Saturnia — Muzak
(Elektrohasch 119, 2006, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2008-01-01
Saturnia has been around since the late 90s, and Muzak is the latest release from this little known Portuguese psych-prog band. Saturnia is essentially multi-instrumentalist Luis Simões joined on various tracks by Francisco Rebelo (Rhodes electric piano on “Organza”), João Alves (acoustic guitar on “Kite” and “Analepsis”), Flopi Simões (flute on “Organza”), Nik Turner (flute on “Organza”), and Daevid Allen (spoken word on “Syrian”). Luis stirs his exotic musical ingredients (Steve Wilson-like vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, sitar, flutes, harp, synths, vibes, and percussion) to serve up huge doses of mind-tripping music reminiscent of early Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, and the quieter Mellotronic moments of King Crimson while keeping his feet firmly rooted in the 21st Century. Having never heard Saturnia before, I was a bit apprehensive based on the naked breast on the cover. But my fears were allayed after hearing the first notes on the opening song “Mindrama.” This is one excellent release; there is not a single weak spot on any of the 10 songs. I find it difficult to name standouts, but I especially enjoy “Syrian” with its tablas, droning sitar, Hammond organ, and Daevid’s spaced-out recitation, as it is sufficiently different from the rest of the CD. Obviously with such luminaries as Nik Turner and Daevid Allen as guests on Muzak, Luis’ star is on the rise. If Muzak had been released in 2007, it would have been on this year’s Top 10 List. Highly recommended.
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.