Port-Royal Flares

While the music by this five-piece Italian band could be described as drug music, that would gloss over the intricate detail and painstaking layers that abound on this absurdly self-assured disc. For all the bands who fool around with electronics and intricate guitars, Port-Royal seemed to have found the magic element to tie these things together in a gorgeously lush and ambient environment, making both work seamlessly. The word "soundscape” here is quite fitting, in that it incorporates the language of nature with the ideas of sound, as the atmosphere, especially on "Spetsnaz/Paul Leni” and "Zobione Pt. 1,” laps gently over the ears like a calm lake. Also abundant here is the absolute lack of purpose, which is definitely a good thing. These mini-epics wander over many terrains and ideas with just the barest of direction, almost making music for the purpose of intoxicating the listener rather than enforcing some artistic purpose on them. Really, by the end of the 70-minute-plus running time, the listener is absolutely spent. Without trying to sound trite, this music is both inherently simple while being intricately complex and deserves to be placed in your stereo, so as to wrap you in its sound and let the world gently fall away. (Resonant)