ANDY PICKFORD: Pareidolia (2017)
Updated: Aug 5, 2019
“There are some great moments in this Pareidolia that simply shows that the Pickford source is far from drying up”
1 Section One (Pieces 1-5) 1:17:36 2 Section Two (Pieces 6-10) 1:11:29 3 Section Three (Pieces 11-15) 1:13:04 Andy Pickford Music
(DDL 222:10) (V.F.) (Electronica, E-Rock & E-Ballads) Are you ready for another musical extravaganza from Andy Pickford? The fourth odyssey between rhythms and intergalactic ambiences from the melodist of the future carries admirably the sense of its name, PAREIDOLIA. In another immense mosaic where the hearing illusions are more realistic than improbable, Andy Pickford succeeds to surprise again with a pallet of rhythms, melodies and ambiences which proves that the Pickford source is far from drying up. The 3 long segments of more or less 74 minutes are structured like the 3 first ones which have begun this sonic journey between the constraints of Bandcamp at the end of 2016, that is 3 structures of rhythms for 2 phases of ballads… or almost. And if we make a small counting, the Prince of the England School has delivered an impressive amount of 13 albums since Harmonics in the Silence, if we include Vanguard III, in this impressive crisis of creativity. But is it good? That depends on points of view! In front of such a music mass, it's very difficult to call a winner. Unless isolating one from the others and siphon its sounds up until that our audio network reader gets tired of it or only wears out the notes and keys. But then, such an exercise would be made to the detriment of the other works from this collection and would oblige us to close our ears on other music made by other artists. Yes, but Phae…is it good? Yes!
Pareidolia (Section One - Pieces 1-5) starts with the tones of a helicopter landing on a bank of hollow winds. To be short and precise; on oblivion (sic!)! Floating waves laid an interplanetary mirage and the sensation to float in the space seizes immediately our senses. A movement of rhythm is slowly born in these vapors which decorate the 120 seconds of this introduction, as well as harmonies delicately chimed in the echo of a synth and of its tone of glass. Layers of voices get grafted around these crystal spirals that we can easily whistle or hum while waiting for the next spaceship. And of darkness all dressed up, the rhythm adorns itself of percussions slamming and fluttering like these wings of dragonflies while the sequencer crumbles a stroboscopic structure which suits very well to the development of the layers of ambiospherical effects. Other more incisive percussions hammer this rhythm which leaves its embryonic phase for a solid e-rock which tramples abundantly the borders of these hymns of collective dances and trances. PAREIDOLIA starts with charm and strength. On the other hand, I would listen again to Shadow at the Gate or to Orgonon that I would say the same thing. And I would say that too about the wonderful angelic ballad of Pareidolia (Section One, Part 2), which gave gooseflesh to me, up until I'll throw an ear again on Orgonon or Harmonics in the Silence. In brief in all which is alike but which isn't really similar, there is very beautiful surprises. Far from the approaches of sci-fi that we feel in Orgonon, Andy Pickford shows originality here. The first 30 minutes are staggering while gets added a 3rd part as much intense where the guitar and the synth merge by gorgeous solos. And the arrangements which support these first 45 minutes are simply staggering. Pareidolia (Section One, Part 4) brings us back in this universe of dance music always polished up well by Andy Pickford with an overload of sounds and of effects which galvanize his structures and this no matter the styles. The 5th part ends Pareidolia (Section One - Pieces 1-5) by a delicious orchestral ballad which transports us in a film universe. Honestly! Pareidolia (Section One - Pieces 1-5) seems to me to be the best moment of this impressive quadrilogy across the constraints, has underlined by Andy Pickford, on Bandcamp.
And yet, Pareidolia (Section Two - Pieces 6-10) is just as much savourous in its more cosmic approach. The rhythm is slow and pleasurable while the melody in Pareidolia (Section Two, Part 7) is tenderly celestial. Pareidolia (Section Two, Part 8) proposes a mid-tempo structured on curt percussions which skip nervously and which watch out for a lunar melody polished up by the melancholic keys from a daydreamer keyboard. And oh surprise, Pareidolia (Section Two - Pieces 6-10) ends with two slow and always melodic phases. The rhythms come back with energy for the first 40 minutes of Pareidolia (Section Three - Pieces 11-15). Furious, the big electronic rock of Pareidolia (Section Three, Part 11) is nevertheless restrained in the shield of good arrangements and of elements of ambiences, as seraphic as cosmic, to get back with a good down-tempo in the following part. The arrangements are very effective here with a thick cloud of weeping violins and of faded voices. Pareidolia (Section Three, Part 13) is more in a Bowie Dance style. Andy Pickford's last sound fresco ends with 2 tracks which are kind of e-ballads on a slow dance and on a down-tempo always soaked of his futuristic vision. Was Andy Pickford short of breath here, or did he simply let a window opened towards other adventures? It would be too easy to hold only the 1st hypothesis because the melodious approach with a denser environment here than anywhere else is worthy of good moments of this immense chapter in the career of the English musician who has a lot of fun here while producing a high quality EM. But is it a cat that I hear at the very end? Is it also Andy Pickford who speaks to us? I let you the care of ending my investigation and to discover these amazing musical odysseys created between rhythms of all styles as well as between very nice and catchy e-ballads that leave behind some incredible musical itches. And all of that is carefully wrapped within a universe of sounds and of effects as so attractive than surprising. Yes, PAREIDOLIA is more than very good than simply good. And Pareidolia (Section One - Pieces 1-5) worth to itself the purchase of this impressive block of EM.
Sylvain Lupari (December 14th, 2017) ***½**
Available on AP Bandcamp