MODULATOR ESP: The Shadow of Poseidon (2021)
Updated: Jul 2
“But at the end, there are very good moments which deserves the attention of...”
1 The Shadow of Poseidon 73:18
(CD/DDL 73:18) (V.F.)
(Improvised England School)
Technically, Modulator ESP has over 100 albums made since 2001. Shy at the beginning, Jez Creek produced his albums in a normal way. That is, one album, sometimes two per year. The explosion of super-productivity occurred around 2010. And since then, Modulator ESP has become an album and/or download machine with the hazards that such overproduction can entail. To give you an idea of his production, he produced 15 CD-r and/or DDL in 2019. 26 (sic!) in 2020 and I did not include THE SHADOW OF POSEIDON which was produced the same year. Groove nl thought it appropriate to let us discover this episode 309 of Adventures in Sound performed on July 20th, 2020. This album is typical of the improvisation sessions that English ME bands institutionalized with the famous Jodrell Bank concerts in the early 2000's. And afterwards the Hampshire Jam evenings, The Gatherings and other festivals of the kind including The Awakenings. Evenings and festivals that have had their descendants in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.
We warm up the instruments with amphibian sounds. If the stripes of light can be guessed from the color of the long streaks, the chthonian voice layer always remains synonymous of a sinister environment. This fight between translucency and darkness is won by the prismatic tones of the synths and their shadows betrayed by the shimmering colors of the oceanic shallows. The spectral lamentations crunch at the same time as this metal which seems to be twisted by the industrial arthritic pain. We hear the noises of the machines beat the adventure with flashes of sound explosions coming from the abyss. The Shadow of Poseidon seems to come alive around the 8th minute with a fauna of composite noises and the pulsating beats of its mechanics. Layers of celestial voices, Poseidon's mermaids, offer murmurs and a spectacle of sounds as the level of emotionality continues to rise. But still, the ambiences swallow up this slight revival with metallic mooing, ocean spectral screeching and organic squeaks. It's from this thunderous storm of sounds that the sequencer makes its presence resounds some 30 seconds after the 18th minute. The rhythm that emerges is timid compared to the noisy envelope of sounds. But it continues its ascent in a hypnotic ascending movement typical of the Berlin School. The prismatic envelope has never left the premises of The Shadow of Poseidon. And it screams more than ever in its 20th minute as the sequencer receives the Cosmos' attack charges. As long as it hobbles through this segment of video game atmospherics.
It hobbles to better provide an interesting ambient rhythmic movement, even displaying a voracious velocity at the dawn of the 29-minute mark to subdivide the range of sounds with a tone that dances with glass. It's thus to a choreography of the sequencer and its lines of rhythms that flood our ears at the same time additional tones that multiply to satiety. A little more and we would be in the Lands of Howard the Duck with this fauna of cacklings and these organic noises of invertebrate mollusks. Modulator ESP carries our ears like this until the 39th minute, when the rhythm loses more and more luster and is submerged again by an envelope of noises. From this point on, Jez Creek brings out a plethora of tones that fill, I like to hear sawing wood in the Cosmos or the bottom of the oceans, an ambient movement that percussion on sheet metal slightly animates. We gradually find the introductory ambiences around the 50th minute as The Shadow of Poseidon starts to drift, or float, as sequences start to dance and even dribble in one of the best moments of this long track. A big electronic rock of the England School style that crumbles little by little its fury until the 60th minute when a flute calms our emotions since noises again there will be to end THE SHADOW OF POSEIDON.
The best of it being inevitably for the end with this kind of improvised EM, we must know it to plunge in it. And Modulator ESP doesn't make it easy with a complex universe of sound effects versus rhythmic and ambiences statuses, without real harmonies nor synth solos, which sometimes reach a decibel level that has make my Lise jump. But at the end, there are very good moments in this THE SHADOW OF POSEIDON which deserves the attention of...not cold ears!
Sylvain Lupari (July 1st, 2021) ***½**