The Great Mystery

Desert Dwellers

Black Swan Records, 2015

http://desertdwellers.org

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/23/2015

Amani Friend and Treavor Moontribe make up Desert Dwellers. The pair has a long history as producers and DJs, cutting their teeth in the deserts of New Mexico and California while remixing work for other acts and doing the festival circuit.

The Great Mystery, the duo’s eighth album, collects their worldwide traveling and sets it against downtempo electronica from a very cultured standpoint. Though the band is known for their influence on yoga enthusiasts, their background stems from the rave scene of the '90s and influences as wide as pop, reggae, and classical. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The album leads off with "Warm Desert Sands," which unfolds like New Age meandering with futuristic vocals that are whispered under a calm, and almost hypnotic sound. This is then followed by the self-titled track "The Great Mystery," which lives up to its name and tosses in some nice beats and a more dance-club feel with plenty of mesmerizing sounds. At over seven minutes long, it maintains a similar feeling musically throughout; meanwhile, the vocals are often strange, like gibberish or a language I certainly don't recognize.

Near the middle, "Crossing Beyond (ReVisioned)" is similar to the previous tracks, only with predominantly male vocals that again are indistinguishable and mostly serve as instruments rather than trying to convey anything understandable. The two largest contributions here, electronica and world music, meet on "Our Dream World." "Walking Between" gets both futuristic and cinematic while still keeping an organic element mixed in with all the effects.

Towards the end, "Bird Over Sand Dunes" is very much designed for the dance floor, while the all-instrumental "Wings Of Waves" is musically the most diverse song here. The album ends on the largely spoken word of "Give Thanks," which might be the only song here that has a clear message.

Calling this release different would be criminally understating it. The disc is so unusual it will make you want meditate, consider going to a drug fueled party in the desert, and visit far away continents – all within one song. Though they may be long songs (several surpass the eight minute mark), the rich layers and atypical textures make sure there's always something to enjoy, even if your interests are nowhere near ambient, psych-haze, and downtempo tribal sounds.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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