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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Ian Boddy: The Deep (2021)

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

Ian Boddy creates the beats of oceans through his imagination and his synths

1 Standing at the Edge 2:12

2 Dark Descent 5:23

3 The Deep 3:50

4 In the Realm of Poseidon 5:09

5 Leviathan 5:47

6 Flow Current Flow 7:51

7 Sirens Call 8:02

8 Aquanaut 5:51

9 Re-Emergence 4:25

10 Surface Flight 8:49

11 Sub-Aquiem 3:46

12 Sargasso 4:28

13 Submersible 7:41

Something Else Records – SER 006

(CD/DDL 73:25) (V.F.)

(Classic England & Berlin Schools)

THE DEEP is the second collaboration between Groove nl and Ian Boddy so that another of his classics is released in a manufactured CD format. And like with The Uncertainty Principle, the process has led to the discovery of two other tracks, Sargasso and the very good Submersible, from this period. Historically, THE DEEP was inspired by a James Cameron movie, The Abyss, released on big screen at the end of the 80's. A bit like Michael Stearns did with M'Oceans, the English musician was able to create the oceans through his imagination and his synths. The oceanic texture deserves to be underlined because it plays an important role in the 63 minutes of the initial album. The 11 tracks scroll in a single mosaic where the dark ambient style, and the one a little more ethereal, travel on rhythms of England School, and its essences of synth-pop, and Berlin School, an excellent one, towards the finale.

Standing at the Edge takes us back to the album's concept with sonar sounds and telecommunication problems. An oceanic choir hums a welcome to new souls up to the doors of Dark Descent which is following with an initial stop & go structure and two pulses lined up on 3-steps suites, each with its own tonal identity. Little by little, the concept gets lost in a wealth of percussive elements that keep us on our toes. And it's 12 seconds after the second minute that the synth frees the moods with a melody that nestles in a big synth-wave well framed by solid percussions. The sound universe reminds me of Mark Shreeve's with this first lively contact in THE DEEP. The title-track is an ambient ode. The music is well thought out and follows the emotions behind David Burns' narration. You can hear the blue, like the black and its abyss, of the oceans on The Deep. And if the darkness has greedily swallowed the finale, life seems to return with In the Realm of Poseidon where Ian Boddy chooses the pastoral tone of the organ to push an ascent from the depths to reach the kingdom of Poseidon. An ambient track that lives by the intensity of the organ layers. A fluttery voice emerges, like mermaid whispers in a reverberating oxygenated broth. And it's with these sneaky steps, unique to the Boddy, Arc and Redshift universes, that Leviathan breaks out of the oceanic tranquility and into a big phase of rock evolving into synth-pop with sudden stops & and go's that are equally so. The particularity here is the guitar which is very rock with solos that hold the attention in addition to big riffs playing in a chthonian ambience made possible from the layers of voice. A track that still sounds great today. Flow Current Flow offers a playful synth-pop with beautiful keyboard-synth harmonies. The rhythm is upbeat with its 80's superficial structure and with nice metallic percussion bursting here and there. We hear a bit more of those in Aquanaut which is another good England School with very good melodic lines melting into synth solo.

It's in a disturbing oceanic background, I even hear the horns of ships in a din camouflaged by the sounds of the waters, that the divine songs of mermaids rise to our ears. Surreal, the setting of Sirens Call pushes us to hear tweet-tweet whispers behind these imaginary voices. This title reserves us its most beautiful asset after the 4th minute with a tender piano solo. And then the whispers come back as well as a background wave that brings us to the lively introduction of Aquanaut and its great sound effects. Re-Emergence is a dark ambient track with its chthonian choir that accentuates its intensity to arrive at a sector of the oceans that communicates with the Cosmos and the stars. It's with Surface Flight that the Berlin School portion is felt on THE DEEP. A Berlin School and its sequencer in ascending mode mixed with a vision of synth-pop. The structure is born from a sequencer line waddling softly under the blows of metallic percussions. The sequencer crumbles its keys which fall in spasmodic movement up until they are well centered on the ascending vision. Layers of voices, celestial as chthonian, round the corners of the decor while the synth blows very good solos on the road of a Berliner rhythmic train. The guitar which sows its riffs make an incursion in the ambiences of Tangerine Dream's Force Majeure. A good rhythm coated with celestial effects, laser harp, pushed by astral voices and a solid presence of the guitar. A very good track that needs however 2 minutes of ambient effects to complete its almost 9 minutes. Sub-Aquiem ended the 1994 edition of THE DEEP. It's a track of ambiences structured on those of In the Realm of Poseidon. The organ tone is pushed by orchestrations that reach the limits of intensity and drama in a cinematic finale where the sonar beeps remind us how Standing at the Edge has initiated THE DEEP. Sargasso is the first offering on this new edition of THE DEEP. It's a good electronic rock built on echoing percussions effects and bass-pulses. A keyboard draws a timid melody that also stretches with echo effects. Sometimes Teutonic and sometimes lively, the rhythm is surrounded by cosmic effects and becomes very explosive in its last zestful passage. Submersible is a real gift wrapped in a very good Berlin School style. If the music relies on the ambiences of THE DEEP, it's due to the synth solos cooing in loops in an oceanic texture. The rhythm bounces with cymbal bursts in an ascending pattern filled with a sequenced melody on a Halloween-like nursery rhyme. The orchestrations and misty layers fulfill their mandate while the synth goes mad in a final third rich in solos and psybient effects. An excellent track that further enhances the nobility of another very good album from Ian Boddy.

Sylvain Lupari (July 10th, 2021) *****

Available at Groove nl

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