Ian Boddy: Nevermore (2021)
Updated: Sep 20
“A splendid album with a very strange title to celebrate the 100th album of DiN's history”
1 Farside 7:20
2 From Here to There 14:41
3 Glade 9:20
4 Underhill 4:40
5 Nevermore 16:42
6 The Circle Closes 7:44
(CD/DDL 60:27) (V.F.)
(DiNbient, England School)
Here is the 100th release of the DiN label! This huge number of the famous label explains by 69 CDs, 26 DDL and the 5 volumes of the Tone Science series. It was in June 1999 that Ian Boddy made his label official with the album Box of Secrets. From then on, this new sound universe would be destined to democratize the EM by transcending its own universe every 10 albums, hence the fabulous Index collection. And who better than its founder to sign the 100th work of this label whose avant-gardism has influenced and towed EM beyond the 21st century. NEVERMORE is the product of Ian's concert at the Soundquest Festival. This 3-day festival of ambient electronic music was sponsored by Steve Roach and was broadcast on a worldwide stage via YouTube. Those who saw his performance agree that it was a magical event. For those who were not so lucky, you can still watch the video by clicking here.
The English musician warms up his instruments and adjusts the parameters of his Euroracks at the opening of Farside. Are these cosmic winds or spectral ululations that crisscross this row of organic and metallic noises? In any case, this introduction is sewn in the anxiety, as in the strange. Loops are released and turn while oscillating slowly in this Mephistophelic decor. Their powers of attraction defy the amplification of a sound mass from which the first moans of the French Connection keyboard escape. The intriguing Ondes Martenot, like those of the Theremin, no longer hold any secrets for Ian, who manipulates his keyboard, drawing out laments of soul-splitting musical acuity. It's like hearing a ghost crying in a hallway abandoned by its time. The solos finished; our ears find this loop whose amplitude has deserted its perfection to find itself in a transitional passage towards the gothic pulsations of From Here to There. The perfumes of Arc are identifiable in this opening where the pulsating rhythm increases its velocity in a park of percussive elements and of glitches effects of the most seductive. Boom-boom, the rhythm resonates in concert with our feet tapping the floor, a sign of a catchy rhythm in its contemporary psychedelic envelope. I love these strange sparkling chords and notes that scroll in a staccato effect, giving a thick flesh around this rhythmic framework that has been enriched with a spasmodic membrane. In the video, we see Ian Boddy in constant motion playing, refining and sculpting the 15 minutes of this superb track, so for all the 60 minutes of his performance, adding rhythmic elements as well as sonic ones and weaving beautiful solos. These pulsating romps are fading around the 13th minute, letting From Here to There to an ectoplasmic finale leading us to Glade. This ambient track abounds in tonalities that could be identified with a walk in Cosmos, if it wasn't for this subtle imploding bass layer that constantly reminds us of the chthonian bases, that will be more present in Underhill, from the Newcastle's musician. This does not prevent him from decorating Glade with good solos comparable to electronic nightingales' songs.
This is how we glide towards the intriguing Underhill and its gothic-industrial ambiences where the spectral chants of the French Connection are much more effective. In addition to these songs, our ears perceive clattering in the black winds that blow from within. Winds where voices are trapped in this den of dementia that clashes with an electronic overload, signifying that the title-track is only seconds away from our ears. On a more devious rhythm structure, Nevermore moves on stealthily on a pulsing and ascending bass-line of 5 bass-beats. Ian Boddy's aesthetics and musical research are there with these percussive fizzes, these electric sticks that make pschitt-pschitt, these metallic rattles and these spasmodic percussive elements belching like electrified chords are as pleasant as they are amazing in this DiNbient coating that serves to defuse the title-track. Its progression astonishes with this impression to hear two lines of rhythms converged with their disparities in a linear choreography which does not need these magnificent solos to impress our ears. They are there and we accept them with pleasure, giving this lust and abundance to my ears never tired of the constant challenges in the music of DiN boss. The solos sing, as if they were raging with fluty tones that are inserted between these evanescent furies that constantly keep the ears on the alert. Tired by this sonic load, the rhythm is made to beat on one bass-pulse chord in a musical panorama that adapts to a layer of mist and some scattered percussive elements while the synth and its sharp breaths bring back Nevermore to the path of its musical den. Another great track in Ian Boddy's repertoire. The Circle Closes ends NEVERMORE with an ambient ode that still drags some percussive elements between some very beautiful and tender synth solos. We hear better the orchestrations which make drift the ambiences of a title breathing of these splendid solos to make cry a lunar rock. And to think that some people dare to say that ME has no soul. They should sit down in front of this superb Ian Boddy performance at the Soundquest Festival which is splendidly reproduced and mastered by this bard of the modern times who always knew how to make evolve the time a fraction of year before the others.
A splendid album with a very strange title to celebrate the 100th album of DiN's history, NEVERMORE offers more than 60 minutes of an EM always ahead of its time and always as seductive. From 22 years, since Box of Secrets in fact, Ian Boddy's label has been rewriting the history of modern electronic music with each new album. And NEVERMORE continues this evolution in the art of the modular which knew how to tame my ears always a little frightened in front of the daring of the English label. Happy celebrations my dear Ian!
Sylvain Lupari (September 30th, 2021) ****½*
Available at DiN Music