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Trance Forum  Forum  Music Reviews - Shpongle - Museum of Consciousness [Twisted, 2013]
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Shpongle - Museum of Consciousness [Twisted, 2013]


Started Topics :  9
Posts :  66
Posted : Aug 1, 2013 18:03:15

1. Brain In A Fishtank 7:56
2. How The Jellyfish Jumped Up The Mountain 10:26
3. The Aquatic Garden Of Extra-Celestial Delights 11:50
4. Juggling Molecules 9:17
5. Further Adventures In Shpongleland 6:20
6. The Epiphany Of Mrs Kugla 6:39
7. Tickling The Amygdala 8:48

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Full track preview:


Unbeknownst to anyone, Twisted just released Shpongle's 5th full-length album "Museum of Consciousness". Their website was last updated in May '13, they barely reply any posts on the official forum, no newsletter update was sent and the album is only available - as a digital download, limited CD & vinyl(!) - through some obscure web-shop at this moment. But putting all those questionable marketing / sales practices aside - what's the music like?

If you've been following Raj & Simon's output over the last 18(!!!) years in their various configurations & collaborations, then you probably won't be surprised by the sound of the new material. You could hardly mistake it for something other than Shpongle, with all the usual trademarks - stuttery / glitchy singing, exotic musical scales and tempos, variety in terms of mood and pace within single track, swirly synth lines mixed with live instruments sometimes processed beyond recognition, etc. - being well present here. "Museum of Consciousness" draws parallels to all their previous work - from laid back electronica of "Are You Shpongled?", through guitar-driven noodling of "Nothing Lasts..." to opera-meets-dancefloor of "Ineffable Mysteries...".

First three tracks ("Fishtank", "Jellyfish" and "Molecules" if I may shorten the full-length names) share similar construction - you've got some atmospheric pads at the beginning, Raj's flute and/or Michelle / Hari singing, then a bass line giving way to mid-tempo drums. Somewhere in the middle you'd stumble at a bridge section with some guitar and/or eastern-sounding voice manipulation, some clever sound manipulations (e.g. genious jazzy flute/trumphet bit in "Jellyfish"), leading to more traditional 4/4 trance ending. Think previous album's "I Am You" or "No Turn Un-Stoned" and you're right there.

Next two - "Aquatic Garden" and "Shpongleland" - are reminiscent of their work on 2001's "Tales of Inexpressible" bordering on mid-tempo world / new age music, with the former featuring some nice singing from Michelle and Hari on top of Twin Peak-esque strings, while the latter borrowing more aggressive bass guitar work of early Younger Brother. Those tracks rely less on lead melodies, but rather focus on building atmosphere and landscape from smaller, background sounds.

"Ephiphany" starts with dark strings and horns that would fit right into some fantasy movie pre-battle scene a'la "Lord of The Rings", but then - around 2:00 mark - there's ingenious transformation into something I could only compare to James Bond theme music, with all the suspense and insecurity expressed by few well placed notes. The tracks speeds up from there, twists & morphs in a usual Shpongle style adding Hari Om's soft singing in the end, but unfortunately ends without any meaningful conclusion.

The last one - "Amygdala" - takes its time before introducing a homage to Pink Floyd's "On The Run" (swirly bass/acid sequence), followed by brilliant guitar chords, bass & drums and Raj on flute with his typical, lyrical noodling. This track has a distinct, kind of "goodbye" atmosphere and therefore fits right at the end of the album.

All in all, I've found the album quite good but a far cry from their best. I think electronics part was better on "Are You Shpongled?", the head-fuck sound trickery was more evolved in "Tales..." and "Nothing Lasts...", while "Ineffable Mysteries..." - despite being hit & miss sometimes - was much more varied and thus more exciting. This one is more homogeneous, a bit predictable and repetitive - bordering on annoying at times - and probably a bit more danceable than it needs to be. On the other hand this is Shpongle we're talking about, so the bar is set very high - it's brilliant music nonetheless, but I was hoping for something more innovative, while I "only" got a new more-of-the-same solid Shpongle album. And it's short too - only 61 minutes.

Rating: 4/5
IsraTrance Full Member

Started Topics :  65
Posts :  1704
Posted : Aug 3, 2013 00:15
I also find it their most unexciting work till now.

In some way I feel they tried to go closer to "Are you Shpongled?, "Museum" shares the trancey vibe of that album and lacks the bombastic moments of the other three.

The lack of variance across tracks is also surprising given their record.

          "The dedication to repetition the search for nirvana in a single held tone or an endlessly cycling rhythm is one of electronic music's noblest gestures."

Started Topics :  3
Posts :  123
Posted : Aug 5, 2013 17:03
Simon oh Rama!!
Too high standards you set.
Now, to reach this level, you need to try harder...


Started Topics :  0
Posts :  1
Posted : Aug 8, 2013 22:08
"Museum" definetly is a shpongle work, but is a desapointing one, lack of variation and incoporation of tribal and world music across the whole work
michelle/hira are annoying, too much english sings
i love shpongle, but this one is a flat realease, you must to try harder next time guys

Started Topics :  0
Posts :  9
Posted : Aug 16, 2013 02:30
I totally agree with antic conclusion about this album.

I've listened this album about 10 times. Yes it sounds better than the first few listens but it still predictable and boring at times.

Weakest Shpongle album for me. Shpongle just took the safe path and failed to impress. Still a listenable album though


Started Topics :  311
Posts :  8630
Posted : Aug 16, 2013 19:48
This is the Godfather 3 of the Shpongle albums.
Huge letdown. Aside the first 2 good tracks the rest sounds like they phoned it in.           Everyone in the world is doing something without me
IsraTrance Full Member

Started Topics :  147
Posts :  1679
Posted : Aug 19, 2013 06:26
Some disappointment. The opening track of Ineffable Mysteries kills that album for me, to just painful too my ears and brain.

The trance parts of this album IMO are pretty nice. Kinda wish Posford would put out a trance album, maybe if he enjoys collaborating he can hook up with some of his pals and pop something out.

Look much more forward to Benji's solo album. Samples sound really nice.           Revisiting the past.

Started Topics :  8
Posts :  248
Posted : Aug 26, 2013 16:38
im pretty sure its just one of those Shpongledelia's that grow on ya To the musical critics above,guuyyzz, stop beeing so over critical of music start being more critical on other fronts           " No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings "
IsraTrance Team

Started Topics :  155
Posts :  2035
Posted : Sep 23, 2013 08:34
Didn't tickle my brain.           ---------------------------------------------
"Be the change you want to see in the world!"
M.K. Gandhi

"There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self."
Aldous Huxley

Trance Forum  Forum  Music Reviews - Shpongle - Museum of Consciousness [Twisted, 2013]
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