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Saturnia (Portugal) - 2003 - "Hydrophonic Gardening"
(51 min, Mellow)


***
                 
TRACK LIST:

1.  Hydrophonic Gardening 5:09
2.  Kozmische 10:13
3.  Sunflower 8:43
4.  Lava Lamp 6:09
5.  Planetarium 3:23
6.  Vimana 8:26
7.  Omnia 9:30

All tracks: by Simoes.

LINE-UP:

Luis Simoes -
-	electric, acoustic, & classical guitars, 
-	electric & acoustic Sitars; vocals
Francesco Rebelo - 
-	electric bass, bass pedals; 
-	organ & synthesizer; percussion

Prolusion. Sorry, I didn't have time to have a look into Saturnia's website and see if this project has any other albums apart from "Hydrophonic Gardening".

Synopsis. Huh, what nonsense I was just talking about! Even if this duo has some other albums, they aren't of interest to me at all. It's more than enough to listen to "Hydrophonic Gardening" to make sure in that. The CD contains four instrumental pieces: the album's title track, Kozmische, Lava Lamp, and Planetarium (1, 2, 4, & 5) and the three songs with English lyrics: Sunflower, Vimana, and Omnia (3, 6, & 7), though the latter two, as you see, are for some reason titled with Portuguese words. The first and the latter instrumentals consist almost exclusively of real and sequenced, always slow and monotonous solos of synthesizer and synthesizer effects, including such banalities as water drops falling in the void, the rote, etc. Trash is the word. The other two represent an electronically symphonic meditative-like stuff in many ways close to Tangerine Dream's second-rate works. Apart from a synthesizer, these feature the sounds of electronic percussion and a few solos of electric guitar. But while the parts of synthesizer and guitar are at least slightly changeable, everything goes on the same tempo from the first to the last note, and the same picture is everywhere on the album. The involvement of some Eastern tunes in the soundscape-like textures of Kozmische and Vimana, which contains very few vocals, doesn't help them sounding more attractive than the other instrumental pieces. The only more or less decent tracks on the album are the songs Sunflower and Omnia, both of which are about an electronically symphonic Space Rock. On the other hand, they're completely unoriginal and sound just like the quietest songs of Pink Floyd: Up & Down, for instance, but much worse. What makes my attitude towards this opus especially negative is that most of the instruments credited in the CD booklet (see line-up) aren't available on the album. To be precise, there is no organ, electric bass, bass pedals, and classical guitar, at least. A classical guitar and passages of classical guitar are just indivisible conceptions, and I can easily lay a bet that there are only rhythms of acoustic guitar and only on a few tracks. An electric bass implies the presence of the bass solos, while I hear only the dotty sounds of programmed synthy-bass punctuating the change of chords, and that's all. There are a few (!) of the Sitar-like sounds on Vimana, but I am by no means sure these are solos and overtones of real acoustic and electric Sitars (Sitars!). Finally, even the sounds of organ were never used on this very strange recording, not to mention a real organ.

Conclusion. Well, a glaring example of mediocrity, colorlessness, and the absence of inspiration: Saturnia's "Hydrophonic Gardening" is now part of the Mellow Records catalog, which I perceive as a bolt from the blue. Not a single one of their albums I've heard before, including those reviewed on ProgressoR, has disappointed me, and there you are! In short, this is one of the weakest albums ever released by the label: a fly in the ointment.

VM: January 22, 2004


Related Links:

Mellow Records
Saturnia


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