Trip-O-Meter: 4.75 out of 5
This is a disc that it's almost impossible to pay attention to, but that is among its prime advantages as a swirling whirlpool of ambient sound. The Aeolian String Ensemble is a group that portents to create all of their sound through the use and electronic modification of the ancient Aeolian harp. I suppose that through said electronic modification you can get anything you want, but I swear there are a few underpinning synths here and there, or perhaps we're hearing masterfully controlled wooden echoes from the wooden box of the instrument. Regardless, the star of the show is the harp and this album takes it to some strange and very meditative places.
There are only two tracks making up this release, and the title of the disc includes both of them. "Lassithi" runs at a mind-boggling 58 minutes, and I guess it would be the kind of thing you'd actually want to hear as you're chilling out at the spa (although I must admit that I have little experience with spas beyond the Japanese hot spring variety). The sound is slowly shifting, and is extremely fluid, with the listener just barely discerning the slow changes. I think that last statement is going to help define if you're going to be interested in this one or not. Next up is the brief (at 14 minutes!) "Elysium," which runs on the same basic modus operandi, but spews forth a much darker and clausterphobic sound. If the first track is intended for relaxation, "Elysium" is more for intense contemplation. I suppose that the mood shift is quite welcome after 58 minutes.
There are no melodies and little to grasp onto with the Aeolian String Quartet. What they do present is an ocean of tones that will influence the deeper parts of your brain. This is hard-core ambient music, if you will. I find this disc to be a perfect background setting and I hope that you may also find this useful in that regard.