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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Ian Boddy: Box of Secrets (1999)

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

“This is a solid album, a masterpiece in the genre, where we will find everything in there, just like a real Box of Secrets”

1 Frozen Web 10:24 2 Box of Secrets 7:22 3 Shadows in the Sand 9:13 4 There's Something in your Attic 2:28 5 Walking the Slow Path 13:20 6 Nobody's Home 7:05 7 Hive Culture 9:05 DiN 01

(DDL 58:56) (V.F.) (England School EDM E-Rock)

A precursor in everything he touches, Ian Boddy offers since a couple of years an album of his DiN catalog completely free on DiN Bandcamp. An excellent initiative which aims not only at making know the music of his catalog, but also to make the divinities of EM known. BOX OF SECRETS is the very first album to appear on DiN Label at the beginning of January 1999. In that time, I didn't know Ian Boddy. It's thus with eagerness that I accepted the invitation and that I savoured an album that has doubtless give wings to many other musicians. Between ambiences as much floating than attractively somber, I think in particular of the great Shadows in the Sand, a heavy and loud England School a la Arc style and a dance music which passes by skeletons of broken rhythms, BOX OF SECRETS is a superb present that Ian Boddy offers, both to the greenhorns and fans of dark Berlin School as well as those who love an avant-gardist dance music. A music which doesn't divert that much from the parameters of accessibility, but which preserves nevertheless this small unique rebellious side of Ian Boddy.

It's with lines of metal that go and come and snip the nothingness, and whose effects of echoes are outlining some heavy stroboscopic filets, that Frozen Web sparkles from an ear to another one, skips from a wall to another one. A resonant chord marks time with an uncertain approach. Another one arrives and dances with the echo of the first one. Our ears, darken by an incredible sonic storm, are tickled by an impressive spinning hatched lines and by effects of jolts which weave a somber apocalyptic landscape. The rhythm becomes more fluid but keeps its furtive approach. The cymbals sparkle and the percussions dance in resonant effects of jerks. After an intro strong in sound effects, Frozen Web spits the poison of its rhythm with percussions which run such as mad typist's strikes and a good bass line which bumps in a mode of stop'n'go entangled in the stitches of a very electronic hip-hop, while the synth spreads its very melodious arabesques. Frozen Web sets the tone to an album where the rhythms think of their miscellaneous approaches in a dense electronic ambient mosaic. The title-track begins its approach with a long humming of a spatial shuttle. We hear the stars sparkling and the winds of Orion being mad at such a noisy presence, while Box of Secrets derives quietly with its vibrations of intergalactic machine. The cosmic elements join in to decorate these somber ambiences with a small astral concert. And subtly, the hummings turn into a fascinating structure of ambient rhythm with pulsations that pound and resound in the furrows of superb synth lines and of their nasal echoes which adopt the acoustics of the bass pulsations. Quite ingenious, Ian Boddy shapes a rhythm out of the shadows of the bumblebees. He also hangs a superb lunar melody which decorates a smooth down-tempo which, if it keeps its speed, accentuates its loudness with an impressive layer of lunar moods and with bits of melodies forgotten in the charms of its genitor. Awesome!

Shadows in the Sand follows with brief breaths and laments which are chased away by percussions of which the deep beatings plough a kind of ethnic funk. Simply splendid, because we don't expect it at all and because it's very lively, Shadows in the Sand allies the sibylline atmospheres to lively rhythms and very attractive melodies of the Middle East. This is a great track. The very ambiospherical introduction of There's Something in your Attic seems to be taken out from the ambiences of the title-track. It guides us to Walking the Slow Path where some nebulas vibe and the fluty winds bring us back to the Arc era and of the Octane album which was released one year before. In fact, this track is in the pure Arc spirit with a dark and ambient beat where we move of the head instead of the feet and where the harmonies are shinning timidly of their dark visions. It's very good. I adored. After the somber and very ambient Nobody's Home, I kind of like these telephone lines which ring in the hollow breaths of the oblivion, Hive Culture concludes BOX OF SECRETS with a cavernous and circular rhythm where the sequences and percussions sparkle in deep cosmic ornaments. The track takes the shape of an acid dance with energetic volutes which sometimes get lost in structures of rhythm very near of Arc. The percussions rain down and hammer a deeply fragmented rhythm which get dazed under an avalanche of superb twisted solos and of which the charms are entangled with a chthonian choir, reminding that Ian Boddy feels at ease as much in contemporary rhythms as those of England School (a la Arc), but especially in ambiences which are at the diapason of his intensive sonic quest for an EM as diversified as the parameters of the imagination. It's simply excellent!

Sylvain Lupari (December 6th, 2014) *****

Available on DinDDL

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