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Ambient Review

Polypores – Brainflowers

Miracle Pond Records – Re-issued: 17th Jan

UK-based Polypores (aka Stephen James Buckley) is no stranger to Flatland Frequencies, having listened to his numerous contributions to the excellent A Year In The Country series over the past few years.

Brainflowers was released in December 2019, on a limited 60 cassette run via Miracle Pond Records. This promptly sold out, leading the label to re-issue another 40 copies last week.

The press release describes the album as being “recorded within the first month of building a modular synthesizer”. Without dwelling on gear or process too much, there is certainly a sparse, exploratory nature to the compositions here, which could partly be attributed to the freedom associated with owning a new instrument. However, this shouldn’t detract from what is a musically considered and complete album.

The limitations imposed by the recording medium helps focus on the individual sound objects, which are entirely synthesised and organised around a tapestry of arpeggiations, gliding sustained notes and warbling tape-style delays. There’s moments of Terry Riley appearing here and there, but the sequenced nature of the album, leads to something that could only be achieved with modern technology. A perfect blend of old school synthesis and aesthetic, with new school control.

Vinyl re-issue next please!