ARTNAT – The Mirror Effect
Release Date: 01/03/2021
Running Time: 60:40
Review by Martin Bennewith
If you want to sit down and listen to a feast of progressive, art-rock, you cannot really go wrong with listening to Artnat’s debut “The Mirror Effect”. There certainly is a theme of simplicity marrying with the complex, as the musical mix-up of a fusion style rhythm section, analogue synth sounds along with a lead guitar, that throughout and without sounding flashy, tells a complex musical story.
Opener, ‘Riding the Edge’ has an eerie feel, dark sounding vocals against a backdrop of fusion, with a lazy guitar and synths swirling around varying tonal centre. The rhythm is also quite complex and changeable. Because of the arty nature, it does need some active listening to really appreciate the musicianship involved.
Second track, ‘Eternal Dance Of Love’ is a more laid-back number, with emotional lead guitar and sweet vocal lines against strings and piano, but the track progresses and builds to an energetic rhythmic plateau, and then calms down for the bass driven calmer ending.
There is a lot of music on this album, so I will not cover everything, however it is fair to say that the theme of progressive art-rock runs throughout. Track 3 ‘Return To Om’ will get a mention, as at 14 minutes long, it is a quarter of the album. This track is a mashup of energy and dream from the swirling bass and rhythms, with some sweet vocals, psychedelic melodic synth, and inspiring guitar. It is certainly an interesting journey that takes you from a certain softness to an energetic fusion.
Another standout track for me is ‘Cosmic Machinery’ – this has a very psychedelic improvised feel to it and is almost on the edge of being disturbing. It is chaos but in a good way. Just when you think you have got the meaning, it changes as it pulls away from one part of the journey and sends you on the next part. The grinding synths along with the lead create atonal mayhem against an ever-evolving rhythm.
The title track ‘The Mirror Effect’ centres around chants, vocal storytelling and harmony over piano, but drifts back into the arty guitar that is a theme through the album. There are interesting sections dropped in, such as a tribal sounding rhythm and chanting, as well as some synthesised mayhem. It is an interesting track but to a point that almost caricatures the rest of the album, which is quite fitting for the title track.
‘The Dramatic Beauty Of Life’ begins with some lovely atmospheric sounds, along with some keys, and then breaks into a fusion jam on the drums and bass with some excellent Moog and guitar leads. It sounds like a free for all, with a jazz edge to it, which develops through the introduction of some vocal sounds and eventually an abrupt ending that contrasts from the slow beginning. An interesting track, although it can be hard to follow at times.
The final track ‘Finale’ is a fitting end, and meant to sound like the end – strings, a choir, piano, and a brass section – there are no guitars in sight. It is detached from the rest of the album but works well to spell out that it is all over.
I did not need to describe every track on this album, as there is a theme running throughout. This means it can be described as a whole from key moments. For what it is, “The Mirror Effect” works well. It is not an easy listen, so I would not recommend it when you are relaxing or driving, but if you want to listen to something that is musically complex, while at the same time not overstretching technical boundaries, then it is certainly worth a go.
01. Riding The Edge Of Darkness
02. Eternal Dance Of Love
03. Return To OM
04. From Chaos To Beauty
05. A View From Above
06. Cosmic Machinery
07. The Mirror Effect
09. The Dramatic Beauty Of Life
10. The Complex Art Of Creation
Manuel Cardoso – Guitars
Gui da Luz – Synths
Sara Freitas – Vocals
Paulo Bretão – Basses
João Samora – Drums
André Hencleeday – Keyboards
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