ECHO SEASON: Solarmetric (2020)
Updated: Jan 10
“The action here takes place in a glass jungle where each organic breath and noise take on skins of daring percussive effects”
1 Proprioception 9:32
2 Between 7:02
3 Elevated 6:20
4 Gravity Assist 8:26
5 Millennium Network 7:10
6 Pilot 7:14
7 Isochrone 9:22
8 Siderostat 9:26
9 Angular Momentum 7:12
10 1 AU 7:04
(CD/DDL 78:49) (V.F.)
(Psybient, Electronica, Glitch)
A wave grows at the foot of the lapping water from which gushes gelatinous chords and deformed water bubbles which nevertheless radiate a beautiful sound aura. There is a lot of luminosity in the opening of Proprioception where the rhythm of the bass pulses and the percussions in mode slow-tempo are resonating to create a percussive echo. Sound charcoals have this flute shape carved from round wood without any finger holes. Just for the mouth blowing hollow breezes. Everything remains in suspension in these first 50 seconds when the music receives an electric charge which shakes it with a wave of spasms. The rhythmic flow is surrounded by harmonic polychrome hoops and those both entities are fractured by absences whose lengths are justified by the visions of Peter Brefini, aka Echo Season. Apart from the effects mentioned above, this longest title of SOLARMETRIC uses a sound fauna very close to musical delirium. Synth pads filled of cosmic dust and a percussive fauna, where each deposited effect has its echo and its tonal identity, are among the first elements of psybient to reach our ears. There are these percussive elements which seem to be rhythmic stridulations and these agile fingers typing like a percussive typist. This psybient base is concentrated on percussive elements which join a mesh of elastic pulsations and percussions in mode stop-n-go as well as sequences fluttering of their percussive wings. In this track rigged by a daring vision of the multiple fractures of sounds, even the water possesses its percussive organic scent which translates into a frilly mass of silvery wood, while the bassline extends its vampire power in this grand puppet structure seized of spasms in a jerked gait. The harmonies seem secondary, at least here, and are woven between quavering vases, murmuring effects and chords that get lost in the curly chants of cosmic nature. I have listened to this track a good half a dozen times, with 3 different pairs of headphones, in order to describe the vastness of its tonal flora and it seems to me that I have not covered even a third of it.
But the verdict is very interesting…
I had read it somewhere; Peter Brefini is a demanding artist who shuns all compromise by creating his bank of sounds and of percussive sound effects to give a completely unique dimension to his music. SOLARMETRIC is a second album for the one who is recognized worldwide for these works for the 7th art. Ten tracks for a total of nearly 80 minutes of music with the main scents of psybient. The music here evolves in an organic-percussive context on structures of rhythms driven by elastic impulses that marry the main known forms of electronica. Mainly structured around lunar down-tempos of which Echo Season plays with the flow in stop n go formulas, the rhythms are held in a mesh of elastic bass pulsations and sober percussions. The sequences play a dominant role in an organic texture and crushed glass, while at times they are like those noisy flies fluttering on the spot. Although effective, these rhythm structures are not the dominant aspect of this album, and even less the melodies. The action in SOLARMETRIC takes place in a glass jungle with mechanical noises and clicks that cut out those crumbling glass sound effects that charms us throughout this second Echo Season album on Synphaera. I explained the principle of melodies on Proprioception, let's say they are segmented into several suites that get lost in the ambiences. Some will remain incomplete while others will find their complements in another form. Last but not least, listening to this album on an iPhone with Dre Beats headphones is prohibited. The Sony wh-1000xm3 headphones made the exercise more edible but I have reached the nirvana of this sounds' sanctuary with my Sennheiser HDR185 and my Cambridge streamer… What pure bliss my friends. This percussive fauna sculpted in an immense forest of glass changes tones, especially when we cross the second half of the album with our worn ears.
Like in Between where the murky relationships between several harmonic sequent dispersed in this beautiful lunar down-tempo are found in other forms by being grouped together in the aquatic splashing of the echoes. The rhythm is soft and deliciously eaten up by a voracious organic fauna. The melodic visions are found in thoughtful piano lines or in these round chords like hoops loving to couple for the musical form. Each sound innovates on its percussive side while the bass line is without appeal! The thousands of percussive legs that are behind the voracious glitches of Elevated's strobe momentum. The noise of rattles is mechanical and polishes a listening with a coldness equal to that of a noise invented by a cyborg or bottles clinking in the same capitalist refrain There are beautiful lines of sensual voices on this track which mixes static rhythm with percussive ambiences to return to its stroboscopic impulses. Gravity Assist gravitates between its different structures, and speeds, of its rhythm while making us burst in our ears two big balls of clickers which pinch my left eardrum. The sound fauna is voracious in this title designed in the mold of Proprioception. Millennium Network is crafted in the details. It offers a good down-tempo with a rubbery bass effects and riffs of percussive elements. The bass line is seductive and turns out to be a solid sidekick for this structure without momentum but nourished by various cracklings which hide the harmonic advance of the synth tears. A gelatinous mass of sounds joins this distorted spectral chant as the melody rings out of its polished glasses. A piano brings to mind its notes in this discharge of ambient noises which have their necessity, like this pervasive spectral chant which supplants all the harmonious efforts put in place in this ideal title for a science fiction film.
Pilot lets out its harmonic backbone that breathes the same air as Head Over Heels from Tears for Fear. The ambiences are formed around the abandoned synth lines and whose prismatic oracles are linked to a down-tempo momentarily shaken by the spasms of the elastic bass line. Isochrone plunges us into a cryogenic psychedelic base with an astonishing fusion between its bass pulsations and the convulsive agitation of its mechanical elytra. The rhythm structure is still vague but still slightly catchy as the hesitant chords of its melody play cat and mouse with our primary instinct. Siderostat is a lunar down-tempo in a slightly jerky envelope of rhythm that is enveloped in a dense veil of astral voices. Its last two minutes offer a more lively rhythm and a more extensive musical fauna. This development undoubtedly inspired Angular Momentum and its boom-booms echoing in a dissolving mosaic of glass. It's a good up-tempo, almost a Techno, with a melodious approach better defined in a percussive fauna in a phase of agitation which is at the height of this most lively title of SOLARMETRIC. In my opinion, this title should have ended the album and served as a springboard for the next one, but Peter Brefini decided otherwise and instead offers 1 AU. It is a title which resembles the 8 others of the album, except for its second part which offers an excellent psybient pushed by an Electronica more hungry here than elsewhere in this album whose percussive fauna, the multiple membranes causing the effects of echo and its unfinished melodies will remain anchored in our memories as a tireless beast of tones.
Available as a Digipack CD and 24 Bits download, SOLARMETRIC is one of the great psybient albums I've heard. There is a methodical coldness in this Echo Season album which goes well with the rubbery effects of its bass lines which radiate its equivalence to attenuate this chronic coldness which prevents all melodies from blooming. Too bad because the rhythmic decor is magical here.
Sylvain Lupari (January 9th, 2021) ****¼*
Available at Synphaera Records Bandcamp