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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

MAGNETRON: Hypnosis (2017)

“Even if one knows their schema, Magnetron knows how to develop minimalist EM patterns without falling in an easy to do it”

1 Long Distance 26:32 2 Hypnosis 24:20 3 Cyro Sleep 8:18 4 Silent Running 20:03

(DDL 79:13) (V.F.)

(England & Berlin Schools)

The recipe of Magnetron is in the purest tradition of the England School style, like RMI or Airsculpture. Slow introductions filled of yellowish or bluish smoke where an armada of electronic sounds displays its finest adornment, even in going to explore the tonal borders of a 5th dimension. Subsequently, the structures of rhythms! Mostly ambient, they also offer phases where our fingers tap, foot wriggles or our neck rolls over our shoulders. Evolutionary phases with a polyrhythmic vision where the transmutations are as subtle as a strand of hair coming off its root. It's from these elements that HYPNOSIS insidiously infiltrates this desire to savor another EM album…even if we know the game!

Breezes blowing with iodized particles, tonal dusts, reverberant distortion effects and spatial sound effects, Long Distance deploys an introduction of cosmic ambiances with its drifting violin layers. A spasmodic line indicates that the sequencer is in jerky rhythmic mode, hatched vividly like a skeleton on a break-dancing. This minimalist pattern accommodates other elements of sequenced pulsations and a line of sequences that unties a rhythmic language a bit harmonic. The structure is well in place to receive some multiple synth effects, including evasive lines of harmonies. There is a multiplication of layers. And the addition of new electronic effects announces a subtle bifurcation of the rhythm whose convulsive drive deviates subtly towards an approach of Tangerine Dream's brilliant Poland track. The English duo must be ingenious in order to avoid a likely effect of annoying repetitions on this long structure that still evolves with new elements, both percussive and of ambience. This is how the solos unique to Steve Humphries' signature pierce the wall of Long Distance which is constantly adorned by the new rhythmic bursts of Xan Alexander. Born from the 4 minutes of atmospheres of its introduction, Long Distance quietly runs out in the 3 minutes of its final of ambiospherical elements which are on the other hand more intense, more enveloping if not penetrating. We have here the topo of the latest opus from the duo Steve Humphries & Xan Alexander that appeared on the Bandcamp website of Magnetron in late 2017; long minimalist tracks evolving constantly in new rhythmic or ambient surroundings.

The title-track offers a more musical opening with a synth that lays down some pretty good solitary songs on a textures of reverberant atmospheres. Pulsatory, a rhythmic structure insidiously infiltrates these atmospheres of ether at the edge of the 4 minutes. This line becomes the rhythmic arsenal of Hypnosis. Another line, more hobbling, innocently gambols under a sound sky which becomes more and more streaked by multiple drifting lines and sound effects zigzagging like a petal blown by a warm wind. Riffs frozen in the reminiscences of the Hyperborea years explode here and there in a rhythmic texture whose backdrop makes me think of Magnetic Fields III from Jean-Michel Jarre. The sequencer brings small jewels with additional sequences which pile up and jump with cohesion, a little like in the opening of Poland, embellishing a rhythmic canvas made to measure for aficionados of magnetizing electronic rhythms. The layers and solos, less acid than in Long Distance, increase the warmer approach of Hypnosis which has not finished yet to surprise and charm us with the arrival of good percussive elements in his last quarter. After these two solid titles, Cyro Sleep leads us towards a territory arid and dry of rhythms. Effects leak out a fascinating smell of tonal strangeness with a mixture of organic sounds and of rattlesnakes that envelop a melody scattering its elusive piano notes in a texture which didn't have to bring its chthonian choir in order to instill a mood nocturnal terror, even if some layers of velvet stuffed of ether caress the possible rise of worry. Silent Running ends HYPNOSIS with a rhythmic texture which is apparently ambient but controlled in the same way as Long Distance and Hypnosis. The sequencer play is just as tasty with this structure that seems to run among this panoply of sequenced rhythms from the album that we find condensed here. Effects and solos from synths very active at the level of riffs and layers show this very Tangerine Dream influence, era Schmoelling, on the music of Magnetron which presents an album without surprises. If only despite its long musical structures, the music of the English duo always finds a way to nail our ears to our headphones.

Sylvain Lupari (September 21st, 2018) *****

Available on Magnetron's Bandcamp

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