"Liquid Mind" is the debut release for both the Russian one-woman band as well as the French netlabel. Although Halgrath's logo might say otherwise, the album holds over an hour's worth of ritual ambient with prominent vocals, born with the intention to channel forth the energies of the universe.

The songs rely on lenghty notes and very minimal changes. Usually the tracks' main elements are one or two dense but light waves of ambient sound that slowly wave forward, and it's topped with the dramatic and almost operatic female vocals that define the tracks' feel with their lonesome cries and soothing chants, ones that seem to come from far away. These layers are given their depth by some more distinctively high- and low-pitch ambient-electronics, as well as some sparsely but effectively used (organic) percussions and more rhythmic, looping synths. I'm sure that the vocal style might be a bit too invasive for some people, but I found it too deepen the music's effect; it needs a bit giving in, which should make the listener just a bit more relaxed and receptive. There are still moments when the vocals stick out just a tad too much, though.

Although the artist has employed some more distinctive elements to the soundscape, such as the occasional percussions, it's still clear that the main weight and focus is on the hypnotic and pacifying soundscape. Despite the soothing values, the album carries a good dark undertone to sound more contentful and surrounding, as well as to be harder to be pushed into the background. The album provides just the right amount of content and aural stimulation to sound meaningful, while still having the bareness, repetition, mysticism and simplisticity needed to truly sink into the depths of its world. The barest moments have create a balance that lets the artist have room for some harsher and more experimental parts, such as the dark "Metal Scream" with it's reversed speaking vocals, or "Whisper..." with its Tibetan drones and overall heavier sound. They aren't too much apart from the Halgrath's main style, but simply carry more prominent sounds and bits.

The album plays it just a bit too safe, and its overall style could use some tightening; more effective parts should replace some weakest and the most dull and repetitive bits to create a stronger and deeper trance, and some of the electronic sounds (especially the rhythmic and percussion-ones) would need slight refinement to sound more appealing. Also, an album of this style should be accompanied by a fitting and interesting visual side that would enchance the listening experience, which for sure isn't the case here. Other than that, I can only recommend checking out this album to find out if it suits one's needs and preferences when it comes to relaxing and/or meditative ritual music, or a plain need for darker ambient music.

8 / 10