Rastaliens ‎– Xplore The Wild Side

BooM! Records ‎– BOOM CD 018
CD, Album


1 2 Da Max 8:23
2 Productivity 7:08
3 Machines & Robots 7:16
4 Blow Ya Mind 8:29
5 Orakel 9:04
6 Agohauey 9:31
7 Insect 8:11
8 Bits And Crunches 10:00
9 Morgains Dream 9:23


Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode: 8 793675 838109



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October 8, 2004
edited over 13 years ago

News flash - Do you miss the good old days of the psy-trance scene? Do you remember back when GMS was something new, exciting and refreshing? Do you still lament the decline of Matsuri Productions full on phase?? Then pay attention, there is something going on here.....

In my book Rastaliens have yet to get the proper recognition they deserve. They are one of the few psy-trance artists out there who have their own recognizable sound, which alone is a major accomplishment in todays cookie cutter psy-scene, and to make it even better, a good sound it is. At first listen one might want to classify them as full-on yet Rastaliens is one of the few acts I can drop in the middle of either a full on or a classic goa set and not sound out of place in either one. They have a wonderful genre bending ability that I love, and further more, they simply groove so much more than 99% of the psy acts out there. That said, having such a good beginning track record, I was worried that this second full album might be where they start to go astray. In some ways my fears where justified, but not at all in the manner in which I might have suspected...

(note, the following comments where written on the fly while listening to the album through for the first time so it wasn't until towards the end when the albums full context suddenly hit me in the face)

The opening track intial made me worried. "2 Da Max", is still Rastaliens, yet a bit different. Bass a bit more normal full-on than their normal fare. Still has nice Rastaliens melodic old school parts that never come across as old-school in this context. Good track, the bass was a bit disappointing in its sort of "same old same old full on" factor, but the rest of the track is great.

"Productivity" is more of the Rastaliens I know and love. A nice grooving bassline, good percussion and more general "Rastaliens" goodness. "Machines & Robots" has some good atmospheric and filtered percussion stuff running around as a basis with a lot of lovely squelchy melodies flying about on top of it. A very driving track that ebs and flows nicely. So far the album seems a bit of a nod like the original wave of full on psy.

"Blow Ya Mind" is classic Rastaliens and yet something new at the same time. Excellent genre bending. It starts off with some great simple grooving "Rasta" work, then a little after the 3 minute mark it drops into a little more full on type of vibe only to turn take those same elements and go into some lovely old school ethnic female vocal work which completely redeem any misgivings I might have initially had about that shift in the vide. "Orakel" brings us back to some more classic Rastaliens bass/percussion grooves in its early stages. Again, very driving, with some nice early fly by pads and slowly evolving and ever thickening squelchy bits that remind me a bit of the best of old GMS. More spacious melodic parts come in to create and excellent well rounded track. "Agohauey" is more of the same, which is good, some full on stuff, some groovy stuff, then suddenly a lovely gated vocal part that could almost serve as a chorus drops in and takes the track in a new direction.

Suddenly something happens. While I have noticed a large nod to the old school side of things up to this point, suddenly somebody seems to have hypnotised these guys, convinced them it is 1998, they are working on releasing an album on Matsuri Productions and that they are the missing two members of Growling Mad Scientists....

"Insect" gets thick from the beginning with lots of layers piling up quickly. Some of the sounds are straight from the "Freestyle" page of their last album, but mixed with some other sounds at that positively like old school GMS done up right. In fact, this track sounds a lot like GMS from back when they were something new and refreshing. The bassline gets simplified part way through and some nice percussion drops in before jumping off into the early days of full on again.

"Bits and Crunches", holy Jaws Matsuri era GMS Batman, very old school full on complete with breakdown into tripulets and all. "Morgaine Dream" if things keep up like this, they will soon regress to before the birth of old school and begin making old Israeli trance in the vein of Power Source or something. Towards the later half, the hypnotism apprears to be wearing off a bit and the Rastaliens sound is creeping back with a vengence, but still the flashback is in full effect.

What just happened here?

I don't know what to say... I love Rastaliens, I love the old school goa and early full on days and I totally didn't expect this at all. In fact I'm actualy surprised a label to the risk and released this throwback.

There is a bit of evolution in the Rastaliens sound here. For example there seemed to be a few more normal full on 16th note type basslines here than I remember in their older work, these don't really take away from the album much as one might think because as a whole as those parts serve to create a backdrop upon which only things happen sonically. In fact, despite these some of these basslines, overall I would say this album has made a refreshing return to a more "goa" sound set in a more modern psy framework. Sonically this album is a lot thicker than their previous work, with a lot of stuff going on at once. I am personally bored of the "fast bassline, percussion something and one or two synthlines going" formula most of the psy-scene has seemed to have adopted these days, so this constant piling on and switching around of layers is a good thing in my book. The use of heavy gated vocal parts is something else that I have been missing from psy-trance these days, so I was very pleased to find it popping up on this album alot.

The end of the album completely loses Rastaliens' trademark groovy basses and I must admit I miss them. Yet at the same time as a major old school fan, I am very pleased to hear something made with such an obvious nod to the good old days that I am almost willing to forgive it. Time will tell how this album will hold up for me, but for the moment it has definately brought a smile to my face. "Xplore The Wild Side"? More like "Xplore The Old School"