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coverpic flag England - Full Moon 212 - 12/17/13

Sand Snowman
Otherness
Reverb Worship

Another full moon and another Sand Snowman album released by Reverb Worship. Sleeper's Hide & Seek reviewed last moonth was a really convincing experience. Otherness doesn't sound too different. It's shorter, only 24 minutes of delight this time. The number of guest vocalists has also been trimmed down, to Amandine Ferrari alone on the title track and in company with Moonswift on "Endgaming". Both of them participated on Sleeper's Hide & Seek, too. Otherwise the album is instrumental and all instruments are played by the Snowman himself. It's wrapped in a slim transparent envelope with a front sleeve taken from a Sandman painting of the same standard as the one housing Sleeper's Hide & Seek.

The album opens with "We Are Water", a beautiful little moody piece led by acoustic guitar and a gliding electric ditto. Could have been the soundtrack to one of the sweeter dreams of Sleeper's Hide & Seek. The feel and domination of the acoustic guitar is eventually continued on the final track "Endgaming" augmented by the aforementioned ladies' distant and wordless chanting that adds an angelic dimension to the song. As beautiful as can be and a great way to end the album! "Invocation" for piano and discreet organ is another quiet and relaxed number followed by "Spiralscape", a church organ sounding ditty more on the baroque side. Fascinating and Bach'ish, and relaxed all the same. The seven minutes long title track dominates the album. It's a fascinating guitar piece, both acoustic and electric it seems, with a little bit keyboards thrown in and even more distant and discreet female vocals by Amandine than the ones on "Endgaming". Not very melodic, but very moody, sometimes a little bit creepy, at least it creeps up my spine. The suspense diminishes with "Surrender", another moody track that lacks a bit of dynamics. It doesn't seem to lead anywhere. I prefer the next, last and shortest of the less or non-melodic pieces, "Surrender". It offers some distant mystique with those blowing, whale'ish, lengthy notes that continues into the aforementioned highlight "Endgaming".

If I have to choose, I'd prefer Sleeper's Hide & Seek to Otherness as an introduction to Sand Snowman. The former includes even more divine beauties than "Endgaming". On the other hand, the more experimental free-form stuff on Otherness works better than on Sleeper's Hide & Seek. The 100 copies of the latter was sold out at Reverb by the time our November menu was launched. Otherness comes in a limited edition of 125 copies. Soon gone, too, I suspect. Hurry up!

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