Mythos is a musical project by Stephan Kaske. Founded around 1970, it was originally a band making some kind of cosmic rock similar to Ashra Temple and inspired by Pink Floyd. After several members left at the end of the 1970s Kaske decided to continue as a solo project using synthesizers and sequencers. The music moved then towards Berlin school and even new age (Kaske also plays flutes).
The album Jules Verne - Around The World In 80 Minutes is inspired by the French 19th century visionary writer Jules Verne and in particular his novel Around The World In 80 Days. It is not Mythos' first album dedicated to an author. In 2004 the album The Dramatic And Fantastic Stories Of Edgar Allan Poe was released.
Around The World In 80 Days is the story of an English lord Phileas Fogg and his French servant Passepartout. Fogg makes the calculation that it must be possible to travel around the world in 80 days. As a real Englishman he makes a bet. During their voyage they experience all kind of adventures. They are followed by a detective who thinks they are on the run and Fogg finds the love of his life. When they return they arrive just a little too late until they discover that they made a miscalculation: because they travelled in the opposite direction of the earth orbital they gained one day so Fogg also wins the bet.
An album that is dedicated to a book about a voyage around the world will of course contain ethnic elements from all over the world. The opening track immediately starts with a (sampled) didgeridoo and Tibetan monks singing even though Fogg does not visit Australia nor Tibet in the book. The music reminds me of Vangelis-someone who was also not afraid of a bit of bombast and excess. According to Kaske the album can be best heard with headphones. Indeed the music is filled with electronic sounds. Apart from some of the ethnic elements it is a very synthetic sounding album. It's great listening to, but a bit overdone on several tracks, and sounds alone don't make a good song. But the album also has good moments. On the more modest tracks the music is much more convincing. Travelling is a feeling of adventure, discovering new places but also a sense of the melancholy of leaving home. At times Mythos returns to a psychedelic sound that reminds me of Ozric Tentacles.
Jules Verne - Around The World In 80 Minutes is a treat for synth freaks, but for ordinary music lovers it is a bit too long to keep the your attention. But Phileas Fogg also spends most of the voyage on boats and in trains, waiting to reach the next destination. A voyage is not equally exciting for the entire duration.
*** Erik Gibbels (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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