Loose Lips

Brainwaltzera - Poly-ana LP (FILM)

Release Review

Brainwaltzera - Poly-ana LP (FILM)

Out of the mists of online clouds of sound, a mysterious entity emerged with a collection of electronic music memories from various sources and periods. Brainwaltzera’s recordings first appeared as the SoundCloud account “user 0000008673”, almost in parallel with the Aphex Twin’s “user18081971” and with a heads up from the legendary producer’s account. This has invited speculation as to the identity of Brainwaltzera, with the mystery greatly fuelling the interest in the shared music, as the name, sound and story evokes the golden era of 90s electronica and braindance.

Over a period of 2 years, the material that now forms the “Poly-ana” LP was slowly presented online.

The sounds presented were made and stored on various mediums, like cassette and mini-disc; utilising various analogue synths, samplers, FX and other recording equipment (including printers! :)…  

Following the piqued interest and support of fans, a triptych of Brainwaltzera vinyl EPs were released, which are finally being crowned with this LP. 

“Poly-ana” explores the themes of (re)formation of memories and consciousness, through the framework of a sonic memory context created by recordings and our re-returning to them. The vinyl release will be featured in a scented gatefold, to highlight scent and sound as two of the strongest memory triggers.  It attempts to point out that our musical set and setting is provided by sound recordings and their re-reproduction(s) and then use this to grow the musical space re-conjured in the listeners as they re-explore the record.

The ambience of the whole album seems defined by the vintage character of the sound and the artistic skills of sonic manipulation. The LP sits musically somewhere between ambient and trip-hop with RepHleXions of BrainDance and WARPed IDM overtones. Mellow multi-layered psychedelic electronica.

All the tracks feature enchanting musical themes, some of which are interspersed by processed beats. The beats are regularly phat and tastefully twisted around, but rarely dominate and usually give way to the music to provide the focal listening point and the main emotional attachment. The warm and massive sound of Poly-ana-logue and modular synths, tape recordings and lofi crackle works great, juxtaposed with some of the glitchy digital sampledelics and FX processing - this creates intense sound sculptures of various styles. Interestingly, at least half of the LP’s track titles feature references to [recording gear] or [technique], in a style of writing reminiscent of a certain aRDeeJay’s shenanigans. But, I digress…

“Poly-ana” starts with the track “kurrytree [MIDI 2 CV]” treating us to a cleansing of the musical palate with manipulated synth recordings. After the beat drop, we are sonically transported back to the glory days of 90s electronica. This trend continues on to the next track “smit”, which echoes Boards of Canada-esque moments, fusing lush synths with glitch hop beats and old (radio?) samples of kids voices. 

“dat aft8r [the greyz]” continues in this vein, with an upfront beat...yet melancholic synthetic memories recall Analogue Bubblebaths. 

The LP title track, “poly ana summers [schoolyard surph beat]”, was already released on the “Aescoba EP”. A genuinely laid back and lush (indeed, summer vibe) track that uses basic bleeps and synth/FX sweeps with dubby echoes and delays, to put the listener in a dreamy floaty state. The atmosphere continues drifting on the next “carniblurr.lane 6”, which is much more minimal and consists of two parts - the second purely melodic and pitch-shifting slowly down on the end - likely produced using sound from more than one recording take.

“mixolydian transition 18” takes on the minimal melody start and works in one of the heaviest beats on the LP. Thumping bass and crafty hi-end percussions in the form of super fast rolls, glitches and FXs work the trippy head-banging magic. The following track “kurzweil dame” continues with the minimalistic atmosphere, but only for 2 minutes - suggesting it may be a short live magic moment in a long jam session recording. 

“bouheD trot” mellows down the vibe a bit, relying mostly on ethereal pad sounds and a simple phat beat driven and broken by various FX. 

“[take1]” is one of the longest and the most ambient affairs on the LP and one of my faves. Not shy of the tape hiss and the crackly recordings which add to the retro feel, the arpy melody plays magic with the synthy sweeps and bleeps, slowly building to a lush harmonic soundscape that calms the ears and soothes the soul. 

The last 4 tracks continue with more attention to beat dynamics. “triangulate Dither [night more sleepy version]” provides the most relentless beat, yet with a gentle sound and subtle movements to the thumping 4/4 kick. “frikandel [the end bit]” keeps us locked into the groove, a bit slower yet with great attention to rhythmic detail. 

On “yamaha Hills [edit ∞]" we are treated to the most intense jungle-like beat manipulation, something that has been a more prominent feature on the other Brainwaltzera releases. On this one, the atmosphere remains calm and spacious, floating on top of the chopped up classic breakbeats. 

The closing track “Δlate Ηither [ma8ema8mati7s afsxissor nap version]”, shines with a lush and positive vibe on various synths and a BoC reminiscent beat, ideal for closing the album and easing us back to reality (or a nap). The track’s name, together with others, gives us food for thought with the choice of word manipulation by the author(s?), fond of misspelling and twisting multiple words and meanings into one.

Luckily, these fine details and attention to curiosities and hidden meanings are the cherry on the top of this Brainwaltzera package. Ultimately, it is the core quality of the music and sound on “Poly-ana” which will definitely stand the test of time.

Poly-ana” LP is set to be released on FILM Recordings, 29.09.2017 - on CD and vinyl (scented gatefold, relief varnish).



Released September 29, 2017