SATURNIA-The Glitter Odd

Portugal's Saturnia creates psychedelia for the new millennium on its debut album The Glitter Odd. Since the band consists of only two people, keyboardist/bassist/programmer Francisco Rebelo and singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Luis Simoes, it makes plenty of use of electronic rhythms and ambiance. Saturnia takes the repetition inherent in both psych and ambient techno and runs with it, but the duo utilizes so much instrumentation that requires human manipulation—including guitars, sitar, lap steel, exotic percussion, theremin and even a gong—that it's impossible to become bored. Sampled flutes, nature sounds and drum loops nestle up to spaced-out steel licks, Moog synth riffs and Simoes' breezy vocals, which are buried in the mix as just another texture. "A Trick of the Light" indulges perhaps a bit too much in synthesized birdsong, but the repetitive groove of "Still Life" and the gentle melodies of "Azimuth/Menadel" and "Bliss" channel the light in genuinely beautiful ways. Particularly seductive is "Organo," in which a whistling theremin weaves in and out of a funky drum sample, punctured by sitar licks and muffled electric guitars. Ravers would probably be perfectly happy to find The Glitter Odd piped over the sound system in the chill-out room, but there's enough going on here for ecstasy-phobes to also enjoy.

High Bias aural fixations 16/12/2001 Michael Toland