Review Summary: Highly recommended to fans old and new alike.
After four years of touring Shpongle return with a new album, though much has changed. Music production isn't something for just enthusiasts anymore, and the tools needed to make an entire album in your bedroom are becoming increasingly available and affordable... yet this just makes Shpongle's return all the more welcome. In a time where more and more focus is put on commercialization and churning out quick hits Simon and Raja's latest work is a welcome breathe of fresh air wedded to nostalgia, and proves that the group isn't ready to become stagnant anytime soon.
With their long history of DIY techniques when it comes to almost every aspect of their music (the singing on Ineffable Mysteries was recorded live in India, the singer was found via their rickshaw driver), listening to a Shpongle album truly becomes more of an experience and less an act of just
listening; the variety and amount of layered sounds is wonderfully engrossing even when not under the influence. One of the more immediately noticeable aspects of Museum Of Consciousness
is the emphasis on the bass lines; the entire album is far more driven and upbeat when compare to its predecessor. This is a most welcome change, providing heft and even more of an inclination for the listener to dance or just let go (as well as even more replay-ability). The opening moments of “Juggling Molecule” are prime examples of this, with the tracks layered claps and vocal repetition complimenting this emphasis on bass perfectly and adding a sense of urgency that just seemed lacking in the groups previous album. Ambiance isn't forgotten however, “The Aquatic Garden Of Extra-Celestial Delights” should make longtime fans feel right at home as the duo channels moments from “Around The World In A Tea Daze” and “My Head Feels Like A Frisbee” to create a song that, while familiar, is poised to be a listener favorite.
Museum Of Consciousness
is a surprising album, whenever I started to think that the band had begun to go back to their old ways or retread the same ground and structure something would appear to wash away my concerns; the rather funky guitar section on “Further Adventures In Shpongleland” completely changes the nature of the track, and when combined with the deep bass line later on the song really steps into its own. This also sets up the audience for some signature Shpongle moments that they may have not seen coming, and should have many fans smiling from ear to ear when they occur. Small changes like these, combined with the larger ones (the startlingly dark horn and string intro on “The Epiphany Of Mrs Kugla”, the almost trance-like vibe on “Tickling The Amygdala”) really cements the fact that while the duo really care about making each experience differ from the one they've created before. Coming after the predominantly laid back Ineffable Mysteries From Shpongleland
, Museum Of Consciousness
is a welcome change of pace and easily carves its niche in the Shpongle catalog; this is an album I highly recommend to old and new fans alike.