Esoterica :: In Obscura
[elusive]   review from dj advent  

Esoterica's In Obscura on Elusive Recordings is quite the mysterious combo of words to be sure. This project stands right on the line between not being noticed because they're generally unknown and being recognized because of their single on Arabian Travels 2. Their featured track "Allisallah" on that Six Degrees comp definetly piqued my curiosity. Obscura literally translated from Latin means darkening or disappearance. In music-ese that's akin to a deep ambient/mellow beat conglomeration. Anyone who has heard ethno-esque releases from Interchill records or the like could easily see the similarities of sound design and psychedilicabilty. There's really nothing for the dance floors here excluding "Allisallah." This is more for the chill room or bedroom which in my opinion is a breath of fresh air! There's so much bhangra coming out and most Asian Massive producers focus on the dance floor or their albums have several different genre's, that obviously takes it off the ambient/chill list. How many South Asian/Arabic albums do you own where you can turn it on and float off in ambient pads?

Since starting my DJ career spinning ambient music for E-tarded ravers and tripped-out hippies in the late 90's I've heard hundreds of mixes and own over 200 electronic ambient albums. With that in mind, this album falls short of what I consider to be a stellar or even a strong release. The production quality seems suprisingly empty in comparison to professionally mastered albums post 1990. It's one of the more questioning qualities surrounding this cd, but something they will improve on by the next effort. Another issue which avid listeners and producers would recognize are the instrumental loops saturating the tracks. At times it's obvious a loop is being used as you can hear it cut off abruptly at the tail end. Think tabla "DA" or a djembe bass tone which end's before it's proper sonic output. Additionally, some loops, synths and samples just don't fit. An example is excerpts of of Maharaja Mahesh Yogi layered over spacious chill beats. I love that record ever since I had a run in with it, psilocyben and an ambient room. While the words are inspirational, it lacks flow and communication with the rest of the track. When it really comes down to it these technical discrepancies will hardly be noticeable to the general listener. It's error or success completely depends on your ear.

"Allisallah" is the favorite Esoterica beat. Excellent flute arrangements, vocals, and it supplies a heavy bouncing bass line. I can see right away why Six Degrees picked this up. It's the epitome of Esoterica's up beat talents, perfect for the floor. "All Things Connected" is another piece which stands out. Arabic strings, vocals, and numerous other layers. This is a prime example of what makes Arabtronica such a beautiful genre.

The album has several strong points but it's often overrun by repetitive, under-produced synth lines, out of place and poorly sampled vocals, and an underlying lack of presentation. This is where the album takes a dip and could have used more attention. The idea's and ispiration are noteworthy. It's the presentation that's lacking. With more time I can see this group going somewhere, but Esoterica's "Obscura" stays out of the crate.

ethnotechno rating: 2.5 out of 5
buy now

  1. boy you know what you are
  2. chasing waves (pick)
  3. now and zen
  4. all things connected
  5. fire it up
  6. lifes in motion
  7. celluloid is forever
  8. serve it slowly
  9. allisallah (pick)
  10. from her to there