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The Star Prairie Project - The Shining Ones (One Media iP Ltd)

30 April 2024

There is a tradition in the music found at the heavier end of the sonic spectrum of incorporating many, more mystical and mythical elements into the music. More often than not, it will be some sort of fantasy nonsense, probably involving Mordor or vampires, cyberpunkery, or one lone space traveller’s search for answers, the meaning of life (and perhaps, the universe and everything.). But occasionally, you stumble across something more meaningful. The Shining Ones, the new album from The Star Prairie Project is one of those times.

I must admit that as soon as I saw the cover and the title, I knew I was onto something good. As an ancient history buff, I have read around the subject of The Shining Ones somewhat. The idea of an Elder Culture is often put forward as a way of explaining everything from the Pyramids at Giza to the stories of The Nephilim, or biblical fallen angels, and to describe the similarities between cultures as far-flung as Mesopotamia and Meso-America, Malta and Japan. It’s a controversial theory, sure, but an idea that certainly has more merit than Von Daniken’s solution of saying that everything we can’t explain is the work of aliens.

These fascinating ideas are delivered through music that blends the hard and the heavy with the ambient and the angelic. Just listen to the opener, “Dawnlight of the Gods”, and you realise that this isn’t just another foot-on-the-monitor rock and roll band, especially once Sandrine Orsini has drapped and drenched the track with vocals so emotive and majestic that you have rarely heard they’re like since the heyday of seventies Floyd. This one track, for me, pretty much justifies the cost of the album. (Or it would do if I had paid for it.)

“My Kundalini” is rock opera at its most dramatic, “Music Is Gnosis” proves that even such ornate and intricate music as this can be accessible and chart-friendly and “Before Time Began” throws some groove and swing into the story of The Garden of Eden.

It’s an album that brings together many stories, myths, legends and historical fragments, from The Tower of Babel to the story of Mary Magdalene, from the arrival of the Babylonian deities to all manner of higher philosophies and religious teachings. And it does so to music that is beautifully soundscaping, symphonic, and ornate but never dense or inaccessible. It is as revelatory and gorgeous an album as it is unexpected. Well, that’s made my day for sure.