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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BODDY-SMITH & MOLLOY: Other Rooms (2013)

Updated: Oct 2, 2020

Other Rooms is a pure ambient work where abstract music is winding among intense ambiences

1 The Basement 31:33  

2 Two Postcards 17:37  

3 From Where I Sit 23:16  

4 Spirits Rising 21:21

(DDL 93:47) (V.F.)

(Ambient experimental analog EM)

Within the framework of a 3 vinyl box-set (Spectroscopic) produced by Vinyl on Demand (VOD110), which grouped his first 3 cassettes (Images, Element of Chance and Options), Ian Boddy has dug into his musical archives in order to find music written at the same time. And there was! From where comes OTHER ROOMS that he made available to his fans via DiN Bandcamp. This DDL album gathers 4 tracks that were too long to be inserted into this box-set. Tracks composed by Ian Boddy and his buddy of that time, Sid Smith, which are purely ambient, exploratory and experimental. And I like the title! It's very representative of an album which was extirpated of another dimension in Ian Boddy's universe. A dark and experimental universe where the sound experiences of the analog years gave some sound cocktails as stunning as puzzling and sometimes even strangely mesmerizing. The other rooms live in the Workshop studio in Newcastle-upon-Tyne at the very beginning of the 80's. It was in this place that Ian Boddy spent his years of training in the spheres of EM. It was also the time of sonic experiments where Boddy worked at both on analog synths and on recording loops as well as sound effects. Musical elements which widened their droning veils in acoustic echoes. And the outcome is an intense music of atmosphere which is the witness of the dark and black vibes that have guided Ian Boddy's first works and the musical vestiges of which we still hear on his works in solos and with Mark Shreeve on Arc.

There are a lot of things that can happen in the basement of imagination. And there is a lot during the 31 minutes of The Basement. Loud knockings, like some heavy hits from poltergeist in hollow walls, resound in a sound painting to the textures of embryonic schizophrenia while the music attacks our ears with an intense ambience of fright. The air is filled by a meshing of synth lines, nebulous layers and spectral waves which coordinate their obsessional vibes. The knockings went silent but voices, hooting and whispers concealed in white noises eat away at our fear whereas the first pulsations draw a black rhythm at around the 7th minute. A rhythm which skips such as a huge gnome limping in a glaucous universe from where echo some explosions which slam like whip lashes in a sound whirlwind which reminds us that the doors of alienation are never completely closed. This din of a magical apocalypse calms down little by little, letting these pulsations which have turned into beatings of machines get blurred in the squeaking of waves, that we can compare to those of Martenot, which roam such as sharp whistlings of ghosts. The second phase remains so enigmatic with an abstruse mixture of serenity and terror where noises buzz of their plasmatic ringings in an oblivion adorned by tones as iconoclastic as serene. Disturbing and full of atmospheres. I perfectly imagine the effect in a black forest, especially with the breaths and the panting of the electronic beast, that The Basement can have on the control of inner fear.

Two Postcards is the first of the two tracks written by Sid Smith, who plays bass and spreads his samplings of field recordings. The track borrows the same musical corridors as the previous one, without the approach of visceral fright, with an ambient structure fed by experimental curiosities. Sid Smith lays down his samplings of a fast-growing society in search of a rural peace in a sound fauna filled by dense synth layers. Layers, sometimes black and sometimes shrill and also vaguely musical, which draw heavy ambiences by the gloom of caustic reverberations among which the acuteness breaths and eroded harmonies float and cover the snores of a bass more creative than living being. From Where I Sit, also written by Sid Smith, is a very penetrating track. The voice of Jane Molloy invades the space with hums, ahs as well as mi-seraphic and mi-spectral breaths which float and roll in loops on tones coming out of a tape delay system. It's so much near the sources of the synths that I was fooled. It's a very enchanting track where the voice of Jane Molloy goes marvellously in these oblong and drifting tones that are such as iridescent spectres with shadows as much shrill as the threads of silver that one fiddles with the blade of razor. And these ghostly lamentations continue on the introduction of the very intense, but always ambient, Spirits Rising from which the strata roll in loops and sound like the big church bells which tinkle in an oblivion painted of alarming streaks. Warmer breaths cross the confused spirits of the bell towers while that quietly Spirits Rising crosses its phases of serenity and dives back into its torments, spreading the net ambiguity of its paradoxes.

OTHER ROOMS is a DDL opus which address as much Ian Boddy's fans of sound experiments as those who like an experimental EM that silversmiths of the analog art could sculpture from a simple breath. Anti music? Maybe! Except that the atmospheres which roam all over these long ambient soundscapes are simply near anxiety. They tear the ears, like the fear does the stomach, testifying of an efficiency that the time was never able to tame.

Sylvain Lupari (May 12th, 2013) ***½**

Available at DiN Bandcamp

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