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Saturnia — Saturnia
(Elektrohasch 131, 1999, CD)

by David Falcone, Published 2000-05-01

Saturnia Cover art

From Portugal comes Saturnia and their mischievous dose of psychedelia. Stripped down to base elements, Saturnia is a guitar / synth duo (Luís Simões / M. Strange) who perform over beats of electronica. Surprisingly (and refreshingly) there are little to no techno kicks or endless synth arpeggios. The six-song LP-length proceedings begin with “Club Aquarium,” blending psych-out acidics with an easy-going modern drum ‘n’ bass riff. An intro bubble arpeggio and submerged vocals construct the “Aquarium.” Phased guitars and retro organ round out the mix. One almost expects Arthur Brown (or even Syd Barrett) to enter stage left. Saturnia’s concept of 60s psychedelia plus modern beats is novel, but in an effort to achieve a perfect blend of sounds, lacks the tightness of others who have tried unexpected electronica marriages (Talvin Singh’s ethno drum ‘n’ bass or even Alex Reese’s smooth soulful drum ‘n’ bass comes to mind). There are two special standouts that point toward good future tidings. The instrumental “Twilight Bong”: a perfect mix of sitar, harmonium-style keys, and Moorish gypsy electro-rhythms (electronic hand drums, bells, tabla and real gongs). Everything but the belly dancer. Think Azigza goes trance. The CD ends strongly with “Sculptress Sublime.” From a water / thunder ambiance emerges heavy godzilla guitar licks. Mars Everywhere doing drum ‘n bass? You bet. Then, instead of organ, a phased piano (like a cool stream of vibes). There’s actually three or more different d ‘n’ b patterns, each building upon the other. The occasional drum stop is connected by rhythmic laughter. This indeed is Saturnia’s acid trip. And to top it all off during a momentary calm, gliss guitar.

Saturnia is a concept that’s been waiting to happen. Although their first outing takes a few missteps, they have clearly discovered (and rediscovered) new aural lifeforms; future explorations should be of interest to many.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 19, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Saturnia

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