PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Amethystium: Evermind

Mike Schiller

Evermind is Eden without the allure of the poison apple, and really, how interesting is that?.


Amethystium

Evermind

Label: Neurodisc
US Release Date: 2004-10-05
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

The first thing you notice is your feet. They're bare.

The thick, Crayola green grass is peeking through your toes, occasionally tickling the top of your feet. The two suns in the sky are peering over you, lending each feature of the vast landscape a pair of distinct, yet faint shadows. There's a crystal blue waterfall in the distance, pouring over jagged rocks into a translucent lake. Unicorns graze to your east, as the silhouettes of wood nymphs flit through the branches in the forest to the west. The ruby robes of two figures walk conspicuously toward the waterfall, as you notice the flowing fabric of your own sapphire-hued robe shining in the bright sunlight.

A single dragonfly appears in the distance, hovering, beckoning you with its tiny eyes..."Come closer."

This is the world of Evermind.

Amethystium is the brainchild of one Oystein Ramfjord, and the music herein falls squarely into the brand of atmospheric electronics popularized by such luminaries as Enigma and Delerium. Evermind is Ramfjord's third album (part three of the "Dragonfly Trilogy") under the Amethystium moniker, and his use of lush atmospherics with steady, relaxing beats appears to have been all but perfected in the time since his second album, Aphelion. The album overflows with pretty keyboard melodies, pretty string synths, and pretty whoosh noises as the wind blows in the listener's headphones. Indeed, it's all very, very pretty. 'Pretty' even seeps into 'utterly beautiful' in a few spots, as on album closer "Imaginatio", which features dueling melodies from a restrained electric guitar and a breathy female vocalist over gently pulsing synths. "Shadowlands" is just as lovely, with a solid mid-tempo beat and more of those vocals.

So sure, it's all rather nice, but it's in that constant beauty that lies the album's primary flaw. Where bands like Enigma and Delerium manage to succeed is in the integration of some darker elements, offsetting the lush landscape with some distant menace in the form of storm clouds. There's none of that distant dread to be found within Evermind's vast expanses, leaving it completely without conflict. It's Eden without the allure of the poison apple, and really, how interesting is that?

Repeated listens make the absence of darkness painfully obvious, as song after song of the beauty that started so subtly begins to feel like a nail to the forehead. If the guitar on "Imaginatio" is restrained, the one on "Break of Dawn" is positively castrated, to the point of sounding like just another synth melody. "Lost" brings on a flood of Velveeta, highlighting record scratches that never should have seen the light of day, probably as some sort of movement toward a contemporary urban sound -- a grave mistake when the predominant sound of the album is as far from urban as one could possibly get. Smattered throughout Evermind are a number ventures into "Sounds of the Rainforest"-style nature recordings, which are likely integral to Ramfjord's artistic vision, but come off as pretentious and a little bit distracting. It's all just a little bit too overt in its attempt to be pretty, calm, and relaxing.

The name 'Amethystium' itself evokes unknown lands, elves and epic clashes between good and evil on a grand scale. Unfortunately, Evermind is all good, a Middle Earth without a Sauron to antagonize it. Listening to the entirety of Evermind is enough to leave a listener headachy and a bit disoriented, a bit like eating four pounds of candy might -- it's nice enough as it's happening, but does anyone really need that much all at once? At the very least, there should be a cool drink of water in there to cleanse the palette.

5

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.