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Electronics: Ian Boddy, Bas Broekhuis, Picture Palace Music

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IAN BODDY: After the Rain (DDL on DiN)

A distinct change for Boddy, this 2012 download release offers 76 minutes of abstract electronics which were recorded live in Berlin, June 2012.

Track 1 begins with shrill textures that meander into a zone of gritty electronics which gradually coalesce into a pulsating passage of almost atonal noise. But lurking within that seeming chaos are hints of melodic tones that refuse to surface, remaining elusive, tantalizing, skittering amid a host of growling diodes. Bell-tones and piercing pitches are added to the breezy mix, lazily sounding off and then ebbing in a series of haunting punctuations. These abstract elements begin to accrete into a throbbing melody that achieves a dreamy definition with otherwise harsh sounds…which eventually recede into a temperate finale.

Track 2 slides right into play, emerging from silence with fragile, almost hesitant tones that gradually muster puissance as their pulsations blend together into a quivering mass. Squealing pitches flicker in the distance, muscling their way through the shimmering clouds until they dominate the flow with their sashaying presence. Allusions of harmony seep into the flow as the pulsations wane, only to resurge in quirky patterns, blooping away with mounting authority. That vigor fades into a grinding miasma. A rhythm erupts from this chaos, establishing a charismatic tempo amid a bevy of twittering effects before the performance culminates with a sputtering conclusion.

Track 3 is a demo version of the first piece. Here, the chaos is compressed into an orderly display of deceptively random pulsations and grinding diodes.

Track 4 is a demo version of the second piece. Here too, the elements are arrayed in condensed form, guttural tones spilling into blooping burps, ultimately rushing into a brief display of the throbbing rhythm before sputtering out.

An intriguing dose of harsh electronics whose haphazard presentation is flavored with traces of harmonic progression.

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BAS BROEKHUIS: The Synchronicity of Life (DDL on Manikin Records)

This release from 2011 is a reissue of a classic album from 1996 and features 63 minutes of airy electronic music.

Sparkling electronics and inventive rhythms create tunes of majestic beauty.

The electronics rely very little on textural backdrops, instead establishing flowing oscillations to serve as foundations for agile keyboard riffs. Layering multiple chords, fluid sonic tapestries are generated. Subdermal bass pulsations rumble deeper in the mix, providing a contrasting bottom for things.

Sometimes the keyboards abandon any synthetic cadence and pursue traditional piano passages, lending a serious mood to the music.

The rhythms are versatile and prone to express compulsive tempos that lurk within the mix, surging forth to propel the spry melodies. Sometimes the keys mirror this agility, belting out so fast as to function as additional tempos, crowding the tunes with hyperactive rhythmic nests.

Meanwhile, doses of clever effects serve to bridge greater passages.

These compositions possess a stately character, delicate yet glittering with a certain strength. The melodies are smooth, but hardly lethargic. Their true power lay in their ability to seep into the listener’s psyche and stimulate certain sentiments. The main message is one of reverence for life, a gently conveyed respect for coexistence.

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PICTURE PALACE MUSIC: Somnambulbulistic Tunes (CD on Manikin Records)

This release from 2007 features 75 minutes of cinematic music inspired by Robert Wienne’s film Das Kabinet des Dr Caligari.

Picture Palace Music is: Thorsten Quaeschning (who has been a semi-regular member of Tangerine Dream for many years) (on synthesizer, programming, guitar, vocoder, piano, and Ebow). He is joined on a few tracks by Susanna Maria Sellin (on saxophone) and Thorsten Spiller (on guitar).

Moody electronics and pensive percussion create a suitable soundtrack for the classic surreal film.

While the electronics are diverse, they tend to exhibit a dark resonance. Haunting riffs slither forth, delineated by keyboard and embellished by auxiliary electronics. At times, these auxiliary electronics adopt a strong undercurrent with their inventive cadence.

The rhythms are mostly nicely restrained, despite their epic proportions, evoking momentous implications with each softly ponderous beat. There are occasions, though, in which the percussion’s puissance is allowed to flourish with in-your-face authority.

The guitar provides a twinkling air with often well-hidden chords. At other times the strings edge their way into prominence with a reverberating presence. Meanwhile, the Ebow generates some highly eerie tonalities, lending the tunes a bewitching beauty.

Heavely chorales contribute a celestial grandeur to many passages.

As mentioned, these compositions present a shadowy milieu that fits the eerie scenery and storyline of Wiene’s film. A strong sense of drama permeates the songs, establishing a terse yet mysterious temperament. The melodies excellently capture a balance between spooky and awe-inspiring. But even more important, these songs will appeal to listeners who don’t care about any connection to the classic film. These tunes display a gripping power that is rooted in their melodic charm, resulting in an album of superb beauty and universal glamour.

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