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Bella Lune This band's formation started as early as 2006 when Fuchsia and Kal3id met and started putting their talents and ideas together. As these ideas started to take shape we were presented with their debut album Abstracted Visions from which we have the classic tracks "Transmissions", "Underwater" and "Blissful Escape". This first album introduced us to this mix of electronica ethereal with angelic vocals with sass. The band would continue to grow in size as they also received more support and more opportunities to play live across the western United States and even in Japan and Europe. They would follow up their debut with the excellent release of Synesthesia in 2010 continuing to build on their foundation of electronica infused music, they expand slightly with a touch of goth and definite synthpop styles. The solid Ophelia maxi followed a year later and presented us with some great remixes and rare tracks including the title track along with memorable remixes of "Underwater" and "Blissful Escape" as well as the cover of "Dead Souls", a definite favorite here showing they have the potential to bring on the heavy synths and pounding beats when needed. Secrets followed in 2013 with more excellent mix of electro-pop and electronica with the dreamy ethereal vocals. And 2015 brought us yet another album in the form of Tranzendance seeing the band go back to much of their foundational sound once again for a great release.

I was first introduced to this band with the release of Synesthesia and have been captivated since with each new release. The classics on that album of "Ophelia" and "Denial" set the stage for me as definition of what this group is and can be and each new release since has not disappointed. I especially loved their cover of "Dead Souls" and it remains a favorite on the Gothic Paradise airwaves as well as around our house. As the band has progressed with each new release it is enjoyable to see the new twists and experiments the band will take and ways they might please their fans and listeners each time. For those familiar with this band I think you'll know what I'm talking about, while those just getting to know them will not be disappointed with their excellent talent and dreamy synthpop styles.

Tranzendance - Review
Two things that I've grown to enjoy from this band is their excellent ethereal synthpop style and variety across their body of work with Fuchsia's dreamy vocals over a variety of electronica and electro-pop in various tempos, intensity and moods. Tranzendance So when I first started listening to this album I can't say I was surprised in the various subtle shifts in song structure, yet also holding on to the definite Bella Lune sound. The album spans a dozen tracks of this excellent mix of electronica-infused ethereal synthpop for a nice variety of music. This release is also a charity release supporting a good cause, so fans can go buy the new album from the band's bandcamp page and support a good cause at the same time!

"Onward" kicks it off setting the stage with the dreamy background synths and Fuchsia's vocals also sounding very dreamy and subdued with the heavy synth bass line taking the forefront on the album with a subtle, yet moving beat. Depending on the volume you listen to this and many of the tracks it could be a soft, ethereal piece to listen to late at night while drifting off to sleep or if you crank it up on a large stereo w/ plenty of bass you have a fairly moving, while still somewhat subdued dance-friendly piece. "Intoxicated" picks up slightly with a nice bit of guitar providing some great depth to the track while the heavy bass and subtle percussion continues to move the album along. The vocals come out a bit more clearly and pronounced on this piece as well, giving it a solid sound. The album drifts along with this mix of pulsating electronics with the heavenly vocals really taking an ethereal style, almost drifting off into the background floating over the various electronic loops and beats. About halfway through the album we hit a definite favorite with "Dont' Wake Me Up". On this piece we see each of the prominent elements on this album come out a little more distinct and clearly from the introductory guitar to the heavy pulsating synths and percussion to Fuchsia's vocals. This makes this a solid track that moves along with a club-friendly structure that will have listeners moving and dancing as well as repeating the catchy ethereal refrain "Don't Wake Me Up"!

As we drift off into the latter half of the album the tempo shifts down into a series of soft and somewhat dreamy tracks while still maintaining the heavy synth loops and subtle percussion as that foundational sound. With some subtle variety across the various tracks the listener drifts along with each one being fairly enjoyable in their own light. "While I'm Waiting" picks up the intensity a bit, mainly in the pulsating bass, but still moving along nicely. This brings us to "Easier Said Than Done" which really brings on the intensity with the heavy synths while maintaining a mid-tempo, yet heavier sound, similar in many ways to the sound you would expect from Gary Numan. We're treated with a very electronica-based remix of "Hollow Hearts" before coming to the finale to the album and another definite favorite for me in "Without You". This final piece captured my attention partially because of the classic Bella Lune sound similar to favorite tracks we've heard over recent years. It includes some subtle guitar and the pronounced vocals and percussion in a somber mid-tempo rhythm. This song moves along for nearly four minutes and then we're presented with a long silence and hidden track of droning dark ambient music for nine minutes to wrap it all up.

With that I think we have another great addition to our collection and definitely a great new chapter for Bella Lune. Again we have a few new classics that we can enjoy for many years to come as the band moves towards their 10-year anniversary we hope to see and hear much more to come.

Rating: 4.5/5

Secrets - Review

This band continues to grow and create new music and have enjoyed some great live shows in many different parts of the world. Secrets Amidst all of this and everything else the artists are involved in, they've been able to find time to put together another excellent set of tracks for a new album. This one includes eight new pieces with a new remix of "Transmissions" that I think fans will enjoy with a more upbeat style. All of this makes for a nice set of fairly diverse music for a great album listeners and readers should enjoy.

Like the other works I've reviewed here, the album starts of really strong with some excellent pieces and then kind of drifts along with the other tracks, while still excellent selections, they just don't grab me quite like the first few do. After their Nine Inch Nails-esque cover of "Dead Souls" I thought we might see a little more of an edge coming from this group, something I really enjoyed with that cover and have enjoyed with some of their more upbeat and solid pieces. While maybe not as edgy, "Hollow Hearts" kicks it all off with a nice moving dream-pop sound, and a definite favorite on this album. The simple beat and layers of subtle synths under the moving guitar work buoying up Fuschia's dreamy vocals create a real masterpiece that listeners on both our club and ethereal mix really enjoy. "The Biggest Lies" picks up next and is another great piece to start off the album, this one definitely includes a bit more of an edge in both the percussion and guitar for a nice little twist. This brings us to my definite favorite and highlight of the album "Utopian Dream". It features all of the excellent and favorite styles and elements from this band from the ethereal, dreamy beauty of the vocals and electronics to the solid, dance-friendly beat all coupled with a solid, heavy bass and somber guitar variations for a really excellent piece.

Now as the album continues, I don't want anyone to think that the rest is boring or poorly done in any way, it's really just simply that "Hollow Hearts" and "Utopian Dream" are just so well done, that the others just kind of pale in comparison. With that said, we have a great mix of ethereal pieces that are haunting and dreaming while others a bit more upbeat, really bringing out that dream-pop style, and still others pack it all together, dreamy, upbeat, ethereal and dance-friendly all together. Fuschia's siren-like vocals definitely help whether clear or slightly vocoded, they lure the listener into a dreamy web that holds the listener entranced across each piece. A couple of other piece just worth mentioning that do a great job of capturing these styles are "The Afterglow" and "Common Conciousness". The former is a bit more dreamy across all elements, while the latter is much more upbeat but still very mesmerizing and fun. The album wraps up with an excellent remix of "Transmission", the "Live Mix", probably the version you would hear at their concerts. It's a little more solid take with moving rhythms while losing nothing of the original spatial, mysterious, ethereal moods.

That pretty much sums it up. For those that have enjoyed their previous albums and enjoy the dream-pop style they manage to pull off with a mix of ethereal and electronic and new wave styles, you'll definitely love this album, it's packed with some great material, a definite new classic for any collection.

Rating: 4.5/5

Ophelia (Maxi) - Review

Capitalizing on this excellent track from their sophomore album, we have this nice maxi single. Ophelia (Maxi) Featuring nine total tracks, it gives us plenty of great music to listen to, including just three remixes of the original title track and the rest are all additional remixes from other selections from both albums including a brave cover of Joy Division's "Dead Souls".

We kick it off with the "Video Mix" of "Ophelia". The original piece is a definite favorite from their album Synesthesia and so it's great to have this excellent single with these remixes. The "Video Mix" is the most like the original, adding just a bit more texture, some heavier guitars and so forth, for a really captivating track and re-emphasizing why this is a definite favorite from this band. Check out the video as well, it's not a big budget picture, but it's fun nevertheless. The second remix is the "Riddles & Rhymes Mix" which takes a bit more of minimalistic electronic, sort of a new wave synthpop style, still fun, but not the greatest. The final remix appears towards the end of the disc and is also quite minimalistic and subdued, the beat and shimmering guitars actually taking the forefront.

The other tracks appearing on this disc are a nice selection, with some good remixes. Daniel Myer of Haujobb, Destroid and about a dozen other projects appears with his remix of "Blissful Escape". This is a somewhat somber, haunting electronic piece helps to create a nice balance, allowing the monotone vocals to dominate while the electronic loops and smooth guitar move it along nicely. A couple of other tracks really stand out on this disc. First of all, it takes guts to cover some of the all-time greats like "Dead Souls". This piece is a legendary classic on it's own, one of those sacred gems that many will remember Nine Inch Nails covered well, and I have to admit with the heavy percussion, driving electronics and guitars with Fuchsia's slightly distorted vocals, they managed to pull it off. It sounds a bit more like a cover of Nine Inch Nails' cover, but I give the band props for pulling it off so well, remaining true to form of the original, and showing a darker, harsher, more dynamic side to this group that I would love to see more of. The final remix on the album is also a piece that jumped right out at me as another masterpiece. If I were to compile selections of what I think are the best sides of Bella Lune, along with "Denial", "Ophelia", the aforementioned "Dead Souls" cover, this piece would be at the top of the list. The excellent inclusion of the driving guitars, along the lines of shoegazer meets classic gothic rock style, really makes this piece stand out, as if it were written exactly for this mix.

The other pieces are decent with the exception of "The Dolly Pop Song" (sorry, I know the fetish crowd loves this piece, but oh well...), I still skip this track on this disc. We have a modern electro dub-step type remix appearing for "This and the Other" with the "Dystonix Mix". This style can be fun with the stuttering synths and moving beats, definitely a nice catch for the young crowd that seems to enjoy the dub step style that's evolved out of a mix of techno, noiz, drum n bass, etc. "Silent and Still" is one of those favorites from the album and they took they dreamy, somber piece and added some "oomph" to it with some solid beats and heavy electronics and guitars.

There you have it, another stellar work, nearly the length of an album with some great dynamics and variety. Something along the lines of your typical remix album, but we definitely have some good selections here that are worth checking out.

Rating: 4/5

Synesthesia - Review

This is the project of duo Fuchsia and Kal3id. They got their start in 2005, released their first album in 2007 and here we have their sophomore work. Synesthesia It's nice to have a CD full of music with fourteen tracks it's great to have more than just a handful of pieces to listen to. The overall style of the band and this album is a mix of various new wave and ethereal influences. As we dig into various pieces, this becomes more apparent. The CD comes packed in a imple cardboard digipack case with credits and a collage of pictures for a nice, simple package.

The first three tracks on this album are excellent and spellbinding and are in my mind, the perfect tracks from this group. Just in these three pieces there is diversity and beauty showing what they are capable of. "Denial" is the first of these with it's mid-tempo, yet dance-friendly, catchy rhythm that moves along nicely. We have some simple electronic loops, a nice bass groove with somber synths and guitars layered over the top, yet it's all crowned with intelligent lyrics and captivating siren-like vocals. This gives way to "This And The Other" which is more of an ethereal gem with haunting elements starting wit the vocals. Fuchsia's voice glides along like silk on silk over the flowing electronics and the subtle grinding guitars providing the backdrop. "Ophelia" is the final of the introductory trio of pieces that held me captive from the first listen. This is another somber dance piece with classic new wave elements mixed with modern ethereal touches. More variety comes into play with the vocal duet on the chorus with Kal3id lending his vocals for a nice offsetting touch to the heavenly female vocals. The structure of the track is beautiful as well, beyond just the instruments and vocals, the interlude just over halfway through the track with it's somber piano and ethereal elements is a perfect example of a part that enthralls the listener.

With these pieces I knew I had a new favorite album to enjoy. While most of the rest of the album is excellent, I didn't quite find other pieces at the level of these first three. The following piece "A Different Effect" comes really close with it's simple new wave elements and as always, Fuchsia's captivating vocals. "Illogical Logic", "Spiral Effect", "Unanswered Questions" and "Last Words" all stand out in their own light from the new wave style to the modern electronics or ethereal dreamscapes. In general the variety in the song structures and overall moods and styles keep me interested throughout the entire album up to the basic electro-pop remix of "Silent and Still (Black Jacket Remix)". The only real blemish on the album is "The Dolly Pop Song", it doesn't fit well with the rest in style and content and I always skip it when I listen.

So there you have it, if you can get past or ignore the one track, the rest of the album is an excellent work that most readers should really enjoy.

Rating: 4/5

Website: www.bellalune.net

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