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Auralgasms – Breath of Stars CD review

auralgasmsAuralgasms is a music website “dedicated to the discovery of new and under-appreciated artists” with a focus on dreampop, shoegaze, and electronica. Naturally, their third and latest compilation “Breath of Stars” showcases the talents of range of artists with gorgeous vocals and swirling instrumentals. The first track “Sublunar” by Sleepthief features the beautiful voice of Kristy Thirsk and produces a heavenly combination of dramatically high pitched vocals, pulsating beats, and gentle electronic sounds. Costanza’s “I’ve Been Waiting For you” is an electronic track of sweetly subdued vocals and synthesized beats resembling the sound of heart beat. Halou from San Francisco contribute the beautiful song “Albatross,” which features Rebecca Coseboom’s smoothly unique vocals that glides effortlessly through the track’s lush instrumentation.

In-flight Safety’s “Lost (The March Song)” begins as a simple lo-fi song of sparse guitars, piano, and drums, which builds up to a powerful rock beat with soaring vocals and finishes off with light keyboards. Pilot Speed’s “Alright” is a melancholy acoustic track with heartfelt vocals and gentle piano flourishes added over twangy guitars. Los Angeles-based The Meeting Places track “Until It’s Gone” combines dense layers of guitars and piano over light vocals. The Daysleepers from Buffalo, NY showcase modern shoegaze stylings on their track “Loved By The Sun,” which has a reverberating feel of coolly detached vocals and dreamily expressive instrumentation. Ether Aura’s “Crash” begins as a stripped down track of female vocals that builds up to a dramatically effects filled guitar sound and heavy bass. Honeybreath “Mayfly” seems to rely on the strength of the sweet clear vocals backed by gentle acoustics reminiscent of The Sundays.

Scottish indie stalwarts the Trashcan Sinatras contribute the lilting acoustic track “All The Dark Horses,” which revives their sweetly melodic harmonies with sublimely jangly guitars from their long awaited 2006 album Weightlifting. Sky Project “Thankyou” combines breathy harmonies with rhythmic beats and acoustic guitars for a soothingly dramatic effect. Lou Rhodes, singer of Trip-hop group Lamb, questions “Why” we let the good things in for this string-filled bluesy acoustic folk song. On Ethos’s track “Late Last Life,” it begins in what sounds like a small box with vocals and piano that suddenly escapes and builds with drums and guitars that show a wide range of dynamics. Kirsty Hawkshaw’s delicate vocals and lovelorn lyrics on “Healing Angel” is driven by the pulsating electronic beats produced by the great French DJ Arnold Toutain, who collaborated with Hawkshaw on this standout track.

Moev’s “A Thousand Lashes” is a synth-pop style song that features the straight-forward vocals of Julie Ferris. Tom Ferris and Dean Cook produce a fresh sounding new wave approach to synthesized music for the first time in 8 years. Neverending White Lights’ “Return Our Lives” is a lushly layered song featuring Judah Nagler (Velvet Teen) on vocals, which changes with the song from downbeat to falsetto. Hotel De Ville’s “Celestial Call” closes the compilation with an unusual combination of light tambourine with orchestral horns and strings, and exotic vocals singing in a strange language. Breath of Stars proves to be a compilation worth hearing for both the distinctive voices and dramatic combinations of electronic and acoustic sounds. Each of the 17 carefully chosen tracks is a musical gem showcasing the talents of an artist that should be given more attention, and hopefully, they will after their appearance on this CD.

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