- Dream Ritual, A Sagittariun's debut LP, is a perfect counterpoint to one of the year's other great albums, Special Request's Soul Music. While Woolford's breaks bottled up the sound of sweaty underground clubs in the '90s, A Saggitarian's record is more indebted to the hippie / crusty scene that took place at roughly the same time, but outdoors, in fields and forests, just inside the ring of the M25. As such, Soul Music will take you up, and Dream Ritual will bring you down.
You sense the Bristol artist has been working towards this album ever since he first emerged in 2011 with The Circle Stops Somewhere. His has always been dreamscape music, whether tethered to a cantering techno kick or cast off entirely from any sort of rhythmic framework. Either way, A Saggitarian is the sound of a producer indulging himself in his influences with honesty and integrity. Though Dream Ritual is so obviously rooted in the past, nothing ever sounds lazy or nostalgic—instead it's a very genuine experience from start to finish.
Despite A Sagittariun's unashamed adherence to such a specific concept (Zodiac signs, astrology, starry constellations) Dream Ritual is never cheesy. It hits its mark every time. Tracks like "Crystallization" suspend the listener amidts ambient ripples, glassy tinkles and deep, slowly churning rhythms. "V4641 sgr" ups the ante with Orbital-style techno, before "The South Node" evokes Northern Exposure-era Sasha and Digweed. "Conquering Lions" is further evidence that, as discussed here recently, the Amen break still has plenty to give.
In the true tradition of the period this album echoes, Dream Ritual is a misty, otherworldly affair that takes you somewhere else. Subtle spoken-word snippets augment the life-affirming vibes while adding even more depth to what is already a soothingly cerebral listen. During "The Mind Has No Time," someone murmurs, "if you're going to do something, do it well." Happily, this sonic dreamer heeded his own advice.
02. Crystallization feat. Skip McDonald
03. V4641 Sgr
04. Conquering Lions
05. Seven Locks (In Dub)
06. The South Node
08. The Age Of Sin
09. Year Of The Ox
10. The Mind Has No Time
11. A Lucid Dream (Original Dream)
12. Network Restoration