Back in 2008 Riverside front man Mariusz Duda launched his new solo project called Lunatic Soul. The first self titled debut was quite a musical departure for Duda in that it took him into some uncharted territory, mainly due to the conspicuous absence of electric guitars which made for a distinctly mellower offering. The second album entitled simply II is very much a continuation of the concepts explored throughout that first record, and in Duda's own words "It's still a story about a journey through the afterworld, more specifically a journey through a certain place that exists somewhere in-between".
Assembled once again with the help from some of his talented musician friends these nine compositions feature an abundance of layered and often exotic sounding atmospherics and arrangements. There is definitely this other worldly dynamic running through the music as the listener is guided slowly through this trance-like journey by the soothing timbre of Duda's voice and all the diverse and wonderful sounds that accompany it. I love the far Eastern or more specifically the oriental vibe that pops up in the instrumental "Limbo" as the electronic percussion and effects segue seamlessly into the exotic tribal beats in "Escape From Paradice". The tension slowly mounts as the driving rhythms are joined by some throbbing, distorted bass playing. This brings us to what certainly has to be the most ambitious sounding track on the album, the eleven minute "Transition". The sparse, ghost like keyboard arrangements set the stage for the first four minutes before Duda's pensive vocals come to the forefront. At the halfway mark the arrangement shifts dramatically into an explosion of cool electronic effects that envelop the heavy handed drum work, which eventually dies down as the song comes almost full circle by concluding much the same way it began. Two marvelously subdued numbers "Gravestone Hill" and "Wanderings" bring the second chapter of Lunatic Soul to a close. In addition to containing Mariusz Duda's most thought provoking and diverse sounding musical journey to date, the stark looking black and white photos included in the booklet are absolutely stunning and they complement the music perfectly.
While this chapter closes with II it sets the stage for Duda's next musical endeavor under the Lunatic Soul moniker. Who knows what shape the music will take or what direction it will go in, but with Mariusz Duda it's pretty much a guarantee that it will be something special.
1) The In-Between Kingdom
3) Suspended In Whiteness
6) Escape From Paradice
8) Gravestone Hill