Ian Boddy


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Chiasmata wasn't meant to be a live album; in fact, Ian Boddy intended the stage show as a dry run for a projected studio recording. It didn't work out that way at all, though, for so sublime was the concert itself, so exquisite the live tapes, that Boddy realized nothing could be done to improve them. The gig itself was held in held in November, 2003, at the National Space Centre's planetarium in Leicester. The setting was integral to the show, for the kaleidoscope of stars and galaxies, clouds and comets, revolving planets and cosmic events all formed a backdrop for the music which simultaneously conjured up all of the above. Although the album is divided into ten tracks, in fact the first nine are a continuous suite of sweeping music, with the tenth Boddy's encore. The set opens with the rush of sound of "Gravity Well" proceeded by "Dark Matter," a pair of pieces that reflect the infinite vastness of the universe, its initially amorphous form which gradually coalesces into galaxies, planetary systems, and the piece "Ecliptic," which expresses the beauty of the universe itself. "Lightfall" drifts across space's great expanse, a lullaby in classical mode, featuring sublimely ethereal female vocal samples. Our planet and all that dwell upon her are comprised of the elements of stardust itself, and the intricacies of our beings are expressed on "Nucleotide." Within, the rhythmic beats bing and boing like the multitude of molecules and atoms from which we are constructed, spinning like protons and neutrons, while overhead a lushly rich melody evokes our actual forms.

Questions of our origins have haunted humans since they became self-aware, and man has grappled to understand the universe through observation, imagination, and eventually scientific exploration. The Babylonian magus noting the positions of stars, the alchemist attempting to divine the nature of organic compounds, and the modern astronomer working in a high-tech observatory all desired answers to the same core questions. "The Mystic" binds together the technological advances of today with the awe, wonder and fear of the past, an eerie piece that flows seamlessly into the title track, one haunted by dark atmospheres and militant beats. By now, Boddy has left behind the album's earlier ambience and spacy atmospheres, taking the set deep into darkwave, and on "Chiasmata" into the industrial realm. "Kinaethesia" pulls the suite out of the shadows and back into the light, a piece, true to its title, propelled by shifting, propulsive rhythms, that slide in and out of trance. "Still Point" slows the set to a close, via a sparse but elegant piano piece. The concert ends with the grand finale of "Mechanic Organic," a celebration of the intertwining of the living and the invented, a glorious number bolstered by hefty beats, stirring effects and dappled by a delicate melody on top. This is a transcendental journey, one where the perspectives and moods constantly shift, atmospheres coalesce and dissipate, musical themes rise and fall, rhythms ebb and flow, pieces flow from the introspective to the dance-fired, while genre boundaries are continuously breached. The warmth and vibrancy of the concert is perfectly captured on disc, and Boddy has surpassed himself yet again.

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