Author Topic: Parallel Worlds "Obsessive Surrealism" (DiN26) album reviews.  (Read 3914 times)

Parallel Worlds

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 253
  • Unreal-time player
    • View Profile
    • Official Parallel Worlds Website
Parallel Worlds "Obsessive Surrealism" (DiN26) album reviews.
« on: December 17, 2007, 03:41:09 PM »
Review from Bill Binkelman (of Wind and Wire):

PARALLEL WORLDS
Obsessive Surrealism
DiN (2007)
11 tracks, 63:29

 
Bakis Sirros (Parallel Worlds) reinvents retro-EM on Obsessive Surrealism, one of the best EM recordings of the year. As he weaves his way through eleven tracks (many under six minutes - a decision that I applaud, frankly), he immerses the listener in a shadowy realm where a myriad of past EM and electronica influences (chief among them are John Carpenter’s soundtracks) merge with a dark yet lush contemporary tint. A smattering of synth-pop touches, perhaps trace elements of Jarre, Tangerine Dream, or Synergy also surface, as well as echoes of contemporaries like Current, Di Evantile, and others. The music (much of it created on modular analogue instruments) is always couched in an atmosphere permeated with dread, foreboding, menace and mystery. Because the music frequently has a cinematic aspect to it, I think Sirros’ biggest influences were the music from films such as Escape from New York, The Fog, and to lesser degrees, Big Trouble in Little China and The Thing (and yes, I know The Thing soundtrack was actually composed by Ennio Morricone, thankyouverymuch). Regardless whether you will agree with me on this point, Obsessive Surrealism is an entertaining disc and certainly plays better in the foreground rather than as sonic wallpaper. You’ll really want to listen to this one.

The opening “Beneath Fear” gives you a good indication what to expect. Muted bell tones are set off against assorted skittering electronic FX and minor chord washes. Rhythms emerge gradually but build in intensity along with the addition of moody chorals. “Different Pathways” begins with a steady snare and bass drum beat. Burbling static and organ-like chords are right out of The Thing, and have that same “hair stands up on the back of your neck” effect, as if something is approaching and it’s not gonna be pleasant. Yet, the energy of the song (unlike Carpenter’s soundtracks) is dialed up to a higher intensity level. It’s almost infectious, an intriguing counterpoint to music suffused with dread. “Empty Human Cells” evokes Escape from New York at times, with the same pulsing rhythms and flurry of synths that marked one of Carpenter’s more sought after works.

Sirros settles down only occasionally (too bad) e.g. on “Increasing Complexity” with its echoed piano, bell tones, and undulating drones, eventually married to some midtempo synth bass beats and weird effects. He takes aim at a mixture of ‘80s dance/synth pop crossed with neon-lit Berlin on the bouncy, energetic “Distracted.” Harold Faltemeyer meets Tangerine Dream, perhaps? The CD ends with the dark Sturm und Drang of “Crying Spells,” a welling-up dose of propulsive yet oppressive power, reminding me of Big Trouble in Little China crossed with The Keep (soundtrack by Tangerine Dream).

Despite my numerous allusions to other artists (notably Carpenter and his unnamed accomplice Alan Howarth), don’t be mistaken in thinking Obsessive Surrealism reeks of copycatting. Bakis Sirros is certainly an original. The music here is a hybrid of retro analogue-driven and contemporary EM, with the emphasis on the former but not in a derivative fashion. More than anything else, what Sirros’ infuses this CD with is a delightfully sly mixture of fun and frights. Charged with a shadowy spookiness and a dose of creepy menace around every corner, the album is very highly recommended.

Rating: A

Bill Binkelman / Wind And Wire




jkn

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2720
  • cake or death? cake please.
    • View Profile
    • Relaxed Machinery
Re: Parallel Worlds "Obsessive Surrealism" (DiN26) album reviews.
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2007, 09:05:32 AM »
Bakis and I did a cd exchange a while back and so I have a copy of Obsessive Surrealism.   My favorite thing about the album is it's strong sense of mood and feeling - there's a sort of melancholy spirit to the entire album which I mean in a very good way.   Not many albums jump out at me with such a strong sense of feeling and emotion like this.   

His massively cool collection of gear never gets in the way of his music.   It's definitely soundtrack-ish and works well either background or foreground.   He seems to be pulling from a number of musical sources so it's hard to pinpoint what style of music it is - it seems to bridge ambient and more sequencer based berlin school type stuff very nicely.

No - he's not paying me.  :)
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

Parallel Worlds

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 253
  • Unreal-time player
    • View Profile
    • Official Parallel Worlds Website
Re: Parallel Worlds "Obsessive Surrealism" (DiN26) album reviews.
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2007, 11:46:58 AM »
Bakis and I did a cd exchange a while back and so I have a copy of Obsessive Surrealism.   My favorite thing about the album is it's strong sense of mood and feeling - there's a sort of melancholy spirit to the entire album which I mean in a very good way.   Not many albums jump out at me with such a strong sense of feeling and emotion like this.   

His massively cool collection of gear never gets in the way of his music.   It's definitely soundtrack-ish and works well either background or foreground.   He seems to be pulling from a number of musical sources so it's hard to pinpoint what style of music it is - it seems to bridge ambient and more sequencer based berlin school type stuff very nicely.

No - he's not paying me.  :)



thank you John!    :)

Parallel Worlds

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 253
  • Unreal-time player
    • View Profile
    • Official Parallel Worlds Website
Re: Parallel Worlds "Obsessive Surrealism" (DiN26) album reviews.
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2007, 05:35:43 AM »
PARALLEL WORLDS - Obsessive Surrealism CD review

Ian Boddy's Din label is now famous world-wide as the leading electronic music label that mixes originality with accessibility - you won't hear something on this label that bores you to death and you also won't hear anything that bores holes in you. This is no exception. The opening track, 6 minutes of "Beneath Fear" immediately serves as testimony. There's a melody line but it's twisted, there's a rhythm but it's angular, there's a texture but it's choral and a strength but it's magical. As keyboard, synth and electronci and electro-percussive rhythms move over each other like tectonic plates slowly coming to life, the feeling is of a giant awakening from a long-held slumber, the peice possessing more atmosphere than purpose, but, inreality, plenty of each. So much so, that the 5 minutes of "Different Pathways" is altogether lighter as though the giant beast has sprouted wings and is now able to fly, stretch and circle, albeit slowly, as musical muscles are flexed and the synths wheeze and groan in a highly melodic manner, drones the wheeze, bass rumbles the groans, as twinkling synth tunes in the distant, sparkle on top of slowly flowing electro-percussive beats, boinging bass synths and swirling gas clouds of electronics. The 3 minutes of "Empty Human Cells" is typical of the album as every track is its own entity and yet there seems to be a natural thematic follow-on from the previous piece. Here the sound is altogether bigger, with giant bass synth rhythms booming out slowly as more cosmic synth textures dance behind an array of heavenly melody lines, the dominant force beingt the dark rhythms that hang like a cloud over the optimism, turning light into something altogether more eerie, the synths gathering strength and an assembalge of rhythms and layers gliding purposefully acroass a universe of space synth backdrops. Ironically, the 6 minutes of "Increasing Complexity", is altogether more simplistic, as electric piano melody flows over gentle synth rhythms and undulating backdrops to provide a restrained respite from the increasing intensity, this time a big loping electro-percussive synth rhythm taking centre stage as the melody meanders, the rhythm undfolds and wheezing, puffing electronic rhythmic backgrounds supplement the main machine heart of the beast, all the while the melodic blood flowing through its veins and keeping it alive and vital. "Caves" also focuses on the rhythmic side of things as the central theme unfolds before these subside to leave a sea of slow-motion keyboard chords that lull you before the impending darkness falls and the life of stuttering rhythmic complexity begins to form all around you. Two minutes of deep, dark industrial strength cosmic synths allied to industrial strength booming electro-percussive rhythms serves as a bridge between what has gone before and the magical 9 minutes of "Reflective" where string synths and soaring space synth swoops create something timeless and beautiful as the, now familiar, sound of a booming electronic beat, this time slowly, emerges and takes its place at the centre of its universe, the synth flow darkening, the melodic intensity deepening and the whole thing gathering strength and layers to take off to the skies like some giant spaceship of unknown origin and yet seemingly familiar design. The rhythms rev up like rocket motors and the resonant rumble of boinging bass synths adds to the electro-percussive beats as the stirring sound of string synths weves the melodic web and all manner of eldctronic surrounds provide a pastoral presence to sit naturally against the blackness of the rhythmic mood. The near 9 minutes of "Mindmists" is altogether more abstract and here the melody factor disappears into one giant musical black hole, out of which comes the echoes of distant melodie that ahve ben swallowed up by the darkness, th whole main figure gurgling, rumbling, lurching and sucking in every musical layer you care to throw at it, as, one after another, rhythms tumble freefall through space while the sound of distant mellotrons provides a backdrop for the juxtaposition of cosmic bliss and dark bleak space, the gravity wll eventually falling away to reveal uncharted regions of space through which you cruise with electric piano, mellotron, electro-percussive rhythmic rumbles, off-key electronic backdrops and space synth masses, all combine to create a wholly new musical universe that soon bursts into life and evolves into yet another spellbinding example of rhythm and texture. Three tracks between 4 and 7 minutes complete the picture in similar vein to what has gone before and the epic journey is over, something that has transfixed you yet somehow has left a mark that is felt but not remembered, as you lay it to rest, knowing one day son, that it's a journey you will wish to undertake once more to see the altogether different musical sights that youmight have missed first time round and to enjoy the shape of the universe in many and varied ways. Adventurous originality combined with accessibility in electronics is summed up by this album.

Andy Garibaldi(Dead Earnest) 12-07

www.deadearnest.btinternet.co.uk
www.myspace.com/deadearnestdundee
www.myspace.com/mermaidrockpromotions

Hypnagogue

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 318
  • Let's do music.
    • View Profile
    • Hypnagogue Reviews
Re: Parallel Worlds "Obsessive Surrealism" (DiN26) album reviews.
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2007, 02:28:00 PM »
If no one minds, I'd like to add my own kudos on this one:

A strong sense of narrative drama underlies every track on Parallel Worlds’ superb new CD, Obsessive Surrealism. Lushly dark, beat-driven and meticulously constructed, Surrealism makes great use of frontman Bakis Sirros’ adoration for and mastery of analogue systems. Classic-feel electronic twiddle and sequencer runs blend smoothly with breathy synth pad textures as Sirros leads the listener through his shadowy musical explorations. “Beneath Fear” opens the disc with a gentle piano riff playing in the middle of an ever-darkening atmosphere. Electro-critters chirp in the undergrowth and a phantom chorus sings like a hymnal. “Different Pathways” drips with something both sinister and urgent, a feel that carries into the potent, if short, “Empty Human Cells.” The pace slows for “Increasing Complexity,” where glitch-and-blip notes arc and bounce over a simple melody. Two short pieces follow (“Interlude” being the better of the two), providing something of a aural palate cleanser before Sirros hits his stride with the 10-minute “Reflective,” where a sequenced bass line stalks like a masked killer on a rain-slicked street. Sirros cites the soundtracks of John Carpenter movies as an influence, and the cinematic tint to Surrealism is obvious—as I have said too many times before, these pieces are bits of background music in search of their scenes. And it’s never more obvious than in “Reflective.” “Mindmists” grabs hold of the listener with heavy-handed piano chords over weeping strings before spreading out to a lighter, more melodic feel. “Pale Yellow Sky” offers more glitch-beat goodness (again tinged with the ominous). “Distracted” is an oddly danceable bit of funk, with its twangy analogue bassline and body-moving backbeat. The disc ends with “Crying Spells,” accented with slightly too bombastic percussion. Other reviewers have noted appreciatively that Sirros keeps his tracks fairly short. I concur. It allows each piece to be a scene unto itself, an enjoyable-if-melancholy story told wholly and never overdone. Overall, Obsessive Surrealism is an enjoyable blend of old and new, melody and melancholy, and dark and light--and it’s worth many a listen.
Hypnagogue Reviews
one listener's opinion on new music
hypnagoguereviews.wordpress.com
Hypnagogue Podcast
hypnagoguepodcast.wordpress.com

Parallel Worlds

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 253
  • Unreal-time player
    • View Profile
    • Official Parallel Worlds Website
Re: Parallel Worlds "Obsessive Surrealism" (DiN26) album reviews.
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2008, 04:42:57 PM »
hello,

Obsessive Surrealism is included in the Top 20 albums of 2007 in MIC greek webmag:
http://www.mic.gr/team.asp?id=14685

the album is on position 16.

Obsessive Surrealism (DiN26) album is included in Bill Binkelman's Top 20 Electronica albums of 2007:
http://www.newagereporter.com/charts/billtop102007.asp

(scroll down, as the order is only alphabetical)

also, Obsessive Surrealism is included in Ellias Granillo Top albums of 2007 (Sea Of Tranquility website):
http://www.seaoftranquility.org/article.php?sid=1024#EliasGranillo

also, Obsessive Surrealism is included in M.Hulot's (LiFo mag) Top 20 greek albums of 2007:
http://mhulotsnothingdays.blogspot.com/2007/12/01.html


Parallel Worlds

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 253
  • Unreal-time player
    • View Profile
    • Official Parallel Worlds Website
Re: Parallel Worlds "Obsessive Surrealism" (DiN26) album reviews.
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2008, 03:10:07 PM »
Parallel Worlds "Obsessive Surrealism" (DiN26) album:

Parallel Worlds is de Griekse analoge synth fetishist Bakis Sirros, die met “Obsessive Surrealism” zijn vierde album uitbrengt. Geen samples, geen vocals, geen belletjes of didgeridoos op dit album, gewoon ambiente synthklanken, soms mét, soms zonder beat. Dit rustig voortkabbelend cd’tje is mooie achtergrondmuziek, geschikt voor relaxatie en meditatie. Dromerig atmosferische klanktapijten van puur analoge electronische ritmes en sequences, combineren de sound van seventies elektronische muziek met moderne elektronica en ambient. Hoewel vrij donker, is dit toch eerder iets voor liefhebbers van Tomita, Klaus Schulze en Tangerine Dream, van kraut en ‘cosmic music’, dan voor hen die pas kicken op het echt duistere spul. Ook liefhebbers van een Tor Lundvall kan ik dit warm aanbevelen. http://www.myspace.com/parallelworldsmusic [HV]

Dark Entries music magazine - www.darkentries.be