posted by Rob
September 2020

I cannot express how excited I am to finally have the time to sit down and tell you all about this album. Aethoro is an artist who I became aware of mere weeks ago, but in that time his music has had an impression on me like no other. On August 30th he released Spiritdance and, while he calls it an album, it feels like a whole lot more than that.

With the lead track, "Keepsake", Aethoro has the daunting task of setting the tone for the entire tracklist. While many producers may be intimidated by this and try some grand, complex intro movement (me included, if I'm being honest), Aethoro keeps his head and opts for a single, beautiful piano run. This is genius in it's own way; simple, pretty and controlled, it captures the philosophy behind the rest of the album perfectly. This control and restraint follows into the piano arp that picks up where the run left off. Dancing around and building the world within which the album resides, it relies solely on itself to begin the story, being backed up only by gentle strings and a soft background pluck.

Even the climax of the track is subtle, bringing in a sub but letting all variation be conveyed by a change in the melody pattern tracked by the arp. This switchup lends the suggestion of change and, whether intentionally or not, acts as a seamless segway into the new pattern at the beginning of the second track "Luma".

Aethoro · Keepsake

Halfway through the tracklist comes my favourite piece on the album: "Riverlight". Featuring vally.exe on vocals, this track is more conventional in it's structure yet manages to stay absolutely fresh. Revolving around the arpeggio idea running throughout a lot of the tracks in the album, the intro is a sweeping chorus of pads, strings and plucks. The track moves into a build-up almost immediately, reaching a soaring peak before dropping away into a deep, spacious chorus. The progression of tension is reminiscent of a bird flying over a cliff; the intense speed of the ground below it's wings giving way to the vast expanse beyond the cliff's edge.

Eventually this bird comes to land, the track dropping into a gentle, twinkling bed of pads and piano runs. Vally.exe takes this opportunity to grace the listener with a heart-wrenching vocal lead before the track builds into it's second and final chorus section.

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"River wash away these memories,
holding us back, from one another.

River wash away these memories,
Carry us down, we'll heal each other."

vally.exe - "Riverlight"
Aethoro · Riverlight (feat. vally.exe)

The album makes it's exit with an absolute odyssey of a track. Knocking on the door of 12 minutes in length, "Arielle's Wish" is a poignant end to what is an undeniably special body of work. None of the tracks can be fully captured in words, but this piece in particular simply requires a listen. Why limit yourself to just this track though? Instead, listen to the whole album here:

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