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Arafura HUMORES I - IV Review - Cover

Arafúra “HUMORES I – IV” Limited Edition Pre-Order CD REVIEW: A Science of Everything


To build an album around the stages of life, which themselves are viewed from the perspective of ancient medicine theory was definitely not a simple task for Michel de Jong when album was released late in the 2012 – supplying the underlying ideology and principles of thinking with audible medium calls for massive responsibility and mostly any compromise is out of the question.

I’m genuinely happy to say that “HUMORES I – IV” is an album absolutely worth your time – in multiple dimensions literally. Here’ s why.

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Lenght-wise the album itself is relatively short, 4 tracks sum up to only 30 minutes and 57 seconds. Even though most of the time the length is irrelevant, I strongly believe that this time we have a genuine exception. An abstract nature of Ambient music genre usually allows the artist to expand the emotional message to almost indefinite length, but that’s not the case with HUMORES I – IV. This is where immediate value is seen. For an album which primarily wraps the sound around the stages of life itself, Michel knew that this invaluable asset, unfortunately is well subject to the flow of time. Result of the album having 4 tracks is nonetheless fantastic. Hearing an ambient music which is respectful to the laws of time focuses the emotional levels into short bursts of melodic journeys that surface from the great instrumental buildups noticeable in each of them.

Each individual tracks have their own mood “attached” to them. Generally they relate to happiness, bliss, content, calm, melancholy, ecstatic and sad. However, it’s the overall progression through those moods is what makes the overall experience so special. Never I had experienced the feeling that I have heard the similar emotional pattern in previous track. The variety of moods being mostly isolated in individual tracks provides subtle certainty to music which is very open-ended otherwise. Conception, birth, life and decay are all very, very well expressed here.

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Properties of each individual piece relate extremely well to the theoretical part of Humorism itself. It’s hard not to relate the qualities of the track with the qualities of Humour – Track 1 being cold and moist, Track 2 – warm and most, Track 3 – warm an dry and Track 4 being cold and dry. The way how those qualities are being embed in the tracks is immediately heard as the selection of instruments perfectly provide accurate association of them. Playing the last track immediately after the first one would demonstrate a great level of perceived contrast between the two.

Another great thing about the album is how it manages to be infinite around it’s progression through the tracks. A seemingly definite conclusion of the track 4 quickly becomes irrelevant if you immediately start playing it again from track 1. Much as a life cycle itself, when something ends – something begins, and such cyclical tone could not be more welcome considering the idea and philosophy around the release. There is a great deal of emotional value packed and I was repeating the album over and over to get the most out of it.

As no album is perfect, HUMORES I – IV has a small drawback of that it is relatively easily forgettable. Of course, this is subject to personal impression and could not be applied to absolutely everyone who will ever listen to it, but I found myself detached from it roughly an hour after finishing listening. It is great and totally immerse while it lasts, but lasting “afterglow” is not there some time after. Don’t let that keep you away from it though!

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At the beginning of the review it was briefly mentioned that HUMORES I – IV is worth your time in multiple dimensions. Apart from the fantastic tracks that you will hear there are also little things that come together with the disc and add significant value to the purchase.

First is the Arafúra button that came along with the package. It looks great!

I have also got a sticker of the label which released the album.

There was also a very nice thank-you note attached. I personally appreciate such short and warm messages to the listeners…

And last but definitely not least, something that I absolutely loved was the little piece of artwork that was made by Yvonne Brouwers. The artwork has been cut into pieces and everybody who pre-ordered the album has received one. This shows that the central theme around the release can’t only be limited to the CD itself, but materialise around it, too. Mine is numbered 18…

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All these little things clearly show that Michel de Jong and everyone who has worked on this project have put their hearts and souls into making the album. Such warm and caring relation with the listeners cannot be overlooked, and definitely adds more value to already fantastic offer.

Overall HUMORES I – IV is a great, unique and carefully crafted album that makes a significant contribution to the genre – applying unique and bold ideas which are expressed through array of organic and smooth instruments, and evoking relevant emotions along the playlist. I strongly recommend the album to the fans of the genre and I do recommend it to anyone who is yet to experience it.

Purchased copy of the album was used to write up this review. A total of 15 active listening hours have been committed before submitting the impression.

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Even Though We Sleep

Stray Theories “Even Though We Sleep” Limited Edition CD Review: Deep Dive

I will admit straight away – it is not easy to write a review for an album which does not impose any clear idea as to what the song wants to communicate to the listener. The amount of space and depth that Micah Templeton-Wolfe presents us in his album “Even Though We Sleep” is immense, but is it enough to represent the top tier in the genre?

Let’s find out.

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One prominent feature of the album is how fast it indulges the listener to the absolute sonic heaven starting track 1. Even though there is a definite beginning and  ending of each track in terms of musical harmony, it feels like it has been arranged to actually begin on first track and end, well, when the album itself ends, even a bit open ended. Such continuity and integrity, when properly maintained throughout the album, without any doubt creates nothing short of a story, which is up to the listener to create. It is clear that the album itself does not try to establish a dialogue with the listener. Rather, it feeds the abstract harmonic melody in the soul and leaves it up for the receiving end to create whatever they like. It is without any doubt, a great thing. As long as you set aside from the environment and commit to spend some personal time with the help of the music, great emotions will surface.

Musically speaking, there does exist a somewhat mild emotional contrast throughout the album. Mood variations are present in some tracks (Everyone Falls, Blackout ) and truly surface in a couple other ones (Even Though We Sleep, Existence). You will be taken up and down the emotional wave, but none of that is too disturbing or disorienting. Healthy oscillation between uplifting, alarming and epic feelings is there, but it never knocked me out to the point where overall integrity of the playlist would break.

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Perhaps only one minor drawback of the album is that it does not explicitly close off itself to a definite conclusion. The last track, regardless whether you count the bonus one in our out, leaves the listener in vast open-ended domain without hinting a resolution to the epic journey. Taking the effort to build up entire set into consideration, I had to look for a definite conclusion of the listening experience outside the disc, namely playing tracks like “All I Know”,  “Exposure” and “Signs of Life”. It’s an absolutely minor drawback though, and overall impression of the album does remain nothing short of amazing.

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“Even Though We Sleep” overall, does live up to the expectation with flying colors. Presenting the unique, omnipresent and lasting ambient sound through well maintained emotional journey and rejuvenating the soul and mind is what it does the best. You couldn’t ask for anything more when it comes to ambient music, really.

I strongly recommend the album to anyone who likes the ambient, cinematic music genre, and I do recommend it to anyone who has yet to experience it.

Purchased copy of the album was used to write up this review. A total of 10 active listening hours have been committed before submitting the impression.

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Stray Theories @
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Please support the artists you love – they have been working long and hard to provide their best efforts for your lasting pleasure listening to something you enjoy. Times have changed and great music is really not that expensive. Thank you.