Sometimes an alternative to the urgency of complex uptempo music turns out to have somewhat of a glove-fit. Ex-Shingetsu guitarist Haruhiko Tsuda, under the moniker of Metagaia, recorded the eight sonic refinements published collectively as Phonegenix in three different intervals between 1995 and 1997. With contributions from guitarist Masayoshi Murakami, synthesist Toshimichi Isoe, an "unknown" sax player, and Shingetsu alumnus Akira Hanamoto on piano, the cerebral vistas therein indulge a variety of moods and musical styles.
Slowly developing through whorls of synthesized and sample-based tones and percolating sequences, "Divinity Rising" (with sax by the aforementioned "Person X") sets the tone for the album's concurrent voyages into inner and outer space. "Cosmo-Sphere" utilizes brass and e-guitar emulations à la Vangelis and Kitaro. "The Star of D.O.G." veers into trip-hop mode, abetted by faux-sax and a roving guitar melody; unlike the two tracks before it, this has a more middle-of-the-road feel and isn't as suave—the stark percussion outro-sequence also sounds very out of place. "Psyche Of Cloud" gets back on mark with a more Tangerine Dream-esque feel stocked by octal bell and percussion loops, and stereo-panned analog bass. Similarly, "Home" treads sequencer ground and adds a koto sample to parallel Azuma's and Lucia Hwong's own synth stylings.
Vangelis' Blade Runner is echoed on "The Configuration Dance" with warm strings and faux-trumpet; it's of the calmest pieces here, but one of the three best. "...Signal..." is akin to a mineral-encrusted gem in this treasure chest; take a downtempo dance groove, simple triad-based string and chime patterns, and choice digital drum timbres and the result is a composition with a good deal of cinematic flavor. "Water Harp" is a Fripp-ian guitar soundscape piece augmented by suspended piano notes (courtesy of Hanamoto) to induce a floating feel. Hence, the track is an elegant outro to Tsuda's prevalently electronic efforts. Fans of Tangerine Dream, Emerald Web, Azuma and Vangelis should find quite a bit to like here.
1. Divinity Rising 6:46
2. Cosmo-Sphere 4:35
3. The Star Of D.O.G. 5:36
4. Psyche Of Cloud 4:44
5. The Configuration Dance 4:11
6. A Signal Glows In The Dark 4:30
7. Home 6:11
8. Water Harp 4:53
Total time – 41:30