Throughout Modulations (132'02")Ian Boddy throws off some sparks. A musician who explores freely in spite of the risk this clutch of live tracks transpires in a kind of continuous arrival. Managing a select system of instruments these concert pieces reveal an aural landscape of unearthly radiance, yet also offers advanced listeners strange stretches of confining emptiness. Across six composed and passionate performances Boddy's technique is exact and clear. Wherever delicately dancing tones and swirling textures take hold, elsewhere the spare procession of an isolated harmony, and distorting darkness, descends into the murky dimensions of an unpeopled realm. Sonic eddies assemble to realize a refuge of unearthly beauty, yet further into Modulations we may too be confronted with the starkness of the world as it is. At once adrift and alive to shifts in momentum and direction these improvised musical works emphasize the interior space. In the non-space of the mind pearly high tones and rounded ringing whirls herald the release of perfect sequencer cascades. These spring-loaded grooves unwind and recoil in a crisp, easy buoyancy on the upbeat tracks. In a carefree air they fuse and flow through coarse attacks and engaging note patterning. But for every ceaselessly alluring sound-space there is another frozen in some bleak waste. Exchanging its manic intensity for a more measured focus Modulations slows from its majestic roar, down to a subterranean murmur. In shadowy and semi-abstract expressions of timbre and atmosphere we chill and thrill to a range of unexpected gestures and signals. This masterful maneuvering lends the work a prevailing sense of certitude, as well as the occasional unexpected bite. There are those who wonder... where will we find the frontier of Electronic Music? And there are those who know... it is anywhere Ian Boddy can plug in his synthesizers. While lost in the electronic wilderness he is far from our modern conditions of anxiety and desire. The intentional blankness of this state of dis-connectivity offers a surprising tenderness - a soft declaration from a zone that refuses to be utterly lost.
Please tune in to the 07.05.20 broadcast of STAR'S END Ambient Radio for music from Modulations, the new album by UK synthesist Ian Boddy
2020 marks Chuck van Zyl's 40th year as the host of STAR'S END. Every week, van Zyl plays healing, exploratory music and presents inventive on-air performances from wide-ranging guests or even van Zyl himself improvising on a complex system of synthesizers. Van Zyl's work is evidence that psychedelia's utopian spirit lives on, constantly evolving and cloaking itself in new exciting forms.
The noted journalist John Morrison traces the new world routes mapped by the Philadelphia musician, promoter and STAR'S END presenter Chuck van Zyl in the July 2020 issue of The Wire.
WXPN 2020 Online Auction - STAR'S END Fan Experience - Item #104
Electronic Musician, Concert Organizer and STAR'S END Host Chuck van Zyl has taken part in WXPN's 2020 Online Fundraising Auction with the offer of a unique listener experience. The winning bidder of Auction Item #104 will receive a one-on-one workshop with Chuck van Zyl covering synthesizer basics, followed by a private salon spacemusic concert for the winner and ten friends at WXPN's World Cafe Performance Studio.
WXPN's 2020 Fundraiser Auction ran from 8:00AM on 6 March 2020 to 6:00PM on 26 March 2020. Sincere Thanks to winning bidder Jim Causey for taking part! Your support is sincerely appreciated!
Produced by Public Radio Station WXPN, Chuck van Zyl:Live on Star's End 08.26.18 (63'36") is not a commercial release. It is available only as a "Thank-You" gift to those making a donation to WXPN/STAR'S END.
This album is a conventional silver CD featuring over 60 minutes of the Chuck van Zyl live electronic realizations made in the WXPN performance studio during a private Salon Concert (for Tony Masiello) and live-to-air broadcast of 25/26 August 2018. Its four parts each offer passages of improvised in-the-moment sequencer manipulations, amidst the ethereal yearning of synthesized harmonies and cresting lead lines. The listener is invited inside, to float away as the patterns and textures envelope them - tumbling in circles, spirals and pinwheels, beneath unfurling ribbons of creamy synth melodies and modulated, chirping effects.
Chuck van Zyl:Live on Star's End 08.26.18 may seem more like a spiritual expression than an exploration of a musical form. This work has mysterious power purely on a sonic level. But the miracle of this release is that every time we listen to it, our minds will hear something new - and will so find a different album. Absorbing the full tapestry of the Electronic/Berlin-School experience, and the ideals of live improvisation, we can easily imagine every concert outing serving as a mystic portal for this musician's own spiritual journey.
Whether channeled from the astral plane, or just the transformation of electricity into sound, Live on Star's End 08.26.18 is for those seeking a deeper examination of tone and mood. Anyone in love with Spacemusic and its very specific poetry will want to own this recording. While this musical form may have been established in the 1970s, Live on Star's End 08.26.18 feels made-today fresh. A ceaselessly inventive work, its history begins now.
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