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VA - A Magical Journey AJACD001
VA - A Magical Journey
Review, written by Morpheus Music

Truly a magical journey, in two halves - the first mainly spacey, dark and ambient, the second pulsing with chilled arpeggios and downtempo trance beats. The voyage begins with a voice philosophising about the nature of the universe and its relation to information and code and then we're off into downtempo psychedelia grounded in deep dub basses, lulling grooves, flitting synth patches and airy arrangements. Voices come and go; spoken, ethnic chants, wordless utterances; hand drums and programming intertwine; whirling effects sweep the air and prowl the shadows.

As you'd hope - this CD transports the listener to strange sonic landscapes and mental sceneries but things are kept user friendly and familiar with a clear contemporary Western chill-out aesthetic. The mood is often dark and enigmatic with alien cultural references running throughout. Introductions are especially rich with global colour and ambient texture - there are rapturous sections that make you float heavenward and brooding passages full of dubbed out delays and thick basses that send you tranceward.

The artwork I have is from the promotional package - a folded sleeve booklet featuring a suitably esoteric temple that looks to have been photographed in the mists of dawn or early evening. The tracklisting is inside with details of writers and production alongside. A verse about the lotus fills the second inner panel with the legend 'Not Knowing, Cuckoo'.

This compilation is from Ajana Records, put together by Mouka and Rudra. Artists from such diverse locations as Israel, Chile, France, Sweden and Russia come together - familiar names like Cell, Kukan Dub Lagan and Electrypnose sit alongside some that are newer to the scene. Tracks do not interfade - each one sits within its own space creating a unique atmosphere - dark, mysterious, dubby and cool like An Ancient Tale by Derango or rippling with cycling sequences and regular kicks like Cell's Asian Morning. The combined drones of acoustic instruments and modern technology create a timelessness throughout - but well exemplified in Terra Nine's Axiom.

Aimed at the ethno-chill audience and with more atmospheres and scattered weirdness than most A Magical Journey will appeal to anyone looking for something with a good beat to lie back and travel to. Ambient, downtempo goa-trance thick with brooding trippy exotica and tropical environments.

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