Wednesday 24 January 2018

Review: Psy'Aviah – 'Lightflare'

Belgian electronic producer Yves Schelpe has steered Psy'Aviah into genuinely interesting directions since 2014's 'The Xenogamous Endeavour'. Encompassing dance-friendly electronic dance music, yet constantly pushing toward progressive and cinematic ambitions with the seamless the blending of genres such as synthpop, ebm, triphop, electroclash, techno, edm, and eurodance to create an instantly accessible yet deep sound. Psy'Aviah's last outing on 'Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars' was easily the best album too date and certainly set the bar high for everything to follow. Luckily the latest offering 'Lightflare' is ready to meet the challenge.

Once again featuring a range of guest vocalists, 'Lightflare' takes the listener on a sonic journey of vulnerability and ultimately salvation at the hands of the music. The emotional side to the Psy'Aviah sound has become more and more palpable with every release, and this is at its most evident here with it's combination of soulful vocal performances and the prominence of the lyrics within the construction of the songs.

Tracks such as 'Lost At Sea', 'Aftermath', 'The Great Disconnect', 'Heavy Heart', 'Lonely Soul', 'Plan B', and 'Under The Rain' sweep the listener along with their combination of emotive vocals, subtle dance-friendly beats and euphoric synths that not only entice you to move your body but also listen closer. Even the harder dance offerings such as 'Sound Of New', 'In The Sound', 'For Myself', 'Reboot Reset Relay', 'Ghost', 'Game Changer', and 'Mr Vanity' with their more prominent ebm elements, harder synths and even guitars have an undeniable sing-a-long appeal that overtakes you.

Even the album's remix disc with it's more esoteric re-workings and amped up club potential maintains that emotional core. Broken up with originals 'Earth, Wind, Fire, Air And Sky (Om Namaha Shivaya)', 'The Rhythm Will Guide You (Chandaas Talaah)', 'Truth Is My Identity (Sam Nam)', and 'Searching Anagata (Om) with their eastern influences evoke the relaxing new age style of Enigma and the dance appeal of Juno Reactor with great effect for a strong blend of the rhythmic and the meditative. Something that definitely needs to be explored further.

Once again the production is as good as you could hope for. Schelpe continues to push his execution as hard as his songwriting and the end results always do justice to his considerable ambitions. There is a huge cinematic atmosphere enveloping this album that gives even the most dance-orientated tracks a huge presence.

'Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars' may have set the bar high but 'Lightflare' continues to ascend higher. The album blends melody, rhythm, emotion and atmosphere with ease. Schelpe not only continues to push his own boundaries, but also the boundaries of alternative electronic music.  

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