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Sangoplasmo’s Autumn Tapes /Lutto Lento, Suaves Figures, The Phantom/

Published November, 2012
by Easterndaze

Short Introduction on Synthesizers Today

After experiencing such records as Lunar Miasma’s Impermanent Nature, Negative Fascination by Silent Servant, Ghostrider’s Voices or batch of Panabrite’s releases it’s getting clear that 2012 is a year of synthesizers. They’ve become an excellent substitution for guitars – they aren’t kitschy anymore, they transformed from nerdy toys into tools of romanticism, poetry or even mysticism. The single wave of synthetic sound is so characteristic that it can’t be taken for any other instrument – it can be recognized at first glance just as poetry with it’s stanzas and rhymes. There is no narration in poetry, every lyric is a still tableaux – landscape, emotion, body frozen in motion – caught in the eye of a persona. The same goes for the synthesizer: its sound is never as predictable as the changes of tempo in post-rock or as comforting as an acoustic solo of folk guitar. It’s just like one particular movement taken out from the sequence of sophisticated choreography and – thanks to that decontextualization – hypnotizing like Man Ray’s Marquise Casati. „One particular movement”, so the band is not needed anymore – synthesizer is an instrument for solo player or a duo of friends. It’s a natural choice for terms of soliloquy and it’s obvious to release tapes focused on synthesizers in autumn.

Suaves Figures – Nouveaux Gymnastes

The words „Nouveaux Gymnastes” seem to recall Erik Satie’s famous series – Gymnopedies or Gnossiennes. „New exercises” – the title isn’t suggesting strained effort, an opus magnum, but rather – as in the case of Satie – a practice in music, emotional sketches noted almost automatically just as the spirals, lines, triangles or faces noted thoughtlessly on a sheet of paper during a long telephone conversation. Figures by Piotr Kurek and Sylvia Monnier are deeply saturated with calmness and balance. Totally freed from intellectual burden, they seem to be an immediate result of an emotional listening and then re-playing heard music from a memory. I have a hunch that those pieces were generated from samples – movements taken out from the sequence of sophisticated choreography of a pop song – and re-played on a synthesizer as in the process of creating a tablature. Nouveaux Gymnastes reminds me also of fragrances, in particular those with a cold, metallic note, tough and bright but so ethereal that they’re blossoming in memory rather than in reality.

<a href=“” data-mce-href=“”>Figure 1 by Suaves Figures</a>

The Phantom – MC 1

My initial thoughts on synthesizers can be applied also to the MC 1 cassette by The Phantom, but with a slight difference: whilst Nouveaux Gymnastes is a perfect example of so called no-genre music, the MC 1 is obviously a synth-post-rock with a tiny glimpse toward the classic ambient suite. Post-rock relies on changes of tempo, Phantom takes one step further and relies on changes in the saturation of texture. Each track swings from a minimalistic harmony to a solemn passage usually backed up by a delicate trace of piano or organs. In the result MC 1 seems to be a careful blend of Vangelis and early Sigur Rós: glowing neon sounds, which are immediately reminescent of touchy scenes from retro sci-fi movies (“Midnight Lover”), mixed with imaginary views of boreal Icelandic twilights (compelling „Beach Theme”) and urban impressionism in the vein of M83 or Night of Sense by Attenuated („Arctic (Cassette Mix)”).

<a href=“” data-mce-href=“”>Midnight Lover 1 by The Phantom</a>

Lutto Lento – Duch gór

This might be the most dissonant tape in the Sangoplasmo’s catalogue. „Duch gór” means „Mountain Spirit” in Polish. It’s pretty justified to imagine it as a noble being similar to the Forest God from Princess Mononoke by Hayao Miyazaki. But Lutto Lento is mocking such fine associations. The tape consist mainly of chaotic field recordings and sounds of vuvuzela, a plastic horn (also known as lepatata) which is producing a loud monotone note. This irritating sound got somehow – in a miraculous way – melted together with a meditative synthetic drone and, surprisingly, this strange pair generates an harmony of angelic peace. Suddenly the mocking part is gone. It was a classical smokescreen, a trickster’s play, a joke consisting of keeping false appearances. A spectre of mountains has been summoned and placed among the crowd to transform the noise into the scape of resonating harmonies. And the question arises: are we just a bunch of silent witnesses of the miracle, or maybe we are the Mountain Spirit itself – the ones who organize chaos by the subconscious move toward narration?

<a href=“” data-mce-href=“”>Duch Pierwszy by Lutto Lento</a>

by Filip Szałasek. Check out his fantastic blog here.