REVIEW: 15 Delights of Dionysus - "The Nightmare Muzeum"

By Matt Borghi

Chain Border

The first thing that I have to say is that in spite of the Projekt-esque color combinations of black, grey and silver with the packaging, the packaging is extremely unique. They've used a piece of black sheet board and encased one of those black-bottom Sony Playstation looking CDs in the cardboard. Instead of regular old printing they've actually had the sheetboard stamped, or almost engraved. Very cool looking! Then they took the whole package and wrapped it in one of those silver/black anti-static bags that a hard drive or RAM comes in. Having not put in the CD yet, if the music is as good as the packaging, then I'm certain this will be a fantastic listen.

My first impression of this record is that it wasn't mastered. The sounds are nice, but the panning is off and there seems to be more mix in the right ear than the left. Maybe they meant it to be this way, but listening to out-of-phase drums that aren't equal in the mix can be kind of like beating your hand with a ball-peen hammer. There seems to be some excellent harmonic material in the background in the form of a variety of synth pads, but the more I listen to this recording the more certain I become that these folks just took the program Acid, adjusted the pan and left it. This is a nice sketch, but it's like they forgot the post-production.

15 Delights of DionysusThe saddest part is that the music is really quite good...I don't know if this is a freshman attempt, or if the guy that put this release together was deaf in his left ear. I keep referring to guys, because 15 Delights of Dionysus is made up of three guys: Mike Bull, Mark Riddick and Michael Riddick. The materials that make up this recording are, in and of themselves, fairly unique, but the recording and production work is so horrible that instead of pulling the listener in it pushes the listener away and says "hey is there return postage for this thing?"

I don't want to say that the music is bad, though, because it's really not. The music is quite good, creative and extremely imaginative, but if you look at a recording as a presentation of ideas, then the 15 et al needs to start doing some work on their presentation skills.

15 Delights of DionysusAbout the music… The music is an interesting mix of drums, real distorted-like, and keyboard/synthesizer work. The music is fairly cohesive even where the production is not. I'm actually extremely disappointed that the production is so poor. The more that I listen to this recording, the more I really want to just take it to my own studio and mix it well enough to make the listen enjoyable...thus following what Aaron Copland called "the long line." Compositionally this work follows the long line, where the long line is described as a series of pieces/works that fit together and take the listener to a sonic place, or create a cohesive whole.

]Musically, this recording does take the listener on some sonic triptych and the listen is rewarding overall. Particularly I like some of the more dark ambient stuff that's on this recording; the textures, and the sonic spaces. But then I'm kind of partial to ambient and related music.

At the end of the day this is a good recording. Solid, and certainly gets an A for effort! I would like to see these guys find someone to do some mastering and possibly a better mix for them in the future, but for the time being these are excellent sketches that are demonstrative of that which could be for these folks. I'll take it a step further and say, in spite, of my comments above, that a good mastering job is all this things needs to be complete because they've certainly created a recording that's stellar musically and otherwise.

Comparisons: If you like Projekt, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, VidnaObmana, Robert Rich, darker Steve Roach or similar artists then you will probably find this to be an excellent, and enticing, listen.

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