Modularfield follows on from the stunning Amparo release “Palm House” with the second release on the label from Skyence entitled “Companion”. After a handful of digital only releases, Skyence aka Jochen Mader has unveiled this capitivating 12″ ep that shows his skill as a composer, not constrained by genre defining boundaries.
“If you gaze far into the universe, the universe gazes back into you. Fleeing time and space in search of the contrast between artificial and natural aesthetics. Resonating sound waves collide with vocalised human expression, tearing out fragments of bygone memories. After his debut album, SKYENCE returns to Modularfield with more emerging atmospheres in perfect symbiosis with his cinematic soundscapes. All combined under the constant observation of the “companion”.“
I have a tendency to use the term cinematic to describe either tracks or sections of tracks. This descripter can be equally used for this Ep. Why? Because the scope and variation within the release conjures up visions of different scenes and themes.
The Ep’s opener “Companion” is a perfect example of music that flows seamlessly across genre boundaries. The track moves from swooning vocal like ambience that feels free and floating, with a slight dark underbelly. Arcs of sound cascade across bringing with them the next main movement of the track and raising the lush quality of the piece. The track then morphs into a sci-fi influenced synth piece, retaining the flow, but adding a bit of a futuristic feel before the track explodes outwards with beats and synth pulses. The track mirrors a journey in the way it progresses throughout.
“Present Perfect” throat singing, drones and muted piano pads create a swirling looping track that slowly gets engulfed by this wall of sound and vocals, before replacing the piano with a string section performing the same music as before. After another build up of sound, the track enters the third movement by turning to full electronics before the strings return. The beats are crisp, while the atmospherics dirty and bassy, creating a soundscape that embraces electronic and non electronic forms. It’s as if the track has been re-worked in each movement, leading to a new perspective on the music.
“In’ei Raisan (In Praise Of Shadows)” an echoing and muted string section that gives off a cavernous sound leads the listener on a journey where clarity meets submerged sounds. The track is the perfect fusion of electronic and organic instrumentation with a combining of the two distinctly different styles. Although leaning more towards the electronic influence, the structure and essence feels like its more rooted in classical stylings and constructed with a classical sense.
“A Body is not Enough” this track takes us on a journey into more grimier electronic territory with, for the first time, vocoder affected vocals coming through repeating the title over and over. Entering the half way point dubstep sounds and production techniques takes center place. Skittering circular drums, eerie atmospherics, sounds that the drop in and out, deep bass lines and angular synth sounds all collide and separate. The final section sees the track return to similar territory of its second minute with the grimy cinematic idm leading to the tracks eventual breakdown.
“Past Perfect” Mader sends any expectations that you may have had with the Ep’s final track which eschews any real beats or rhythms. Instead it is a more experimental, melancholic, ambient, synth drone piece with field recordings, woozy warped synths, clattering sounds, rolling ambience and pulses of dark synth. At times it feels dissimilar and at other times it flows nicely. It”s an interestingly brave way to finish the release off as it is quite different to what has come before it and it does feel somewhat of an intro to a bigger piece.
“Companion” is an enjoyable Ep with four strong tracks that highlights the varied composition style of Jochen Mader and his genre crossing eclectic pieces. Fans of genres like Modern Classical and IDM with find things to take out from it, as well as those who like a certain amount of dirt and decay.