1. Fantasy & Reason [5:23]
  2. Under The Silverwheel [6:22]
  3. The Empire Of Illusions [17:58]
    1. Morpheus
    2. Rapid-I-Movement
    3. Find The Key
  4. Qi - Energy Of Life [6:50] MP3 soundclip of The energy of life [3:00]
  5. Tranceamazônica [5:02]
  6. Fatal Charm [4:06]
  7. Exhibit A [7:10]
  8. Searching For Words [5:45]
  9. The Threshold Of Perception [5:52]
  10. Spinback [10:43]
    1. Backspin
    2. Ascendant
Recorded, mixed and mastered summer 2000 by Christian Schimmöller at Circle of Sounds Studio, Munich
All Titles composed, arranged and played 1995-2000 by Christian Schimmöller
Christiane von Kutzschenbach vocals on Searching for Words and Johannes Hitzelberger & Barbara Malisch symbol announcements on The Empire Of Illusions It is obvious from the get-go that a lot of care and pride went into this CD.First, there is the very nice, unique tri-fold digipak with beautiful cover art.The CD booklet neatly tucked into a notch in the center. Detailed credits in both German and English. The music itself was carefully recorded, with a special 3-D recording technique. This is all well and good, of course, but what about the music? Honestly, I'm still digesting it. It is a multi-layered work full of imagery. I have to say, the first time I played it, it didn't sit right with me at all. The 3-D effect includes certain clichés, like doors slamming and glass breaking, as if to say "look at me, I'm 3-D!" The clearly intended pièce de résistance, the 18-minute title track, is mostly free word association, with simple words repeated by a man and a woman over atmospheric electronics and sound effects. By the way, if you want to follow along, the words sort of roll along the bottom of the inside cover. I was really put off by this track the first time. But others, like the dark Exhibit A, with haunting whispers, ominous drones, and distant booming drums, were immediately to my liking. As I started to delve deeper and listen again, I began to appreciate the craftsmanship that Christian Schimmöller, a.k.a. Palantir, put into it. In a remote sense, I'm reminded of Jean-Michel Jarre’s most experimental album, Zoolook. Palantir explains that Empire of Illusions is all about dreams and dreamworlds.The almost 80-minute disc is a kaleidoscope of sonic images, created largely by background noise and vocal samples, in addition to music with generally uplifting melodies.Each track joins the next with a minute or so of ambient noise, talking, animals, and other sounds. Actually, these short bridges of sounds are very interesting in and of themselves, although it is where some of the excesses in the binaural recording occur. Sometimes it fits, and sometimes it just seems like noise. But then, it’s not unlike some dreams I have, where I'm suddenly whisked away to another location, and for the life of me I can't figure out how the dream transitioned from point A to point B. Palantir maintains a mostly light and bright mood throughout, one might even say dreamy. Spend some time with this one to reap its rewards. Unique and recommended.

2001. Phil Derby / Sequences Magazine