Jeffrey Koepper: MantraSequent
Do machines have a soul? Synthesizers do, as our beloved Robert Moog tried to explain in his 2004 documentary. The circuit boards and overall design of the devices he conceived are infused with just as much of his spirit as is imagined a violin crafted by Stradivarius. Another commonality between these two kinds of instruments is that they both need a human being to animate them – a process that usually reveals more about the player than the builder. Music realized by the Electronic Musician Jeffrey Koepper always carries a unique psychological charge, along with a distinctive personal truth. Few among his ranks possess his technical acumen, which certainly stimulates and informs Koepper’s many substantial releases. On MantraSequent (67’18”) sound is handled like an object. Shaving off frequencies, joining tones, sculpting textures, compressing atmospheres, and ordering notes into repeating trails of echoes this album is the result of the set of choices made by Koepper – which he hopes will turn abstractions into sonic moods and feelings. Once we fall under the spell of MantraSequent, it becomes easy to forget the impressive list of vintage gear which was used to make it. Capturing the cosmic mystery associated with this genre, Koepper deploys pulsing sequencers, sustaining synth-string chords and spiraling spacey effects in an expressive soundtrack for interplanetary leaps. In a swirl of held harmonies the listener is pulled toward a hard chill, and offered an absorbing space of repose – while further along, deeper pieces generate the mystery-machine character of the Berlin-School. Others may struggle to understand what it was like back then (the 1970s), but the powerful grip of the past has always aided Koepper well in the present. The Now, which is always racing ahead of us, through this music, can be caught. In silence we may feel the tick of the clock, but the moments found within each of the nine tracks on MantraSequent carry an opportunity to honor the maelstrom of the mind – and all its dimensional potential.