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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Ian Boddy & Nigel Mullaney: Schemes & Ruses (2019)

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

Schemes & Ruses is an incredible album to the image of two artists whose art of surpassing themselves exceeds the borders of our understanding

1 Hidden Rooms 12:52

2 The Trouble with Architecture 8:18

3 Anywhere but Here 6:15

4 Patching Points 13:16

5 The Boundary of Reason 7:19

6 Schemes & Ruses 11:13

7 Showdown 9:00

(DDL/SPOTIFY 68:15) (V.F.)

(Modular Synth Music, Electronica)

Quite often, the journey of a big EM consumer has transited through Heavy Metal. Almost everyone that I know and who is a fan of EM today are ex-lovers of Black Sabbath and other big names in this musical genre. Where am I going? Hidden Rooms, at the very least its first minutes, breathe in this essence of Black Sabbath's Mob Rules. Behind a deafened roar, it sounds like the sound of a cafeteria with the rattling of dishes or dishwasher racks, awakens a sound fauna whose flaccid and viscous mumblings remind me of E5150. Instead of a series of Heavy Metal riffs, it's more like a wandering piano crumbling its notes into a sonic sky darkened by twists full of reverberations and other iconoclastic noises that we would be able to hear in secret rooms filled of sonic memories of the tortures and other elements of these rooms where no noise filters. Welcome to Ian Boddy & Nigel Mullaney's psychedelic lair. SCHEMES & RUSESis a second collaboration between these artists, Triptych in 2001 with Markus Reuter, and is the result of a concert's recording given in the frame of DiN's 20th anniversary. Supported by Paul Borg and Nino Auricchio, from d'Voxx, the duo offers an inspired performance where the electronic and psychedelic genre of the English label breathes in every pore of its 68 minutes.

After the ambient and intriguing Hidden Rooms, The Trouble with Architecture offers a slightly more lively structure with percussions whose muffled clicks resound in hundreds of unruly small steps of a percussive bass line. These steps throb in a zigzag pattern of rhythm and its phases of excitement which give energy to the rhythm to beat along the machine guns and bursts of percussions. The sky is of an Erik Wollo's color, a color that breathes in many places in the firmament of this album, with these groans of Ondes-Martenot in a structure that flirts with the rhythm and the non-rhythm of Solar Fields and with the mumbled and lifeless words of Binar's universe. We are in the spheres of EM created from modular synths and this can be heard with tones that flirt with our ecstasy. Anywhere but Here follows the tangent of ambient music colored with intrigue since the opening of this album. At first glance ethereal, with the whistling tears of the Ondes-Martenot, these atmospheres embrace a carnival of tones which envelop us with waves of muffled hums and gusts of wooshh in an industrial universe where metal howls with stridence. Even without rhythms and with certain illusions of rhythms, the first 25 minutes of SCHEMES & RUSES pass very well between our ears still dumbfounded by the assortment of sounds and the countless possibilities of these synths.

Born from the last buzz of Anywhere but Here, Patching Points emerges with percussive clicking and a shimmering garland of musical arpeggios. The rhythm is in stop and non-stop mode, with a melodious attraction that oscillates in suspension. The effects of glitch and ttrriitt-tit-tit of the percussions are at the edge of an Electronica embroidered on the borders of the psybient. The longest title of this album pours towards a phase of psychedelic atmospheres before rebounding with more force for its last 5 minutes. Then comes the very disturbing The Boundary of Reason. This title of ambient elements crosses all the horizons of a music to revive ghosts and ectoplasmic matters. We reach SCHEMES & RUSES' pinnacle of with the title-track which is a real little bomb sculpted in the energy of an excellent England School and Electronica mesh. The rhythm line deploys its multiple oscillations in the furrows of glitch and white noise. Other ectoplasmic effects nourish this setting, always in communication with the borders of the afterlife. There are voices, razor-sharp blades and a resonant bass line that picks up anything lying around, including those little machine-guns of percussions and a line of sequences that struggle to fit among these sparkling tinsel of murmurs frozen in a pearl. There is like a criss-crossing effect between the oscillatory axes of Schemes & Ruses' rhythm where a swarm of insects mock between our ears in a stridulatory language. Lively and lively, this track is the pinnacle of this album whose encore, Showdown, takes place with incredible violence in a very Binar rhythm. An uplifting rhythm with a vicious bass line that makes us roll from the neck and a treasure trove of percussion and percussive effects in frozen sequenced keys that found its genesis in the fantastic Schemes & Ruses. An incredible album to the image of two artists whose art of surpassing themselves exceeds the borders of our understanding. Solid from A to Z, even in the atmospheric phases!

Sylvain Lupari (February 12th, 2020) ****½*

Available at DiN Bandcamp

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