Ian Boddy & Markus Reuter: Outland (2021)
Updated: Sep 20
“We have here an album which skillfully doses mysticism, muffled and dark rhythms as well as ambiences just at the limit of distortion”
1 Citadel 6:24
2 Parallels 7:33
3 Outland 6:28
4 Brood 6:17
5 Trails 8:33
6 Home 5:20
(CD/DDL/LP 40:38) (V.F.)
(Dark Ambient, England School)
The last Ian Boddy and Markus Reuters collaboration dates to September 2017 with the album Stay. Available for download only, this album was inspired and guided by Memento, released a few months earlier. Well, even if composed and built remotely, OUTLAND is walking in Memento's footsteps. Enjoying a sound fauna up to the size of DiN's works, this 9th Boddy & Reuters' collaboration is an ambient one that is as intense and mysterious as ever and where the guitars of Markus get opposed to the Moog's deaf impulses and the prismatic chants of the synth as well as the Martenot Waves from our friend Ian Boddy. It is to Markus that we owe this album, he who initially composed the musical panoramas during the summer of 2020. He sent them to the English musician-synthesist who put meat around the framework of what would become OUTLAND. The pandemic was a game-changer by preventing the two friend-musicians from finishing it all together in the studio. The remote and distanced sessions took a few extra months for an album that both artists wanted to see made on vinyl as well. Hence the 40 minutes of this album whose 6 titles are divided by two in order to fill both sides of the vinyl.
Undulating tones' waves, scarlet streaks, sound distortions, guitar textures and roaring layers, Citadel opens with an abysmal heaviness. The bass of the Moog blows under this fauna which is constantly growing heavier, and its deaf impulses structure this soft and muffled rhythm whose momentums are lost in an implosive sound mass. We are around the 4th minute and the slide guitar pitches its plaintive harmonies which merge with the spectral harmonies of the Martenot Waves. Imposing by its power, this first track of OUTLAND is like its 34 other minutes. Ambient and rowdy with constantly repressed rhythmic aims and the complexities of an album created from a distance, this new album-duel between Ian and Markus is as intense as dark. If the opening of Citadel was carried out by the pain of tones, the transition to Parallels is no less easy. The guitar throws a series of resonant chords in a sonic turbulence coming from the agitation of percussive elements. Always creeping, the bass throbs lasciviously below the very Robert Fripp solos of Markus Reuters which adds a dexterity unknown to the works of Fripp. The sequences and percussive clicks ripen reflections, feeling their neurotic activities gained ground, for a rhythmic vision flirting with an Electronica which will not however fully see the light of day. Even with those eternal pushes of the Moog bass which remains unfathomable. The title piece leads this vast mass of sounds towards a more ambient texture with a cosmic ascendant. The guitar wanders here with soft and pinched chords, some like crumbled riffs, under a tonal sky streaked by the passage of cosmic stars. It's angelically pure until we hit the 5th minute barrier, where the chords dissolve and the scents of OUTLAND' first 12 minutes are rising back to our ears.
For vinyl purposes, Brood starts the B side of OUTLAND. It is a very nice ambient track structured in intensity with synth layers transported by the effects of murmurings which fly while taking different orientations. It is like the tonal colors with beautiful synth reflections, such as the howls of a guitar lost in this celestial traffic and whose points of agony transpose these chills that so make the soul sigh, sometimes even cry. Brood brings us to Trails, by far the fiercest track on this album. In a structure closer to Arc, or in a good Ian Boddy's energized England School, the pounding heavy ambient rhythm is propelled by a good bass line and a phenomenal collaborative work between those lively teeming sequences and good electronic percussions living in an enclosure always on the verge of being shortening. Markus' guitar spits out solos whose evasive King Crimson timbre is too close to ignore. We are heading towards the final with Home and its tears of Martenot Waves slipping behind the chords of a guitar that is no longer hungry.
Built in the optics of an LP which has limitations in time rather than in the capacities of a full CD, OUTLAND gives up big minutes of EM in favor of vinyl aficionados, thus risking to let many fans of Boddy & Reuters on their appetite. As a result, the album is built on the principles of vinyl from the 70's; either a first introductory title with a semblance of life, the second having more dynamism and the third taking refuge in ambient phases. This is the topo of OUTLAND! Hoping that there are leftovers (there are always leftovers!) that we could hear shortly, because here we have an excellent album. An album that skillfully doses mysticism, muffled and dark rhythms as well as ambiences just at the limit of distortion with the prismatic moans of the Martenot waves and the slide guitar. An imaginative cocktail from this eclectic duo who has always known how to extract the best out of their music… just for the pleasure of our ears.
Sylvain Lupari (March 29th, 2021) ****½*
Available on DiN Bandcamp