M. Geddes Gengras
Ishi


3.9
excellent

Review

by hyperi0n STAFF
July 6th, 2014 | 33 replies


Release Date: 06/24/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Synthetic worldbuilding.

The analog synthesizer has become somewhat of a symbolic ideal for the a lot of the music being produced this side of the millennium. This generation of mostly college age musicians, children of the post-modern automaton known as the internet with an infatuation for all things retro now that an index of what amounts to the entirety of human knowledge and history is available at their fingertips, have been furiously engorging themselves on a lost world of music obscured by rudimentary and suffocating pathways of communication and information sharing. While synthesizers have come to almost completely dominate the landscape of popular music in recent times, the analog synthesizer occupies a rather interesting position in the musical environment of the post-millennial world. Sounding both old and new at the same time, the retro-futurist capabilities of the myriad interpretations of this instrument have been exploited in what seems to be a rebirth of the ideological concept of the future, filtered through a lens of renewed utopian optimism interpreted by sound.

M. Geddes Gengras newest release, Ishi, sits comfortably beside the kinds of analog synthesizer revisionism of acts like Daniel Lopatin’s Oneohtrix Point Never and Christelle Gualdi’s Stellar OM Source. Taking cues from a library of ambient and progressive electronic greats like Tangerine Dream, Steve Roach, and Jean Michel Jarre, Ishi is an almost 80 minute journey through anachronistic aural landscapes punctuated by warm ebbs and flows of synth timbres and modular blips. Remaining a thoroughly ambient endeavor throughout, M. Geddes Gengras music is able to inhabit a space between fully present and totally absent that is still engaging without being overly obtrusive or disruptive. The album, as a result, ends up pinpointing exactly what makes ambient music of this nature successful: texture and timbre. Ambient music in general has always been interested moreso in the texture of sound rather than its utilitarian implementation, and Ishi’s juxtaposition between lush, warm, inviting tones and the harsher, more challenging sounds that pepper it’s musical setting is a welcome take on the tactile interpretations of generative sound synthesis. “Passage”, which sounds like something that could have easily made its way onto OPN’s modern progressive electronic opus Returnal, and the 43 minute closer, “Vigil”, are the highlights of Ishi’s esoteric sound design and aural worldbuilding, managing to totally nail the escapist, futuristic vibes of the kinds of synthesizer and ambient music it takes such heavy inspiration from.

While mostly derivative in concept, M. Geddes Gengras’s Ishi is an accomplished, successful revision and reinterpretation of the kind of analog synthesizer music that has continued to be the sound of the future since the birth of the instrument. Wrapped in packaging that resembles a rejected cover illustration of an early print of the legendary OMNI science fiction magazine, the entire presentation and execution of this release is drenched in an authenticity and genuine respect for the source material that makes this kind of music all the more engaging. For anyone interested in the world of contemporary analog synthesizer music, Ishi should be a welcome addition to any collection.




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user ratings (10)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2014


18707 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

probably my last review for a while while i reevaluate my reviewing. i feel like recently all my stuff is very formulaic and ends up following the same pattern for every review. ive been cooking up a monolithic review for a while and im gonna spend some time to make sure its the best thing ive ever posted on this site.

Digging: Execration (NOR) - Morbid Dimensions

Phlegm
July 6th 2014


5112 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeehaw! good shit hyp this that ish, solid review as ever :~)

Digging: Dirty Beaches - Stateless

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2014


18707 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

yeah dude thanks for telling me to get this

that returnal comparison was spot on.

PappyMason
July 6th 2014


1048 Comments


Enjoyed reading this.

I'm intrigued by this, definitely going to have a listen.

Digging: Yagya - Rigning

Gyromania
July 6th 2014


15941 Comments


Awkwardly written review. Will check this out though

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2014


18707 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

what dont you like about it? its pretty short and basic but i dont think it reads awkwardly

Relinquished
July 6th 2014


25211 Comments


he said awkwardly written

like you wrote it with your feet

TheBarber
July 6th 2014


1977 Comments


tracklisting doesn't mention any "Vigil"

Digging: Iceage - Plowing Into the Field of Love

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2014


18707 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

someone must have forgotten it when they added it to the DB, its the final 43 minute track

TheBarber
July 6th 2014


1977 Comments


happens, Passage is a nice lush little listen

Gyromania
July 6th 2014


15941 Comments


hmm, i was just reading it over again and i'm guessing you edited some of this? i know paramount was one of the word choices i found very curious, and a few others that i'm not seeing now. sorry for not giving critique earlier when reading, had to unexpectedly go out

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2014


18707 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

yeah after you said it read awkwardly i went through and edited a few things, i never liked paramount either and changed it to something that got the point across better.

its cool, i genuinely want criticism. the worst part about being staff so far is that no one gives any actual critiques anymore and i think that has more or less contributed to my writing becoming a bit stagnant. i definitely DO NOT think i am a good enough writer to be above criticism and i wish more people would say something, even if i end up not agreeing with it.

its always nice to be able to bounce your perspective off the viewpoint of someone else.

also, turns out that vigil is a digital/CD only bonus track (im guessing because they couldnt fit it onto the vinyl release without making it a double LP), but since it's on 2 of the 3 formats ill still consider it an essential part of the album.

Gyromania
July 6th 2014


15941 Comments


glad to hear it, bro. a lot of people on here seem to think they're infallible and so i've stopped reading/critiquing their reviews altogether. i guess it's somewhat my fault as i'm not being very approachable all the time when giving feedback, but then tact isn't my strong suit. i just don't think it's necessary to always say something positive about the review to sort of balance the good and the negative

you make a good point about the staff tag. i seldom see someone giving a staffer constructive feedback. more along the lines of 'great review!'

ExplosiveOranges
July 6th 2014


3158 Comments


Will check this out ASAP

Digging: Winterfylleth - The Divination Of Antiquity

RadicalEd
July 7th 2014


2697 Comments


Reminds a lot a lot of Steve Roach.

I thought the review was good, although the first paragraph is a little be unrefined.

"furiously engorging themselves on a lost world of music obscured by rudimentary and suffocating pathways of communication and information sharing"

I mean, being elaborative is fine, but i think you've gone a bit overboard with the eccentric word choices here. It maybe because english is not my first language, but did you really need a setence with the phrase "obscured by rudimentary and suffocating pathways" ?

Digging: Jakob - Sines

Phlegm
July 7th 2014


5112 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i don't see the problem, I like hyperbolic reviews with rich language - it adds to the imagery

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
July 7th 2014


18707 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

yeah its kind of just the way i write, but quite a few people have said the same thing for some of the other things ive written so im no totally unaware of it. my literary education consisted of reading high fantasy and science fiction novels so a lot of it stems from that.

im just not really a fan in general of the super-casual, conversation style reviews that seem to be the norm on a lot of review sites. i do think it could be toned back a bit however, which is one of the reasons i think im gonna take a while to reevaluate my style.

oltnabrick
July 10th 2014


31094 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is so good.

Digging: Ariel Pink - Pom Pom

thelastsignal
July 10th 2014


1370 Comments


This sounds right up my alley. Nice review dude, I enjoy your reviews because although they can be a bit wordy at times, they still read (at least to me) as fairly conversational.

WashboardSuds
July 10th 2014


5023 Comments


sounds amazing, good write-up too



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