I was itching to get my teeth into this one. Total Eclipse now only comprises Steph, and for me the act was mostly all about Serge anyway, so this is like going to see Cannon & Ball with only Cannon rocking up for the performance.
Now that we’ve alienated the 90% of the trance world who have no idea (or interest in) who Cannon and Ball are, let’s get nostalgic for a time period slightly more recent than 1981. Total Eclipse did some utter belters down the ages, and I’m sure we all have our favourite (since you asked, Sunrise). I’m also sure we’d stand up in a line and grin obtusely in our collective assurance that no, they could never scale those heights again, especially without Serge and “the other one”, guffaw guffaw, “my dog sleeps on a Koxbox hoodie dontchaknow”, etc.
Tales Of The Shaman is actually alright. Forget the name, it’s a load of toss — honestly, it’s the sort of thing that your 14year old cousin would call his first tune knocked up on his first cracked fruityloops and FOR GOODNESS SAKE, Steph must be 40 if he’s a day old, how long did he spend thinking this name up, jeebus…Anyway, luckily in this day and age, you can rename the metadata to whatever the hell you want, which means that once I’ve imported the CD into iTunes I can forget it was ever called Tales Of The Shaman and can smugly report that now Total Eclipse’s new album is called Thanks Psyreviews, The Scene Owes It All To You.
There are elements of Thanks Psyreviews, The Scene Owes It All To You (I’ll stop doing that now) that echo back to the best bits of Total Eclipse’s output. Half-metallic sounds are still there, driving rhythm sections are still there, the melodies shift around here and there, and there’s a sort of semblance of the “chasing the sun” element of vintage Total Eclipse, even if the chasing is being done by an older producer whose knees are packing up.
It’s a likeable album. It coasts along nicely, i’s pleasant, it’s not too challenging and if you choose to listen into it, your effort is rewarded… I guess in a sense that ’reflexive’ vibe that’s all over Violent Relaxation is still present here, and that’s something we should be thankful for.
It’s not the same as getting a “new old” Total Eclipse record, and the production is what I might call Neurobiotic Thin — it’s limp, lacking oomph and sounds unwantedly glassy, like poorly-mastered Bob Dylan reissues on early-adopter CD.
By no means is Tales Of The Shaman essential, but likewise it is by no means the trainwreck it could have been. The interest in oldskool acts reworking the circuit is something we should be happy about, and if that involves having to live with an album that’s neither good nor dreadful, I’m pretty sure I can live with that.