Amethystium – Treasure

August 24, 2009

Today’s MSMOTD

Amethystium – Treasure (buy the album, “Isabliss”)

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Amethystium is the solo project of Norwegian composer Øystein Ramfjord.  Besides having the most Norwegian name in all of Norway, he writes gorgeous atmospheric chilled-out/ambient electronica/worldbeat music ala Enigma, Delerium and Deep Forest.  He’s usually labeled as “New Age”, but I really have no idea what that even means (does anyone?), so I’ll avoid it.  Anyways, He’s released 4 albums so far, all of which, I was surprised to discover, have apparently debuted fairly high on the US billboard charts!  Primarily instrumental, his music is more about moods and describing environments through sound than about telling a story.  Some songs are expansively beautiful, others more claustrophobic and eerie.  It’s great music for studying, working or traveling.  You won’t be rocking out to this at the club, or playing it on the next release of Rock Band, but when you just want to relax, focus or unwind, this is great stuff.

The slightly eerie cover of the latest Amethystium album, 2008s Isabliss.

The slightly eerie cover of the latest Amethystium album, 2008's "Isabliss".

Treasure is from the most recent (2008) Amethystium album – “Isabliss”.  The Garden of Sakuntala had long been my favourite, go-to Amethystium song, but this immediately changed after listening to the first minute of Treasure.  The beginning starts out normally enough for an Amethystium song, with a catchy beat underneath a floating/bubbling synth groove.  However, things get really special at 0:40 when, lo and behold, a gorgeous female vocalist joins in with a delicately realized vocal melody and actual lyrics!  The vocal harmony at 2:10 is one of my favourite Amethystium Moments ™, though my favourite part of the song comes at 4:20 when the violin (?) takes over the lead melody.  It’s such a soulful song, and a good representation of the sheer beauty of Amethystium’s music.  Mr. Ramfjord has tapped into some special and arcane wellspring of inspiration, and we are fortunate to share in his discovery!

(Amethystium doesn’t have any official videos, so here’s Anthemoessa from “Isabliss” along with some unrelated artwork FROM SPACE.)

Garden of Sakuntala, from 2003′s “Aphelion”, was my favourite Amethystium track for many years, and probably got more play time than most of the rest of my music collection.  It’s just the perfect mix of melody, soothing ambiance and driving beat, tinged with an exotic bite which keeps it from fading completely into the background.  This song reminds me of math problems, my city at night, French train cars and dragonflies (because there is one on the cover of the album).  Apparently the first three albums (“Aphelion” is #2, between “Odonata” and “Evermind”) are the “Dragonfly Trilogy” though I’ll be damned if I can figure out what dragonflies have to do with anything other than the cover art.  Fantastic song!

The last song I’ll post is Withdrawal, a rather different song from the others above.  It’s much more chilly, without the upbeat synths and drum loops.  It starts off with a trembling note, shimmering and shivering in anticipation, like a cry in the night, foretelling what is to come.  The piano melody which follows is decidedly mournful, and it becomes even more oso when, at 1:45, the erhu joins in.  YES, AN ERHU!  This single ~40 second clip of music, along with similar stuff like the violin in the MSMOTD has influenced my own music more than I can know.  You can hear its influence whenever I write a mournful strings melody like the one in Silhouettes.  This song is also one of the pieces which drive my desire to learn to play the erhu (a 2-stringed chinese violin), so that I may include its mournful, soulful voice in my own songs.

Amethystium’s albums are quite special in that there are no weak tracks.  I’ve highlighted a few here, but if you like what you hear, then you’ll love everything on the rest of the albums.  I hope you search out the rest of his fantastic music, as its given me a lot of enjoyment over the years.  Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

- Mons

More music from Amethystium

Amethystium – Garden Of Sakuntala (buy the album, “Aphelion”)

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Amethystium – Withdrawal (buy the album, “Aphelion”)

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Further info about today’s MSMOTD

Official Website: http://www.amethystium.com/

Myspace Page: http://www.myspace.com/amethystium (more songs to check out here!)

Wikipedia Article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amethystium

Featured Review: Review of “Isabliss” on Buzinky Blog

Support Amethystium (and me!) by clicking these links and buying their music on Amazon.com.  Besides “Aphelion” and “Isabliss”, you can also buy “Odonata” and “Evermind”, both excellent. Unfortunately, individual mp3 tracks are not available for Amethystium on Amazon.

One Response to “Amethystium – Treasure”

  1. I love everything about Amethystium. The name, the poetic titles, the album art, and obviously (derrr) the music. Layers and layers of depth and faint glimpses of every possible emotion in every song: this is the kind of music one can write poetry to. Love it. :)

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