VOLT: Circuits (2012)
Updated: Sep 8, 2020
“Volt is as important as Ramp, Redshift, Arc or Arcane in the chessboard of contemporary EM and Circuits confirms it”
1 Circuits 20:24
2 Ohms Law 19:22
3 Firewire 21:38
(CD/DDL 61:24) (V.F.)
It's been a while since we've heard a new Volt album. And we came awfully close to not having any more. However, the CIRCUITS project was already on track shortly after the superb HjVi. Except that internal problems (if I understood properly) as well as the solo projects of Steve Smith (Phoenix Arising) and Michael Shipway (Voyage To Venus and The Three Towers) delayed the finalization of this album which was finally done remotely with the support of Ron Boots who knew how to mix a capricious album sitting on electronic sounds of all kinds, depicting the microscopic universe of electronic circuits. The CIRCUITS album revolves around 3 long tracks which reconnect with the long deployments of minimalist rhythms of the English duo, with sequences sometimes docile and sometimes crazy and synths sometimes musical and sometimes aggressive which depict the turbulent universe of Michael Shipway and Steve Smith.
Crackling and short-wave noises parasitizing in the absolute nothingness open the labyrinthine meanders of white noises that make up the slow introductory course of the title-track. Discreet and nebulous synth waves with the scents of a vague archaic organ float behind these electric phonemes, guiding the abstract ambiences of Circuits through a cosmic passage to finally tie in with chords dancing in opposite directions. These sequences which play cat and mouse with an embryonic rhythm draw a virginal approach with keys frolicking under ghostly waves. And suddenly this innocent rhythm strikes the barriers of impassibility at 12:13 with muffled knocking that hammers a static and heavy rhythm, preserving under its resonances these sequences which flutter with candor on a structure turned into lead and hard EM. The England School! This heavy and melodic rhythm lifts allegorical clouds in the presence of synths exchanging solos that court ethereal mists, releasing a sweet fragrance of madness with these Arabian tunes which embellish a structure already rich in rhythm and harmonies. A rhythmic structure which isolates itself to offer our ears an astonishing dialogue between sequences and sizzling waves which dies in heavy artificial beats.
Ohms Law presents a more musical intro with synth lines which intersect their spectral wanderings above a magnetic storm while the rhythm has settles earlier with metallic chords which drum a vaporous march under a sky tinted with menacing mists and eclectic sounds. A hesitant pulsation emerges from this mini industrial din, modifying a rhythm which is growing the pace with a mixture of pulsations, sequences and percussions sounding like the wings of frozen locusts. Like a one-legged, this rhythm skips awkwardly. Staggering, it gains a second leg to roll in undulating circles under solos of two synths which don't sing the same melody but which agree to flood the atmospheres with a delicate dreamlike mist and fluttering breezes while the rhythm, which gains in heaviness and speed, is always adorned itself with these magnificent wings of electronic locusts. The rhythmic evolution of Firewire is latent. Circulating between winds whose ends rise from both heaven and hell, thin echoic hoops emerge after the 3rd minute to leap into the arch of their resonances under the dark eye of a synth with winds blown by the colorful electronics elements. This ephemeral rhythm is engulfed by a deluge of twisted solos which roll and unroll its lamentations in clouds of mist filled by a latent darkness. And it's in these lost breaths that the rhythm comes to life in another form, showing Volt's ability to amaze again and again. This structure is built around fine kicks butted to each other that mold an astonishing gloomy ride through the dark tunnels of lines of fire whose resonances roar like the black breaths of ['ramp] or Redshift. Line of fluty laments ring the end of this apocalyptic ride which takes on more vigor with electronic percussions hammering a rhythm more lively than dry under superb solos with tones as lively as musical, leading Firewire towards a final which is bubbling with caresses from a purgatory as musical as it's anarchic.
Volt is one of the big names in EM as ['ramp], Redshift, Arc or Arcane are part of. And CIRCUITS confirms it with a powerful album that combines rhythms and atmospheres in tune with their paradoxes with a skilful fingering, witness that EM universe is not only in good hands, but is flourishing more than ever beyond the limitless imaginations of its designers.
Sylvain Lupari (July 28th, 2012) ****¼*
Available at Groove NL