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Album review: The Bermuda Triangle – “Wonderland”

08/01/2011

Well, seeing as The Death of CDs review a couple of albums that I made (Coral Orange & DJ Future Sphere? Yeah, that’s me.) I decided to return the favor and review one of the albums that I actually cared about and listened to in full in 2010. Otherwise, there would be much more albums that would override it as one of the best in 2010, still “Wonderland” turned out to be in the top 10 for the last year.

Well, The Bermuda Triangle is Ian Felpel. Also known as Insomnious Noise, Ian makes music that’s pretty hard to classify: is it electro house? Or is it IDM? Or is it trance? “Wonderland”, in particular, was his attempt at creating a “shoegaze trance” record. At first it seemed like a plausible concept, but later on it deflated and 13 tracks devolved to 9. So, if we compare it to yours’ truly “Desolate & Stardust” (can’t resist) with 13 tracks in almost 62 minutes, “Wonderland” is the epitome of “brevity is wit” in electronic music: 9 tracks in 44 minutes. Impressive.

But still, its main flaws, personally, are a relative lack of diversity. If you’re a first time listener, try to discern “Wonderland” from “Feelings That Language Cannot Describe” from a track featuring Jean-Luc Stoufflet “Indeterminacy” from “Centralia Will Burn On Indefinitely”. Of course, melodies will differ and all that, but seeing as they are all in the same key, and use sounds far too similar…

That said, “Feelings That Language Cannot Describe” and “Indeterminacy” are among the best tracks on the album: “Feelings” is a call back to the best track on “Weird”, “A Night at the Wildwood Beach”, with all these majestic progressions and whatnot, and the collaboration with Jean-Luc Stoufflet “Indeterminacy” is easily the most melodic on the album. The other tracks that are worth mentioning are “A Little Bit of Old-Skool IDM” (literally) that is a break from the mold of the album’s usual fare and a great minimal techno excursion in the vein of Plastikman’s “Consumed”; “Why Did You Do It” with The Daunting, here as simply Sophia (because that’s her given name!) which is the most high profile collaboration here – but still, her vocal performance doesn’t compare to “In This Land” from Derek Palmer’s “In Motion” which is easily her best moment in music released for purchase last year.

The lowlights here have to be the intro, interlude and outro, but luckily they aren’t too long so that doesn’t really impair the quality of the album. Still, what can I say? The Bermuda Triangle’s “Wonderland” is a worthy follow up to “Weird”, cutting down on the ambient side and focusing more on the dance side, which is as formidable. What it lacks is a bit more variety, that doesn’t take on the whole musical spectre, but in the genre itself. Nevertheless, it is one of the better albums released last year. Take notice.

Highlights: “Feelings That Language Cannot Describe”, “A Little Bit of Old-Skool IDM”, “Indeterminacy”, “Why Did You Do It?”, “Wonderland”

Lowlights: “How It Starts = How It Ends”, “Psychedelic Forest Intermission”, “How It Ends = How It Starts”

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