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Tag: DiN Records

Scanner: An Ascent

An Ascent

An Ascent

Scanner: An Ascent
Released: 17 July 2020
www.din.org.uk
www.scannerdot.com

Sleeping too close to an electrical outlet may cause one to dream about the music of Scanner, Robin Rimbaud‘s long-lived project of ambitious sonic messaging. His An Ascent (49’37”) is a mood album, although what exact mood has yet to be determined. From out of some distant district its low-key intensity lingers in our bloodstream, forcing a reassessment of the familiar. Using established EM technology he reveals a music both strange and new. Producing an alternating variety of grainy, cloudy, synthesized and digital sounds Rimbaud has no trouble in manufacturing the vividly breathing and softly pulsing notes that inhabit this release. It is the excellent assembly of these elements into semi-abstract, fuzzy edged forms that so distinguishes him. Giving voice to silenced states of mind An Ascent combines an economy of form and smart surface calculations, and exerts such control over color so as to bare the fullness of a truly eccentric imagination. This collection of varied, curious pieces moves between tightly bound frozen gestures and a slow burning contained emptiness, to the coiled strength and mutable texture of fractured waveforms and dense clouds of sounds. Samples, fragments and loops produce a restless energy – wired from the raw voltage of the imagination. At times his synths show their teeth, as timbre proceeds inexorably from hush to maelstrom – yet, as daunting as this may read, not one of us will hesitate to step inside Rimbaud’s story. From the placid lull of beating oscillators to a stark exposure and dissipation, these nine tracks each have an epic span that belies the few minutes of their duration. As landscapes and machines materialize in our minds this unvarnished minimalism slides into abstraction, then gently recedes into the firmament of night. The result is an album of Ambient Music – but only just. An individualist who finds his place in so many musical situations, Scanner is a creature of the vast aural plane in which he plays. His electronic agency allows him to address the human condition in a way that no other musician can. Probing the quiet recesses of where we dwell, An Ascent captures the spirit of our era. So long as ideas persist in his head, Rimbaud will keep exploring – and continue to give us much to listen to and think about.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END22 July 2020

Ian Boddy: Modulations

Modulations

Modulations

Ian Boddy: Modulations
Released: 19 June 2020
www.din.org.uk

Throughout Modulations (132’02”) Ian Boddy throws off some sparks. A musician who explores freely in spite of the risk this clutch of live tracks transpires in a kind of continuous arrival. Managing a select system of instruments these concert pieces reveal an aural landscape of unearthly radiance, yet also offers advanced listeners strange stretches of confining emptiness. Across six composed and passionate performances Boddy’s technique is exact and clear. Wherever delicately dancing tones and swirling textures take hold, elsewhere the spare procession of an isolated harmony, and distorting darkness, descends into the murky dimensions of an unpeopled realm. Sonic eddies assemble to realize a refuge of unearthly beauty, yet further into Modulations we may too be confronted with the starkness of the world as it is. At once adrift and alive to shifts in momentum and direction these improvised musical works emphasize the interior space. In the non-space of the mind pearly high tones and rounded ringing whirls herald the release of perfect sequencer cascades. These spring-loaded grooves unwind and recoil in a crisp, easy buoyancy on the upbeat tracks. In a carefree air they fuse and flow through coarse attacks and engaging note patterning. But for every ceaselessly alluring sound-space there is another frozen in some bleak waste. Exchanging its manic intensity for a more measured focus Modulations slows from its majestic roar, down to a subterranean murmur. In shadowy and semi-abstract expressions of timbre and atmosphere we chill and thrill to a range of unexpected gestures and signals. This masterful maneuvering lends the work a prevailing sense of certitude, as well as the occasional unexpected bite. There are those who wonder… where will we find the frontier of Electronic Music? And there are those who know… it is anywhere Ian Boddy can plug in his synthesizers. While lost in the electronic wilderness he is far from our modern conditions of anxiety and desire. The intentional blankness of this state of dis-connectivity offers a surprising tenderness – a soft declaration from a zone that refuses to be utterly lost.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END2 July 2020

Various Artists: Cosines and Tangents

Cosines and Tangents

Cosines and Tangents

Various Artists: Cosines and Tangents
Released: 18 October 2019
www.din.org.uk

For those contributing tracks to Cosines and Tangents, music is a more precise way to communicate. This volume, the third in the Tone Science series, presents nine works – every one made using a unique modular synthesizer system. Each component within these cases and cabinets is a discrete part chosen and arranged according to the taste and direction of the individual artist. Filters, oscillators, mixers, ring modulators, envelopes, and other even more esoteric pieces provide an unprecedented flexibility in sound design and music making. They are systems that are not fixed in the way conventional instruments are, and attract an interesting mix of musicians and engineers. Represented on Cosines and Tangents are a compelling cross-section of talented people from out of this body. From the raw power of Berserker by Redshift, to the intellectual vigor of Cyclosporum by Robert Rich, then down to the unpeople space of En-Edge by Radek Rudnicki, on up to the gentle mental popping pulse of Round #2 by Benge, this collection, in turns, offers the feeling of coming home, followed by the sense of leaving Earth. Overtly synthetic, these realizations all confer a particular electrical power – in hopes of awakening possibility in listeners. As there is no one perfect way to perform this music, we are well served by the select imaginations uplifting this group. Threading between the forces of chaos and order Cosines and Tangents produces a fascinating energy – a trait which has yet to be fully explained. However, what may be explained is why the field of Electronic Music has over these many years remained so innovative, so ahead of its time. This is plainly so because its practitioners have not forgotten the first principle of their work… the expressive manipulation of timbre – and remained true to a faith… that just as the soul animates a person, so timbre animates a sound.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END10 October 2019

Ian Boddy: Altair

Altair

Altair

Ian Boddy: Altair
Released: 17 May 2019
www.din.org.uk

Following his 2018 visit to Philadelphia, we find that there is still plenty of fight left in Ian Boddy. Altair presents concert music from this trip. Dazzling and engaging, the first disc of this double album unfolds in the fast-moving, unerring style Boddy has become known for at The Gatherings Concert Series. Providing a comfortable feel, amidst neat beats and pulsing sequencer patterns, Altair veers between fearsome acceleration and a breathtaking stillness. Boddy’s talent for harmonizing aural pleasure and vanguard ideas is in full play here. The rapturous strings, expressive solos and machine tone patterns ask us to feel something, while atonal clusters and metallic rumblings challenge the listener to ponder deeper mysteries. Synth leads edged in platinum bring melodies played with poetic sincerity, and pleasure the ear with caressing phrases. Riding above an insistent bassline, interlocking sonic structures wind around each other in fragile synchronization. The potent effect of the seven tracks on the audience (and the musician) was intensified within the reverential performance space, and may be felt again at each listening session. The second disc in this two-CD set matches the celestial scale of the STAR’S END radio program – where it was recorded. An elaborate musicalized dreamland the five tracks of this volume finds consonance retreating into a separate territory – as modulated effects wear down harmonies with deliberate pressure and howling electronics bellow through cavernous reverberation. These portentous soundscapes, rendered in dark gauzy layers, are offset by passages of focused energy and a sense of rocketing between star systems. This fifth such transmission by Boddy creatively uses well the dynamic range available to artists invited to these sessions. Sonic fragments were mixed and matched and layered one upon another. A glassy calm begets a serene interiority, until an enchanting discord clouds our heads. Whenever a scalding, raspy roar wails in caustic disquiet, the negative space enlarges – straight on to nowhere. Boddy, like all other Electronic Musicians, makes music out of electricity – but his true material is time and space. Altair exists so that others outside the moments of these recitals may hear the truth of his work, and know the magic of traveling in place.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END23 May 2019

d’Voxx: Telegraphe

Telegraphe

Telegraphe

d’Voxx: Télégraphe
Released: 15 March 2019
www.din.org.uk
www.dvoxx.com

Along with a great number of new sounds and sonics, the recent modular synthesizer movement has also generated some new terminology. One such entry into the technical jargon of this field is the phrase, composing with “on purpose notes”, or what many of us once thought of as the recognition of tonality – a most very basic aspect of contemporary music. While the works of d’Voxx (the duo of Nino Auricchio & Paul Borg) may be attributed to an elaborate matrix of electronic components, their CD Télégraphe (56’00”) is the full flame, and not just a flickering idea found in their technology. A knowing blend of strict strategizing and the acknowledgement of the necessity of a greater precision permeate Télégraphe. To convey the sweeping complexity of their ideas this duo arranges a music system so that they may wander easily through its structure. Like a letter within a word, each module plays a role subordinate to the composite whole. In pulsing, complicated spheres of energy emanating into the world around us, the pulse of this music comes, not so much from the rate of its LFO or clock divider, but from the entwined creativity of its collaborators. Stringing together nine realizations with field recordings of the urban underground each piece moves rapidly from audio art into a contemporary groove. The music’s heated circuitry yields an excitement and urgency of hot, real and sudden energy. Just as body-beat drums roll and crest dramatically beneath propulsive figures, strands of sequencer notes mix, shift and split in a twisting double helix of echoing electronic tones. Above this torrent rises consonant chords traversing the scales – exerting a serene, secure authority. The kinetic and moving head-music found on Télégraphe will appeal to those with an ear for rhythm – even as it gently swings back and forth between dynamism and contemplation. Auriccho & Borg have woven their themes and forms into a strikingly intricate whole. They have brought this music into the world so as to feel the satisfaction of being heard – and in doing so generate an intimacy to which we may often return.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END4 April 2019

Bluetech: Liquid Geometries

Liquid Geometries

Liquid Geometries

Bluetech: Liquid Geometries
Released: 16 November 2018
www.din.org.uk
www.bluetechonline.com

Free spirited and possessed of an Inner Light, the album Liquid Geometries 58’14” is loaded with monumental stuff meticulously realized. As a sonic traveler preparing for a new journey, Bluetech (aka Evan Bartholomew) surely revisited Spacemusic classics such as Phaedra and Rubycon – not for their equipment list, but to re-experience their directness. The hypnotic hymns of electronic dreaming found on Liquid Geometries move easily through somewhere barren and otherworldly to an inverted slowcore electronica – a place where the power of electricity is harnessed by the human mind. Liquid Geometries is a work that slowly reveals its power and complexity – such that the climax of each track may be noticed only in hindsight. Possessing a lulling beauty swirled in Berlin-School atmosphere and culminating in nine sky-high tracks, the dexterous cadence of each piece escapes the absolute. Aiming for a slow-burn build, the temperature of this release rises from cool to simmering. Sounds build out, and lines of rhythm are introduced. Minimalist sequencer runs motor on, brightening gradually along their course. Individual notes are transposed, echoed and repeated, altering minutely the pattern, then quickening the pace of the music. While a magic machine pulse provides a distinctive energy, one more of the mind than of the air, confirming synth lines surface – reassuring the lost and arousing the adventurous. Where dramatic chord changes help us ascend further still, the deliberate pacing in other areas slows the listener with its intellectual puzzle. This album plays in a way that makes us listen anew to the familiar. There is nothing not to like here. While some musicians just tend their machines, those at a more thoughtful level seem to be playing themselves into existence. Bluetech takes full possession of his impulses as he shapes music into something that far transcends the limits of his time. He never loses sight of the wonders he is attempting to capture, nor of the nebulous mysteries we are all trying to fathom.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END1 November 2018

 

Various Artists: Elements and Particles

Elements and Particles

Elements and Particles

Various Artists: Elements and Particles
Released: 19 October 2018
www.din.org.uk

It has been said that a scholar collects, and so with his Tone Science series we find Ian Boddy (of DiN Records) continuing a fine job of just that. Now let us welcome Elements and Particles (60’23”), the second anthology of nine musical realizations that have never before been. The raw material of this art is electricity, which is forged into sound and music by dreamers and builders. Their wordless structures offer everything from technological complexity to the simplicity of a prayer. The artful sonic organization of the works found on Elements and Particles can stem only from a developed instinct. Timbre has always been a secondary consideration in music, yet in the field of Electronic Music it is the key medium of artistic spiritual intensity. In a genre this wild and ungovernable, each piece exerts its own specific force on the imagination. In an ever-fading atmosphere, the artists presented on this collection are shaping the character of sound in a thousand small ways. Finding their internal guidance the nine come alive to transform gently vibrating tones into a commotion of motion. As the worrisome low trill of LFOs gives way to a formless vacuum, another track goes bone deep cold. When chaotic modulations upset the spirit level of our minds, conventional access points recede – and we are left with only the sensation of hearing. There are also places of unspeakable beauty. In this innovative modular synthesizer realm, oscillators may sing of the quiet power behind their volume, with tempered circuits humming in ascent. Chirping rhythms echo lines of melodious machine patterns, and scatter above the round warmth of slower purple notes. In metallic voices and synthesized verse this gear can reference its technological founders, but in this worship we only diminish a power meant to amplify humanity – to further advance our state. The nine musicians represented on Elements and Particles always choose the light – as their lives are meant for discovery. With each new musical endeavor they dare to be more human. We may be considered mad by those who cannot hear the music – yet for all those who understand, it is a wonder beyond all dispute. But as steady as we are in our pursuit, we must wonder… what is this strange compulsion that drives us to create? We all do live this question, and must live into its answer.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END27 September 2018

Node: Node Live

Node Live

Node Live

Node: Node Live
Released: 18 May 2018
www.din.org.uk

Before the audience ever even heard the music, they knew it was there. On 27 February 2015 the concert hall at the Royal College of Music in London was staged for a rare live show by Node – the celebrated collaboration between Dave Bessell, Ed Buller, Mark Ellis (aka Flood) and Mel Wesson. In front of those seated was a city of synthesizers, arranged and wired together in a menagerie of boxes, cases and modules… warmed up and standing ready to be played by these four men. Sparking ideas about music’s ritualistic role, attendees surely felt that they were going to be part of something great – as when electricity is converted into music something wondrous is born into the world. Node Live (65’53”) provides a record of this psychic income. Like the thunder, the heaviest of this album’s five live tracks will awaken a primitive emotion within us. In parts where is present a bass so heavy that it can almost be stood upon, we feel an unrestrained directness of expression. As the inward spiral of echoing sequencer patterns are introduced, the brainwaves of the audience seem to align – as if in a combining of forces. Node Live captures the newness of this fleeting experience. Cross-modulated oscillators give the feel of being bombarded with cosmic rays, alongside classic Mellotron tones sounding out through cavernous reverberation. Electronic tones skip, dance and amble up and down chromatic scales in machine-like precision – supported by synth harmonies, glittering effects and the occasional electric guitar lead. Abstract thought zones provide a place to rest, without giving the impression of undoing or finality. It is hard not to celebrate the look of Node’s machinery over its function. But seeing all this gear (which nearly slipped from the world’s memory some years ago) assembled for a live performance may remind us that although we think we have control of it, electricity is working its will within this music and directing its every action. While Node’s work may originate at an AC wall outlet, it comes to us through our ears, and truly reaches us only through our understanding. Existing in stark contrast to mainstream music, which reflects the current values and trends in society, music by Node (and their contemporaries) achieves so much more – as it reflects the current state of the human mind.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END17 May 2018

Ian Boddy: As Above So Below

As Above So Below

As Above So Below

Ian Boddy: As Above So Below
Released: 18 November 2016
www.din.org.uk
www.ianboddy.com

After the absorption of so many modern minimal musical explorations, where works are realized or discovered rather than composed and produced, it comes as something of a relief to listen to an album made with expressive intent. Heading towards the poetic world of memory and imagination Ian Boddy harnesses the power of his synthesizers, and ably delivers As Above So Below (39’08”). Its six tracks feel organic, never schematic – flawlessly flowing across a fascinating range of textures and moods. In possession of an electrified core (enchanting on its own terms), with this economical release Boddy manages to fuse a stylistically progressive arrangement and cosmic music atmosphere. Spirit and mood synchronize in a harmony of plaintive electronics and machine beauty. Energy levels build, then take unexpected turns. Abstract forms coalesce into meaningful melodies… all the while, the thematic density of each piece engages and sustains the listener. Whenever As Above So Below takes dark turns, we feel confident. Passages for grand piano and reverb feel elegant and elated, in some contrast to elsewhere-present impressionistic washes of ethereal choir and roiling drones. While his darkness shimmers on the surface, Boddy builds towards big ideas. The pacing is methodical, the narrative captivating, and the production substantial. Spinning like different sized wheels running at different rates, electronic rhythms and synthesized patterns momentarily take their place in front, then move back in support – all together outputting a most wonderful clockwork music. Letting it overheat, off-kilter drumbeats mix with spacey modulated tones – to frame rising synth leads and evocative string chords. Whatever has been left out is meant for the listener to fill in. Yet, this work is meant to be enjoyed, not solved. His music is a fundamental source of Ian Boddy’s identity. As Above So Below is a work of surprising effect. Active listening will elevate the mind and deepen the spirit, this from an established star still determined to grow.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END24 November 2016

Ian Boddy: Tone Science

Tone Science

Tone Science

Ian Boddy: Tone Science
Released: 26 February 2016
www.din.org.uk

Much like the apes struggling to comprehend the monolith, there are those among us who will not understand Tone Science (60’46”). But, this music is not for them – as it, and its producer Ian Boddy, benefits more from intelligent company. To enjoy Tone Science it helps to partner with its author, and leave all mainstream musical concepts behind. Here Boddy plays with an ear for color, motion and texture, forsaking conventional narrative clarity. It is an experience by way of the senses, rather than through pure mental interpretation. Our focus expands beyond sound, to the sources of that sound, to its imminent fragility and a state of unbeing. It may be difficult to lose ourselves in Tone Science, as its negative space is constantly asking us to make sense of it. One moment triggers the next so seamlessly that eventually chaos is re-engineered into the illusion of a natural order. Throughout the soundspace, tones flicker lightly across the surface, or burrow deep within it – and come into focus, or all but disappear. The gentle descent into incandescent timbres and rambling, fearsome energy has the ability to stir the imagination. Throbbing with texture, then snapping into focus, Boddy’s five lessons on loudness, denseness, sonority, and several unidentifiable musical traits, enmesh the listener in aural events that are impossible to live aloud. Taking refuge in a world of abstraction, sonic figments may summon mental imagery to supplement aural input, but really only offer spatial and cognitive distortions. As a fragile stability gives way to strange, vigorous explorations, we wonder if these works could actually be destroying Boddy’s studio equipment in their production. Beauty may be found in maximal passages, when the details (as here) are done right. Peaceful moments are few, with boiling oceans, frozen wastelands, disconnected time and states of imminent collapse arising out of Boddy’s most innovative electronic modulations. Without any concession toward standard Spacemusic plotting, Tone Science descends into artistic reverie – representing a state of total disengagement. Defying metaphorical interpretation, its most salient tension may be found in our fraught relationship between known and unknown tones. At times frustratingly complex and impenetrable, we do not reason our way through an album like this; we must allow it to just wash over us. In a journey through the sense of hearing Boddy hopes to re-diagram our impressions of time, memory and consciousness. He has the uncanny ability to infuse a familiar genre with deeper meaning, and leave the listener feeling exhilarated. With Tone Science we find a deliberate exposure of Boddy’s psyche, which feels even more intimate than his many more conventional works. From safely behind his thick walls, we feel the satisfaction of the master.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END14 April 2016