A musical surprise in the form of Harlequin’s Enigma, is a delight for your ears. Hailing from Norway, Harlequin’s Enigma is the brainchild of Age Riisnes, who has unleashed a series of albums in the past few years. Another stunning record in tow from Riisnes, this time by the name of Enter, is filled with 16 tracks, as this hour-plus-long masterpiece will amaze you with what Harlequin Enigma’s sound has to offer.
Opening the album is the spacey and spectacular sounds of “Encourage.” Synths resonate throughout the track, as this piece begins your music journey. Filled with dreamy lo-fi tones, the listener is already in for a treat. “Draumkved” is up next, providing haunting tones throughout. Having the feel of a 1980’s video game, this track will intrigue you right from the start with chiming xylophones, perfectly placed sound effects, and slight gongs.
“Motherland” brings the album up a notch with an almost ‘club-dance,’ sort of feel. This awakens the album and brings it to all new heights. Blending the right amount of Industrial influences, this is certainly a track you will find yourself coming back to frequently. “Fall Fade,” takes the record down with somber tones and echoing keyboards, all while being surrounded by subtle strings.
“Counting Minute,” proves to be an eerie but gorgeous piece that is filled with the sound of dripping water amongst a pounding, yet infrequent, beat. The use of sound effects and the overall composition are something to be admired. “Catastrophe,” is next on the list, and immediately feels like the soundtrack to an Action film. This standout piece is sonically crafted to perfection.
Following with “Crusaders,” the sultry tones bring in the spacey element once again, creating an abstract sound that makes you pay attention to each and every note that comes across your eardrums. “Dark Light,” takes on a hypnotizing approach to the record with elegantly placed tones stream across the piece as it draws you in deeper. “Reconvalescere Theme,” is a personal favorite on Enter, and proves to be a very chilling track that is laced with gorgeous strings and prominent synths. This is one track you will not soon forget. “Coalesque,” is the next song on the record, and proves to be a standout work. The combination of bright and dark keyboard effects, static infused synths and drone sounding xylophone, will surely entice you from beginning to end. “Gazer (Rose Blood Mix),” follows in the same style as the two songs piece together nicely. Adding a dash of a soft string section, the harmonizing melodies bring the song to life.
“The Day Dreaming Night” is the longest track on the record, heading towards the 7-and-a-half minute mark. The piece has a surprise around every turn. Perfect for hitting the dance floor, or driving around on a Saturday night, this song will surely get you in the mood for any adventure the night may bring. Slick and wet beats surround as a very slight and subtle dubstep influence is brought in during midpoint. A shock on Enter indeed.
“Sarakande” and “Standstill,” both create a sound that makes the listener feel like they are in the jungle. The slight vocals on “Standstill,” are captivating and while infrequent they do tend to stand out, which is a good thing as well as an unexpected element. “Without” and “Desert Theme” close out the album just as beautifully as it came in. Sultry synths work throughout the tracks to provide the ultimate listening experience throughout. Both lighting up the room and bring new life into your eardrums.
Harlequins’s Enigma’s Enter, is certainly for those who love exploring different types of music and sounds that are far from the mainstream. This is not only an album, but a full musical experience. Hop on board for the ride. You will be glad that you did. I can’t wait to hear what Harlequin’s Enigma has to offer next. They will shock you every time. Open your ears, and your mind.
By Melissa Nastasi
5 Out of 5 Stars