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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BESSELL & BOYLE: Imaginator (2022)

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

A meeting between these two guys has to give a work you must take the time to taste

1 The Future Belongs to Dreamers 7:20

2 The Bells hum in one Radiance 7:10

3 The Deconstruction of the old World 7:46

4 Procession 5:12

5 Servant of Doors 7:19

6 Beauty in Infinity 6:04

7 Voice Horizon 5:34

8 Seventh Window 6:28

9 Widescreen 4:56

(CD/DDL 57:52) (V.F.)

(Art for Ears, cinema, eerie themes)

A meeting between Dave Bessell and the too unknown Liam Boyle has to give a work that you have to take the time to taste. And follow the advice of your favorite reviewer, because here we have a gem that will continue to grow with each listen. The two musicians met in the mid-2010s when Liam Boyle added his signature to Theme One of Dave Bessell's superb CD Black Horses of the Sun. The two musicians promised to collaborate later as soon as a window of availability will open. This happened in 2020, bringing to our ears this IMAGINATOR offered in CD manufactured and distributed by the Dutch label Groove nl. The member of the English band Node, Dave Bessell is known for his solo albums, the last of which, Reality Engine was one of the good CDs of 2020. Liam Boyle is more unknown. He composes music for films, for independent cinema, where musical genres cross in good compositions that can be enjoyed quite well. His music has a dystopian background, but you have to browse his page because he produces a lot of singles and E.P. These two musicians have creative moorings strong enough to make us spend a pleasant 58 minutes of electronic music (EM) without borders. And in the genres and in the ways of composing...

A big drone lays down its reverb ray that welcomes a sharp synth line, possibly DB's guitar has something to do with it, undulating with a form of tonal language attached to its curly forms. The Future Belongs to Dreamers takes shape with heavy synth layers grafted onto this introduction whose delicate chameleon-like guitar effects resonate like a spring. There is not even 2 minutes of vanished, that the sequencer sculpts a linear movement where the jumping keys are as discreet as a colony of muffled but hurried steps. The scenery changes with these spectral filaments dissipating as a metallic haze spreads its musical wings, accompanying this now more fluid rhythm of The Future Belongs to Dreamers. The duet of a CD brings variances to the rhythmic intonation while the guitar spits out an improbable dialect that enchants an ear barely noticing the subtle rhythmic mutations on this track that charms us from the first listen. Yes, we hear bells tinkling and resounding on a rhythm teeming with multiple palpitations in the opening of The Bells hum in one Radiance. This introduction plunges us into a supernatural universe with panicked ghostly voices running between the multiple tinklings that pave the first minutes of the track. Our ears catch the signals of this sordid universe where the rhythm is fragmented little by little but where the eerie, the supernatural remains under layers of a philharmonic synth. A rhythmic structure, more melodic than animated, gives a second impulse to The Bells hum in one Radiance after the 4th minute. And everything becomes more musical, it sounds like a melodic rhythm with an oriental accent, but with this envelope of strangeness that always covers the 7 minutes of a track whose charms become discernible as the minutes fade. Excellent! Theme for a dark movie, The Deconstruction of the old World screws us squarely to our headphones. The musical scenario of its first 3 minutes commands me to listen to Remy's magnificent album, Exhibition of Dreams. And like in a nightmare, everything turns in slow motion. The piano is haunting among these strange voices that scare the hell out of me while little by little austere synth pads replace the piano. This is the moment when the track changes from start to end with a rhythm born of frantic pulses and galloping percussion, riding the Luciferian plains to accompany that delicious melody thrown in somewhere after the 4th minute. An excellent music for a scary movie. The textures of these first 3 tracks are of a musical aestheticism to please the music lover in us. They are the prerogative of the other tracks of IMAGINATOR which definitely bears its name well.

Thus, the music of Procession marries the meaning of its title wonderfully with a slow advance fed with tones from the interstices of modular synths. There is even a texture of industrial ambient music grafted onto a more animated procession rendered at this point. The supernatural pervades the opening moments of Servant of Doors, which builds with bursts of slow staccato in an atmosphere of deep terror. Not to be listened to past midnight 😉. Beauty in Infinity lands between the ears with a concerto for glass arpeggios. The sounds sparkle on all sides with a fluty mellotron. The music flows in a very pleasant way, as in a more convoluted way that layers of violins take to another level of introspection. There is a bit of Beauty and the Beast in this track where the extremes exchange nice duels on confusing scales. Voice Horizon is of the experimental kind and proposes a structure of ambiences which stick vaguely to The Deconstruction of the old World. The tandem resumes this musical language that challenged our senses with The Future Belongs to Dreamers. Except that here, the ambient movement is eerier and more difficult to tame. Intense and orchestral, Seventh Window proposes a fascinating trip in the spectral romanticism with a beautiful approach of an ambient ballad pushed by the wings of good orchestrations to finally land on a good downtempo. A rhythm more conducive to this kind of ballad refined in a texture where ghosts and souls in purgatory can live of hope. There is always a little side where the eerie flirts cheerfully with the 9 structures of IMAGINATOR and Widescreen, with its sumptuous music of film à la Vangelis, does not escape that. Apart from the creepy aspect, the music breathes these orchestral impulses with melody, crashes and a too beautiful voice for it to exist. A cocktail that charms and startles us at the same time.

IMAGINATOR is in the continuity of Dave Bessell's solo works, even if a little more experimental I would add. If the first part places well its traps to seduction, the second requires an opening mind proportional to the level of creativity of the new English duo. We can feel the presence of Liam Boyle with his film music structures. And as I wrote in the opening of this article, a meeting between these two musicians well aware of the different current musical trends must give a work that you must take the time to taste.

Sylvain Lupari (January 10th, 2022) *****

Available at Groove nl

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