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Trance to the Sun
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Trance to the Sun
Urchin Tear Soda
(with Ashkelon Sain): Atlan ~ SALE $5
Trance to the Sun
new band ~ Submarine Fleet: In A Case of Fire EP ~ SALE $5.98
Spiders, Aether & Rain is released in a limited edition Digi-Pak which features newly created cover artwork by vocalist Ingrid Blue, plus a 12 page booklet filled with rare and previously unseen photos! Extensive liner notes, an unreleased track (from 1997's unfinished Equinox sessions), and Trance to the Sun's ultra-rare cover version of the Cocteau Twins "When Mama Was Moth" round out this no-holds-barred release. It's definitely a must have!
What the critics have said about Trance to the Sun:
SCI-FI (the official magazine of the Sci-FI channel): Mysterious lyrics enhance a slightly psychedelic, progressive-goth sound, generating an ambience that's ethereal, engaging, and unequivocally extraordinary.
ALTERNATIVE PRESS: A brand of music which incorporates elements of experimental, goth, ambient and rock into an ethereal stew, emphasizing cyclical trance structures around which the various elements interweave.
HIDDEN SANCTUARY: Trance to the Sun created a legacy of music that is at once entertaining as it is intelligent... all of their work will continue to be regarded as legendary, groundbreaking and proficient.
ALTERNATIVE PRESS: Trance to the Sun cast off the crutches of conventional song structure and bask in a shimmering miasma of tweaked and freaked guitars, synths, violins, bass... (they) have exploded the goth paradigm beyond recognition... this is complex experimental music that doesn't require that one have pallor or an all black wardrobe to enjoy.
THROWRUG MAGAZINE: If you like early Cocteau Twins, evocative female vocals and swirling psychedelic gothic cold icy guitars, you'll like Trance to the Sun.
I didn't really catch this band much the first time around and so what is contained on this album is as good as new for me as I'm sure it will be for many listeners and readers. What is presented is very innovative, yet relating well to the influences of other goth and ethereal groups of the time. The arrangement of tracks are not in chronological order as you might expect though they flow well, blending and mixing together into one large amorphous sound. The tracks are long with a lot of repetitive psychadelia throughout really invoking a lot of various emotions and moods.
Though I recognize the beauty and intelligence in much of the music, I do struggle with some of the album, maybe because of the psychadelic nature which I feel belongs more with the 70's and Jefferson Airplane and related bands. Many of the track names are somewhat indicative of this such as "Olive the Slut", "Spider Planet" and "Spider Like" among others. However, the goth and ethereal elements shine through and are the saving grace for the album and the band in general. Much of the album has a harsh distorted element to it with solid beats and guitars as a driving force that in many ways are the definition of gothic music.
I don't know if this album or the coinciding live performance is any indication of the band getting together for any more releases or not. Whatever the case may be, this album is a welcome addition to the collection of any fan, new or old as we explore the unique sounds of Trance to the Sun.
Spiders, Aether & Rain is an overview of the finest works that this band has brought about. Elongated tracks dominate this compilation, only two are under four minutes, one even lasts a full ten minutes. Repetitive, mind-inducing patterns play an important role and they work better when stretched over a longer period of time. The songs waver from dreamy, delicate listening stuff to tracks with dense walls of distorted guitars. From the futuristic, floating synths of "Olive the Slut" to the warm, airy strings-and-voice of "August Rain Volume 3". The female vocalists need some extra consideration because their distinctive voices have a considerable impact. Zoe Alexandra Wakefield's voice is comforting and musing that's why she appears on the more meditative songs while Ingrid Blue sounds like a little serpent. Her voice fits better to the firmer tracks. The only track on which Dawn Wagner lends her luring vocals on this CD is the previously unreleased "Winter Furnace Winds". Ashkelon Sain weaves a nebulous web of ingenious ethereal sounds. All kinds of ominous electronic sonances are combined with a considerable array of gloomy guitar tunes. It all seems to fit very logically, the sequence has an agreeable flow. Some hightlights: "Homewrecker" is a perfect shoegaze track: a slow, stately tempo, a texture of blurry, dismal guitars and doleful, aloof vocals. The steady percussion of "Execution of the Stars" in combination with the surging, swirling guitars makes for something fetching. A rendition of the Cocteau Twins' song "When Mama Was Moth" doesn't come as a surprise, Trance to the Sun resembles that band to a significant extend. On "Slave" Zoe Alexandra's voice could even be confused with that of Elizabeth Fraser. "Thistle Lurid" is the most intense track with its thick, harsh guitars and austere vocals. Spiders, Aether & Rain is an excellent summary of the career of this Californian band. For all those who want to get acquinted with their music: this compilation clocks in at nearly eighty minutes, so you are getting value for money. Rating: 8/10 - Nightporter
The 13 tracks found on this compilation of songs were selected by the band’s primary mainstay, Ashkelon Sain, in an effort to not only effectively encompass the complete cycle of the band, but to also provide a distinctive thread of music that highlights the band’s strength and musical passion as well as its historical timeline. From the beginning banshee-like vocals of Zoe Alexandra Wakefield to the darker lost-soul vocals of Ingrid Blue, whose new unicorn painting is the cover of this retrospective, to the interim Dawn Wagner, whose voice is found on only one track, the unreleased “Winter Furnace Winds,” from the unfinished Equinox sessions, Trance to the Sun was a defining darkwave band.
Besides the bonus of the previously unreleased song found on this collection, there is the difficult to find Trance to the Sun cover of Cocteau Twins’ “When Mama Was Moth,” released in 2001. The expressively titled Spiders, Aether, & Rain: The Finest Works of Trance to the Sun is an excellent distribution of songs that takes the most dynamic tracks of their career and reassembles them into a coloring book of emotions. As a soundtrack to that inner unease, that always wet sense of danger and discord, that wispy smoke of insanity, Spiders, Aether, & Rain respects the world of Trance to the Sun while immortalizing their music.
This collection is presented in a Limited Edition digipak and a 12-page booklet that splashes with lots of photos, song information, and an informative liner notes entry by Paul Angelosanto, a Massachusetts based writer/poet with direct acquaintance with Ashkelon Sain. If you’re a dedicated fan, this set seals the fine career of Trance to the Sun, especially with the two rarities within.
Trance to the Sun ceased as an entity in 2001 even as fans refuse to let the band slip away in MySpace pages. Here’s betting for a reunion set down this long, fog-drenched road. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. -Matt Rowe
But this is good darkwave, and the music expertly conveys the intended mood of the words. The spacey, distant quality of the vocals round out the mystic atmosphere, and while it would be nice to occasionally hear what those three women really sound like, something definitely would’ve been lost without those effects.
The beats rarely approach complexity, and that simplicity adds an intense element to the album that is paradoxically calming. When the energy builds in a way that reflects Trance to the Sun’s punk and goth influences, the intensity feels just as natural. —Stewart Fuell
In many ways, the '90s was the crest of the American gothic music wave; Switchblade Symphony devoured the scene, touring festivals actually existed, and Projekt and Cleopatra reigned like record label royalty... and then there were underground cult legends like Trance to the Sun. Formed in 1990 by Ashkelon Sain, their sound remains quite hard to pinpoint or even compare. Certainly, nodes of the hazy glossolalia of Cocteau Twins are present, the swampy atmosphere of the Switchblade sisters, and even the stark shadows of Bauhaus come to mind when sampling their eclectic tangle. However, their gloom is certainly all their own and thus perhaps through Spiders, Aether, and Rain, one can glean why Projekt exhumed this retrospective more than half a decade after their demise.
Unlike many of the contemporaries, TttS' eclectic sound aims for mystery over acceptability, and while a rainy dreariness is omnipresent, there is a variety within its monochrome shades. "Thistle Lurid" burbles to life, its heart a fluttering and elastic baritone arpeggio. Ensconced in a bank of smoke-machine fog, a flash of guitar fireworks through the gloom, revealing a murmuring bass guitar and brusque militant snare machine. Despite its dirge gait, vocalist Ingrid Blue sneers and snaps through her angry poetry, yet even she finds a bit of harmonic solace in its swaying breezy chorus. Shouldering a steady drum machine click and swish cadence, in "Execution of the Stars," Blue's lyrical accusations resemble the sneers of Christian Death's figurehead Rozz Williams, and with each disenchanted turn of the phrase, depressed bass guitar and clattering drum machine wisps halfheartedly echo her poison. Then there's the sprawling, 10-minute epic, "Spider Planet." As if entranced, Blue lilts questioning and psychedelic to an aloof guitar’s fluid thrum as a percussive ghost faintly scratches at its walls. Amidst its breadth, occasional instrumental movements occur; from acoustic guitar strums to flanged snare comets, they keep it from falling into pure freeform poetry. In terms of atmosphere alone, "August Rain V.1" does a wondrous job at illustrating its title. Brushes graze a drum's face while guitar swirls pensive like an opium den vision. Somewhere in its depths, bass murmurs, overtaken by the brittle grace of sighing synthetic spirits. Finally, TttS are for a moment possessed by The Cocteau Twins for a cover of "When Mama Was Moth." While mirroring the dreamy peculiarities of this venerable act via Blue's unintelligible child-like lilt, its baritone cathedral bell, flat kettle drum rolls, and murderous synth breaks lend the piece enough of TttS' signature drama to render it a rather interesting interpretation.
Surprisingly, despite being fronted by three separate vocalists and written across a decade, Spiders, Aether, and Rain feels more like a solid, varied album than a smattering of archival samples. Certainly, these peculiar and twisted thoughts are more of a challenge than some may accept, but for those aware of their revelation, this compilation will undoubtedly bring back those memories of when gothic music thought itself to be dark and mysterious rather than simple dance or rock music. -Vlad McNeally