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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

The Polymusicon: Evalake (2019)

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

Here's something where once we get the bite, we just don't take off from our reader anymore

1 Future Light Cone 9:30

2 Cirrus ISM 23:18

3 Caeruleum 15:35

4 Diffusion of Silver Light 24:48

(DDL 73:12) (V.F.)

(Minimalist, ambient beats)

Here's something where once we get the bite, we just don't take off from our reader anymore. The Polymusicon is the project of Graeme Nattress; a Canadian musician with a vision of minimalist rhythms that actually need time, space and energy in order to unlock towards simply devouring ambient rhythms. EVALAKE is a very magnetizing first album which listens after listening finds a justification to hear it again. Four long, simply divine titles that require patience and a desire to discover. Two qualities that will be highly rewarded by an addiction that can follow you at any time of the day.

Future Light Cone opens our appetite for a vintage EM with unparalleled seraphic vision! A synth line releases a melodious flow which infiltrates its pulsating beats. This synth, and its esoteric chants, is imbued with the musical colors of New Age of Earth, while arpeggios rolled in loops cling to the hopping pulsations to structure a phase of deliciously jerky rhythm. The movement is linear and completely magnetizing with its delicate impulses which redefine the upward curve of a structure where the melodic vision is in symbiosis with the fine rhythmic nuances. And this synth that sings and sings as the rhythm becomes more nervous, even spasmodic ... A very beautiful enchanting title whose piano notes at the final give it a slightly more dramatic hue! A final which will depict the progression of Cirrus ISM which flirts between the sibylline zones and the progressive New Age. Woven into the origins of Manuel Göttsching's repetitive loops in Ocean of Tenderness, the music evolves with the affective hues of a bass line, from which each new impulse adds a veil of implosive intensity. The synth pads are bursting with absent voices and their seraphic hums that give a meditative New Age touch. The bewitching loops are imbued with crystalline tones that sparkle and sing with beautiful inclinations in the tones, adding another element of charm that erases the feeling of redundancy in this enormous title. Magnetizing, Cirrus ISM plays as much with the progression of its rhythm as the emotional colors of its enveloping layers which accompanies us as much as Reflections in Suspension, a classic of Steve Roach's Structures from Silence, can do so towards a sleep lit up by white pads. This title comes in an extended version when you buy EVALAKE.

The second part of this album offers another approach, still very ethereal, which is more focused on the keyboard work. Caeruleum is also covered with a mist with streaks of absent voices. Its rhythm is very slow, not to say amorphous. In fact, it's more a dreamy melody on the keyboard of a piano and its notes that tingle with a crystalline tone. The undulating mist has a bluish hue without chasing away the sibylline reflection that lurks in this nocturnal panorama where the subtle echo effects get multiply. These effects are based on notes from the keyboard which make sonic filaments bounce together in a moving musical mass. Darker than the first half, Caeruleum accentuates its course which detaches the dreamer from the reality of The Polymusicon who now favors this opening where rhythm is not one, and where the moods are not for meditation. We are in the lair of an EM gently animated by a rhythmic gallop and a line of sequences which accompanies it in a more electronic style. And this is where Graeme Nattress brings us with Diffusion of Silver Light. This 25-minute long title sways between its phases of rhythms, very close to the Berlin School of Ashra, and ambient chloroformed phases by exploiting these crystal bubbles which fragment to weave sonic filaments of spectral harmony. The bits of rhythms are halfway between these hypnotic loops which roll in ascending spirals and these rhythmic pieces deliciously spasmodic. The musician inserts ethereal phases filled with flute or of singing mists in these horizontal swirls, creating harmonies which make me think of the magnificent Sebastian Im Traum from Frank Specht and some structures of Rainbow Serpent back in 2005 and 2006.

EVALAKE is this kind of album that obsesses us and that we listen to in loops without really understanding the origins of this subjugation. It's a minimalist music served in a good vintage presentation with progression in each phase which leads us to a simply majestic New Berlin School in Diffusion of Silver Light which is the pinnacle of this album. An excellent album and a very nice discovery which I hope will have a sequel. Even if the bar will be very high after a first album such as EVALAKE.

Sylvain Lupari (January 17th, 2020) ****½*

Available at The Polymusicon Bandcamp

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