Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Pixie Ninja — Hypnagogia
(Apollon Records ARP068, 2023, CD / LP / DL)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2023-11-21
Those diminutive Norwegian mercenaries Pixie Ninja return with a new album, Hypnagogia. To help understand their new album, let us explore a little bit about hypnagogia, which is the transition state between wakefulness and sleep when it is common to experience visual, audio, or other types of hallucinations, as well as muscle jerks and sleep paralysis. Curiously, some people purposefully try to induce hypnagogia to stimulate creativity. These seven tracks take you further into this shadow realm. The album opens with “Thanatosis,” which is the ability to fake death in order to evade a predator or any other unwelcome intrusion. This opening track alternates between harsh raucous and gentle passages, culminating in outstanding saxophone riffing. “Silver Paper Unicorns” follows and shifts to a mysterious cinematic and delicate soundscape that approaches world music. Then the band launches into the chaotic and rhythmic “Pandæmonium.” The next track is “Dance Macabre,” which you might think is an appropriate edge of consciousness and gothic instrumental, but you would be wrong. Instead Pixie Ninja plays an aggressive and melodic prog rock with what sounds like annoying buzzing flies at the end that could be a reference to Lord of the Flies. Then they take the listener to the ends of the world with “Ora Antarctica,” the coast of Antarctica, with cold, eerie, and tinkling sonic structures. “Alpha Waves” follows, and this track is what I would consider to be a danse macabre, lots of buzzing analog synths, dissonance, Mellotron, and pseudo-subliminal computer voices. A suitably spooky track. And the album closes with “Oneironaut,” which is a person with the ability to travel within a dream on a conscious basis. Characterized by looped rhythm, analog sequencers, and raw Mellotron, this track is an excellent close to this outré album.
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