Shpongle
Codex VI


3.0
good

Review

by TheSpaceMan USER (31 Reviews)
December 7th, 2017 | 14 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A heavy tolerance

In late October, 2017, Raja and Simon of psybient group Shpongle dropped something not typically measured in micrograms. Codex VI is their sixth full length (I've sparred you the detective work) and follows the enormous journey that is their discography. The duo has immortalized a place in the psychedelic, even beyond music, by creating soundtrack after soundtrack to hallucinogenic trips across the world. Hop onto any hippie*** shroom forum, ask for music recs, and wait for Shpongle be seconded by the third comment. The cult following they have is enormous, and I'd consider myself part of it. So when I first heard about Codex, I was absolutely psyched. Unfortunately, while Shpongle released a solid album, they fail to up the dosage from their previous trips resulting in a record that doesn't reach the mind-altering peaks of their past experiences.

Codex VI begins with ethereal wails of hospitality before melting into a rhythmic jam session. Shpongle are quick to introduce their trademarked duality of electronic music (dub, trance, ambient, etc.) and organic instrumental/vocal world music. It's this companionship that has always attributed the genre's strength, but right from the get-go, track “Remember the Future” seems to peacock its sounds rather than truly explore itself. And this is an issue that is sadly being foreshadowed for the rest of the album. There are few, if any, definitive moments on the album that feel like Shpongle is exploring new territory. It is as if the adventure has become more habitual than recreational. Perhaps this could be an admirable direction if it is at all self aware; Shpongle may be acknowledging the inherit fun of all things psychedelic over the dreaded spitrtual enlightenment one love DMT bro. It's up to you to decide whether or not this is the case.

As for owning such a vibrant, enigmatic and original sound to their own style, its hard to deny how formulaic it is. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as Shpongle is filling the niche they've created. It'd be pretty drastic for the group to ditch any piece of their puzzle, and this release does safely provide another step along the way. Fortunately for us, rehashing the past means that there isn't a misstep on the album, at least not any that weren't there before. There are still some corny vocal samples that sap momentum from a song, but again like previous releases its reciprocated by others better placed. It's not like Shpongle has suddenly lost their mastery of production either, with texture and sound design being as mind blowing as ever. If there was ever anything inherently new to the album, it's a relaxed and meditative vibe that dominates the confusion around it. There seems to be a stronger emphasis on chilled out world music standing on its own, rather then it being used to uphold the more contemporary sounds around it.

Standout beast “Empty Branes” is worth a mention too, cause damn does this song justify it. What begins as a meditative wind instrument slowly ventures down its own rabbit hole into a beautiful buildup. Along the way, a sample discussing Brane Theory reveals at a perfect time. Astrophysics certainly lends itself to the psychedelic world, no matter how cliché it may be, and the psybient uprights around it make it's appearance slightly closer to astounding than laughable. It is a shame that few tracks around this song reach a similar height. But despite being Shpongle's weakest release thus far, Codex VI is still a good album. It's hard to fault a band for releasing an album that would be a proud accomplishment of most other acts. But Shpongle are better than this, and since there is minimal evolution of to their sound on Codex VI, you can scratch the same itch by (re)visiting their previous works. Yet I'd still encourage fans of the duo to give it a shot, especially if they feel they've burnt out the rest of the discography.



Recent reviews by this author
Curve DoppelgangerFishmans Long Season
Hooverphonic The Magnificent TreeSweet Trip You Will Never Know Why
Ride Today ForeverTricky Skilled Mechanics
user ratings (24)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
December 6th 2017


20069 Comments


oh shit new shpongle? hell ya spaceman

TheSpaceMan
December 6th 2017


9782 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hell ya indeed, worth a visit if the mood arises

TheSpaceMan
December 6th 2017


9782 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

DMT the LIGHT one consciousness

AdolfChrist
December 6th 2017


13498 Comments


I really hope the review isnt accurate.

Digging: Swarms - Black Chapel Sun

TheSpaceMan
December 6th 2017


9782 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

do you trust me?

AdolfChrist
December 7th 2017


13498 Comments


I try, babe, but i just dont know.

TheSpaceMan
December 7th 2017


9782 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hey I hope you do like it more than me. No reason to spread disappointment

TheSpaceMan
December 7th 2017


9782 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

they talk to me more than you

ComeToDaddy
December 7th 2017


1613 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah this was fine but I expect a bunch more from them, Museum was head and shoulders above it sadly

TheSpaceMan
December 7th 2017


9782 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

same (obviously)

Evokaphile
December 7th 2017


6393 Comments


Awesome review. Their albums usually leave me completely geschtunkenflaupped but yeah, this one didnt leave much of an impression unfortunately. Im sure some folks on the shroomery might disagree but this album just isnt very interesting. Still a solid 3.5 though imo

Digging: Woe - Hope Attrition

CalculatingInfinity
December 7th 2017


7657 Comments


Looks like I'll have to avoid this, shame :/

TheSpaceMan
December 7th 2017


9782 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks evo my man, I agree it's just not strong enough.



Calc check the song Two Branes I do dig that one. Consider it an EP lol

TwigTW
December 8th 2017


2844 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I gave it a couple of listens. It's not really a bad album, but I can't see myself playing it again. The quality has definitely slipped.

Digging: Exquirla - Para Quienes An Viven



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy