REVIEW: Dark Muse - "Sounds From Beyond The Silver Wheel"

By Mike Ventarola

Chain Border

Sounds From Beyond the Silver WheelWhen it comes to package design, The Fossil Dungeon is a label that remains head and tails above the rest. Each release is uniquely packaged with loving detail and stylized graphics that one tends to feel as though they have a priceless piece of art in their possession.

Dark Muse, a.k.a. Phyll Smith, combined a concoction of sounds that include voice, guitar, line 6-delay modeler, Russian string piano, bells, coils, nails, screws, water, bowed cymbal, synthesizer, drum machine and anything else that was handy. One would think that with all that disparate enhancement that the recording would sound rather noisy. On the contrary, Sounds From Beyond The Silver Wheel is a somber and delightful waltz through darkness.

Dark MuseQueen of the World Spirits takes on an otherworldly quality. There is a dark celestial quality that gives the essence of floating above a night sky. The track seems to be waiting for a soundtrack score inclusion at some point. Certain Angst lends itself with a theatrical quality as the background music has a three dimensional effect. Smith's vocals take us on an inward journey of wanting that escape from the oppressive and desolate time in our lives. There is also a certain minimalism where her vocals are given a Gregorian style sound with just the correct balance of cavernous reverb. Calm is highly organic in that one actually feels as though they are riding the gentle waves of a lake. The water sound effect gently tugs this imagery, but the rest is carried out by the sounds which seem to bend with each inflection along with the quieting vocals.

Luna Flow (the Deep) is an instrumental piece right out of a book from Middle Pillar's A Murder of Angels. Sounds are crafted to have an otherworldly life form of their own, as though a living and breathing entity. Once Amid A Dream incorporates the surrealism of the dream world and guides it once again with gentle vocals. This is a sedate track that lulls the listener into a reverie, one that you want to willingly fall into. Silver Wheel Flow adds a bit of the mechanical and organic effects. The pervasive darkness of sound is evident, yet the listener will try to find their way through the headset to envision what is transpiring in the background. We get a sense of burning embers and a quiet ritual taking place, yet we are never really sure. Disorder asks us, "could you estimate the disorder/calculate it as well/wrap it all up in cellophane & sell it to yourself/ Luxury for the dying/ modesty for the insane/ lyrics as sweet as candy/that shoot straight to your brain." Ultimately, Dark Muse has indeed taken a bit of the forlorn element that is intrinsic with a goth fan's headset and wrapped it up beautifully for consumption.

Sounds From Beyond The Silver Wheel is not your ordinary goth release. Coming from The Fossil Dungeon, one would not expect it to sound like anyone else currently on the market. Dark Muse created an avant garde piece of ethereal work that takes organic and mechanical sounds and imbibes them with a breath of life in Godlike fashion. Her enchanting vocals underscore the music in pitch perfect timbre and help to coalesce the spirit entity pervasive in the music.

This CD is decidedly more for the ethereal goth fan who likes the more sedate musical underground offerings. In spite of the darkness, one comes away feeling released and cleansed as though the tarnished soul was given a good scrubbing. Fans of avant garde and ethereal music should seek out this release because it is among the best of its kind.

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Contact Information:
Post: The Fossil Dungeon, 43796 Tattinger Ter, Ashburn, VA, 20148-3125, USA

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