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Mask: Technopia

The collaboration between Curved Air vocalist Sonja Kristina and multi-instrumentalist Marvin Ayres known as Mask began back in 2006 when the duo released their first album Heavy Petal: The Tenebrous Odyssey of Jack and Virginia. The winning combination of Sonja's truly magical sounding voice coupled with Ayers' various ambient textures made for very promising debut indeed. However in my review of Heavy Petal I mentioned being disappointed with the latter half of the record which veered away from those dreamy, ambient moods into almost full blown techno. So now its three years down the road and I am assigned to review their second record Technopia, which just based on the title didn't come across as a good sign for this reviewer. Either my feelings about the techno genre have mellowed somewhat or looking back maybe my description of the duo venturing into techno wasn't entirely accurate because the music here doesn't really come across as what one would normally expect from the genre.

By once again breathing life into fictional characters Jack and Virginia Technopia not only continues their love story, but sets it to the most incredibly lush sounding fusion of classical and electronic music that you're likely to come across. Marvin Ayers' superb violin and sparkling piano playing, not to mention his incredibly deft programming skills create the perfect sonic foundations for Kristina's one of a kind vocals. He also proves to be a pretty credible vocalist himself on "Your God" and turns in a Martin Gore like vocal on the solo track "Is This A Wrong Turn". Other highlights here include a fabulous rendition of David Bowie's "Sound And Vision" that firmly usher's this underrated album cut from 1977's Low into the new millennium, while the final composition, the instrumental "Undulations" is a nine minute ambient masterpiece full of layered electronics and Kristina's soaring vocal overtones.

Technopia is a majestic sounding listening experience from beginning to end and much like their debut effort the real reason why their music works so well is just how effortlessly they're able to bring these two styles of music (classical and electroncia) together. Pick up your copy of Technopia so you can continue on with the next chapter in what has so far been an incredible musical journey.

Track Listing
1) Technopia
2) Ice Winter
3) Time To Let Go
4) Sound And Vision
5) Space In Between
6) Precious Hours
7) Faithless
8) Is This A Wrong Turn
9) Deep Creep
10) Pumpin Up The Whisper
11) Before I Leave
12) Your God
13) Undulations

Added: April 25th 2010
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Score:
Related Link: Repertoire
Hits: 1959
Language: english

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