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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Ian Boddy: Pearl (2010)

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

A double-CD compilation which spans 30 years of career is simply not enough but it's a start

CD #1: Outer DiN 76:06

1 Hyperion 5:27

2 Aquanaut 5:50

3 Continuum - Alpha 6:50

4 Sequence in Blue 6:19

5 Floating 5:51

6 Beyond The Event Horizon 5:15

7 Who Controls Who 3:21

8 Heavens Gate 5:36

9 Living In A Ritual 4:13

10 Shrouded 5:19

11 The Climb 6:44

12 Outer Limits 5:17

13 Skylights 3:57

14 Metropolis 3:15

15 Living Planet 2:45

CD #2: Inner DiN 74:48

1 Never Forever 2:46

2 Walking The Slow Path 6:24

3 Coriolis 7:47

4 Chiasmata 6:52

5 Atomicity 4:15

6 The Mechanics of a Thought 4:50

7 Presentation of an Offering 4:32

8 Moiré 5:48

9 Edge of Nowhere 5:43

10 Aurora 9:01

11 Arc – Angel 5:30

12 Troubadour 4:48

13 Elemental 6:25

(2CD/DDL 150:54) (V.F.)

(Ambient, Electronica, Berlin School)

I must admit that I do not really know the musical universe of Ian Boddy. I discovered his music following his association with Mark Shreeve in Arc, as well as his recent collaborations with Markus Reuters and Robert Rich. So, PEARL was indeed designed for me. And there I discovered an artist who infiltrates music like a chameleon. Ian Boddy can embrace synth-pop, like Techno and Electronica, as well as melodious and poignant EM without forgetting his more complex style with experimental and dark, tenebrous music. A double-CD compilation which spans 30 years of career is better than nothing. And PEARL travels among nearly 40 albums of the DiN Records Boss. A busy career which in my opinion is difficult to detail well on 2 CDs

Outer DiN contains titles from the pre-DiN period. It's 15 titles which follow one another in a long segment of 76 minutes, presenting a more accessible EM where the heaviness and obscurities which surround his first works already swarm. Siren choirs undulating in musical clarity open Hyperion. The synths are very symphonic and oneiric. They envelop in their orchestral layers a slow intro which leads to a superb melody with the notes of a dreamy and nostalgic piano. A splendid soul-splitting ballad which bursts with solid hits of resonant percussions, shaping a slow rhythmic brood of silky layers of a symphonic and celestial synth. A bit like Who Controls Who, on the other hand, is more dramatic but always nourished by heavy symphonic layers with a very baroque approach. Aquanaut is a more lively track with a nervous rhythm, bitten by a good bass line and supported by percussions with rapid flows and sometimes slamming à la Jean-Michel Jarre. The synth is biting and spits out riffs and solos as heavy and incisive as a guitar but whose mellotron choirs are tinged with an obscure mythical aura, enveloping strings of harmonious keyboard chords which scroll in spiral. A track close to synth-pop and techno which preserves its electronic envelope thanks to dark and enveloping ambiences, just like the heavy and frenetic Sequence in Blue and its vision both apocalyptic and ethereal. We also have the heavy and spatial Beyond the Event Horizon which succeeds the sublime and atmospheric Floating. Continuum - Alpha is a bewitching track where the hypnotic and jerky rhythm unfolds on an undulating sequential movement which is supported by a discreet bass line and metallic percussions fluttering around linear spirals. Twists which circulate in melodious hoops in a sound universe at the same time cosmic, enchanting and unrealistic.

Heaven's Gate oscillates between two worlds; the rhythm and the ambient, on a dark approach and on synth as symphonic as on Hyperion. After an intro which undulates like the surface of a sea shaken by the winds, the rhythm of Heaven's Gate awakens with fine percussions and a roaring bass. Except that this rhythm is as if frozen in hesitation, despite the slightly more nervous percussions and the cymbals which flutter on a synth with layers undulating like celestial choirs. Towards the end, it blossoms into a sweet melody which remains gripped by its enveloping and suffocating layers. Living in a Ritual is another mix of synth pop and techno where rock singer Brian Ross sings on it. A good track with percussions which alternate on a slightly syncopated pace and where the synth solos twirl frantically. Shrouded is dark, slow, heavy, hypnotic and above all intriguing. It's a slow procession which moves painfully, surrounded by multiple Mephistophelic sound effects, like its chains and its breaths of hell and which hides a good melody in the form of a diabolical rhyme. After an intro that sticks to Shrouded, The Climb takes off with a heavy and furious rhythm on strange electronic percussions and a synth with layers subdivided between the rhythmic support, the lost solos and the spectral melody. After a heavy passage with Outer Kimits, Skylights imbues us with a superb ethereal melody whose breaths are as divinatory as they are harmonious, climbing a soft rhythmic woven on keyboard chords which go up in spirals under heavy dramatic pulsations. Short title, Metropolis undulates gracefully around enveloping layers and on a heavy rhythm pounded by percussions hammering a sustained pace. Living Planet closes Outer DiN with an ode to cosmos, to nothingness and to sculptural idleness with a sober waltz of time and slow perpetual movements.

The 2nd CD crosses the period of DiN. A period when Ian Boddy multiplied collaborations and experiences with such eminent artists as Mark Shreeve, Robert Rich, Markus Reuter and Dub Atomica, Chris Carter as well as Bernhard Wostheinrich. Inner DiN continues the exploitation of rhythms and melodies with dramatic essences undertaken before the birth of DiN, but with a darker musical approach among an astonishing palette of sounds as powerful as heterogeneous. Never Forever is a gentle introduction to the complex musical world that spawns in this universe. Slow synth layers waltz and entwine around a delicate melodious line driven by enveloping synth layers. An electronic world in fusion which leads us to Walking the Slow Path and its sequential line which advances stealthily among a booming bass line and percussions which drum a discreet rhythm swimming in indecision. Halfway between Arc and Redshift, Walking the Slow Path advances delicately, like a procession towards an infernal world, even with its limpid and silky chords which ring from all around. Coriolis and Chiasmata borrow a little this same Mephistophelic tangent with slow processions, synth lamentations with ocher breaths and percussions with sequences which structure rhythms a little more arched. Atomicity changes the dark climate of Inner DiN a little with a panoply of percussions which fall in bursts from everywhere. A bass line, fragile solitary keyboard chords and fine synth lines which ululate assume the harmonious portion. After the sclerotic layers of the ambient The Mechanics of a Thought, Presentation of an Offering explodes with a curt and nervous rhythm progressing on a structure which is sometimes ascending and sometimes stationary. It's a track with an ambivalent rhythm which exploits more the essence of the static rhythm with synth solos which stick to Arab inspirations. Another track on a static rhythm, Moire is besieged by percussions with sonorities as varied as his multidirectional strikes, forming a strange jerky rhythm which is flown over by lamentations of synth/guitars scrolling in loops under an exquisite Mellotron aura.

Edge of Nowhere follows with its languid tempo and its plaintive guitar which spits distressing strata on a sustained cadence of metallic percussions and a discreet sequence with murky pulsations. A track with an increasing rhythm and a dark ambience which plunges Inner DiN back to its dark paths with the very nice and dark Aurora which floats with a half angelic and half diabolical ambiences. Its wandering choirs are flying over delicate crystalline arpeggios. A superb ambient track just before the frenzied Arc-Angel and its nervous sequences which stir alone before sinking into the chthonian and hyper-sequenced world of Arc. Troubadour continues the exploration of frenetic rhythms under an avalanche of notes which tumble through a languid and very lyrical synth. A nervous track, with a spasmodic rhythm and a heavy pulse, which oscillates between techno and disco, chewed by a rebellious synth with Martenot and spectral waves which flutter innocently in a hammering rhythm. Elemental concludes Inner DiN on a beautiful and heavy melodious approach with a dramatic side. The rhythm is heavy and fascinating with percussion rolls under a sky streaked with layers which illuminate a procession with chords and sequences both clear and dark. Sequences and chords that parade like condemned men walk towards the green line.

PEARL is a musical chest filled of superb gems of music to the antipodes of the growth, both personal and artistic, of a musician who has agreed to step outside the cozy harmonious paths of Outer DiN to create a more progressive and innovative contemporary EM. More than a simple musical box, PEARL is the witness of this superb growth of an artist that many have seen passed without attaching the importance that was due to him. With PEARL, you get the opportunity to correct that.

Sylvain Lupari (December17th, 2010) *****

Available at DiN Bandcamp

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