Shpongle is a one-off really, its perfect for anyone who loves ethno soundtracks, ambient textures, occasional stabs of psy/dub, spanish guitars, squiggly bits and ethereal vocals all blended together in a way that actually works, its mostly relaxed but every now and again ups the pace for a bit. Mind Blowing if accessed at the right time. All the Shpongle lps are brilliant, all are worth owning, as is the companion project 'Younger Brother - Flock of Bleeps'..
This album builds on the accomplishments of 'Are You Shpongled?' and 'Tales Of The Inexpressible' to produce an album, which - while maybe not quite as immediately accessible as its predecessors - certainly stands up to repeated listening over time. The trademark Shpongle elements are all there: an overall sense of fun; rich soundscapes, complex and detailed without being fussy; granulated, twisted samples, soaring lead synths and rhythmic / melodic elements, which span multiple tracks, giving the album a rounded, holistic feel - although a possible downside of this last element means that listening to individual tracks can be unsatisfying sometimes, as they feel incomplete by themselves.
For me, this is an album of two halves with an epilogue. The first eight tracks are bouncy, bubbly, eclectic and joyous; then comes "When Shall I Be Free", which leads the listener to a more chilled out setting backed by a steady beat which sets the foot relentlessly tapping away. The last two tracks form the 'epilogue', with Raja Ram's beautiful flute work followed by some acoustic guitar work which gently brings you back to Earth and leaves you wanting more.
If you are new to Shpongle, then I recommend you buy this album along with 'Tales Of The Inexpressible' and play them in chronological order - you will not be disappointed. Their other albums are certainly worth listening to, but IMO never quite reach the heights scaled by these two, monumental works.
It's been a long wait for fans of Simon Posford & Raja Ram's brainchild, but they have finally graced the soundwaves once more with their latest album. There are surely few musicians out there capable of the exquisite production and masterful use of a variety of top musicianship. While their music is largely electronic in orientation, you're unlikely to hear a collection of such a dynamic range of instruments on one CD. While I feel that they were faced with the impossible task of following up their last album "Tales of the Inexpressible", they haven't done a bad job at all. While the former, in my opinion, will always be at the top of any genre listing, this album still manages to do credit to its memory and provide us with more of the same. The fact that it is not the same quantum leap that "Tales of the Expressible" was after "Are You Shpongled" is the only reason that I can't give this album 5 stars. However, I would dearly love to give it a higher sub-perfection rating than 4/5. In closing I would say that anyone who is new to Shpongle would be better off buying "Tales of the Inexpressible", but those of you who have been along for the ride up 'till now will undoubtedly take great pleasure from this latest - and supposedly last - installment of Shpongle.
A bit more botanic, Brazilian and less good humoured than the truly great Tales of the Unexpected, this nevertheless delivers the kind of thing Shpongle fans would expect. So you get top of the range programming, dazzlingly inventive sonic landscapes and another great looking Shpongle CD. This band, if you can call a duo a band, never stands still, but even so revolves around a basic Terence McKenna/mushroom/DMT hub and has a genius for exploring odd melodic and tonal blind alleys that turn into gorgeous new directions. It is the kind of music that should be shot into space as a showpiece of how inventive human beings can be. Nevertheless, some sadness and weariness here, picked up from the onset in the slow burning intro, Botanical Dimensions which segues without a break into Track 2.. and so on. A great, fertile, collaboration of mavericks. It would be a great pity if this kind of music only ever gets heard by a few world weary Goa trance veterans..because these guys have such a wide-angled sense of life's richness. Raja Ram has a very distinguished history as the flautist of cult heroes Quintessence, which have now seen their albums lovingly brought back to life. So if you want to hear what he was doing in his first flush of fame, grab onto the Quintessence albums, especially "Self" and "Dive Deep".
Having listened extensively to all the three albums from Shpongle, ultimately I can't tell which one is the best. In fact, I'm not sure if such a conclusion is even possible. They all have incredible tracks with such arrangements of samples and soundscapes that it boggles the mind.
To give this album less respect, let alone dismiss it, only because it doesn't have such standout "hits" like "Divine Moments Of Truth", or "Around The World In A Tea Daze" is in my opinion a big mistake. This album is a wonderful journey, unlike either of the two previous ones. It is seamlessly mixed together in such a way, that I rarely even want to listen to it as separate tracks.
No, you probably won't get to amaze your friends at a home party with a single stunning masterpiece of a track, or get a lot of good material to make your own progressive remix (unless you're rather creative). However, you get an album full of guaranteed Shpongle goodness, that probably grows on you stronger than either of the previous albums.
To be truthfuly honest, this is one of the best records I have ever bought..... It is a complete and utter masterpiece. Don't listen to this album with any pre perceptions, it is totaly a piece of its own.... Thats all I can say, Shpongle are one of the best bands ever to walk this earth. .x.
This is their most accomplished album yet, not as ground-breaking or as original as 'Are You Shpngled?' but easily on par with the excellent 'Tales Of The Inexpressible' and the natural progression and perfect climax to the Shpongle trilogy. Fully deserving of 5 stars.
This is my first Schpongle purchase and it won't be the last. I came to Schpongle via Ozric Tentacles and Eat Static. If you like ambient weirditude then this us the album for you. My favourite track is Invocation. But there isn't a track on the album I don't like. Highly recommended.
G'day, the sound of this album is moved on from the previous albums, if you listen to the three of them in a row it seems like a good progression, however if you are after an exact "Are You Shpongled? Part 2", then this is not it, it is more upbeat. This album is hard to just vegetate on the couch with, it is very lively in places and just makes you move, which is good. I have only recently got it and it sounds like it has got some basslines that Massive Attack could have written, some horns that The Cat Empire would like and then some funky Latin styles that Manu Chao would party to. However these guys have still managed to shpongle the sounds so that it never sounds like a rip-off and always sounds orignal. I dig this album and so do the stoned little koalas sitting in their trees out back, I love those little guys.