BEYOND OUR GALAXY: Surface Analysis (2022)
“An artistic clinic on the art of building an accessible EM for all”
1 Telematic 5:59
2 The Arboria Institute 4:12
3 Circular Logic (Version 2) 4:37
4 Returning Image 3:23
5 Berliner Motorik 2:57
6 Surface Analysis 4:35
7 Elegy 6:12
8 Radiowellen 3:41
9 Sphere 3:54
10 Relay Ridge (For Harold Budd) 5:01
11 Omnisound 3:34
12 Brainwaves 3:24
13 Random 3:42
(CCD/CD(r) 55:15) (V.F.)
People around me wonder why I'm still addicted to electronic music (EM) since almost 40 years! It's true that sometimes my ears are attracted by old musical loves from the time of Led Zep, Deep Purple, Yes and Pink Floyd. Sometimes I'm also interested in neo-progressive music. I even find some great albums there. But often there is a new album that comes out in the field of EM that totally captivates me and explains this real love for this musical genre. Like here with this latest album from Beyond Our Galaxy. With its range of styles, this SURFACE ANALYSIS is a true Roger Taylor's clinic on the art of building accessible EM for all. Like the very good Triptych Phase released just 1 year ago! Beautiful catchy melodies, lively rhythms and cosmic ambiences with analogue flavors are the prerogative of this album-download that gathers a dozen tracks scattered in BOG's recordings since a couple of years. Despite a sound envelope that shows the limitations of the recording techniques, the music of this album flows very well between our ears with an inventory of genres that breathes the influences that brought the musician from Tennessee to make EM.
After an opening full of heavy cosmic winds that deviate into intense lunar orchestrations shrouded in celestial voices, Telematic unfolds its hypnotic structure with a metronomic ticking. This sequence resounds like a wooden skin in the nothingness! A Klaus Schulze-like organ layer covers this suspended rhythm which is slowly propelled by the gargantuan surges of a powerful and vampiric bass layer. The synth deploys lines that roll in loops in an atmosphere of which the sordid side flirts with the cosmic abyss. This first track reveals the tonal colors of SURFACE ANALYSIS where each track seems to me to be worked with a gradation as well rhythmic as atmospheric in an optics to screw the listener to his headphones. There are more complex tracks, like The Arboria Institute and its modular undulations that flow like satin sheets blown by the warm morning winds. The music develops into a beautiful electronic ballad woven in the shadow of the moon with additives of percussion and sequences that give it that momentum both melodic and rhythmic. The percussion pattern is as seductive as this choir of elven children that whispers enchantment to our ears as The Arboria Institute becomes a good electronic-cosmic rock that sews us an indelible earworm. It's the kind of track, and it's not the only one here, that we like to hear again and again. Still very catchy, Circular Logic (Version 2) offers a less jerky, a more fluid rhythm structure than in the Circular Logic EP from 2020. Returning Image is an atmospheric ballad with crystalline synth waves that evaporate to let the keyboard extend arpeggios gamboling in an ethereal texture. The bass layer and the synth modulations inject a dramatic dose, while the Martenot waves adorn this lunar ballad of very moving arrangements with sibylline laments. Elegy is in the same genre, perhaps a little less spectral, with muffled explosions and slightly more poignant arrangements.
If you like Synth-Pop, the jerky flow of Berliner Motorik will satisfy the aficionados of this musical trend expressed in the 80's. Electronic and cosmic effects oblige, Surface Analysis is a track slow to take off. But after 2 minutes and a few seconds it turns into a good electronic rock with melodious synth lines. The envelope is very French School cosmic, like Space Art. Radiowellen is also part of these tracks built with complexity in this album. Its orchestrations in staccato structure a rhythm which is lively for the neurons. The bass layer gives the music vampiric impulses while a sequence of percussive elements of which the wood tone is dribbling in a nervous structure that muffled percussions are docking to a form of techno for zombies. Sphere unfolds a slow atmospheric texture with slow modulations that ripple under a synth layer whose long moans sound like voices not yet formed. Relay Ridge (For Harold Budd) offers a rather driving minimalist rhythmic structure that a piano embraces with nice melodic lines. The frantic run of the piano lines makes tinkling a metallic tone that annoys my speakers more than my headphones. It's a very nice track with a great vision on the composition level that would require a much better sound balance, but it sounds a pretty good to listen. A track to remaster? Omnisound is a very good electronic rock with a melodic anthem that create its earworm while providing some chills. There is a little bit of Stranger Things behind this very nice track! Brainwaves is a little bit conceived in the shadow of Radiowellen. Instead of orchestrations, it is keyboard riffs that structure a lively ostinato well supported by metronomic percussions. Random is a cover of a Gary Numan track, the album The Pleasure Principle. It's very similar to it except for a few differences, especially in the rhythm which is more hammering here.
Apart from a few small flaws that should have required a more adequate mastering, SURFACE ANALYSIS is a very nice compilation of tracks that all have the same characteristic; to charm at first listening. As I wrote in the opening of this review, it's a real clinic on the art of building an accessible EM for all that Beyond Our Galaxy serves us on this other very good album proposed by Cyclical Dreams.
Sylvain Lupari (August 15th, 2022) *****
Available at Cyclical Dreams Bandcamp