Aes DanaMemory Shell

Label:Ultimae Records – inre 014
CD, Album, Partially Mixed
Style:Downtempo, Ambient


1Aes DanaChernozem
Voice [Storytelling]Mahiane
2Aes DanaIris Rotation
3Aes DanaDusts7:15
4Aes DanaOpalin
Voice [Sample]Pascale Auffret
5Aes DanaMemory Shell (Lost Radio E-dit)
Voice [Storytelling]Mahiane
6Aes DanaHaze
Recorded BySir John
VoicePascale Auffret
7Aes DanaShouting Valley
Recorded BySir John
VoicePascale Auffret
8Aes DanaCities Update5:53
9Aes DanaSub Morphing5:50
10Aes DanaGrounds Around4:10
11Aural PlanetExposure (Aes Dana Rmx)
Arranged By, RemixAes Dana
Voice [Sample]Pascale Auffret
Written-By [Original Track], Producer [Original Track]Konrad Gmurek
12Aes DanaChernozem (Closing)
Performer [Hanging Shells], KalimbaVincent Villuis

Companies, etc.



Track 2: as featured on Antenna Compilation - Stargate Recordings. Thanx to Steve Good "Puff Dragon".
Track 4: Voice sample to Karine and her short term memory.
Track 6: Recorded at Silex Productions.
Track 11: Extract from the album Aural Planet "Acoustic Plantation Releases" - Flow Records 2004, also featured on Aural Planet "Reworked" - Vivo Records 2004 - Poland.

16 pages booklet included in the Shell.
Digipak packaging

℗ & © on this album 2004 Ultimae Records
Made in France

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode: 3 516620 117525
  • Rights Society: SACEM / SDRM

Other Versions (2)

View All
Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
Memory Shell (12×File, FLAC, Album)Ultimae Recordsinre014France2004
Memory Shell (12×File, FLAC, Album, Reissue, Remastered, 24-Bits)Ultimae Recordsinre014-2France2015



  • geneous's avatar
    I've been listening to this work since 2004 and its now 2016. Some adjectives that come to mind: sublime, timeless, and inspired.
    • RoverTheOctopus's avatar
      Edited 7 years ago
      For me, Memory Shell by Aes Dana is sui generis. A strong alliance of melancholia and driving (at times lascivious) beats, one track after the next, its dark undertones ripple like an intense undercurrent, while the revolving melodies contribute to an uncertain outlook of unsettled emotions, yearning to escape, but ever regressing to that melancholy base state. Broadly speaking, they are invoked by the icy pads, rattling percussion (sometimes tribal and other times more cold and metallic), and scattering of distant vocals (whether through the mystery of a poem or the stern clarity of a scientist.) As your eyes gaze into the mathematical beauty of the cover art's entrancing spiral shell, your ears play the vital role of sensing Memory Shell's atmospheric height and oceanic depth made possible by the physics of sound. And beautiful sound it is. The aftertaste I get after listening to a song like Submorphing or Dusts or Opalin is as savory as it is deeply entrenched in my mind.

      Memory Shell is beguilingly ambitious, having thick layers that enshroud you and details that simply allure you. And yet it will often track along a more minimal direction. Just the right amount of stimuli is present at any given moment, and details enter and exit the soundscape with finesse. Or a bright range of sound frequencies will dominate before filtering down to lower frequencies. Opening up and then withdrawing, over and over. The transition from Shouting Valley to Cities Update seems an appropriate example–crossing over from sounds of sharp and prominent flutes of the remote desert to cloistered, wintry synths as though placed in the remoteness of the Arctic, deep space, or a shuttered post-industrial city–but they occur within the songs just as well.

      The introductory track Chernozem, and its namesake complementary closer, is a thick haze which has settled the landscape, which we must navigate. Eager anticipation suspends us throughout. Warped, dissonant (yet euphonic) synths, as though backmasking and then played forward again and again, bring you into a deep hypnosis.

      During the most ambient moments, such as the intro of Iris Rotation—with its audible suggestions of hardy wood cracking under the submission of a roaring fire, followed by icy, high resonance synths—for me evokes the sensation as if looking upwards to the surface from within the photic zone of an underwater bliss, conscious of the schools of tuna swimming above, and their scales scintillating in the sunlight. For me, this is what especially draws me into this album. It is its ability to so vividly paint everything the sounds can cover.

      Examples of this album's genius beyond this are myriad, but I would say that those first two tracks are expressive enough of Aes Dana's robust style. Every track is highly emotive and cinematic without yielding to pretention or histrionics. The judicious transitions between minimalism and the album's more ornate moments, as well as the offering of a broad and innovative array of melodic elements and beat arrangements, make this album accessible and, to wit, deep without being arrogantly esoteric. Beyond that, the music itself is where the rubber meets the road. Fantastic.
      • sounding's avatar
        Edited 16 years ago
        Immersive, involving "sticky" flow to the music - doesn't allow you to get away from it once you're listening. Impeccable production, pulling the most from the tremendous flood of ideas presented. Mellow, intricate, multilayered...genius, crossing any number of genres, from ambient to jungle psy to space. A winner.
        • PKS's avatar
          Edited 17 years ago
          Aes Dana (Vincent Villuis) is back with his third album on French Ultimae Records. He has got a good reputation after releasing his album Season 5 in 2002 and the limited edition CD called Aftermath. He is known for going deep into spacey ambient and down tempo trance. With this release you also get a fat booklet with text and several pictures.

          First out is a short track with slow, mystic sounds gliding in a relaxed way. Nice and chilled intro on the album. Track 2 continues the deep, floating soundscapes. Aes Dana always delivers very spacey sounds, with mystic and relaxing vibes forcing us to calm down. In this track we also get some relaxed experimental beats and a beautiful humming voice. Reminds me a bit of the deep cold, so called arctic ambient, artists such as Biosphere etc. produce. These tracks float over in each other so it becomes a nice journey. Track 3 has a bit more dramatic vibe. Still totally deep and floating. You also get a voice in this one and the track slowly builds up. After a while a relaxing down tempo rhythm sneaks slowly into the track. A beautiful voyage into deep ambient music. Track 4 starts totally slow, before we glide into a pumping down tempo groove. With this kind of chill out, you can just sit and relax or take a slow dance. This should be perfect for an early evening trance set too. Track 5 continues the deep, dark vibes. It starts with someone telling a little story, we hear the sound of water, before we float further into more mystic vibes. Then comes the stumpy beat back on track. Very drifting with spacey, deep sounds all the way.

          Track 6 is one of my favourite tracks on this album. It has a beautiful voice and some very nice atmospheric floating sounds. Totally relaxing with slow, experimental, drifting beats. Track 7 has some very mystic vocals, and almost no beats at all. Just floating deep sounds. About as deep as ambient can get. Track 8 goes to a bit lighter level and we get more groovy down tempo beats. Track 9 is another floating, little masterpiece with a bit more earthy sound, still going a mystic direction. Relaxing drums and beautiful sounds. Track 10 takes us to an even deeper, relaxing level. Perfect when you are tired and want to listen to something really dreamy. Track 11 is originally made by Aural Planet, but here we get a remix by Aes Dana. The original track is on their album called Acoustic Plantation Releases, released on Flow Records earlier this year. Aes Dana gives us a deep, relaxed version of the track, with his typical spacey floating vibes. The last track Vincent gives us on this album is a short finishing track floating like the intro we get on this album.

          Aes Dana delivers another strong album full of deep, relaxing ambient and down tempo grooves. Very different from the tribal chill we get in most psychill releases, but also very refreshing to hear something as deep and spacey as this. Very dreamy music all the way through. Recommended.
          • DeathPosture's avatar
            Edited 19 years ago
            Sound corals and vast hypnotic beaches…

            Ultimae – the number one ambient label, is now releasing its 14th album, and this time it’s by none other than big cheese label boss Vincent Villuis in co-orperation with Sunbeam, under the Aes Dana moniker… It’s the third full album by Aes Dana which was responsible for half of the brilliant H.U.V.A. Network album released earlier this year on Ultimae… That album was absolutely stunning, so my expectations for this are sky-high… Let’s see if they are met!

            Let me take you thru the tracks…

            #01: ‘It was raining in Vargö when we met the sandmen on the boarder of the ocean…’ Smooth organic intro – beatless, only soft, floating ambient soundscapes and the beautiful voice of Mahiane… Let the journey begin…

            #02: The CD is mixed, so we drift seamlessly into ‘Iris Rotation’ which is another little ambient gem, though more focused, and up-beat… Carried by simple, familiar melodies… Dubby in nature, with a thick underlying groove… Lovely!

            #03: And then it’s time for ‘Dusts’… Somehow Vince manages to take electro-sounds and make them sound organic – check out the beautiful mood he manages to set, just by some digital birds and what sounds like a human choir far, far away in the background… Add some subtle percussion, and you’ve got yourself an amazing, trance-inducing tune… This is psychedelic ambient at its best!

            #04: And the groove gets even phatter now… This is the ‘fastest’ track on the album, and I don’t know quite how to label it - progressive ambient? Whatever it is, it sure rocks…Sweet, sweet track with a funky, downbeat groove and the lovely voice of Pascale Auffret… I really, really like this… Yummy!

            #05: Time for the beach track ‘Memory Shell’ which was already released in a special Mindgames Festival Live Version last year on Fahrenheit Project Pt. 4… This track intelligently incorporates the sound of some of nature’s elements – wind and water… When you close your eyes and listen, your mind instantly takes you to the beach… Mahiane does more storytelling here, and we also get a subtle, fitting bassline to set the mood… Magic!

            #06: A long, peaceful intro… And then the soothing, beautiful voice of Pascale Auffret … Oh my, this is stunning… So simple, yet so beautiful… The subtle, dubby percussion only adds to the flavour… Enough said – listen, and enjoy! ;o)

            #07: This track is about the Shouting Valley of the Golan Heights in Syria where people have been communicating with family and friends across the border thru megaphones for the last 35 years… A bizarre situation indeed… The track itself consists of a bunch of elements… More sweet Pascale singing, walkie-talkie static, panpipes and long floating organic pads… A calm track – much calmer than the Shouting Valley, I reckon… Nice track!

            #08: Straight from the Shouting Valley of Syria, to the sound of a hectic, pulsating, vibrant city – as portrayed by Vince himself… We get a lot more layers than in the previous tracks – beats, percussion, synths, etc… But don’t get me wrong, it’s still very much a chill track… The percussion here isn’t really my cup of chai though – somehow, they are a tad too ‘noisy’… It’s not bad; it’s just not as great as the rest… Decent track!

            #09: Time for the aptly named ‘Sub Morphing’ which incorporates various industrial & electro sounds into an otherwise ‘normal’ downbeat track… We get hints of metallic hisses, tribal percussion and all kinds of indecipherable lyrics… And all that makes a very interesting combo… Nice little track!

            #10: If ‘Memory Shell’ was the summer-track, then this definitely is the winter track… This is a stripped down, ‘dark ambient’ piece… Marching sounds, cutting sounds, radio static and an overall melancholy, eerie and cold atmosphere… Very interesting track – if only it was a little longer…

            #11: This track was originally made by a dude called Konrad Gmurek – and this is the Aes Dana remix… I’ve never heard the original, so I can’t tell you what was changed… What I can tell you though, is that this kinda has the same ‘dark ambient’ feel as its predecessor… This is slightly faster though – and has a bassline… Subtle, but a bassline nevertheless… This is the soundtrack to a dark, peaceful winter-forest lit by the moonlight… Nordic exposure – you’ll love it! ;o)

            #12: And finally the closing part of ‘Chernozem’ with Vince on hanging shells and kalimba… It picks up where track #1 left off … Virtually beatless, the sweet voice of Mahiane – and perfectly knitted bits and pieces for a sweet, floating ambient piece… I cannot think of a better way, to end this CD… Superb!

            Where my expectations met? Yes – very much so… With only a few minor glitches, this album is absolutely brilliant… This album was a year in the making – and it shows! Or sounds rather: Everything just oozes quality – from the rich, extremely well-polished production to the beautiful packaging and the very impressive booklet… Every track has its own page with credits and stunning, art-photoes… I’m impressed! ;o)

            If you’re looking for some of the finest, most well-produced and soothing ambient and subtle downbeat morning trance – look no further… This is an ambient/downbeat journey, that will stick with you for years to come… 2004 have already brought some amazing chill-out releases, and this is another strong Ultimae-contender for ambient release of the year… Enjoy!


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