Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Outer Space - II (Blast First, 2012)

Not all modular synths are created equal. Just because there are thousands of 20 year olds in their bedrooms treating Edgar Froese arpeggios like Jimi Hendrix licks, doesn't mean they can create masterful recordings with the mini-moog they just traded for their electric guitar. This is why people like John Elliot (Emeralds) still matter so much. The torch itself was passed to Elliot. Its his game now, and he knows how to play it. If you sit around listening to a lot of retro synth material, you can tell when you're hearing his tracks.

Outer Space is Elliot alongside Andrew Veres (who does a lot of audio engineering work, mixing and mastering for Spectrum Spools), Adam Miller, Phillip J. Whiteside, Jeff Hatfield and Drew McDowall (of COIL fame). This does feel like a group effort. There are vast influences being represented here.

Whereas the first record felt very tense, this one has more er...umm... space? Side A begins in an intense fashion. Very thick pulses thud and punch their way through a wall of wind. This gives way to a release, in the form of a comfortable sprawl of rhythm and melody. Overall, its hopeful and lovely. Side B is quite a different story. In the beginning it sounds like an exercise in musique concrete, but quickly develops into a heavy and quite overwhelming narrative of darkness and doubt, fear and anxiety. Everything feels ominous for quite a while. This side long piece clicks and cuts, gurgles and churns its way through the depths of synth experimentation that, at its most exotic, reminds me of Conrad Schnitzler. Elliot himself stated that this side is a tribute to Ilhan Mimaroglu and Tod Dockstader.

This is a fantastic piece for those that are fans of the darker deeper side of synth history, its roots and possibilities are both represented here. Definitely give this one a go.

Read full review of Outer Space II - OUTER SPACE (JOHN ELLIOTT) on Boomkat.com ©

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