[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
This is an intriguing entry for the Pyramids as this time out everything is current. Previously, we had heard only archival material which came from decades past so the challenge becomes to maintain the sound of the project whilst also updating the approach at the same time. Listening to the appropriately titled ‘Vol. 13’ it becomes apparent very quickly that the scribe(s) behind the curtain has kept quite a few vintage pieces of equipment stored in immaculate condition; if not that then they were meticulously sampled at the time and placed into the murky depths for future use. More than an ample supply of foresight has been made use of by our architect(s) in pursuit of electronic continuity, between all the exotic ingredients no clearly defined methodology ever emerges.
Playing both of the releases by this entity won’t sort you out, in fact one only becomes more and more ensnared by all the cunning side passages and cleverly concealed revelations. All of which lead only to more open ended chambers; if you wanted to label what has been done here as a riddle without end feel free. How those involved managed to bridge all the intervening years to compose these curiosities is what I’d like to know. For any of this to work there had to have been considerable time spent going over not only the palette of tones but a re-visiting of the mindset which gave birth to them originally.
One thing which has been removed are the jazz influences which had been prominent on the self-titled debut but the meshing of traditional and synthetic instrumentation remains very much intact. It is as though time itself has somehow been corralled and then given a new direction in which to flow, we have short numbers ticking off the seconds while the lengthier pieces seem to revel in bending all manner of chronology to their whim. No vocals once again and even fewer recognizeable cues, it grows as thin as vapor here in the musty chambers and yet each time you play this through more of that intoxicating effluence manages to get inside your head; I was pulled further and further into indescribably alluring snarls of electronics easily; with a guile and sophistication to be found only in the most extreme regions of the sonic spectrum, Pyramids of Space play the subconscious as one would an abacus.
Positives and negatives become unstable, with the resilience of the listener’s mind being all that keeps them connected to reality.
‘Vol.13’ may appeal to some as being connected along the lines of numerology but these nineteen tracks work more on a neurological level, moving across the synaptic gaps as though they have been here since the beginning of the subject’s life. In lieu of comparative kindred spirits we are forced to study this work as it stands, the only thing Pyramids of Space sound like are Pyramids of Space. While the origins of the project may have been to hijack the trends of the time and brutally contort them to suit a new agenda the follow up could only result from absolute isolation; severed from any other influences out there, it is a symphony drawn out of the vacuum, an elegant compendium of inhospitable spaces and hostile environments… aural postcards from a glistening horizon waiting to snap like a Venus flytrap.
Pyramids of Space – Vol. 13
Mordant Music, MM081