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Thread: FEATURED ALBUM: Aranis - Songs From Mirage

  1. #1
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    FEATURED ALBUM: Aranis - Songs From Mirage

    Songs from Mirage is now 10 years old believe it or not. After really enjoying the first two albums, I was blown away by the inclusion of the vocals taking center stage. The end result is a real stunner of an album, perhaps best in their catalog, and ages great over the last 10 years. Thoughts?



    Review from ProgArchives
    Even if Aranis' EP Hidden Soundscapes was a collaboration with Toon Fret and not an album per se, it was warning us that changes were due to their chamber prog realm; and Mirage is the first step to these changes. Among the changes is definitely the artwork, the results the encounter of the two males of the debut's cover and the five females of their second album's sleeve. Obviously the baby present here will be on most of the member's minds in the coming years, starting I think with their piano player that has not played the two French gigs this year. Then of course there are three heavenly singers, each as beautiful as the five other female muses of the group. I think Stijn and Joris are among the luckiest male musicians around.

    First and most striking is the addition of three singers that act mainly as choirs (but not only) much the way that the Kobaian singers do for Vander's Magma's music, even if Aranis doesn't go Zeuhl. The next striking thing is how darker Aranis' musical realm has become: from light and happy and falsely careless (the band is always very tight) to now darker, thoughtful, sombre (but not sinister or macabre), it's quite a swing they managed in just one album. And as a result, Aranis plays much slower music than in their first two albums, but also becomes more solemn at times.

    From the contrabass drones come out one then three slow moaning voices, leading the way for Marjolein's accordion, before Axelle's piano leads the same accordion into a French-sounding valse? The 6-mins+ Ouverture certainly give plenty to the listener, but the boundaries are not set yet. Probably the most energetic track of the album is Chamber Rock, a track that brings us back to the first two albums, but it is sandwiched between two slow sung tracks like the single voice Fresia and its reprise. A little further Airesym and Jelimena are obvious highlights as the closing 10-mins Finale is. A bit more dissonant (that's rather new also from Aranis) are tracks like Aynu and Lever In Plakjes and one can feel that they need more experience to venture out in this area. Enjuminenna is more of the same in that area.

    Well if you liked the first two albums with its instrumental chamber prog, you might want to be careful when approaching this third album, which has taken a deep and slower pace and turned in some ways a bit between Magma (the unavoidable comparison due to the choirs) and Univers Zero (the slow dark chamber music) without going to the extremes of these two, but Songs From Mirage is just as worthy as its predecessors, if not more. - Trane


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  2. #2
    Member Since: 3/27/2002 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER's Avatar
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    were their first 2 albums without vocals?
    Why is it whenever someone mentions an artist that was clearly progressive (yet not the Symph weenie definition of Prog) do certain people feel compelled to snort "thats not Prog" like a whiny 5th grader?

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    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Still my favourite of theirs with Roqueforte, really is ethereal and sublime, wish they'd done more in this style.
    Ian

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    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    I absolutely love this band. This album is for me their best from an impressive catalogue. The vocals add a completely new dimension to their already sophisticated music.

    I was very happy to have seen this performed live with a choir.

    I know Joris was working on a follow up to Songs from Mirage. I doubt we will ever get to hear it.

    Every prog fan should at least hear this album.

  5. #5
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    I like it. Sounds like a never released ECM album by Michael Galasso and Dave Darling + choir.

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    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    Good album but my favourie Aranis is Made In Belgium II.


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  7. #7
    A beautiful and compelling album. My favourite of theirs that I own, though I haven't heard everything they did.
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    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER View Post
    were their first 2 albums without vocals?
    Yup

    Quote Originally Posted by NogbadTheBad View Post
    Still my favourite of theirs with Roqueforte, really is ethereal and sublime, wish they'd done more in this style.
    I was lucky enough to catch them twice on the tour of this album (must've seen them around 15 times overall), and it was impressive...

    Kerman's drumming on Roqueforte gave them too much of a Present or UZ feel. I'd place Aranis II as second best IMHO

    Quote Originally Posted by thedunno View Post
    I absolutely love this band. This album is for me their best from an impressive catalogue. The vocals add a completely new dimension to their already sophisticated music.

    I was very happy to have seen this performed live with a choir.

    I know Joris was working on a follow up to Songs from Mirage. I doubt we will ever get to hear it.

    Every prog fan should at least hear this album.
    Not sure Aranis is completely dead, so I still have hope for SfM II.

    I did miss their latest representations of Mirage last year , though
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  9. #9
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    Yup

    Not sure Aranis is completely dead, so I still have hope for SfM II.
    Pierre said they were dead at RIO
    Ian

    I blame Wynton, what was the question?
    There are only 10 types of people in the World, those who understand binary and those that don't.

  10. #10
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NogbadTheBad View Post
    Pierre said they were dead at RIO
    yup, he said the same thing to me three months ago (I posted then that on the Aranis and Present thread about this info), but my guess is that it's not up to him to say.
    Joris is the "Mastaranis"
    I believe they still have one local concert or two to go in Flanders (most likely contractual obligations) before actual dying (or going into a coma)
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  11. #11
    I like this album quite a bit. The other albums of theirs I heard without the vocals are not as interesting.

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