Radiance, the latest release from the formidably active Polypores (Stephen James Buckley), was released in a tiny cassette edition of just thirty copies and sold out before most people even registered that it was even being issued. Containing four tracks of live modular synthesizer music, the pieces here are far from aimless meanderings; instead, they represent carefully-constructed moments that could well be the quintessence of what experimental electronic music always promised.
Each piece here is distinct, each carrying its own palette of tonalities and following a path unto itself, oftentimes feeling like Buckley is directing pure, unadulterated electrical current into his music. Two long tracks – ‘Mass’ and ‘Suns’ – dominate the cassette. The former features glacially-paced melodies over a turbulent, restless bed of drones and tightly-packed layers taking in everything from paranoia to dread to a sort of oblique optimism. That elegiac quality is more acutely felt on ‘Suns’, being full of sustained tones rising into a heart-stopping crescendo of skyward-facing hope and beauty. Its reassuring palette of tones and the insistent rush of fluttering, dramatic arpeggios that conclude the piece seem to be saying, “It may feel like chaos, but trust me – everything is going to be okay.”
Elsewhere, on the two shorter tracks that open each side of the tape, Buckley plays with panic-inducing siren sounds offset by pretty, delicate plucked-guitar-esque melodies on the otherwise serene ‘Escapism’, and offers an evocative, nagging melodic creep on the sinister-edged ‘In Marbles’.
Radiance by Polypores was released on September 10 2019.
Words: Mat Smith
(c) 2019 Further.