Aphelion is the point where the earth is furthest from the sun, and Amethystium creates a suitably twilight world of pastoral fantasy.

Aphelion is the point where the earth is furthest from the sun, and Amethystium creates a suitably twilight world of pastoral fantasy. For his second outing as Amethystium, Norwegian keyboardist/ composer Øystein Ramfjord creates a compelling synthesis of Kitaro-esque melodies, Enigma-hued chants, Delirium-like moods, and just enough Deep Forest ethnic touches to be exotic. Anchoring them to downtempo electronica and lush synthesizer orchestrations, Ramsfjord employs resolutely analog sounds along with the post-modern keyboardist's cut-and-paste sampling arsenal where Gothic choirs, Chinese flutes, and Indian tablas digitally converge in a virtual orchestra. With titles like "Shadow to Light," "Elvensong," and "Ad Astra," listeners might expect Amethystium's themes to be heroic and sweeping—which they are on an album that seems to elevate from the speakers.—JD

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