TLC Reviews by Darv Krizton

Darv Krizton

“Journey Towards Ascension”
Visionary Music, 2009

“Aya’s Underworld”
Visionary Music, 2009

This new series that Shapeshifter is beginning incorporates voice and mantric vibration into the genetic evolutionary ascension process (using sound) that is the foundation of Shapeshifter’s work through an already extensive catalogue of high quality Visionary Sound Arts. Both CDs are hour-long tracks recorded live with some post-production overdubbing. I’ve reviewed Shapeshifter quite a few times now, usually with glowing, even gushing, reports of amazing synchronistic events occuring in temporal zones adjacent to the Listening. What strikes me immediately with these new releases is the sensations accompanying the vocalized syllables. it does seem like some kind of living code entering my system. It actually engrossed my attention away from the music, feeling both primordial, ancient, yet familiar (again activating my er…apparent memories of and longings for a Mu i’ve never seen and The Land of The Blue People where i appear to be from. i’ve mentioned this before in Shapeshifter reviews, but it continues in my experience of their new music. A longing and yet a questing.

If you click the first Shapeshifter link above, you will be presented with a moving triptych of odd looking lettering, flowing by in a multi-color flood of light. I was seeing that, or something rather like that, listening to the first album without ever going to that page. these artists HAVE tapped into something, a “current” if you will, that i’ve experience from other artists on rare occasion, but usually painters.

“Journey Towards Ascension” should please listeners who have heard albums produced by Shapshifter since the Millenium. it is true to their signature Ascension style and sound. the addition of mostly female voice is done in a rather understated way, allowing the voice for the most part to reside democratically in the stereo field with the other elements, only gaining the foreground to deliver mantric syllables on occasion. the musical composition shows increasing understanding of melodic principles to communicate spiritual ideas. at times, they are reminiscent of Celtic Goddess soundweaves or Native American Skywalking. indeed, Shapeshifter incorporates numerous sounds from “new age” genre, but i find the level of electronic artistry, the backing esoteric knowledge and the commitment to healthy intent brings Shapeshifter into the “ancient wisdom” genre.

“Aya’s Underworld” is shamanistic dreamtime music. It is more appropriate for listening at night. In the past, Shapeshifter has put a dark song or two in the mix of an album that was mostly Light. this time, both sides are honored on separate discs. “Dark” here is in the sense of modern tribal shamanistic music as done by top artists like Steve Roach. I experience this disc as Shapeshifter’s own artistic cutting edge of honoring the inward Unconscious, often visited by Shamans around the world as a Dreamtime or Underworld, which is not a Hell or anything like that, but a place of rich Imaginal experience where one can encounter one’s own Shadow material and reclaim what has been lost. For an Ascension artist, this is an important articulation in Wisdom. for what is sometimes called Demon is oft-times a Key to or Treasure of One’s Own Self Beshrouded in One’s Own Fear (and Anger, which is based on Fear.)We are not to deny or destroy our Shadows but to reclaim them in Light in order to obtain the Key or Treasure which they safekeep. I think the emphasis in “Aya’s Underworld” is that healing and reclaiming part, whereas so many modern electronic underworld sound artists are content to Explore and Discover yet not perform the alchemy but revel in the soulful Darkness. “Aya’s Underworld” will appeal to, say, ambient room DJs who want to play genetic ascension music, but are looking for that shamanistic darkness, with drums and even some drum machine, some mystery and maybe even a scary shadow encounter however brief. they want a chilled sound that isn’t classical or new age. this first full-scale attempt by Shapeshifter is a worthy listen that “ancient wisdomers” such as my self will enjoy.

JoAnn Chambers

Evolutionary Creative in service to the positive uplifting of humanity through multidimensional QSET sound and music.

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