SCANNER: An Ascent (2020)
Updated: Jul 17
“An Ascent lives by a vision of industrial music seeking its survival in a disused factory where everything is possible”
1 The Ascent 6:57
2 The Fall of Gray 5:55
3 Daylit Daylight 6:05
4 Stranice 4:22
5 If I Lose my way I will Shut my Eyes and turn my Head 4:44
6 Earwicker 5:00
7 Auftakt 4:18
8 Your Eyes are the Eyes of the People 2:44
9 Counterpointe 9:37
DiN63 (CD/DDL 49:37) (V.F.)
(Experiment Modular Synth Music)
I must admit that this one simmered a long time in my headphones before laying down this chronicle. Ian Boddy is increasingly involved in major musical productions focused on modernizing EM in parallel with the explosion of these artists who knit EM from modular synths. The latest acquisition of the English label is Scanner. Robin Rimbaud is the architect behind Scanner, and the English musician has more than 70 albums and cassettes behind the tie while having worked with leading artists such as Annie Hogan, Bryan Ferry, Michael Nyman and Laurie Anderson. He has also touched many areas related to music such as sonic art (high fidelity), studio work and recording sessions, in addition to composing dance scores. Always very creative, he responded when the Covid-19 confined nearly half the planet and canceled hundreds of shows with the design of live events on different platforms, including an impressive improvised show of almost 45 minutes on March 21; Live from The Factory. DiN boss Ian Boddy was riveted to YouTube during this event. He contacted Robin Rimbaud to invite him to make an album on his label. The latter composed almost 90 minutes of EM focused on his show. It's from these minutes that he and Ian Boddy did a studio job in order to produce an album of fifty minutes of EM that makes us get out of our ears. The result is an album that requires some listening… and more. AN ASCENT lives by a vision of industrial music seeking its survival in a disused factory where everything is possible with art and the immense possibilities of modular synths.
The Ascent begins with a double bass effect which stretches its chords in waves of sounds where voices were quarreling in the background. The movement is slow, like a dreamy jazzman caressing and pinching his strings in the rain crackling on these waves hemming the gloomy foam of a sea with metallic water. And when we hear this double bass, which is not one, we understand the full extent of Scanner's dexterity. The Fall of Gray prepares the rhythmic invasion of the album with these same double bass strings which structure a hopping rhythm like the tick-tock of a mechanical pendulum. White noises and static erosions cover this fascinating three-legged leapfrog choreography in a psybeat setting where the waves of The Ascent have become solid linear masses. I have enough imagination when it comes to describing a structure! I'm still looking for my words for that of Daylit Daylight which offers a rowdy industrial rhythm whose speed is amplified by sober catchy percussions. The movement is linear and sounds a bit like those security doors in shopping centers that open continuously in a recording at increased speed. Another rhythmic asset is this impression of metal that quivers, giving an impression of saccade in a universe where the sheet metal serves as percussions. Apart from these percussions which are in the tone, the sound fauna which surrounds the lively flow of jerky mechanical crumplings is full of good percussive effects and static cracklings of a dose of ectoplasmic radiation in this dilapidated factory inhabited by those who died there. It's a pretty impressive title that requires an adjustment in volume because it's very noisy. Stranice brings us towards a more esoteric ambient phase with a nice ghostly melody, located on 2 chords and their shadows which roam on the deaf hammering of percussions. Breaths and industrial mooings adorn this slow procession which is lost at the insistence of a claimant lyricist.
If I Lose my way I will Shut my Eyes and turn my Head is its brother, but with a more musical vision. This small ambient interlude is an omen to another structure of convoluted rhythm. With incessant jerky beats in the background, Earwicker offers a melodic texture singing like a cyborg singer whose voice is replaced by beeps. Some are melodious and others are less. But that's not the main attraction of this title. The percussions and percussive effects surprise and confuse by creating the illusion of an almost tribal African rhythm swaying sharply on a dance floor of the 2,222 years. A very good track which is followed by a rhythm structure as improbable as that of Daylit Daylight. Except that with Auftakt, we are able to capture the rhythmic flow of neurotic palpitations which follow one another in a far less rowdy setting. Your Eyes are the Eyes of the People is another long title written to explain a short atmospheric phase, more musical here, which will be followed by another ambient title with Counterpointe which stretches its 9 minutes by an emotional intensity rarely felt in the EM universe sculpted in the modular art.
I had to listen to THE ASCENT more than half a dozen times before writing this column. If at the beginning the Scanner universe shot my eardrums of radioactive bursts, these same eardrums always heard something that required a deepening of the subject. The viewing of Live from The Factory helping, which I find more musical than the music of THE ASCENT, I got used to the din phases which projected at times a vision of abstract music. When I wrote this column, my eyes still narrowed, a little less, when I listened to Daylit Daylight. The rest of the album? It's pure magic!
The album will be available on July 17th with 555 manufactured CD.
Sylvain Lupari (July 8th, 2020) ****¼*
Available at DiN Bandcamp