Shpongle
Museum of Consciousness


4.5
superb

Review

by ANJ45 USER (13 Reviews)
March 9th, 2014 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The duo craft yet another imaginative and hallucinatory masterpiece that manages to stand up to some of their tallest efforts.

Psybient masters Shpongle have yet again succeeded in producing a wonderfully varied and cerebral journey. With four years separating their last album from their latest, hopes were all high for a change in pace, and Posford, Ram and co have blown away the competition yet again. Consistency is apparently a strong point for Shpongle, as they have practically gone an entire career without a less-than-fantastic release. This latest venture into the realm of sonic hallucinations only solidifies the duo’s mastery of their craft.


Firstly, it is important to address the fact that this release has yet a different theme underlying the music. There is less of an emphasis on ethnically authentic instrumentation, and more of a focus on a very aqueous and electronically driven atmosphere. Abigail Gorton (also known as “Hari Om”), along with Michele Adamson, who are both known from past Shpongle tracks such as “Dorset Perception” and “Around The World In A Tea Haze”, use their vocal talents on several tracks throughout this release, and an emphasis on string instruments is also evident in several other tracks such as “The Epiphany of Mrs. Kugla” and “How The Jellyfish Jumped Up The Mountain”. More prominent than anything however, is the use of many electronic sounds, frequencies, and blips in the style of trance and acid-techno. Nods to past releases from the group in the form of similar instrumentation and genre-hopping are not uncommon either.


Shpongle has always been known for being perfectly capable of producing extremely danceable music, despite the huge variety of musical influences and styles, and this album is no exception. It could even be argued that the dance-ability is higher than that of the last effort put forth by the band. Tracks such as “Brain in a Fishtank” make it incredibly difficult to stay in your seat, as the constantly intensifying pace and outstanding rhythm section constantly urges you to move in some way or form. The trip factor has certainly not been reduced either, and individuals listening under the influence of psychedelics will most likely be completely blown out of their mental grasp on reality. Simon Posford has always displayed a very keen ear for cerebrally twisted sounds, all the way back to his days as Hallucinogen, and he certainly doesn’t hold back in this instance, consistently incorporating distorted, pitch-altered voices and very watery, high-pitched drips and splashes.


Overall, this is a penultimate case of a group creating a perfect balance between past influences and a progressive nature. The result is a highly focused and imaginative effort that serves as a continuation as well as a recapitulation. Standout tracks such as “How the Jellyfish Jumped up the Mountain” and “Future Adventures in Shpongleland” showcase a grand scale of electronic-based sonic environments and newly introduced themes, whereas others like “Brain in a Fishtank” and “Aquatic Garden of Extra-Celestial Delights” serve as both flashbacks to early directions and as climactic, high-intensity thrill rides of atmospheric beauty. This is a deserved contender for album of the year in my humble opinion, and should be granted attention by anyone, almost regardless of their music taste.



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user ratings (141)
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Acanthus (4)
Highly recommended to fans old and new alike....


Comments:Add a Comment 
ANJ45
March 9th 2014


208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, I realize that this review is most likely not quite as good as Acanthus' review, but I felt that some of the tracks weren't given enough attention, and I sincerely believe this to be higher than a 4.

mindleviticus
March 9th 2014


10048 Comments


liked this but wasnt as good as others

IronGiant
March 9th 2014


1642 Comments


the only album of theirs i could ever get into was "Tales...". i want to like this genre but its so hard for me to listen to it without thinking "holy cow this is cheesy"

ANJ45
March 9th 2014


208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, "ToTI" is probably their best, but "Nothing Lasts..." and "Ineffable Mysteries..." are so damn close. I'd say that this is most likely better than "Are You Shpongled?" and "The God Particle" though.



...and yes, it could be considered cheesy, but it's really more of an individual preference in that respect.

IronGiant
March 9th 2014


1642 Comments


@anj as is most music so I totally respect it and the people who like it, just not my personal cup of tea

Acanthus
March 9th 2014


9812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I feel my rating is still correct, but I'm not in a Shpongly mood either however : P



Nice review!

MotokoKusanagi
March 10th 2014


2393 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fuck yeah dude this album rules. ANJ is my new fav user



Are You Shpongled is their best though

ANJ45
March 10th 2014


208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The rating was more my personal pref so I can definitely see 4 or even 3.5's. 3 is too low though, this is really good, and seems to be a tad underrated on this site.



and thanks for the complement! As I said earlier, this won't top your review, but I guess I just wanted to give my reason for liking it so much haha.



@IronGiant yes, that's definitely true. Not a genre for everybody, and almost all genres will have some listeners that just can't get into it, for whatever reason. It's totally cool, apologies if I came off rude.

MotokoKusanagi
March 10th 2014


2393 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i don't trip often anymore, but when i do, i always jam shpongle

ANJ45
March 10th 2014


208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haha, thanks! Yeah, it's debatable for me whether this is as good as "Are You Shpongled?", cause that used to be my favorite. Very much a heavier focus on ambiance on that album. Might do a review of it eventually. :P

ANJ45
March 10th 2014


208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, Shpongle is the quintessential modern trip group.

ANJ45
March 17th 2014


208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just saw Shpongletron 3.0. Was mind-meltingly awesome, definitely tops all other shows I've ever been to!

Acanthus
March 17th 2014


9812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Envious, only ever saw Simon but that tends to be how it goes in the USA.

MotokoKusanagi
March 17th 2014


2393 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Acanthus, he's referring to the Shpongle DJ set (just Simon) I believe



I've seen Shpongle 4 times :D

Acanthus
March 18th 2014


9812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ah gotcha, it's fun but seeing the entire group/band would be on an entirely different level.

MotokoKusanagi
March 18th 2014


2393 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah it's a real shame they rarely do full band in the US. they said they can't really afford to do it often so they only do major events

ANJ45
March 19th 2014


208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, that was the only bummer, but frankly, Simon puts an incredible amount of effort into each set that he does, and he looked to be having an absolute BLAST haha.



Also, Shpongled 4 times?! wtflucky

MotokoKusanagi
March 20th 2014


2393 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah Simon's sets are brilliant. now if i could just catch a Hallucinogen set...

Acanthus
March 20th 2014


9812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They're coming to Red Rocks soon, but tbh I enjoyed my 100 person Shpongle show enough to not want to see them amidst so many other people.

MotokoKusanagi
March 21st 2014


2393 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

were you dosed?



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