“A treasure that makes advance the dimensions of EM made from modular synths”
1 Machinism 6:16
2 Shimmering Waters 5:14
3 Resonance 7:18
4 Virtual Carrier 6:28
5 Applied Maths 6:45
6 Scanned Perception 7:25
7 Tension 5:54
8 Daydreaming 7:44
(DDL 53:04) (V.F.)
(Progressive modular EM Berlin School)
Hearing empty bottle shards shivering and talking like someone frozen in the cold, expressing themselves in a rapid, jerky rate of speech, that speaks to me! Bakis Sirros is very much at home in his parallel universe to our conception of the art of electronic music (EM). He's not only comfortable, but he is also the master! And there comes a time when words are lacking in my lexicon to describe this universe where sounds rule. APPLIED MATHS is a powerful album. In panoramas more rhythmic than atmospheric, Parallel Worlds puts heaviness at the service of his modular synths to flirt with the dimensions of Arc, in structures not in sounds, and Tangerine Dream in an album dominated by creative rhythms that astonish as much as seduce in textures of pungent and dark ambient music, unique to his musical aestheticism. Making marvelous use of the exponential limits of modular synthesizers, the Greek musician-synthesist weaves another of his canvases of surreal ambient music. Our imagination surfs between the limits of a sordid subterranean universe and that of our world, which is invaded by a horde of specters and creatures of the night in sonic rubble as dark as the blackened metal blue of the Underworld hexalogy. And I'll say it right off the bat: this is a true masterpiece by Bakis Sirros!
A wave from afar progresses in two tones: a particle of dusty voice and a mass of reverberations. Machinism wastes no time in knocking us over. Its heavy, slow rhythm echoes between our eardrums, a bit like rubbery percussions effects being hammered out by gnomes. We can even hear their giggling frenzies through the almost human clattering that separates the furious beats. The atmosphere is suffocating, to say the least, with this fusion of resounding bass sequences and percussions as sticky as suction cups on our ears. The rhythm beats as much as it vibrates, while the synth multiplies opal melody lines with a reinvented bagpipe texture. These bits of melody hover with a slight radioactive buzzing effect in their air over the vibratory resonances of a demonic rhythm haloed by a black industrial texture. And Machinism isn't the only track on APPLIED MATHS with this kind of fury. Virtual Carrier features a percussive tribal rhythm drummed by a people living in the abyss. Percussive elements carved from shaman's bones adorn this furious rhythm, as percussive as Byron Metcalf's aboriginal drum dances. The synth is just as sharp, with cold and sad melody lines whistled by ectoplasms with nasal vocal cords. And what about the ebullient, spasmodic Scanned Perception! A track clearly inspired by Tangerine Dream, and which would have found its place in a parallel version of the Thief album. I digress! Let's return to a more chronological order. The synth in Shimmering Waters is simply divine. Paired with good orchestrations, it offers reverberating melody lines, like a cross between an organ and a harmonica, that float and wander over a rhythmic structure disrupted by occasional jolts. If the rhythm is less powerful, it's more fluid, with a structure that traces zigzagging patterns. Clicks and other electronic tones stick to it, while the sequences that forge it leap all over the place in a fascinating rhythmic cohesion. They have that organic yet elastic texture, bouncing around with a resonant effect that goes hand in hand with the heavy and above all gray ambiences filled with waves of gloomy reverberations.
A dark ambient track, Resonance features an immense web of drones flitting about in slow motion, like ghosts driven by slowly, howling waves. There's an element of darkness, like its opposite, with more translucent filaments discreetly whistling airy melodies in this intense mass of floating reverberations. The title-track features a series of static beats whose flows collide in a too-small electrostatic ball. These clashes create a slight echo effect, unleashing a spasmodic texture that resonates on a buzzing wave vibrating in the background. Glass tinkles stand out from its pulsations, as do small bluish filaments that chirp within it. The brilliance of these tinkles acts like ephemeral prisms, and their luminous cabrioles respond to this gloomy echo, which is drowned in a coal-black sound panorama shimmering with bluish effects. At first, I thought it was pieces of glass shivering, but I quickly changed my mind when I heard the colossal Tension! In between, there's the mighty Scanned Perception, with its slow pulsating surges converging in an odious spasmodic dance. The synth waves still have that agonized musical texture, weaving a trickle of evasive melody sung nasally. She constantly floats to it, even playing on the modulation of its emotions, giving a more poetic texture to the jerky movements of a cabalistic dance. Of course, there's that Scanned Perception, Machinism and Virtual Carrier as the main rhythmic engines of APPLIED MATHS, but Tension stands out for its lively pulsating rhythm where shards of empty bottles shiver on a cozy bed of sibylline orchestrations. I say shards of bottle, but it could just as well be a glass parrot, or a woodpecker for that matter, trying to speak, or to pick at an ice pick, at a temperature of -30 degrees Celsius. The result is a rapid, jerky flow of speech over a spasmodic structure a little less savage than that of Scanned Perception. Daydreaming takes us to another level. That of an unlikely ballad in a universe where the sordidness of the ambience is tamed by the nice symphonic melody of the synth. The rhythm is gentle, but not stripped of the rubbery texture of organic darkness that drives the other 6 tracks on APPLIED MATHS, Resonance being an ambient track, with a mesh of different tones and effects of the sequences that adorn the rhythmic dimensions of this album. It's a track that reminds me a lot of John Carpenter movie ambiences and music.
In all, I counted 5 tracks that had a progressive habit-forming effect on my ears in this APPLIED MATHS from Parallel Worlds. That's a lot for an 8-track album! And they take pride of place in my best of EM in 2023 section. That says a lot about the depths of this new album by Bakis Siros, who, to my taste, is as dominant as Ian Boddy and the late Mark Shreeve in the art of combining dark ambiences, of heavy and driving rhythms, as well as vampiric melodies sucker of eardrums. APPLIED MATHS is a veritable little masterpiece, and it's just a shame that it's slipping so far under the radar. Hopefully, this review will change all that. Hats off to Bakis for this veritable treasure trove that makes move forward the dimensions of so-called progressive and experimental EM made from modular synths.
Sylvain Lupari (September 5th, 2023) *****
Available at Móatún 7 Music Bandcamp
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