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Album Review

In the winter of 2003, French electronic music composer Miguel Samiez, aka Aeryal, visited Bali, Indonesia. He came back home with field recordings and, one can only guess, plenty of mental images and impressions. Recorded between 2005 and 2007, Tenganan (also the name of a Balinese village) is meant to crystallize those memories into sound. However, this is an album of orientally flavored electronic music, much more than specifically Balinese-inspired world music. Aeryal's approach follows the French school of electronic music, with a serious debt being paid out to Jean-Michel Jarre. Tenganan does contain a bit of gamelan music here, a few seconds of traditional singing there, and a lot of ambient crowd noise for in-between-tracks textures, but the main focus of this music is found in the keyboards. And Aeryal succeeds in that regard: Tenganan is a delicate and varied aural journey, marked by Jarre-esque quiet passages ("Towards Infinity," almost a pastiche) chill out room tracks ("Dancing Mist in Besakih," "Nova"), and bits with a stronger Balinese flavor ("Panyembrama"). Throughout, the music remains accessible, listener-friendly, and inner-journey inducing. It makes a strong and even album, though a tad bit long. Still recommended for fans of the lighter side of electronica bordering on new age music. ~ François Couture, Rovi

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Tenganan, Aeryal
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