Review - Phoneme

Artist: Red Shift Mantra

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With its spacious atmospherics, mellifluous vocals and a combination of electronic and faux-tribal rhythms, the music that Red Shift Mantra has recorded gets blithely cast as some sort of New Age futurism, a situation that has earned the Orlando group a none-too-small amount of attention from aficionados of the genre. (Which is all right if you want a fan base that largely consists of boring people who like boring music.) Still, anyone who's been fortunate enough to see RSM perform live should know that this is not a boring group. If you can get past the womblike warmth of their sound, many layers of complexity open up. Phoneme does a lot more to capture the group's dynamics, yet doesn't do anything to break their hypnotic spell. The sound is dense, soothing and decidedly downtrodden; it's as if Rain Tree Crow's rustic ambient melodrama collided with the sparse echoes of Slowdive's Pygmalion album. It's pretty and it's cavernous, but it's certainly not dull.

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