Tone Science sub-label, from DiN records, continues to explore the world of modular synth music.
Following the success and critical acclaim of the first five Tone Science compilation albums, DiN label boss Ian Boddy has collated another nine tracks from musicians of varying backgrounds working in the realms of modular synthesis.
One of the things that is so delightful about artists working with modular synthesisers is the sheer variety of styles on show. These instruments more than any other can be personalised for each musician who can then express themselves within their own sonic world.
When compiling these volumes it’s always interesting how certain tracks sonically migrate to each other to form a cohesive section and this is certainly the case with the trio of pieces that open this album. “Prisms” by James Bernard, “Vänta” by Elin Piel and “Eddy Currents” by Field Lines Cartographer all have a beautiful organic warmth with beguiling simple sequencer lines that weave in and out.
These three tracks show one approach to working with modular synthesis whereas “Contradictory Forecasts” by Sarah Belle Reid changes the mood completely with an adventurous gestural performance on her Buchla system. Things are brought down to a calm, more introspective mid- point on the album by “Waving in Harmony” by Adrian Beasley, who is a member of the Berlin School inspired synth trio Air Sculpture.
Mirroring the opening trio of tracks the next three pieces again show a certain uniformity of purpose albeit with a more uptempo feel with the sequencers featuring more to the foreground. “Upward” by Elinch slowly builds to quite a crescendo whereas the intricate patching on “Random Possibilities” by ambient pioneer Steve Roach indeed shows how randomness can instil a forever changing vibe to a track. Finally in this section “In The Shadow Of Giants” by Ombient is a full on Berlin School sequencer work out including radio voices from some distant galaxy.
The album draws to a close with “The Mutation Trio” from Doug Lynner which literally pauses for breath. Quoting “sound for sounds sake” in his liner notes the track certainly explores the totally abstract possibilities of his Mystery Serge system.
“Tone Science Module No.6 Protons and Neutrons” continues the journey down the rabbit hole of possibilities and sound worlds inhabited by artists and musicians working in this ever fascinating and varied musical field.
released March 18, 2022
1. James Bernard - Prisms - 8:11
Warm and comforting trio of synth voices, structured around a simple melodic motif with varying shifts in tonality and rhythmic patterns. Live performance recorded in one take using a small Eurorack modular system.
2. Elin Piel - Vänta - 6:59
Vänta is recorded live with Lyra 8, a small Eurorack system and Analog Heat. It's based around four different sequences evolving around each other coming in and out of focus.
3. Field Lines Cartographer - Eddy Currents - 8:54
Tiny loops of electrical current, ever changing, ebbing & flowing under the influence of a magnetic field. Realised on ARP 2600 & Eurorack modular synths.
4. Sarah Belle Reid - Contradictory Forecasts - 8:23
A driving pulse, a teetering moment, a fragile heartbeat, a blinding light, a frenetic foxtrot, a mischievous gremlin, a wailing whisper.
5. Adrian Beasley - Waving In Harmony - 7:15
A Eurorack of wavetables wash against a duophonic lead. Ebbing and flowing, the pair of lead notes reveal their harmonic relations.
6. Elinch - Upward - 7:28
If you dream you can ascend and fly amongst the tree tops. A live composition with a small modular system (Strega, TTMC, Disting Ex for Loops) and Buchla Easel Command.
7. Steve Roach - Random Possibilities - 6:29
Performed and recorded in real time on Large Format Analog and Eurorack Modulars.
Created live in the studio after a strong cup of morning coffee. The machines were calling out for a spontaneous workout in random mode.
8. Ombient - In The Shadow Of Giants - 6:32
Lattices of evolving sound and rhythm, recorded at the Electronic Music Education and Preservation Project (emeapp.org
) with a large Synthesizers.com
Modular and an EMS Synthi AKS.
9. Doug Lynner - The Mutation Trio - 9:01
Inspired by my earliest interactions with classic electronic music, this piece follows three sound blocks through a series of mutations, or developments, affirming the notion of sound for sound’s sake.