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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Transponder Oasis Colony (2022)

A pretty solid album from which the latent evolutions of its structures find their richness in the ambiguity of the tones and in the effects of elasticity

1 Planet Viridian 6:20

2 Awaken and Deploy 8:24

3 Colony Runner 6:40

4 Status Report 6:52

5 When Will I Breathe? 6:44

6 Life Begins 8:06

7 Shutting Down 6:48

(DDL 49:54) (V.F.)

(Ambient Berlin School)

Transponder's second album in 2022, OASIS COLONY has the heavy task of succeeding the excellent Starmaps- Vol. 1. And, honestly, Steve Pierce, Extraworld, et Don Tyler, Remote Vision, are doing quite well with this album built mainly on slow rhythms. On polyphase structures of the sequencer whose contrasts between its tones, mainly rumbling bass sequences and crystalline ones, ignite a moiré tone. The sequencer is the key instrument of this album, produced outside the territories of Synphaera Records, elaborating these structures whose latent evolutions find their richness in the ambiguity of the tones and in the effects of elasticity, creating bounces that progress in symbiosis with the synth harmonies that twirl in narrow repetitive circles. The synths here are limited to throwing various sources of cooing in long series of hypnotic loops in this interstellar environment always created with the American duo's deftness and creative aesthetic.

The synth sets up a menacing shadow that vibrates on the opening of Planet Viridian. The first beats are heard around the 40th second. The rhythm is slow, even ambient, with an undulating motion that brings out two tonal personalities of the sequencer. An ethereal synth air floats and undulates in symbiosis with the rhythm's onset. These duels between spectral harmonies and bass sequenced pulsations without rhythmic vision are the prerogative of an album whose richness bursts through our speakers as well as through headphones, the most efficient way in my opinion to fully appreciate the different contrasts that sweep the cosmic oceans of this 50-minute album. The synthesizer's chants are cut into a series of harmonious loops that coo, either on this cravingless rhythm or in more atmospheric phases of the track. Somewhat like a few tracks on this album, the final phase of the track awakens with a livelier rhythm structure, as the harmonies unfold with more broad loops. Awaken and Deploy lives on a slow atmospheric opening with well-spaced out bass sequence hits in a cosmic setting. The elasticized echo of these beats spreads a sonic canvas filled with interstellar mystery and intrigue. A rhythmic structure emerges shortly after the 4th minute with a zigzagging movement that takes its tonus with the support of rattlings in a latent rhythmic progression where cosmic winds ululate and that a sequenced melody borrows a tone that recalls some musical memories of John Carpenter in Halloween. Colony Runner is a track that seduces from the start by proposing a very nice ambient undulating rhythm that harmonizes its movement with the cooing of the synth. The two entities connect in a symbiosis with peaks of emotionality and intensity in a track that is more meditative than rhythmic and very pleasing to the neurons. Status Report offers another form of static rhythm with sequences that have the resonance of sizzling noises accompanied by clattering effects. The rhythm develops slowly, allowing the synth to communicate with cooing, always harmonious, loops. The last phase of the track awakens with a livelier rhythm structure.

Winds and drones of a beat lost in an amorphous structure are at the origin of When Will I Breathe? which is my favorite track of this OASIS COLONY. The synth releases here also an aerial air which it makes turn in loop on this carpet of static vibrations. Subtly, the track then proposes an ascending movement in a meditative Berlin School structure. This ambient rhythm progresses continuously to make unlock a livelier rhythm phase where the sequencer modulates two structures in parallel, one with a delightful organic essence and electronic tap effects, with a series of gallops and rushes swirling in a horizontal axis. Very good with a fascinating and magnetizing evolution! Life Begins exploits ambient beats that embrace the strange, uncertain, yet sequenced walk of a toddler exploring his surroundings. The structure is meditative, even with those bursts of misty jets that barely disrupt its meditative vision. The movement is linear and without overflow, bordered as it is by that airy synth song that stays in its comfort zone with its harmonies rolled into repetitive loops. Shutting Down ends this album built on ambient rhythms with one of those structures that comes and goes in a haze of ochre reverberations. This elastic galloping effect continues its undulatory movement that quietly splits, bringing out quiet explosions and weeping flickers in an interstellar void. The sequencer belches out an organic chord, similar to those heard in When Will I Breathe? about 15 seconds before the 4th minute. This new element creates an organic time loop where the synth lays down its astral airs and those flickers that give all its luster to an electronic music planned to bring the depths of the Cosmos to our ears. A solid Transponder album!

Sylvain Lupari (15/02/23) *****

Available at Transponder Bandcamp

(NB: Words in blue are links you can click on)

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