Quality: 4.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 5 out of 5
One thing we'll say for Joel V is that the man is pretty diverse. Without having any hard info to base this on, I imagine that after a few years swirling around in the psychedelic vortex documented on Brainticket's Cottonwoodhill, the man did what any hippy worth his salt would do and spent a few years trying to achieve altered states of mind through meditation as opposed to psychedelic drugs. I'll use the title of this album as exhibit A; plus after googling his name I think there were a few new age seminars that the man was speaking at.
Anyhow, this general frame of mind seems to fit Joel V better than the acid lunatic role did, at least on this album. This sound nothing like Brainticket, focusing instead on ambient electronics, sparce but etheral vocal, and a few organic instruments accenting the sound nicely. Not having tried any serious meditation myself, this seems to indeed be a fine album to meditate to.
The epic tracks bookend this album. The 14 minute "Group Meditation" is a very foggy drone track, although it is a very happy drone for the most part. There are some occasional Music For Airport style piano plunks that sometimes break things up a bit along with nice overtones from God knows what. Sometimes it's difficult to see through the haze. There's also a synth flute hovering somewhere low in the mix. For a few seconds here and there, it was a little cheezy.
On the other end of the album we find "Beyond Tampura" clocking in at an intimidating 24 minutes. It struck me as sounding similar to something we might find on Klaus Schultz's Mirage. Joel V adds a little more life by throwing on some nice melodic electric piano parts.
Fortunately, the shorter pieces sandwiched in between are pretty good too; focusing a little more on melody for the most part, while not disrupting the meditative vibe of the album. "Summer Clouds" sounds like something that would work well for the planet soundtrack on Star Trek (for you trekkies out there, it specifically reminds me of the Genesis music from Star Trek III). "Mantra" comes across like Radiohead's "Treefingers" 20 years early while "Sand 'n' Wind" does a nice job of referencing the Berlin school electronics.
There is no false advertising here. If you want music that fits the title and want to look like the fellow on the cover through your third eye, then this disc is exactly what you're looking for. This is one of my most listened to albums as it does do a phenomenal job of creating a nice, gauzy temporary headspace. Just don't listen to this expecting a follow-up to Brainticket; this isn't even in the same genre (except for I guess the sort of umbrella obscure psychedelia one).