Sonic Curiosity Logo

Electronics: Ian Boddy, Jeffrey Koepper, the Ministry of Inside Things

decorative rule

IAN BODDY: Slide (CD on DiN)

This CD from 2008 features 56 minutes of sliding electronic music.

Track one begins with a mixture of belltones and objects jangling in the distance supporting the sound of a (synthesized) slide guitar, and--well--this is sliding through a zone of frigid atmospherics (you can tell itís frigid by the way those jangling things exhibit an icy tonality). There a surge of bass opposition, but these forces fall in abeyance when faced with the overall strength of the mutated bells.

The next piece employs some distinctly thereminesque pitches which summon forth a host of percussives, which in turn open the floodgates for some solid melodics (so far, the tuneage has been pointedly harmonic) as harps cavort with other weirdly stringed sounds. The tune achieves a spry pinnacle before falling prey to those theremin wailings.

The title track exposes you to some snappy rhythms (crafted with a crisply metallic edge) which propel an interplay between that faux slide guitar and pensive bass pulsations. As the composition progresses, the interplay grows frenetic, impassioned, and eventually the slide wins out as it blossoms into an endearing harmonic.

Next, pittering rotors and muffled beats descend into a pool of searing chords (itís that artificial slide again--do you begin to sense the pattern?) which consequently inch their way into a very mobile and alluring melody...before sinking once more into the pool thatís gone cold with shrill ambience.

Track five is a short one (just under four minutes, compared to the others which average between six and eight). Here, a realm of ponderous bass growls accompany the slide on an upward spiral in search of release--which comes in the form of a softly bubbling explosion.

Next, the tuneage gets nostalgic and goes motoring down the motorway, chugging and bouncing along with sparkling keyboards punctuated by synth-pop gurgles and techno beats. The slide joins the journey, acting like a beacon and guiding everything toward a complex escalation...before it runs out of gas and coasts to a stop.

Track seven sends the slide into a region of metallic impacts metered into a catchy rhythm. Friendly (but shrill) electronics try to help the slide, but gritty snarls support the metallics in their efforts to swamp things...forcing the slide to express some space guitar sounds to liberate itself. The conflict has no victor as the songís components retreat In opposite directions.

In the next piece, Boddy coaxes snappy rhythms to cooperate with the questing slide, resulting in a sprightly excursion of bewitching definition. This catchy coexistence profits all involved, as the slide achieves some stratospheric epiphanies and the beats reach a retro frenzy.

The last track is an introspective composition in which the slide contemplates its own existence and learns to be ultimately willing to coexist with dreamy keyboards and bass tones.

Following the bravely synthesized slide on its pilgrimage is a thrilling voyage to behold...but (for those who prefer the music shorn of any whimsical illusions) this album is a decent dose of haunting melodies laced with delightful rhythms.

decorative rule

JEFFREY KOEPPER: Luminosity (CD on Air Space Records)

This CD from 2009 offers 73 minutes of gentle electronic music.

Delicate keyboards are augmented by atmospheric electronics, resulting in tuneage of superior distinction.

Utilizing airy tones, the keyboards fashion ethereal melodics that lend calmness a glistening demeanor. As chords sigh to each other, generating swaying pulsations, moods of serenity are established, rich with the promise of potential enlightenment.

Some of the electronics convey an arid quality, the notes wavering and rising like heat from a vast plain. Once airborne, the chords resist breezes, drifting under Koepperís meticulous guidance. Their movement becomes sideways, punctuated periodically by the chortle of synthetic bubbles.

While percussion is unnecessary, there are passages that use blooping cycles to approximate gentle rhythms. These beats blend nicely with the flowing electronics, masking themselves from obvious notice.

At times, the placid mesmerization falls away as the riffs mount in puissance, expressing a gradual accumulation of vigor. These ascensions swell with gathering majesty, peeling away the listenerís stress and inciting optimistic anticipation.

A dreamy disposition marks these compositions. The tunes are soothing yet inherently stimulating. These type of harmonic melodies etch themselves into the cortex and emerge later on as idly hummed riffs. Their streaming nature is designed to slowly mutate as they progress, doing so covertly while remaining basically loyal to a central theme.

decorative rule

THE MINISTRY OF INSIDE THINGS: Ambient Elsewhere (double CD on Synkronos Music)

This release from 2008 features 116 minutes of dreamy electronic music recorded live at several venues.

The Ministry of Inside Things is: Chuck van Zyl (on synthesizers) and Art Cohen (on guitar).

Although based in Philadelphia. MOIT have a predilection for tunes that reverberate between the New Jersey shore and the ashen craters of the moon. This release epitomizes that region, with melodies that rise from marshy swamps to drift higher and higher, celebrating atmospheric freedom with lavish electronic tonalities, while space guitar punctuates that joy with an astral wail.

Abundant textural fabrics unfurl to cloud the night sky with their moody presence. Flutish keyboards wind through this dreamy firmament, enhancing the harmonic definition and seasoning the air with gradually evolving melodies. The emphasis remains on dreamy pastiches, however, tickling layers of placidity with additional balmy embellishments.

Sparkling keyboards lend an icy touch to the tuneage, which in turn is countered by the warmth of astral guitar strains. Whether pursuing languid strumming or erupting with passionate sustains, the guitar contributes a demonstrative heat that serves to deepen the ambience.

Exploring aspects of somnambulance, the music generates a pacific zone of serenity that isolates the listeners from the harsh world around them. Expansive vistas are evoked to maintain this calm, which is then laced with the subtle agitation of the guitar rising from the gloom to provide tastes of deliberate euphoria.

Percussion is absent from this music.

NASA in-flight transmissions pepper this music, providing a beyond-our-atmosphere context.

Fans of early Tangerine Dream releases (like Ricochet and Stratosfear) will thrill to MOITís homage to that material as familiar riffs make repeated appearances among the bandís own compositions.

decorative rule
Entire page © 2009 Matt Howarth.
All rights reserved.
Webpage design by Stasy