Monday, June 1, 2020
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Artist: Konx-Om-Pax (@)
Title: Regional Surrealism
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
Scottish graphic artist and 3D film director Tom Scholefield, who could justifiably be considered a sort of man-behind-the-curtain due to his prolific videomaking for some famous fellow citizens such as Ross Birchard aka Hudson Mohawke and post-rock band Mogwai - he also toured as a dj with them - as well as Jamie Lidell, Martyn, Kuedo and Lone and his graphical tribute for sleeve artwork of many releases. His closeness to talented musicians as well as his passion for music he usually composes for personal pleasure and for scoring have been poured in this debut album, where many similarities with his own personal listenings (particularly some tracks follow traces left by cosmic fugues and lullabies by Ash Ra Tempel, alien technoid ambient or liquefied electronic ambient stuff by Arpanet, Sprawl or Drexciya or sound like Aphex Twin's primigenial ambient works or sonically neutralized versions of Richard James' acid soups) he didn't hide when speaking about "Regional Surrealism" as well as a certain stylistical homogeneity - that kind of homogeneity which make glimpse a sort of surrounding narrative polt-line within a record - as well as with notorious countrymen such as Boards Of Canada, whose dark melancholic sketches often come to mind during the listening of this intriguing recording, or some nice crossbreeds between techno and ill ambient from Scottish labels such as Soma (such a stylistical national - or I'd better define it as "regional" - imprint cannot but please!) are quite easy to recognize, but its saccharine cogency makes so many quatations acceptable. Its hook to scoring (or rescoring) appears confirmed by the inclusion of "Glacier Mountain Descent", a track intended as a sort of OST remake of the opening scene of "Aguirre - Wrath of God", a movie by Werner Herzog, whose notorious multiphonic OST was composed by Popul Vuh, but a "cinematic" feeling rises all over the album: the every-day life mentalism evoked by "At Home With Mum And Dad" (the stylistically closest track to Aphex Twin's ambient weaponry), the disquieting atmospheres of "Sura-Tura-Gnosi-Cosi", where the dim vocal distortion by Steven Retchard in the middle of a religious rave ("I am Jesus, I am the lord, I am everything") combined to a surface noise or a tape-hiss looks like the tape recording of some inmate during a religious brainwave taken from the archives of a lunatic asylum, or "Chambers", whose supple sine-wave on metallic light hits make me think about a mystical and pensive moment of a frustrated housewife while brushing a dirty frying pan, the stateliness of the crystalline humming of a celesta in "Pillars Of Creation", the enchanting solipsism of "Silent Reading", the sweet swin in an ocean of nostalgic memories of "Let's Go Swimming" and even the childish electricity of "Zang-Tumb" (the guitar in the funny web of toytronics has been played by Mogwai's Stuart Braithwaite). Even if sometimes you could feel the impression it's based on vintage electronics, washed with bleach, "Regional Surrealism" could offer some pleaseful meditative moments. Konx-Om-Pax sounds like pure (led) light in extension!