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Shulman :: In Search of a Meaningful Moment
[aleph zero]   review from sarika  


Towards the end of the journey, when inducers of illusion begin to seep out of the body, the psychedelic footprint of past travels is still warm and fresh. Senses are exposed and ready to scream at the slightest provocation: slowly chewing a piece of fruit is an explosive experience; fascination detains your eyes at every glance; simple touch has the power to astound. As the boundaries of common decency between senses become overwhelmingly blurred, all eyes are on sound.

Shulman are tender caregivers to shredded psychedelic nerves, offering an elixir at the end of the wandering that soothes, heals, and taps out a rhythm of hope to weary travelers who are not ready to turn it off just quite yet. When physical limitations dictate that shanthi repeal the madness in the quiet of dawn, In Search of a Meaningful Moment opens shyly, aptly with morning, in the telltale company of birdsongs. The album wakes up with the dub-laced second track, "The Unexpected Visitor," as silky guitar notes bring an organic element to the electronics and adds welcome melody to the wash. Crawling in with an ominous beginning, "A Magnificent Void" introduces the warm company of cut-up, ethnic vocals to make for a satisfyingly meditative song. By now the language of the album is learned and understood as "Consciousness Revoked" demands surrender to Shulman's blurred universe. However, the powerful, heavy first half of the track winds into un-enriching muddiness that briefly stalls the growth of the album.

The work's strongest tracks lay in wait for the end, where "Mushroom Therapy" and "Intability" sweat with the push of latent energy so wearily craved on psy-ambient recordings. Beautifully balancing ambient elements with psychedelic drive, a wistful sarangi rides on a steady undertow of beats and transports "Mushroom Therapy" to exotic shores, finishing with a twisted, wicked end. Brooding male and female vocals play absently in vapors of simmering rhythm on divine epilogue "Instability," but in the last few sweet, elevating minutes, the track is all groove, pressing as if to shatter the ambient sheen laid down by the music preceding it.

In Search of a Meaningful Moment is done in a high-quality weave, and a smattering of well but oft-used samples drapes a comfortably familiar blanket around the work. Yaniv Shulman and Omri Harpaz, collectively known as Shulman, have been extolled as "Israel's answer to Shpongle." While this is dangerously close to a blasphemous comparison, In Search of a Meaningful Moment is a sound, thoughtful record deserving praise in its own otherworldly light.



ethnotechno rating: 4 out of 5
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  1. Inner Selves
  2. The Unexpected Visitor (pick)
  3. A Magnificent Void
  4. Consciousness Revoked
  5. Random Lifelines
  6. Mushroom Therapy (pick)
  7. Another Paradigm
  8. Instability (pick)