MAGNETRON: Photonic Waves (2015)
“Good old vintage moods with a zest of complexity. No, the music of Magnetron is not for all, but has all in it to seduce everyone”
1 Tachyon 22:40 2 Spherium 22:20 3 Illumination 6:20 4 Refraction 19:30 Magnetron Music
(DDL 71:11) (V.F.) (Berlin School, England School)
Violent pulsations of white noises attack our ears from the opening of Tachyon. The knocks are distant and are crumbling dusts of sounds which are wrapped by slow synth waves of which the caresses, as much morphic as cosmic, are floating like thoughts under the mists of a string orchestra. If the knocks persist in time, their resonances cover themselves with felt-tip and their gap doesn't succeed in weaving a structure of continuous rhythm. And if the noises turn into a strange intergalactic language, the waves of synth become them some nice fluty lines. On the other hand, things evolve rather fast inside Tachyon. A bass pulsation skips in solo a little before the mark of 6 minutes. Whipped by sudden explosions, it draws a movement of minimalist rhythm which is braided in a solitary oscillatory movement where the fine nuances are undulating and stumbling in morphic mists. These mists and the fluty singings unite their ethereal charms, while the curve of the fluttering rhythm of Tachyon evolves with a subtle fluidity, if not a certain velocity with the arrival of the percussions. The rhythm became more sustained, and even rather lively. It gallops now in beautiful effects of synth where a rather hoarse electronic dialect grumbles occasionally among these soft lines of flute and these heap of fog of ether which are now the deserving morphic emperors of fine synth solos which are slightly too discreet.
We must be in the mood in order to listen and tame the music of Magnetron. The universe of Steve Humphries and Xan Alexander turns constantly around the same orbits. Around divided rhythms which regenerate in the shape of minimalist loops and around psychotronic atmospheres where the perfumes of Tangerine Dream try to extricate themselves from the fragrances of Klaus Schulze. In brief! It's a rendezvous with time. This time where EM tried so much to seduce than to fascinate and where the gradation of the long music acts was sculptured in this art to want to redefine the standards but in an envelope and with a clearly more contemporary approach. We can hear it in the sound! PHOTONIC WAVES is a 5th album. An album that I would consider as more direct than Spherics, but which asks all the same to be as much tamed because the universe of Magnetron, even in its more digital cocoon, is as atypical as these old sonic intrigues of the vintage years. Spherium follows with lively beatings which drum in a dense ambiosonic envelope fed of slender and of slow sound braids and whose screeching are writing some acute graffiti over a wall of black silk. The rhythm evolves slowly by amassing the metallic fruits of the cymbals while the ambiences, a bit psychotronic, are feeding on wandering voices. Percussions and quavering sequences get grafted to the drumming while the phase of rhythm of Spherium moves towards a more nervous structure where a meshing of sequences and percussions raises a structure which becomes a kind of mixture between a cosmic funk and a break-ambient-dance. A spasmodic structure which frees its minimalist hybrid shocks with a subtle swiftness in the movement beneath a dense psychotronic coat where organic sequences, graffiti of a nasal synth, fluty lines, tears of violin and solos decorate a firmament which has nothing to envy at these structures a little complex and a little bit psychedelic from the vintage years. After 3 listening, we become definitively hooked. The scattered impulses of a loud bass line which have also added an intense depth to Spherium are at the heart of the very ambient structure of Illumination which also stuffs itself of cosmic orchestration to make Software blush. It's a heavy ambient track which finds its charms in its intensity. Here also rangy twisted tears of synth are to make the ears clean. The cosmic atmospheres converge all along PHOTONIC WAVES but were never so dominant as on Refraction. Here, the orchestrations waltz slowly on a nervous structure of rhythm which unwinds its kicks under the caresses of the intergalactic violins. The main structure remains minimalist while a crowd of elements (pulsations, percussions and sequences) gets graft here to enrich its core, which remains all the same rather static, driving it gradually towards a nice crescendo, as much in the power of the static rhythm as in the atmospheres which were never so rich as here.
Yes, we really must be in the mood to enjoy the music of Magnetron! And when it's done, we discover an intense album where Steve Humphries and Xan Alexander provide the atmospheres of such a sonic wealth that our ears need more than a listening in order to assimilate these storms of sounds to rhythms that we rediscover beneath another facet to each new listening. That's the mark of an album built upon creativity, on the art to want to redefine its own standards. I liked it well and my walls are still well decorated of it!
Sylvain Lupari (July 20th, 2015) *****
Available on Magnetron's Bandcamp