Synthi A – “Ignition Of The Sun” Review
SYNTHI A – IGNITION OF THE SUN (FUTURE SOUND OF LONDON)
A veritable smorgasbord of intergalactic sounds; if you heard the ‘Blackhill Transmitter’ release by Future Sound of London (FSOL) and were freaked out by that, then hold tight. For my taste that album was John Wyndham to this one’s Philip K. Dick (“I don’t want to alarm you darling but there are a couple of triffids on the other side of the French windows, now where did I leave my pipe and slippers” the very terrestrial drums seem to say). This album to the best of my knowledge the product of FSOL’s Garry Cobain and Brian Dougans doesn’t disappoint and ratchets up the paranoia bar several wrings.
Side one starts with the eponymous ‘Ignition of the Sun’ modulating and phasing in and out until what sounds like a generator warming up comes into full force, the eerie sound of great distances travelled (by light?). ‘Oblique Towers’ begins by skipping and skating across the mind chaotically only kept in check by a melodic synth line and oscillations. The short track ‘Wave Length’ is warmer in tone and has an organised structure and ‘pleasant’ synthesiser. ‘Garden of Syn’ introduces the electronic synthesis of insects chirps and clicks and is one of the two shortest tracks on the album clocking in at 1 minute 13 seconds. ‘Rutt Etra’ another brief track seems to launch itself at you in preparation for ‘Dilation of Time’ – Rave music for the alien generation… “Are you on one of these planets matey?”, which finishes with a synth flourish and what sound like great gusts of cosmic wind. ‘Return Beyond the Inner Voice’, ties as shortest track on the album; dark order a la hobgoblin armies of Tolkien and black winged messengers of the gods. Side one concludes with ‘Moons in dissidence’ as order battles it out with chaos in what comes closest on the LP to a drum beat, although sonically more magnetic repulsion.
‘Rivers of Occasion’ kicks off side two: sounding like deranged turntablist scratch tricknology, with all the forward segments taken out of it and played alongside the spooky sound of birdsong (our feathered friends were prehistoric raptors once) taking off into hyperdrive with the phased sound of synthesisers. ‘Sirens from a Distance’ begins quietly and builds into what the title suggests with the disquieting call and response of cosmic harpies, and if your heartbeat wasn’t sped up by hearing it, a heartbeat effect ensues. ‘Opalis Amar Xam’, rhythmic synthetic sounds fluctuate between foreground and background of raptor calls (the sun maybe a young star but in human terms need I remind you it is ancient). ‘Pathways to I’ chimes and whistles over a heartbeat and then what sounds like a helicopter (where did that come from?), black ops or is it a police surveillance helicopter searching out your stash. ‘Lifecycle’ is most certainly a synth driven track and invokes film scores of yonder years. With ‘Bridge Between Tal’ the heartbeat picks up again along with a drone and sound effects that wouldn’t be out of place on an early episode of Dr. Who. ‘Liquid Light’ rounds the album off with a sonic whip, the Sun has been truly ignited and the flying saucer leaves your rooftop and this punter wanting more, so bring on the final frontier FSOL.