Back to follow up the debut on Metropolis Records, APOK, the largely Canadian outfit iVardenshpere returns with The Methuselah Tree. This time out, iVardensphere does once again bring a series of guest vocal appearances but has a few new tricks up its sleeve. Since APOK, iVardensphere has not only brought the incomparable Jamie Blacker of Electronic Substance Abuse into the fold, but has also managed to better channel its tribal and world music influences into the overall sound.
“Bloodline” offers the first real taste of what iVardenshpere does best as blistering digital beats are coupled with rousing analog bongos in a display sure to remind many of some of the best work of Juno Reactor. Though it seems almost like a second introduction track, “A Black Sun on the Horizon (Invocation)” acts more as a bombastic and dramatic interlude to mark the beginning of the guest vocalist tracks. Aesthetic Perfection’s Daniel Graves offers his talents to “Break the Sky” with his vocal range acting as a perfect complement to iVardensphere’s arrangement of soft, folk-like moments offset by heavy blistering beats and grinding synth. “Snakecharmer” acts as a nice, more straightforward electronic/world music hybrid using chanting, castanets, and sitar to give the bass heavy track a pleasantly mellow Middle Eastern flavor. iVardensphere’s newest recruit, Jamie Blacker takes vocal duties next with “The Impossible Box,” and despite dealing with some mildly cheesy lyrics manages to bring some nice gravitas to what could otherwise be a fairly forgettable dance track. “Society of Dogs” is one of the album’s loveliest tracks and while the duet of Assemblage 23’s Tom Shear and Mari Kattman is impeccable, iVardensphere once again has laid a fantastic foundation for the voices to dance upon as the subtle tribal percussion and mellow earthy sound perfectly stamp this as an iVerdensphere track despite the strong and distinctive styles of its guests. This skill shows itself again when Blacker once again takes over vocal duties with the tile track, “The Methuselah Tree,” giving Blacker a much more interesting and complex track to bring vocal talents to.
While iVardensphere’s previous work on APOK showed promise, the album tended to be too inconsistent and disparate to lend itself to easy enjoyment as a whole. The Methuselah Tree, however, does a much better job of maintaining a cohesive sound, and even during the guest vocal tracks, iVardensphere expertly maintains its unique personality and is not overwhelmed by the personality of the vocalist. While the album isn’t without its mild rough spots, The Methuselah Tree showcases iVardensphere’s skills and overall artistic direction and proves the act to be a sizable talent that absolutely should not be missed.
iVardensphere Website http://ivardensphere.com
iVardensphere MySpace http://www.myspace.com/ivardensphere
iVardensphere Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ivardensphere
iVardensphere Twitter http://www.twitter.com/ivardensphere
Metropolis Records Website http://www.metropolis-records.com
Metropolis Records MySpace http://www.myspace.com/metropolisrecords
Metropolis Records Facebook http://www.facebook.com/MetropolisRecords
Metropolis Records Twitter http://www.twitter.com/metropolisrec
Metropolis Records Bandcamp http://metropolisrecords.bandcamp.com
Storming the Base
Trubie Turner (Flexei)