I was indeed quite curious about 'Rise', especially since I somewhat lost track with the project. On the other hand, I was also a bit weary, because let's face it, sometimes guitar drone and ambient artists seem to record the same album over and over again. I know, it's their "sound" but once you heard one release, you heard them all. Now, my dear reader, you don't need to worry about that here. 'Rise' is a great addition to your already massive collection. It's not just another album of guitar drones. It's an album filled with instrumental songs.
Each song seems to have it's own identity. 'Melancholy' has a certain tempo, a gentle pulsation impelling the equally gentle soundscapes. 'Dream' starts out carefully but slowly turns into a folk inspired piece of music, obviously always supported by those lengthy guitar drones. 'Hypnotic' feels like a nightly stroll through a forest, while fireflies guide you to a certain destiny. It has something gloomy and a bit eerie, hidden in a vague melody. 'Enmity' and 'Desolation' are chilly pieces of work, which apparently fit perfectly with visuals of Mercury passing the sun.
It does seem like Stratosphere evolved a lot since 'Dreamscape'. I sense some influences from post-rock, mainly in the narrative and cinematic nature of the tracks. They do feel like minimal pieces of post-rock and make me wonder how they would sound in a live setting with drums and bass. I'm positive that it would be a very intense and immersive experience, since listening to these seven tracks is already exactly that. I'll leave the other two tracks up to you, dear reader, while I go enjoy the sun, a cold beer and this beautiful album...