ‘sleeps’ and I can work undisturbed with headphones on.
To kick-off, I can tell you that I do not in any way plan what I’m going to write, I simply freestyle at the key-board, write up-notes and then combine all into (what is I hope) is a pleasant & engaging narrative for music-lovers like myself who are just well, hmmm, shall we say ‘deeply into many facets of music & appreciation both as an art-form & life-pleasure’. That’s the best high-level view I feel but says it all & will be recognisable by many.., of that I’m sure dear reader & fellow Musik-Hed. J.
Typically, my notes are abstract, one or two words, the occasional rough paragraph so would likely mean absolutely nothing to anyone except myself but hey, it works for this guy. I always seek to capture a range of input in a review so that covers the following areas of interest but I don’t limit myself, whatever comes to mind as (big-point here) it’s gotta come from the heart to resonate;
- For mix’s; a good selection of tracks (the back-bone.., crucial in a good mix & overall ‘journey’ for me)
- Are there any ‘jarring-moments’ in a mix. This is when I feel that a track detracts from the overall ‘journey of the mix’ hence the above first & major-point for me.
- How the music was ‘delivered’ to my ears, how it made me feel so, the emotions evoked if you will.
- Does the mix carry me and take me on a journey in music?
- Are any life & music memories evoked by ‘the sound’?
- What was the emotional-impact on me? (But not overdone I hope dear reader! J ) It’s just all from the heart & I strongly-feel the need to flex my creative-writing a lot more at this point in my life (something I’m very happy about btw.
- What were the stand-out points in the track or mix? e.g. a special-moment via the use of a specific-instrument.
So as you can see, I simply listen with a pen & notebook at hand, music playing and freestyle scribe all these thoughts, then pull them together in a review via 2/3 drafts until it’s honed etc.
I hope you enjoy the review and I highly-recommend that the review is read whilst listing to the individual tracks to give it the fine-detail context that many music-lovers will understand, i.e. maximise the experience…
Please enjoy and any feedback most welcomed dear reader!
Co-founder/Operations Director (and Musik Hed ;)
Arima Lounge Events & Mgmt.
Listen to the album: https://soundcloud.com/mirage-of-deep
1 – Northern Lights – The opening…Mirage of Deep (MOD) has a real-talent for painting a soundscape straight from the start, a fine example right here. Nacho’s love of music vs. the human-soul was clear to me some time ago per our online chats & track-shares in music & social-media world. I’m a big flute-lover so this track is right up my street, superb blowing from Ramon Reviara. The Asian influence is plain to hear in this track & is something that I put to Nacho recently i.e. you have an uncanny ability to recreate such sounds & so much so, that I had initially thought that MOD were an Asian outfit when I first heard tracks. That is an admitted generalization but I think it demonstrates very well, just how much talent MOD has in this space. The beats coupled with the use of my beloved flute make this very much a thinking (or Zen as I say) track for these ears. The female-vocal/chant is the perfect accompaniment for the soundscape that MOD has created here, a majestic piece of work in its scope & breadth.
2 – Totality feat. David Phillips & Alvin Mutlu – …I’m back in Calcutta immediately with this…and purely because of this opening-sequence…thanking you Nacho. The words and narrative are areas that Nacho does well plus, (and highly-relevant), we have chatted on-line about our emotional (as well as physical, yes its true) reactions at times to music. We’ve spoken in a way that confirmed to me that there are many, many such music-lovers whom also have a deep affection & love of, ‘the sound’. The flute here is wonderful and the echo only adds to the aural-vision painted. This whole piece is just mystical in its ambition and breadth to me. A wonderful female vocal that fits perfectly & upon first hearing, this track could have been made by a musician of Asia descent to my ears & this is again something I have mentioned to Nacho. Suffice to say, I wasn’t surprised when he advised that told me that this was in-fact, a common piece of feedback/compliment. This is also why we feel that music is the only one true global language as it transcends all cultures, colours & creeds, the wonder of the sound and Nacho Ferrer has such very good aural ‘vision’. The wavering of the flute @ 5.15…I think even Nacho would agree with me that this track arguably may not have mass-appeal but that does not take any kudos away whatsoever from this piece. It feels most appropriate for this track to be in the company of the other tracks on this album. What an experience on the ears Nacho…wonderful….gracias amigo.
3 – Road of Life (Frontiers of Asia) – Love, love the opening sequence, this is one of those tracks that grabs the ears straight away & makes me curious for what‘s coming next. The use of the flute is sublime & blends so very well with the aural-soundscape ‘painted’ by MOD. Big kudos to the contribution from Jaume Pla Fraj playing the Bansuri here, excellent work. I find this a singular track and by that I mean, it reminds me of nothing I have heard before.., is unique & so stands out to this music-lover because of those attributes. The arrangement is excellent, the atmosphere superb and a bonus is that this is a track that I love to work to as it both soothes and inspires in a Zen-fashion & so aids my process, Zennnnnn..;). Oh & when the strings first commence & then fade into the main wall of sound…delicious, soul-soothing music here. Love the ending too, very well done Nacho.
4 – Hero’s (featuring Candela Ghelfi) – A great reworking of a classic Bowie track. I think this absolutely does justice to the original as well as enhance & showcase the song in a whole new-light. I love such reworking’s of classics so was pleasantly surprised to hear such a track from MOD as it was most unexpected but show’s good range & is a good idea. Saying this as this piece really adds a whole new dimension to this classic per the tempo, female-vocal & excellent guitar work. Although it’s a reworking, make no mistake, this is a very distinctive piece of work in its own right so should any first-time listener not familiar with the original (do such people exist!) then this is arguably the greatest homage that one artist can pay to another’s work. Short but very, VERY sweet, well done Nacho/MOD and Candela Ghelfi and a fantastic contribution from Victor Espluges on guitar.
5 – Restless Soul – The opening guitar oh…hypnotic & melodic, wonderful slow-build, a wonderful instrumental piece. The guitar work here is excellent & sounds so very well both against and with the soundscape painted by Nacho/MOD. I’m a big believer in a piece without a vocal being just as credible and powerful as one with, always have, always will. This piece makes that point very well in my humble view & I must confess I do love this track.
6 – Melodies of beyond (feat. Josephine Sweet – Sax! What a unique opening. This is a piece of music that ebbs & flows on the mind & soul. The use of synths and vocal is a perfect combination on this track, all elements work very, very well together. Very much enjoyed the change & complete stoppage of sound @4.30 and the bleed back-in of all, sax playing and then, the vocal drops…superb creativity to my ears & also slightly reminiscent of some Moby tracks at that very point but no poor imitations here. Love such creativity, not many can do this as well as Nacho/MOD has done here, well done. The ending is so crisp & clean too, I had such a wonderful early morning audio experience when I first listened to this at 5am in London with the birds singing their morning-chorus a while back. My ears love this track & they are singing MOD’s praises loud, great piece, a truly great piece of work from Nacho & Josephine Sweett.
7 – Divine Devotion (Interlude) – The opening sequence…oh my… I’m in another dimension with this & love the use of violin & double-bass. The combination of strings, synths and tone to create the soundscape here is just fantastic to me, “layering sounds on top of each other”* was never truer (*Little Fluffy Clouds – The Orb) This is an amazing piece of sound in my humble view, very well done MOD, well done!
8 – Vimana – This track just ‘grabs’ the ear straightaway if you’re a Lounger like myself. Any ‘pure-love-of-music in many forms’ Musik-Hed Readers will know exactly what I mean by this. I work whilst listening to such tracks all the time so this goes straight into my Zennnnnn-collection. Excellent use of the trumpet and, the Zita & Tempura combination is….superb Nacho. I hear waves crashing per the effect, there are so many subtle-sounds and element in-play here & all so very well blended. This is a fine example of a non-vocal track that stands in its own right. i.e. any track, any genre does need a vocal to be superb, many music-lovers know this already thought of course but that point is I guess more for reader’s from other viewpoints than a simple & pure love of music., we are a culture within a culture I’ve found so must call it as I see & feel it at this point. A great & crucially for me, soul-moving track…a new immediate favourite in my collection from Mirage of Deep. Even more so with the use of Xylophone (RIP Gill Scott-Heron & Roy Ayers) In addition, I very much enjoyed the wind-down as much as the initial build in this track, a superb dismantling of the orchestra of sound that was just built plus, only then are there words, a just right female utterance with echo…ethereal..Mystical…all the above, nice.
9 – Hechizo de Luna – Always such interesting opening sequences with MOD’s work, Nacho’s work is wonderful to this Musik-Hed’s receivers & can instantly send’s me off to places & spaces in my minds-eye..so much of any such thinking is fuelled by MOD’s work, regular plays here etc.
10 – Petals of Tears – Another mystical opening…and the use of violin, string & piano is a very good combination here.
11 – I hear Dreams – The best opening for such a track that I have heard in a long-time, immediately moved & transported to places & spaces, Zen music for my mind and soul, THAT is what Nacho Ferrer does to me and for me. During chats with Nacho & despite any language barriers, with the tech around now, we speak well & always understand one another, always.
12 – Divine Interlude – Double bass wonderful and deep, always loved such string-work. The combination of violin and double-bass is wonderful instantly drags on your soul, this is how I felt listening to this Nacho/MOD.
13 – Cloudless Sky (Remix) – Again, love the opening-sequence, I can only use the same descriptive-terms used in track 11. I had ‘Blade-Runner’ moment listening to this; it’s majestic in its ambition, wonderful.
14 – Sudden Flight – A dreamy track to end this cinematic presentation of sound-scapes, very fitting, it feels and sounds like an after-thought, a wind-down with beautiful strings & a almost classic female voice, the drums are very cinematic, this tracks works on that level in all respects.
© Darren Pearson @ Arima