Ian Boddy: Axiom (2020)
Updated: Sep 20
“This is a high-class melodious EM album made of analog and modular synths, and THE best album in the field this year”
1 Omicron 6:18
2 Nitro 7:41
3 Boddy Love 5:59
4 Icon 9:30
5 The Fallen 5:20
6 Axiom 6:09
(LP/CD/DDL 41:07) (V.F.)
(Analog & Modular Berlin School)
They were beeps that sparkled within the limits of a booming synth wave. An anesthetic wave and its vintage tone that plunges us a little into the chthonian areas of the Dark Ambient. And as if behind a mirror whose silvering has disappeared over the years, a splendid electronic ballad emerges from the bridge in the first minute. Simply magnificent, she is welded to a series of arpeggios which come and go in a perfect magnetizing dangling. A superb lunar melody which swings on the synth layers rich in chloroformed voices, Omicron clings onto this bass line which becomes its malformed shadow. The wiishh sweep the horizons, evaporating in the metallic shadows of the slamming percussions. Ian Boddy playing on the intonations of his melody, which gets more depth with another twin line, flows one of his most beautiful commercial tracks. Quite easy (too easy?) to tame, the melody of Omicron will haunt you hours later. It was… Because AXIOM sprouted out in the orientations of a compilation called Portals from the Californian label Behind The Sky Music, a label that prioritizes electronic music produced with analog and modular synthesizers with a more melodious than experimental vision. I got this compilation and it's exactly the opposite. For his part, Ian understood the concept very well! The boss of DiN responded to an invitation of Bleutech by offering Omicron which received an unexpected welcome, even becoming the promotional video for this compilation which hides some jewels. But let's come back to AXIOM which sprouted from this compilation and which pushed our friend Ian to compose an album in the same spirit of this compilation. And like I said, he understood the concept too well!
Like in the Belle Époque, AXIOM revolves around 6 tracks of an average length of 7 minutes with the capacity to adequately fill a vinyl album. After this fantastic melody of Omicron, Nitro offers an exhilarating rhythm which goes up and down in a storm of frivolous arpeggios. These chords remind me of Tomita in Snowflakes are Dancing (Debussy) on a big heavy roaring and resounding rhythm and which walks with heavy stubbornness the peaks of Mount Berlin School, like the best of Arc dreaming of Redshift. The finale is cosmic, we find these nice little interludes of the genre in AXIOM, with a tenderness in the orchestrations. My eyes are searching for the box of Kleenex! And if you like the genre, the majestic Icon will turn you inside out. There is an inspired and inspiring Ian Boddy who seems extremely comfortable in these structures concise and organized in ambiences, rhythms and melodies which are very accessible. There is heavy Berlin School, I would say more England School, and good more serene music like with Boddy Love. And when I say ambient, it's relative. Mist patches oblige, the title begins to land towards our ears in a dense fog typical of Klaus Schulze. Sixty seconds later, a good melodious line builds its bed with a series of arpeggios which scroll in single file, going so far as to pound on their heels, in a melodious suite inspired by Omicron. For adornments in this celestial sky, the synth throws its thin lines of astral laments, guiding this melody towards the path of its opening. It's a good title with a lively melody!
I said Icon was like Nitro, but previously the title marinates in chthonian moods with a sinister haze hanging on its feet. The ambiences of sanctuaries resist for a big 2 minutes before we hear a beat breathing. These pulsations dictate the bumpy march of the heavier sequencer with a texture of metallic resonance around the arpeggios which activate like radioactive fireflies. Icon gains in power and speed with a rhythmic din that has become as uncontrollable as the sequencer, while the Martenot Waves end up leaving the imprints of their moans in an explosive finale. Placed after Icon, The Fallen is like this autistic witness who portrays in sound and emotion what he has just heard. This ambient track has an extraordinary musical soul with its arpeggios which become the tears of an emotional synth's moans. The title-track is confirming AXIOM as the most beautiful Berlin School album that I have heard this year with an opening built around 2 and 3 arpeggios which follow a minimalist evolution that the bass brings to a level of excitement around the 2 minutes. Immersed in a musical decor filled in all directions, Axiom fulfills my overexcited expectations by this synth-wave-pop direction directed by a splendid mesh of percussions whose analog and contemporary filters fiercely attack another splendid melody. Finally, Axiom takes refuge in a panoramic corner, remembering those 40 minutes of pure happiness that we owe to Ian Boddy. Hat to you Ian!
Sylvain Lupari (November 6th, 2020) *****
Available at DiN Bandcamp