Bridging the divide between instrumental world music and vibrant electronica, aural alchemists Desert Dwellers are no strangers to fusing sounds drawn from timeless global influence, collective memory and the unfathomable realm of the psyche. In their latest collaborative release, The Great Mystery Remixes Vol. I, sonic duo Treavor Moontribe and Amani Friend have enlisted the help of eleven aural mystics to offer a fresh glimpse into the visionary state in their most ambitious remix project to date.
Returning from this realm of archetypes and tribal symbols with a collection of sounds blurring the divide between past and future, bliss and anguish and reality and dream, these voyagers have compiled their sonic specimens to create a vivid journey across emotional states and into an array of comfort zones.
Opening with crystalline beauty and warm downtempo flow, Liquid Stranger transports us into the dream space with a delicate and rhythmic revision of “Wings of Waves.” Glassy chimes and soft drums move with synchronous momentum as waves of harmonious, binaural sound rise and crash to reveal underlying dimensions. Hinting at what awaits those who wander deeper, the album quietly transitions into Gaudi’s beat-driven exploration of “Our Dream World,” blurring the divide between physical and surreal.
Kaminanda’s repurposing of the high-energy chamber of vibrations that is “View from Laniakea” stands out as an ecstatic feast for mind, heart and body alike as we dissolve the dream state and emerge with heightened awareness. Progressive intrusions of otherworldy textures and vocal samples combine with Kaminada’s signature elemental style and the original song’s trancelike spine in a chakra-opening flow of synthetic and organic sound. It reminds us of the physical world where our bodies remain even as our minds wander the ethereal plains.
Maintaining the pulsating momentum of the album, but taking us into slightly darker territory, Tribone’s “Re-STOMP” of title track “The Great Mystery” is a flavorful exploration of the techno-tribal influences at play in the sacred bass realm. Waves of modulated vocal play and deep trance rhythms surging with psychic energy collide with echoing tech elements and euphoric breaks to tantalize the psyche with memories of what it means to be alive.
From here, we drop into the eerie landscape of Twin Shape’s “Lost Tribes” remix of “The Sacrament.” This is the type of track that truly embodies the “psychedelic” aspect of visionary electronic music, offering a journey into a desolate reality where darkness must be confronted. No state lasts forever, though. As the track unwinds, we are greeted by a budding sense of hope and delivered into the light once more by An-Ten-Nae’s snappy and cerebral take on “View from Laniakea.”
Exemplifying what I consider “comfortable darkness,” Land Switcher’s psy-dub revision of the deep bass soundscape of “I Dropped It” brings a spectral, swampy element to the album that simply oozes with tactile pleasure. Morphing trance artifacts and outlandish textural reverberations flex the boundaries of perception while creatures in the shadows reveal glimpses of the dark and sentient world that lies beyond, offering an enjoyable contrast with AtYyA’s emotive “Birds Over Sand Dunes” remix and Drumspyder’s Mediterranean-fusion twist on “Our Dream World.”
Govinda’s richly-textured, liquidy remix of “Crossing Beyond” drops the intensity of the source track only to bring it in as a delicate escalation of rippling, organic energy and cavernous echoes infused with Govinda’s signature instrumental touch. Though we begin this sensory journey alone, the track unites sultry instrumentation with liquefied synthetic sound to create the most seductive track of the album.
“Wings Over Waves” reappears at the end of the album, this time modified at the hands of Seb Taylor’s electro-instrumental downtempo sound project Hibernation. A spacious chillout piece filled with distorted and fuzzy warmth, the track provides a smooth descent from the prior tracks’ intensity and closes the album on a calm, contemplative note.
The Great Mystery Remixes Vol. I is a variably-timed journey of the senses, emotions and mind through darkness and light into soundscapes of every shade and color. Elucidating powerful emotions that remind us what it means to be human, the collection’s unique blend of world-influenced instrumentation, rhythmic beats and tribal sounds offers a multidimensional experience that will transport listeners to a point where all sensations, emotions and events seem to exist simultaneously in a bubble of timelessness.