This is the first album of brand new music by Mark
Dwane since 1998s limited edition CD The Neflim.
As with all of Marks releases he bases his inspiration on such
esoteric subjects as possible alien life on Mars, the ever-mystical
kingdom of Atlantis and other thought provoking mysteries of planet
Earth and beyond.
Planetary Mysteries is no different and
with such song titles as Under The Sphinx
and Planetary Energy, helping to engage the
listener in a mystical sound environment that is both thrilling and
reflective at the same time.
A first for a Mark Dwane album is that there are some female
vocals by a Michelle Nader that appear on some of the tracks
who happens to possess a distinct and powerful voice which adds a
nice contrast to the album.
Forbidden Archeology opens the album in a
typical scene setting fashion, Michelle Naders voice adding an
atmospheric chanting overlaid with Marks underlying MIDI guitar
electronics which he lets bubble under the surface before the album
gets into its stride, before Under The Sphinx
takes the center stage. A rhythmic sequence is immediately
established before an Egyptian sounding melody is played along with
the more upbeat and sharp electronics.
Now Planetary Energy could be described as
the single of this album and showcases Michelle Naders
vocal talents to the fore. A very melodic collage of dynamic
electronics combined with a song that is both catchy and memorable.
This is a song that showcases Marks deft ear for a strong melodic
composition that appeals very much. Following this we have Underwater
Stargates and judging by the cover notes a Stargate is
a UFO guiding place, a bit like a beacon if you like. In some ways
this track is a bit like the previous but maybe a bit more laid back
but none the less still a good track.Geoglyphs
is a mid-tempo piece of classic Dwane music, very melodic and relaxed.
Things pick up-tempo slightly with Hyperdimensional
and the vocals are back, to entice the listener once more. Marks use
of his main instrumentation the MIDI guitar is generally well known.
For those who do not know there are no keyboards used on his
electronic releases at all. It is all done with MIDI guitar, and very
impressive and formidable the results are. It is not all electronic
though as Mark includes in his palette of sounds some
electro-acoustic guitars, which gives an added presence of interest.
The last track Memory Alpha brings the
album to a close in a sedate relaxed way.
Space piano type sounds mix with gliding mellow electronic refrains
that bring the listener down from the power of what has gone before
Planetary Mysteries combines the best
elements of Mark Dwanes music as well as his interests in all
things mysterious that involve planet Earth. These interests show
themselves admirably through his music and once you hear Planetary
Mysteries you will feel like you have really gone somewhere.
Reviewed by Gary Andrews for Ambient Visions