All music was written, recorded and mixed* by Shaun Riekena
Additional atmospheric guitars in 'The Fossil Lights' by Todd Riekena
Mastering by Matt Sepanic at The Sonic Factory Recording Studio in Des Moines, IA
*Outer Depths / Inner Reaches mixed by Matt Sepanic
Thanks to everyone who helped make this album possible.
That was my first thought based solely on the project name and the track titles, but it’s safe to say mathematics has had an influence on the artist Prisms & Portals. Not cold, calculating arithmetic, but more of a philosophical, abstract maths that have to do with concepts of quantum physics and metaphysics. This influence is particularly evident on his new album The Fossil Lights.
Combined with the design and imagery of the album, which is colourfully creative and features portions of constellations and a human possibly being abducted, the listener gets a feeling that they’re listening to the score of a sci-fi animation. Aside from a few voice samples, the album is instrumental and is the work of Shaun Riekena of Des Moines Iowa. In addition to being a musician Shaun is also a graphic designer by trade. He does his own album art work, which is in sync with the music in a way that clearly expresses his artistic vision.
For the most part the album is ambient electronica, but also has some heavy base and atmospheric guitars. The seven tracks run almost 45 minutes, with an average track length of a little over six minutes. The album has a good flow and it’s easy to listen to it from beginning to end. The third track “Intercept Linear 7″ was one of my favorites; it’s ambient and also has a funkiness to it that reminded me of Trent Reznor. The title track “The Fossil Lights”, which features Todd Riekena, is 11 minutes long and is quite an epic piece of music that could totally be the climax to the fictional sci-fi animation. I really liked how he ended the album with “Wavering Sun.” It’s the shortest track on the album and ends with the music fading away abruptly as if it were an emanating signal that has just passed the range’s thresh hold heading into outer space. The album was mastered by Matt Sepanic at The Sonic Factory Recording Studio, also in Des Moines."
—Bucketlist Music Reviews
“There is method to the madness here, and I think it comes through on tracks like “Intercept Linear 7” with it’s repeated piano loops stabbing through the eerie harsh whispered lyrics. And it burns through on the equally eerie “Radiant,” with its thunderous piano echoes and cymbal crashes which sound like the perfect soundtrack to a short black and white film. And then there is the all out jam session of the electric guitar and pounding drum darkness on the title track.”
—The Equal Ground
"A one-man instrumental project from Shaun Riekena, Prisms & Portals could be of particular interest to game developers and genre film makers. Each them we heard—“In Waves,” “Intercept Linear 7” and the 11 minute “The Fossil Lights”—follows an effective formula: a mysterious, hypnotically repetitious motif builds to a dramatic conclusion. Along the way there are enough interludes of intrigue and instrumental flourishes (like great fuzz-bomb guitar tones) that could make an ambitious visual project come to life. Indeed, the simplicity of each composition seems to demand a visual element to ground it or give it context. Our favorite track is “Intercept Linear 7” which makes an impact via its oddly chant-like voice component."
—Music Connection Magazine
"Intercept Linear 7" is an electronic epic that combines hypnotic atmospheric development with a colorful variety of glitch-pop and industrial-fused heavy drones. The vocals are distant in the production, similar to the works of A Perfect Circle and Nine Inch Nails and aptly so, considering this track's stylistic direction. Tracks in the avant-garde electronica vein can easily veer off course due to sheer complexity and scope, but "Intercept Linear 7" starts fresh and maintains this level of innovation throughout. The drums really start to shine around the 02:20 mark, when their vibrancy and complexity aligns beautifully with the synth warbles and flutters. The ominous backing vocals during this section are also phenomenally done. The vocals, although lyrically incomprehensible, act as a hypnotic instrument on their own throughout -- casting a caressing power upon the invigorating instrumentation. "Intercept Linear 7" shows Prisms & Portals as a band supremely capable of crafting electronic epics that fuse together a variety of lovable influences, from Tool to Aphex Twin. Fans of those groups and beyond will surely appreciate this."
—Mike Mineo, Editor of Obscure Sound