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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Ian Boddy & Erik Wollo: Revolve (2022)

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

The balance is more than perfect here between rhythms and atmospheric panoramas

1 Tellus Mater 5:43

2 Abeona 7:13

3 Revolve 6:44

4 Terra Incognito 5:33

5 Turnabout 5:10

6 The Winding Path 6:26

7 Apogee 7:13

8 Adiona 7:36

(CD/DDL 51:39) (V.F.)

(Ambient, sequencer-based EM)

A distant ocean wind fuels the atmospheric opening of Tellus Mater. Electronic effects and bugle-sounding synth waves are among the dominant elements of this introduction to REVOLVE, which already shows its tonal diversity. A shadow of bass creeps into this soundscape, casting a dramatic aura that is amplified by Wollo's six-string whose wails have that unique gift of turning our emotions upside down. Thus begins this 3rd collaboration between Ian Boddy and Erik Wollo. Blades and tears of guitar. Scarlet as cerulean, they travel through the different panoramas of REVOLVE that the founder of DiN structures on rhythms which are sometimes catchy, rhythms that even flirt with Berlin School, or ambient. Sometimes there are no such rhythms. Just atmospheric textures that the two accomplices weave with the tip of their imagination. In an album fed with warmer atmospheres, perhaps because of the presence of the Moog, the Boddy & Wollo duo moves away from the cold musical poetry depicted in Meridian, projecting a much more detailed musical canvas where the rhythms cradle spectral melodies that grow like headwinds while the opposite exists in the atmospheric phases. Once again, this is a beautiful album that slightly revives the essence of Frontiers.

Tellus Mater's woosshh goes beyond its boundaries to be pecked by the percussive tinkling that drives the opening of Abeona. This short, cadenced serenade is delicately lulled by the passive drones of an unambitious bass layer. The effect structures two rhythmic elements in parallel, initiating the guitar to throw in here its bits of harmonies that float in symbiosis with those of the keyboard. The pace is slow until the Moog, it sounds like a Mark Shreeve Moog, structures a rhythm that pulses nervously after the second minute. This rhythm oscillates. It almost rolls in an ascending structure a la Arc, which straddles between speed and slowness. The guitar adorns its progression by throwing sharp layers whose ghostly tunes sneak into the swirling effect of a swarm of limpid arpeggios. This rich and diversified sound structure by the talent and the creativity of the two composers is the prerogative of the almost 52 continuous minutes which bind the 8 titles of REVOLVE. The opening of the title-track is filled with hazy orchestrations from the synth that free some percussive tinkles. Guitar chords swirling in loops complete this nervously pulsating rhythmic vision. From there, Revolve follows with a slow, resonant beat after the 90th second. The rubbery effect of the sequences structures a stealthy and upward movement of the Moog under a mesh of keyboard and guitar chords that swirls like a cloud of musical fireflies. The guitar adds a slightly more funky touch in the middle of the track.

Terra Incognito is an atmospheric track that lets the bass extend its breaths. They vibrate under a duel between the layers and the spectral harmonies of the synth and the slide-guitar. There is a fascinating synthesized owl chant that magnetizes the senses in this track which is ideal for a night walk in a cemetery. Water lapping effects are recurrent in the majority of REVOLVE's track openings. They are thus at the origin of Turnabout which favors a dramatic soundtrack with droning guitar effects. A cadenced march starts after the 90th second, structuring a theatrical rhythm whose quietness serves the arsenal of Wollo's guitar strumming and wailing. A delicate melody begins to coo, and its loops give a brighter texture to the track's darker moods. The Winding Path offers a rhythm like Abeona, perhaps slightly more lascivious, in a tonal setting a la Rick Wright for the keyboard chords. The guitar textures a most moving atmosphere with a vibrato effect in its harmonies. Apogee, on the other hand, offers a much more fluid and driving rhythmic structure in a very electronic envelope with an energetic surge superior to that of the title-track. There is a mix of Jazz and Funk in the harmonic texture of the guitar underneath spectral flights of synth and a solid England School type rhythm. Intense and moving, Adiona ends this new chapter of Boddy & Wollo with an oneiric atmospheric vision. Erik Wollo's spectral waves give chills, and the impact would not be the same without its Moog breaths that give a whole other dimension to this beautiful and still poetic REVOLVE and whose balance is more than perfect between its rhythms and its atmospheric panoramas.

Sylvain Lupari (September 5th, 2022) ****½*

Available at DiN Bandcamp

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