Dreamy, laid back blissful sounds. Eocene, released on the excellent Earth Mantra netlabel in 2009 is an album comprising a single longform track by Metlay! that is a lesson in patience and relaxation. It is a masterpiece of sonic maturity. It is something to find solace in during life’s hectic moments or if you think you’re losing control.

Mike Metlay wrote this during what he describes as a rare period of genuine peace. When you listen to Eocene, this is certainly what comes across. What is amazing, though, is that if you read Mike’s ‘about me’ (click the ‘about mike’ link on http://www.mindspiral.com/), you realise that solo projects like this are a bit of a rarity, as he considers himself at his best when working with other muscicians, not on his own, and generally finds solo work not as much fun.

What really makes the album stand out for me, though, is the way the music wraps itself around you. As the album plays out, it does everything for you – the music lifts you up and carries you along, supporting you throughout.

A remarkable thing about this is that the music never becomes dull. It changes as it progresses: subtle resonances appear that change the timbre of the sound, adding extra depth and warmth to the composition. It has a sublime beauty.

Pump this out through a juicy system at a reasonably loud volume and you will be enfolded in a series of ‘reassuring’ tones. You will find yourself focused on the music. It’s like being wrapped in cotton wool. It is very cosy, warming and soothing. As it moves along at its slow, measured pace the listener is placed into suspension, gently carried along while the sounds drift around you, phasing in and out, massaging the mind and encouraging a relaxed state of consciousness.

By the time this album finishes you’ll be in a state of (horizontal) bliss. You won’t want the music to end. It is excellent. There are many albums of a similar style, notably those by Stars Of The Lid, and while SotL are great, Eocene takes the concept way beyond what they have done. This ambience really gets inside you. It is a very positive album.

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