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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Ian Boddy: Strange Attractors (2012)

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

If one would like to seize Ian Boddy's career in a single album, Strange Attractors would be the ideal springboard

1 Amongst Dark Clouds 9:50

2 Parabolic Excursions 10:40

3 Crossing the Range 15:17

4 Strange Attractors 17:34

5 Return Vector 14:52

6 Trip the Light Fandango 7:11

(DDL 75:24) (V.F.)

(Berlin & England School)

Established as an indisputable leader in EM since his very first steps in 1980, Ian Boddy is like a good wine, in the exception that his overconsumption does not put us to sleep nor intoxicates us but rather excites the senses' delight caused by a wonderful electronic grapevine. Year after year, and album after album, the English synthesist knew how to develop an artistic approach where his ambiances, as much ethereal as cosmic and so much chthonian than eclectic, were grafted in rhythms knit by subtle removable and evolutionary phases of which the permutations pass by powerful synth momentums or skilful sequenced ascents, giving to his EM an extrovert approach which transcends the walls of an abstract culture. If one would like to seize Ian Boddy's career in a single album, STRANGE ATTRACTORS would be the ideal springboard. It's a powerful and intense album where synths weave dark and elusive ambiances which split up and tear away on the cliffs of rhythms, hungry for and fond of these moments of perdition unique to the moods of glaucous poetry which encircles the universes of DiN founder.

Recorded live as part of the Awakenings EM Concerts series in April 2011, STRANGE ATTRACTORS is the 12th album offered only as a download event on the Din Digital Download platform. Presented in a nice sleeve with attractive graphics and a series of pictures taken from the concert, the album begins in a deep spatial immersion. Much like a filament resisting our brain aura, a fine synth wave ends up in the galactic depths to open Amongst Dark Clouds. The only master on board, Ian Boddy multiplies the synth layers that wind up in an imposing orchestral lunar waltz around fine chimes that ring in an absolute void. Intense and captivating, Amongst Dark Clouds envelops us in an aura of solitude from which escape discreet pulsations as well as metallic chords with random movements which slightly jostle the dark winds which mutate into cosmic choirs. Fine sequences with glass percussion tones dance freely at the opening of Parabolic Excursions, chasing the morphic vapors of Amongst Dark Clouds. These sequences flutter and ring with bewitching clarity, a bit like in the universe of Eddie Jobson and his fabulous Theme of Secrets. They awaken the impulses of a bass line whose corrosive outbursts bite into a static rhythm which is overhung by synth waves with Martenot tones. The movement spins, following a spheroidal tangent where mists and cosmic choirs unite their secret identities to embrace a hypnotic comfort while the sequences quietly escape, drumming again with the spectral waves of Martenot. It's then in the sharp breaths of Parabolic Excursions that the descent of Crossing the Range begins. Oblong breaths with slow sinuous arches line the abyssal depth to get lost in a subtle mixture of astral choirs. In full control of our cerebral mummification, Ian Boddy sends down mechanical pulsations that surf on a cosmic mist while cymbals expel floating tssitt-tssitt, prelude to a heavier rhythm which comes under the streaks and screeching of a synth with spectral hootings. Between two rhythmic phases and two surreal ambiences, Crossing the Range evolves with all its ambiguity, caressing in passing the chthonic mists and progressive rhythms and stamping on the clicking of mechanical percussions which quiver in an unctuous mellotron wadding. The final explodes with a heavy circular rhythm à la Arc that make pale the underworlds.

The title-track continues with a post-apocalyptic approach where layers of threatening synths and sinuous reverberations surround heavy resonant pulsations. There reigns a strange ambience of a world of steel distress, a bit like Blade Runner, which calms down somewhat after the 8th minute to let a sweet flute display its heavenly feelings which float bitterly in an iconoclastic world. It's a brief moment of appeasement where the winds of purity caress the latent distortions of a world of destruction that rises from its ashes with these waves that swirl in a cataclysmic fury, leaving choirs and murky pulsations to spawn with a demonic arrhythmia up until the dawn of time. There where the flutes push their last breath, under the reverberating curves of sound arches which throb in solitary up until the doors of Return Vector. After an intro where dark winds scatter the Dantesque ruins of Strange Attractors, the delicately drummed rhythm forks into heavy sequences that resonate among crystalline tinkles and corrosive waves to converge into a hesitant rhythm on this fluid and harmonic flow. A rhythm dusted with delicious loops that coo with a zest of groove over a chtonian-flavored ambience where the remnants of Arc soak in the roots of Redshift with dark choirs that wander over a subtly progressive rhythm. Hybrid, the synth releases a cloud of iridescent tones that scrape the fluidity of the rhythm while fusing short plaintive solos and splendid bewitching strata whose spectral approaches ululate above the percussions with glass tinkling on a nest of pulsating sequences. The musical setting is terribly rich and intense. Ian Boddy is like an octopus with his hands maneuvering synths with sharp solos, bewitching mists both Mephistophelian and cosmic, and tenebrous choirs as well as sequencers with arrhythmic pulsations and multiform rhythms. And finally, these electronic percussions with random and undisciplined strikes supporting a rhythmic structure as complex as hallucinating which ends in a superb crossing of Arc/Boddy/Redshift. Trip the Light Fandango ends this concert on a high note. Slamming percussion girds a sequential movement filled with multiple pulses and typist kind of percussion while a keyboard draws fine harmonies with fluid chords that flutter around this wall of sequenced percussion and pulses. Always in perfect symbiosis with its convoluted rhythms, the synth spreads its bed of haze, hybrid waves and piercing solos, cementing Trip the Light Fandango in its role as a track that closes a concert under the stars with a bubbling rhythm. A rhythm that gradually fades into the fabulous and nostalgic Martenot waves. Waves singing like whales on cosmic corals.

STRANGE ATTRACTORS is a real tour de force that shows all the dexterity of our friend Ian Boddy to juggle with his panoply of instruments without losing the necessary concentration to shape an impressive musical world where rhythms and ambiances follow one another and overlap in a delicious cosmic cocktail. I would have liked to see this show, if only to see the strategy and artistic architecture that inspired Ian Boddy to go beyond an improvisational stage to offer 6 solid tracks where emotion and intensity are the heart of a musical adventure that finally doesn't really need eyes to make itself understood. This is an album that will introduce you to the fabulous world of Ian Boddy…

Sylvain Lupari (February 19th, 2012) *****

Available at DiN Bandcamp

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