Daina Dieva is a Lithuanian visual and musical artist, who's made two digital releases prior this this album. The album was released as a regular version, and a special version limited to 13 copies. The regular version holds the CD and the booklet in a slim-DVD-case, whereas the special version packs the CD and various items in a wooden case.

The album holds half an hour of soothing and ethereal dark ambient with beautiful female vocals. The actual song structures are rather minimalistic and simple, and they go forward with no haste. For example, the opener relies on some analogue-sounding, possibly slowed-down and soft droning, which is topped with some heavily echoed metallic notes that have been softened to remove their edge. The song doesn't really go anywhere during its six minutes, but still sounds interesting and manages to create a soothing atmosphere. The follow-up is a shorter piece which has a really minimalistic background of echoed and manipulated high-pitch "beats," but the main attention goes to the song's soft and soothing, yet deep and characteristic vocals.

"Leaving the Garden" is the main song of the album, and lasts for over eighteen minutes. It opens up with some ominous low drones that create an intriquing atmosphere, although they have a too large chunk of artificial plastic to really let the listener sink into them. Some wooden synth-notes arrive to give the darkness a dose of lighter emotion, and some metallic chimes create some background detail to deepen the minimalistic droning. The song turns into a lot lighter piece when the brooding elements are almost completely removed, and Daina Dieva arrives to make the soundscape more relaxing with her echoed chanting. The song ends to soft and classic synth-provided calmness, with some soft metallic notes providing a melody, or rather, an array of almost random notes following each other. The ending might've worked with less synthetic sounds, but as-is it sounds out of place. "Tylioji" is a stylish calm closer for the album, although it, too, suffers from some wooden synths sounding out of place amidst the relaxed ambience and soft drones.

The album is something of a meditative one, but takes great damage from the melody/pattern-providing synths sounding too artificial, even soulless. The overall atmosphere is really pleasing, and further so when enjoyed with the accompanying lyrics, but these glimpses of less refined material amidst all the calm plain disturbs my concentration and damages my listening experience. The visual side could provide more for the senses as well, but their abstract and foggy approach does fit the music's atmosphere and minimalism. It's nothing too special, but fits the musical style.

I think the artist would've had the skills for greater results, but she just seemingly settled for too little. She has a good sense of creating the right atmospheres with enough detail to keep the listener interested, but she would need to further work on the ways to implement this detail more effectively. The detail-providing sounds aren't seamlessly imbued to their background, and the most distinctive synth-notes sound too artificial to really deepen and compliment their surroundings.

All in all, "Leaving the Garden" is a promising album, and at least left me waiting to hear what Daina Dieva will come up with in the future.

7 / 10