After the absorption of so many modern minimal musical explorations, where works are realized or discovered rather than composed and produced, it comes as something of a relief to listen to an album made with expressive intent. Heading towards the poetic world of memory and imagination Ian Boddy harnesses the power of his synthesizers, and ably delivers As Above So Below (39'08"). Its six tracks feel organic, never schematic - flawlessly flowing across a fascinating range of textures and moods. In possession of an electrified core (enchanting on its own terms), with this economical release Boddy manages to fuse a stylistically progressive arrangement and cosmic music atmosphere. Spirit and mood synchronize in a harmony of plaintive electronics and machine beauty. Energy levels build, then take unexpected turns. Abstract forms coalesce into meaningful melodies... all the while, the thematic density of each piece engages and sustains the listener. Whenever As Above So Below takes dark turns, we feel confident. Passages for grand piano and reverb feel elegant and elated, in some contrast to elsewhere-present impressionistic washes of ethereal choir and roiling drones. While his darkness shimmers on the surface, Boddy builds towards big ideas. The pacing is methodical, the narrative captivating, and the production substantial. Spinning like different sized wheels running at different rates, electronic rhythms and synthesized patterns momentarily take their place in front, then move back in support - all together outputting a most wonderful clockwork music. Letting it overheat, off-kilter drumbeats mix with spacey modulated tones - to frame rising synth leads and evocative string chords. Whatever has been left out is meant for the listener to fill in. Yet, this work is meant to be enjoyed, not solved. His music is a fundamental source of Ian Boddy's identity. As Above So Below is a work of surprising effect. Active listening will elevate the mind and deepen the spirit, this from an established star still determined to grow.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 24 November 2016