Where some Electronic Musicians hope to traverse the cosmic distances separating the stars, others wish only to investigate the space between the sparks of the mind. Offering realizations that acoustic instruments cannot render, and so a world of his own making, Stephen James Buckley asserts a freedom conventional musicians cannot imagine. Under the name Polypores he tells a personal truth, and the release Shpongos (42'11") carries the weight of his musical intent. Each of its eight tracks offer a fresh start, and go a very long way in just a few brief moments. Here, form follows force - as the vividly imagined moods remain quiet and supple, and remarkably cohesive for an album so wide-ranging. Some songs feel like a wall we are meant to walk through, while others offer lean and efficient textures that simply fill the room with light. When recurring motifs bring a unifying sense of order and constraint to this airy matter, countering shadowy tones brim with intention and invention. Bracing, but never overloading comprehension, within the fantasy and fidelity of Shpongos we may absolutely let down our guard. Aroused by the poetry resting in his music of machines, Buckley portrays what is possible from the standpoint of sound. Despite the modern electronic vocabulary, the chromatic and spatial ratios of the music and their clarity, depth and weightless tolling sonorities will surely wake listeners to the promises of the Spacemusic age. As other explorers gaze into the night sky and ask if we are alone, Polypores peers into the components of his modular synth and asks if there is any life in there. His Shpongos would have us be still and dwell within ourselves, which may lead to important questions about expression and existence - and meeting this music, out there somewhere, on the brink of the future.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 27 May 2021