Moonsonic – ‘Penthesíleia’

A conceptual album whose stirring narrative reflects a universal drive for purpose and identity, Penthesíleia is a compelling accomplishment from Paris-based act Moonsonic. The album’s titular protagonist is a “a young Amazonian destined for warriorhood during the Trojan War,” — whose journey from warrior training to adulthood’s pressures resonates in its audible interpretation, boasting a gorgeously idiosyncratic sound that utilizes talents and instruments from around the world.

The project is led by author/composer/producer Valérie Marinho de Moura and multi instrumentalist/composer/arranger Dayan Korolic, and here they involve a variety of collaborating musicians. They include Rishab Prasanna, a master bansuri flute player from New Delhi; Hend Zouari, a qanûn virtuoso from Tunisia; and a four-woman choir featuring Julieat, Janice Leca, Ophelie Joh, and Mathilde Rossignol from the West Indies and France, with beatboxing elements. The aesthetical pursuits are equally eclectic — venturing into psychedelia, world groove, Indian rock, funk, electro-pop, and beyond.

Before digging into the album, it’s recommended to also explore its illustrated digital book, which comes included with the Bandcamp purchase. The narrative-rich album has each track’s story detailed in the booklet, in addition to beautiful illustrations from Ashdee. For example, “Akhilleús – Le Fantasme” paces with gentle immersion and soothing instrumentation, evoking a jazzy introspection. The booklet explores its themes deeper; feelings of passionate attraction and liberation represent, depicting a vivid fantasy of lovers chasing through nature, defying societal prohibitions, and embracing the ecstasy of freedom.

The art of sensuality, and its role in disorientating enemy soldiers, shows on the riveting “Danse du Venin – L’art de la guerre.” Dreamy vocal elements combine with Bansuri flutes, qanun, bass, and vocal beat-boxing for a fantastic soundscape — full of grooving intrigue. Penthesíleia consumes in its strong thematic grip and constantly stimulating range of instrumentation.

“Vexoris – L’Exil” and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Emerging Singles’ Spotify playlist.

We discovered this release via MusoSoup, as part of the artist’s promotional campaign.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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