Ian Boddy & Erik Wollo: Meridian (2018)
Updated: Sep 20
“Poetry over sequencer-based rhythms, DiN wishes us a very good 2018 with another striking album from the duet Boddy/Wøllo”
1 Uncharted 3:46 2 Verdant 5:50 3 Colony 4:20 4 Isolation 4:04 5 Golden Times 4:41 6 Diaspora 5:26 7 Bone Station 3:45 8 Meridian 6:14 9 Rescue 8:28 10 Requiem 5:34 11 Obscured 6:09 DIN054
(CD/DDL 58:18) (V.F.)
(Ambient, sequencer-based EM)
It's with a strange sound fauna that we begin the exploration of Uncharted. Lapping of water are transformed into twigs singing on a blazing fire, whereas a fall deforms its murmurs for caresses of Aeolus and whereas lamentations of foghorns hoot in a desert landscape. I would believe to hear alerts of liners blowing at full lungs whereas synth layers spread a chant of prism irradiating very close to the stars. The noises of boats, those of the harbours and the oceans which consult each other with a latent violence in their abstract languages and finally to get melt in the ethereal opening of Verdant. A gold mine of sounds! Of landscapes' paintings buried beneath ices or in the junctions of two universes. And quivering rhythms soaked of a contemporary approach, the DiN label wishes us in its way a very good 2018 year with another striking album from the duet Boddy/Wøllo; MERIDIAN. These nomads of unexplored soundscapes rekindle our ears with a 2nd studio collaboration which walks in the charms of Frontiers, an album that the duet interpreted in concert at the Circus Festival V and which is available under the title EC12 on DiN Bandcamp download platform. Already, the slow seraphic procession of the synth layers which waltz with a terrestrial heat seduces our ears in this introduction of Verdant. Ambient and meditative, this introduction reaches a point of no return when it crosses an increasing and insistent movement of percussions which awakens a shadow of a vampiric bass. Riffs of guitar are clocking here and there (I hear percussive effects that seem to come from another dimension here). Their loops multiply shadows and murmurs. And some of them weave even a delicate morphic melody which would fit too much into Mike Oldfield's repertoire. Colony follows with a soft breeze blown by an oracle, inviting Erik Wøllo to stretch out his riffs which would like to roll for a rock. But it's rather a good up-tempo, with good frank and steady percussions, that those riffs attack. And like with the synths, the guitars of the Norwegian bard sculpt multi-layers of which the harmonies sing on a series of riffs and on their nuances. A synth throws then layers of voices and a keyboard loses fragile chords which tinkle behind those riffs which like varying the speed of the beat.
The rhythms and the harmonies of the last two titles fall into oblivion, or still in these waves that our ears identify with difficulty and which seem to caress the shore plundered by rocks and steep rocks. Lines of synth fly over the arid landscapes of Isolation of which the hollow breezes change forms for electromagnetic chants, giving thus a depth even more unfertile to this landscape of atmospheres which is sculpted with accuracy by the Boddy/Wøllo duet. Golden Times brings us then towards a kind of intergalactic western hymn with a superb embroidery of acoustic guitar of which the multiple harmonious thin lines weave a surprising melody. I know nobody who hates the unexpected in the creativity. And at this level, MERIDIAN doesn't stop surprising by its very Wøllo dimension. When Ian Boddy's electronic rhythms are crossing our ears, like in Diaspora, the guitar of Wøllo follows with this delicate spectral approach which fights splendidly well with the effects of synth where the possible presence of the Martenot Waves seem to appear as even more irradiant spectres. Bone Station brings us back to these landscapes of ambiences weaver of metaphoric décor of the Scandinavian coldness. As for me, the best of this album is here. Whereas the title-track extricates itself from the chilliness of Bone Station to follow a corridor illuminated of incandescence where wait for it a thick cloud of good noisy percussive effects, a splendid down-tempo is taking shape. This slow dance is decorated with very nice effects of percussions and embalmed of exquisite harmonious keyboard layers which belong to the repertoire of Ian Boddy. Meridian is a hyper catchy title in its nice look of an Electronica too well thought and which slides slowly on the very Vangelis layers of Rescue. Still here, the riffs are starved. They want to rock! And they will get it when a movement of bass sequences sews a circular pattern of a big 8 and that percussions shake it of a good debit of E-Rock. Synths and guitars are exchanging politeness with good effects and with nice azure layers, guiding Rescue in a rhythmic formula where the Berlin School, the England School and a zest of Electronica lead our ears to ecstasy. We fall again in the lands of ambiances monuments from the duet with Requiem and its musical vision brilliantly well defined which wraps us and gives us shivers to the soul. This is a very good title of dark and wrapping ambiences which precedes Obscured and leads us to the starting point. There where MERIDIAN, well measured between the diverse rhythmic personalities of EM. Well balanced too between these dark and cold, but always rather enveloping ambiences of the Dark Ambient, as well as between these harmonious approaches of which the meeting points flirt with the afterlife, has seduced us from start to end.
Sylvain Lupari (February 1st, 2018) ****½*