d’Voxx is Gaetano (Nino) Auricchio and Paul Borg. Together they have composed, performed and recorded Télégraphe, an electronic journey of beautifully-crafted melodic instrumentals. Every piece is seamlessly connected with field recordings from different subway stations from around the world, each one acting as an introduction to each of the album’s nine unique soundscapes.
Opening track ‘Opera’ is a minimal affair. A lonesome Baroque-like arpeggio subtly changes key throughout, giving a calming, almost pastoral quality, accompanied halfway through by an electronic click rhythm pattern which glues the whole piece together. ‘Akalla Norr’ is more urgent. The underlying groove seems to change throughout without any apparent time signature, an effect expertly executed via the clever use of Eurorack sequencers such as the Stillson Hammer and the Make Noise René.
The album’s title track starts as an ambient wash of underground trains and distant strings before evolving into something far less subtle. Raucous bass and drums break the surface and become the main driving force. The bass sequence stays fairly constant but the mad drummer (machine) seems to be improvising, a kind of release from the structured musicality of the rest of the track.
‘Aotou’ is perhaps the most robotic piece on Télégraphe. Although the bass melody is played on a Fender Jazz guitar by a human, it’s the machine-like percussion sounds and filtered sequences that drive the track relentlessly forward.
In contrast, ’Tempelhof’ is a futurescape, like something imagined from the opening scene of Blade Runner. This minimalistic soundtrack is full of space and it’s the space that conjures up images of Tomorrow’s World. ‘Akalla Söder’ makes me think of an ant colony, a sequence of scurrying insects, each with purpose, working together to create a unique and complete musical picture.
‘Dinamo’ is based around a repeated musical phrase that builds and develops as the track progresses. The hypnotic trance theme then morphs into a frenetic bass line which eventually subsides to mirror the opening theme. ’Skalka’ centres around a simple vocoder-like filtered sequence. The effect sounds like digital communication in an imagined computer network.
The final track, aptly named ’Terminus’ is beat-less, soulful and lonesome; the perfect ghostly ending.
In all, this is a meticulously-constructed album. The carefully-sculptured sounds have been created precisely with a treasure trove of Eurorack sound modules and sequencers. It’s a beautifully melodic piece of work with flashes of inspired improvisation.
The synthesizer marked the beginning of the electronic music revolution and the sequencer became the means by which these fantastically un-natural sounds could be utilised. Télégraphe is a fine example of what can be created with this ever-evolving technology, and paves the way for what is yet to be discovered.
Télégraphe by d’Voxx will be released by DiN on March 15 2019.
Words: Vince Clarke
(c) 2019 Vince Clarke for Further.