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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Mutagénèse Ganymede (2021)

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

I was nail down to the story of an album that fascinates, from one listen to another

1 Landing on Ganymede 7:50

2 Subsurface Exploration 8:08

3 Strangely Familiar Lifeforms 5:57

4 Improbable Discovery 5:17

5 Orbital Resonances 3:26

6 Tidal Dissipation 7:20

7 Doppler Tracking 7:22

8 Leaving for Callisto 6:50

(DDL 52:12) (V.F.)

(Cosmic Berlin School Orchestral)

I love the idea of the black and white artwork! Even if we are in the future exploring the planet Ganymede, the tone, the sound envelope of this 3rd album of the Montreal musician proudly approaches the retro sound of the analog years. It's been 3 years since we last heard from Mutagénèse and his latest album, available for download only, hit the Internet in mid-September. GANYMEDE is a concept album that invites us to explore the universe of this planet. The musical story is an invitation to surf on its icy surfaces, as we dive into its dark abysses. The music becomes words that our ears transpose into a cinematic work linked to its perception. I had no difficulty in imagining the caves and their strange inhabitants, like the surfaces striated by bows ploughing symphonies to carry us higher than the stars. And like with Errance Planétaire and Exploration Spatiale, GANYMEDE wonderfully combines the sound of the 70's with the technology of today.

The music behind Landing on Ganymede is very representative of its title with a first visual excursion created in apprehension. The woosshh are felt from inside the shuttle as the first100 seconds furnish an auditory panorama with fuzzy sound effects, simulating a creature our eyes thought we detected at the very last second. The sequencer comes out of its muteness with a solid bass-sequence line zigzagging among wood-carved thunder effects. And when the percussions are landing in some 50 seconds farther, Landing on Ganymede becomes a driving electronic rock with prismatic synth pads, cosmic sound effects and, further on, orchestral effects with dryly pinched violin riffs. Keeping the same pace, but displaying a more emotive fluctuation, the track makes it to the end without losing a second of its appeal. Subsurface Exploration is what I call an atmospheric music rich in colors and images. A track with rubbery bursts of synth layers moving like giant jellyfish, some even have screaming bells after their long legs. Their movements are sometimes abrupt, moving clouds of sludge and expelling oxygenated water of amplified tones. Like a coded language! Carried away by an orchestral current, Subsurface Exploration loses some of its slimy personality to become more threatening. These orchestrations guide the destiny of Strangely Familiar Lifeforms which becomes a good organic symphony rich of these suspicious tonalities being able to describe the horrific aspect as abject of these small creatures which infested the charms of the string instruments.

String instruments that we find in the opening of Improbable Discovery. Would the discovery be this sumptuous symphonic Berlin School which is in our eardrums? Still, this title is more than mirific with its air of ghost whistled by the synth and then spit by these orchestrations surrounded by tcheeketchee which agglutinate like a cluster of insects with whistling wings prisoners in a too narrow tube. A sublime track! Orbital Resonances borrows the rubbery character of the bass chords that dance slyly in its opening. A static track a bit like a wandering walker with slalom-like strides that remains trapped in its electromagnetic field. All this brings us to the jerky layers of Tidal Dissipation. They create a rhythm as improbable as a DJ moving a vinyl forward and backward in spasmodic jerks. At the same time, a chthonian murmur infiltrates the ambiences, like this water poured from nowhere which makes flee a cloud of clappers. Tidal Dissipation moves as best it can in a similar pattern until a piano, coming from nowhere, scatters notes dreaming of harmony. Well, it will not be with Doppler Tracking! Yet there is rhythm and even a melodic vision woven into the jerky, spastic approach of a sequencer releasing 3 lines into a roaring sound effects world with an echo of sarcasm in the tone. You have to wait until Leaving for Callisto to catch GANYMEDE's next melodic approach. The orchestrations are in the tone of the music created during the farewell scenes. But we are in a science fiction music where the inhabitants of Ganymede, and there are some strange ones, say goodbye with their gurgling language. After an atmospheric passage, Leaving for Callisto takes off in this symphonic Berlin School with this sequencer with impulses which make very Vangelis (Blade Runner's End Titles).

I was nail down to the story of Mutagénèse from the first bars of Landing on Ganymede. I must say that the sound effects are not foreign to this ease to connect to the exploration of GANYMEDE and its musical currents surfing between the rhythmic waves of yesterday and the more contemporary philharmonic visions. Good Berlin School, good orchestrations and a fascinating dialect of machines fill the 52 minutes of an album that amazes and fascinates, from one listen to another.

Sylvain Lupari (October 11th, 2021) *****

Available at Mantagenese Bandcamp

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