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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Tone Science Module No.4 FORM AND FUNCTION (2020)

Updated: May 10, 2023

With a bunch of patentors who like to explore the limits of modular synths, this album offers a superb vision on the reflections of beauty

1 Setting Sun (Batchas) 7:41

2 Eternal Terrarium (Lightbath) 6:39

3 Dream Portal (Panic Girl) 5:19

4 Astral Plane (Andrew Huang) 5:17

5 Blackstone Edge (Stefan Bojczuk) 6:31

6 Different Paces (Ebcidic) 6:32

7 Medical Elements (Steve Davis) 7:41

8 ex Machina (Mattia Cupelli) 7:43

9 Myrdet av Gud (Tim Held) 9:12

(CD/DDL 62:39) (V.F.)

(Art for Ears)

Synth tears flow with an effect of sharp cuts, giving an illusion of vocals which are accompanied by percussive effects sounding mainly like a wood texture. Imagine two fencers making zigzag their foil around their ears in graceful ambient movements where the brief reverberating effects are the result of hits made by the fencers, and you have the Setting Sun set by Batchas. I tell you straight away, TONE SCIENCE MODULE No.4 FORM AND FUNCTION will be the most inaccessible album of this series which focuses on the art of the modular. There are no big names on this album. Only a bunch of curious, of patentors who like to explore the limits (are there any?) of modular synths. And as is usual with DiN, and with Ian Boddy who mastered the whole thing, this album has its pearls. In return, the rhythms are not legion. Only sounds, their shapes and tonal colors. If Setting Sun is peaceful and ambient, it hits its knot of distortions where our ears seek to escape from our headphones around the 5th minute. We are in territories forbidden to sustained rhythms and sovereign melodies with a handful of craftsmen who make us discover EM from another aspect. Lightbath's Eternal Terrarium is quite interesting and more musical than Setting Sun. The music is focused on a texture of ambient rhythm animated by a sequencer and other percussive effects, borrowed from the xylophones of the Caribbean, which end up weaving an impressive melody quite unexpected. It feels good after the title of Batchas. Panic Girl's Dream Portal takes this Lightbath path with a fine texture of percussions in a more musical vision, kind of lullaby for aggressive insomniacs. Beautiful and creative! Astral Plane by Andrew Huang is a quite magnetizing atmospheric title. It begins in a sordid way with tones which sparkle and which lengthen their forms to establish a slight movement of musical stream. This pool of limpid tones swarm like a carpet of sonorous worms which continues its descent by collecting all forms of sound in order to nourish its teeming mass. It starts from nothing; it becomes intense and it empties as it started!

After a soft and rather meditative introduction, Stefan Bojczuk changes the tone by giving the answer to his soft floating arpeggios with bold, dark and aggressive chords, thus creating brief acrimonious exchanges between the two entities. But between its lingering soporific softness and the brief sonic turbulences, Blackstone Edge succeeds in creating a cinematic universe with a more contemporary vision. I like this opening of machinery that breathes more insistently in the opening of Different Paces. Stefan Bojczuk, from the duo Protogonos who released the album Strange Geography on DiN in 1999 (DiN 3), is very skilled in the art of infusing different cadences behind the loud whispers of machinery. There is an evasive melody, sculpted in a tone of guitar riffs, on this Different Paces which weaves its earworm without warning. An ingenious title that could find its place in a horror film. I love this industrial down-tempo that Steve Davis deconstructs, reconstructs and stabilizes on a sustained pace that moves forward like an overloaded train. We are in the realm of rhythmic din with a slight melodic thread that Steve Davis adds towards the end. The finale of TONE SCIENCE MODULE No.4 FORM AND FUNCTION is very watered with this title and the fiery ex Machina from Mattia Cupelli. It's heavy and ambient, like a mix of Redshift and ['ramp], against a backdrop of industrial fire whose embers explode here and there, creating a mass of white noises and sizzling that sparkle and chomp on this mass crawling for its survival. There is a vampiric melody that drains its life into another industrial rhythmic din where sirens howl above this slow rhythmic combustion. Quietly, ex Machina takes refuge in a corner of the factory to continue his self-immolation. Different Paces and ex Machina are two hard and intense tracks which reach a saturation point in this 4th volume of Tone Science Module. After the crisis of this dripping lava, Tim Held ends TONE SCIENCE MODULE No.4 FORM AND FUNCTION with a semi-aggressive structure which evolves between the crises of din and quite meditative passages in Myrdet av Gud whose evolution brings us to a corner of heaven on earth. As in this album which offers a superb vision on the perverse reflections of beauty. To discover absolutely, in order to moderate your fears versus the art of modular synths...

Sylvain Lupari (September 11th, 20202) ****½*

Available at DiN Records

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