Cell - "Phonic Peace" (Indica , 2005) REVIEW

topic posted Tue, May 31, 2005 - 4:30 PM by  BrettFromTibet
Artist & Album: Cell - "Phonic Peace"

Label: Indica Music, Italy --

Released: May, 2005

Reviewed by: BrettFromTibet

There is something uncommonly delicate and magical about the way Cell shapes sound. The moment I heard my first track from this French artist on a compilation –– it rose right to the top of the disc as the crème de la crème. His released singles have shown mastery of several styles including: ambient, tribal, lounge and psy-chill –– giving me very high expectations for this artist.

His debut album, "Phonic Peace", is actually better than I anticipated. This CD, released by Indica Music in Rome, is beautiful inside and out. The digipak cover shows a stick of burning incense with swirling smoke trails and pages of an ancient manuscript, accurately capturing the mood of the music. The sounds inside are a smooth blend of electronic and ethnic instruments which are all masterfully edited, treated, and woven into a tapestry of sheer ambient elegance.

Much more sophisticated than just "samples pasted-over ambient beats", "Phonic Peace" goes so far as to set a new reference standard for ethnic ambient production. The sound design and musical artistry are as finely detailed as the stitching found in the most expensive rugs from the Orient.

We hear electronic notes embellishing gracefully on acoustic instrument scales, creating a flavor of "intergalactic ethno fusion" that is more successful than anything previous. A progression of sitar notes are finished off perfectly by synth licks that swirl around the sound-picture like tendrils of sonic incense smoke. Tibetan singing bowls are accompanied in perfect harmony by synthesizers that sound even purer. Chimes and bells tinkle over a soft mix of electronic melodies, real flutes and hypnotic vocals. Everything is polished over with a coat of mirror-smooth, classy, psychedelic gloss.

"Phonic Peace" takes us on a holographic carpet ride from North Africa to Tibet via the Middle East and India. The mystic moods and sensual atmospheres that are evoked during this journey feel even richer than the ones on French ambient classics such as Saffi Brothers’ "Mystic Cigarettes" or Toires’s "Qued".

The mastering on this disc is absolutely perfect. It comes out of the speakers so crystalline clear, warm, and vast -- it feels easier for me to ‘‘disappear inside’’ than any other music in my collection. I highly recommend listening to this during a sophisticated chill-out session, yoga, or meditation.

Cell’s music does more than just give me great pleasure when I listen to it. There is a rare quality to this album that is both other-worldly and soothing; it actually liberates me on a spiritual level. I feel deeply inspired, comforted and completely unafraid of life whenever this is playing on my headphones or Hi-Fi. It’s as if these sounds are a glimpse into an ethereal paradise that I am eventually destined for. Just listen deeply enough, and you too will experience this glorious state of "Phonic Peace."
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