Tone Science 2018
Rhapsody in blue, or poetry of modular synthesizers as a sampler of unique label’s stable of talent.
As far as experimentalists go, Ian Boddy must be very unusual: to begin with, his avant-garde music, is always accessible and never alien, and then, he’s not a loner. Over the years,the composer and keyboard player has been gathering kindred spirits under the ambient umbrella of DiN, before a need arose to create a subsidiary company and not only focus on modular synthesizers – a sort of instruments Ian used in 2016 for the “Tone Science” album which would give the new endeavor a name – but also make the label a home for Boddy’s fellow Brits and, later, outlanders who share his love for strange sonics. This disc is only an initial slice of what they want to offer.
Here’s music that should exist strictly – and freely – in the moment, yet the listener will want this moment to last eternally, because the tones an artist has chosen to explore, sticking to the scientific aspect of the record’s scope, sometimes seem to be encompassing one’s entire life. That’s why for all their electronic provenance, the protracted pieces on display don’t feel artificial. Not for nothing the first compilation in a future series starts with DivKid’s “Natural Minor Sines” where logical, melodic function and random oscillations strike a perfect balance – solemn, if fragile, despite occasional white noise, while “Tone 6” by Boddy himself has caged aleatoric allure in more nebulous, spaced-out sounds, raging from celestial to chthonic.
Captured live, Scanner’s “If Wishes Came True” may marry radio waves to slo-mo ripples of his own making but more solid in percussive terms albeit just as unpredictable, a stereo-busting rumble and tick(l)ing lapses of Paul Lawler’s “Virus” are very infectious. Further still, Richard Scott’s “Ghatam” is actually possessed with a skittering groove – or, rather, IS a groove in different guises – and the clucking “Un coq à Esculape” from Lyonel Bauchet is wrapping rhythm in various effects to create a mirror-like, arresting vertigo. There’s a bass-propelled industrial skronk to Chris Carter’s “Frieze Relief” and a new-age-esque intangibility to Nigel Mullaney’s “Spherfear” which reveals orchestral swell along the way, before Matthew Shaw unfurls thick shimmer behind “Harmonograph” to distill the modular life-form.
Yes, it’s a symbiotic creature, a kind of earworm that always appears fresh – a fruit of the moment everyone must be tempted to taste.