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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Ian Boddy: As Above so Below (2016)

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

“A masterpiece! Period!”

1 As Above So Below 6:00 2 Quantum of Memory 6:53 3 Time Lapse 6:21 4 Shrine 8:16 5 The Thaumaturge 6:12 6 One Day 5:15 Din Records | Din 51

(CD/DDL 39:08) (V.F.) (Vintage EM with this scent of contemporaneity)

You remember this period when the albums of EM golden by a very Cartesian approach had an average of 40 minutes to the meter? A vinyl with about 20 minutes on both sides? There was no place to improvisation nor to lengths! Like on this last Ian Boddy's album that one would nevertheless have wished longer. Splendid from the first second to the last, AS ABOVE SO BELOW is as a jewel which is brought out of this belle époque where the delight of our ears was never quenched. The album is offered in vinyl, with a number of pressings limited to 250, as well as in CD, with a number limited to 500 copies, and finally in download. And I would tell you that if you have one album to buy this year, that should be AS ABOVE SO BELOW.

The adventure begins with slow and quiet synth wave of which the cosmic appearance of is betrayed by an oceanic melody where the astral murmurs are like seraphic chants. So beautiful as poignant, the slow morphic march of As Above So Below is like a synthesized adagio or else a symphony of whimpering of which the contrasts feed Isaac Newton's vision when he wrote in 1860 that which is below is like that which is above and that which is above is like that which is below. The very orchestral approach of this title places the ambient music style at another level so much it can be filmic or cosmic. We believe then that this last Ian's opus is like his last odes of ambient music? Make no mistake! After a short ambiosonic introduction, quite as beautiful as the one of As Above So Below, Quantum of Memory offers a superb structure of ambient rhythm with crystal clear sequences which are slightly knocked down by the delicate roundness of the beatings from a bass line. Another line of sequences stirs in the background. The sharp keys draw a spheroidal ballet, like these snips of scissors in the Barber of Seville. These two lines of sequences complete marvellously this duel of rhythm versus harmony which fades in the tranquillity. Time Lapse pursues the phase of delight which began with the first breaths of As Above So Below. A much melancholic approach where a keyboard shells its chords in the mist before spreading a very nice and touching melody which swirls like a lullaby for those tormented nights. This is a great track! What knocks then in this last Ian Boddy's opus is this constant duel between its ambiences. And it's at this moment when the title of this last album takes all its sense. The melody tapped on a veil of shadows glitters of freshness while its carpet of cloudiness sends its contrast with a fascinating opposition of the charms. That sounds like some very good Philip Glass in a macabre movie.

Shrine falls between our ears with a steady pulsation which pounds in a cloud of shadows. The Moog makes vibrate the floor with a line of resounding bass which feeds a structure among which the furtive approach and the synth layers are reminiscences of Redshift. Slamming percussions are inviting themselves in this dance which refuses to be born. We have 2 sonic paintings here; the one which aims to be a good Berlin School and the other one which is a beginning of an Electronica too frail to pierce the wall of the first one. Shadows get there under the appearance of synth layers whose sinuosity s are floating like the hypnotic chants of vampires. And while one believes that the misty moods will be on top of everything, the rhythm devotes itself to pleasure with a kind of stubborn ride which is rose on very good percussions and which remains coated by superb orchestrations. The Thaumaturge rectifies the vision of Jean Michel Jarre concerning the fusion Electronica and EM of a Berliner style or of cosmic moods. Ian Boddy offers here a phase of increasing and hypnotic rhythm without glitter nor superfluous with an approach of very intelligent techno where the metallic rhythm, the gloomy ambiences and the melody coexist without difficulties in a very creative envelope. One Day ends this Ian Boddy's brilliant opus like Time Lapse has closed face A of the LP. That is to say, with an approach of nostalgia which hides in a melodious upward walking of a piano through a carpet of buzzing mist and of delicious orchestrations. This walking ends in a symphony of hollow winds which keeps prisoner the last beatings of One Day. Splendid! There is nothing more to add!

Sylvain Lupari (November 20th, 2016) *****

Available at DiN Bandcamp

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