Music Reviews

Artist: UnicaZürn (@)
Title: Transparondem
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Touch
“Transparondem” is a truly timeless bit of analogue experimental synthesizer music that, while finished in 2016, could be advertised as an “undiscovered synth gem from 1970” without too many people crying foul (the ‘two sides of an LP’ structure adds to this as well). Like Tangerine Dream in one of their less rhythmic moods, or like the Radiophonic Workshop indulging themselves with the opportunity to go freeform, this is music that manages to transcend the technology that’s being used to create it, rather than being defined by the equipment.

In “Breathe The Snake”, the title possibly a reference to the Thames, water and waves are the omnipresent theme; not actually sampled, but recreated by the slow ebb and flow of settings on synths. This is an alien beach, with gloopy tides that are relaxing but also faintly toxic, with dark, slow, square-wave tones. Subtle but distinct stereo separations add a slight uneasiness.

“Pale Salt Seam” is a more complex work- a mellotron, seemingly improvised, sounding like a drunk alien church organ, squeaking and vocalising over warm chords that ebb similarly to the first track, but in a more comforting and structured melodic manner. Arpeggiation increases gradually, as things get busier without really changing tack. Rightly or wrongly it feels to me like an inebriated organ version of Jarre’s “Waiting For Cousteau”; diving across a reef of harmless monsters.

In a way there’s not all that much in “Transparondem” to assess- two soundscapes, both around twenty minutes, both with relatively little in the way of internal progression. They’re smooth, and they adjust and adapt tonally in a way that keeps things interesting enough. Overall it’s a warm if unchallenging synthesized tribute to water.

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