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Aminita Satori: “Where Language Fails” – artistically complex but accessible to the average ear

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Posted April 20, 2015 by Peter Burns in Headlines

Originally from Chicago, Aminita Satori enjoyed a successful career producing soundtracks on major TV ad campaigns, for companies like McDonald’s, Budweiser, and Verizon. After a decade in the advertising world, Aminita grew disillusioned with the business and succumbed to a five year writer’s block.

Satori’s interest in music was rekindled in early 2011 upon discovering the lecture archives of late philosopher and author, Terence McKenna, which in turn generated the influences that sprouted, “Where Language Fails” – a collection of 20 tracks that blur the lines between genre definitions and ideas.

Usually, without any awareness of the artist, their identity is sought through encounters with their art, which creates a more intimate bond with the work as opposed to its creator. In the age of hype and the ‘instant celebrity’, this type of listening experience rarely occurs, and often we know more about the ‘artist’ than their ‘works’. However, when the occasion presents itself, as is the case with Aminita Satori, the experience is especially intriguing.

The brand of electronic that Aminita Satori crafts has a certain jazz-element to it, and once you hear it, you can’t miss it. There are multiple things going on in each track but if you want you can pick each individual beat or groove out easily- which means that though it maintains certain artistically complex levels, it however remains accessible to the average ear.

The versatile use of synths, electronic beats, sounds and voices keeps you interested while the intermittent interwoven melodies add an extra layer of enjoyment.  I was struck by how the overall feel of album was similar to a hallucinating dreamlike state, regurgitated from the psyche of a musician with an intimate knowledge of electronica, jazz, psychedelia, futurism et al; until I remembered that the album was inspired by works connected to Terence McKenna.

For those not in the know (and I’ll cite directly from Wikipedia, so you may quickly research yourself) – Terence Kemp McKenna (November 16, 1946 – April 3, 2000) was an American psychonaut, ethnobotanist, lecturer, and author. He spoke and wrote about a variety of subjects, including psychedelic drugs, plant-based entheogens, shamanism, metaphysics, alchemy, language, culture, technology, and the theoretical origins of human consciousness.

In fact, there seems to be hallucinatory imagery ingrained into the shifting soundscapes in the album, teasing the listener as it unfurls, leading one into a psychedelic frenzy or calm, as any strange narcotic could. “Where Language Fails” is a musical sketch pad filled with notations of beautiful vocal madness, streams of conventional rhythmic consciousness and vague melodic associations that result in a vivid listening experience, capturing the full magnitude of Aminita Satori’s eclectic creative potential.

Defying any genre classification, Satori’s ambient electronic psychedelia, often stuffed with soulful blaring horns, harnesses soundscapes and rhythms that groove thoroughly. The result is a sometimes chill, sometimes fiercely energetic, listening experience that is always sonically satisfying.

Personally, I find track-listings and selecting standout songs totally irrelevant in a singular musical statement as bold as “Where Language Fails”.  This is the type of album you put on from track one, and then allow your subconscious take you whenever you need to go!

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