555 “Swan River Yogue” (Constellation Tatsu)

With music strong I come. With my cornets and my drums. I play not marches for accepted victors only. I play marches for conquer’d and slain persons.” -Walt Whitman

This quote in the liner notes of “Swan River Yogue” sets the tone for the whole album.  At once melancholy and euphoric, 555 has brought us a delightfully immersive headphone masterpiece. Based on a performance given at Swan River Yoga in New Orleans (I can’t imagine a more apt setting for this music), the album is an ethereal journey.  I spent a week with this in my walkman- at work, commuting, meditating, and it has become a personal favorite. 

Starting with lush pads, rich echos and rumbling bass on the opening track “Twin Verses,” and segueing into reverse harps, subtle glitches and ethereal, swooping harmonies on “Heedfulness,” the album quickly hooks you.  “Flowers” alters the mood, with circling hornlike sounds that reminded me of temple horns in a Himalayan monestary, getting a bit darker and more intense before lifting you back up.  The fourth track, “Furls,” brings back energy with a clicking buzzy rhythmic pulse, before tapering off Side A with “The Wyze,” a longer droning track with circling flutes and overlapping harmonies.

Side B picks up just as strong with the first track “Evil.”  It’s high delayed eighth notes, warp core reactor thrumming in the low register and steady pace set you up for what I consider to be the best track on the album.  “Old Age” is my favorite track on here, it begins with light pads that make you feel like you’re descending through a cloud, low didgeridoo like drones and magical flute melodies settle on you like cool mist.  The penultimate track “Self” starts to settle you down, bring you home from the journey, it’s bubbling melody is like your inner voice speaking to you.  And this all leads us to “World,” the final track whose stuttering arpeggios and funky bassline resolve into a final rising unison of voices that clearly and satisfyingly end the album. 

Another thing I really enjoyed was that the artist included a list of the equipment used on the album in the liner notes.  As a gear junkie it really pleased me to know what all was used by the artist in the creation of the album.  I highly recommend this album and look forward to more output from 555.

--Jeremiah Paddock