Ian Martin – Notations Of The Form


[Reviewed by stark]

I haven’t heard of this musician before, but it seems he’s not a rookie in the experimental/ambient business. He comes from Rotterdam and has already released several materials of various forms and lengths. I see that one of them is a collaboration with Michel Banabila, so apparently Ian Martin has a good article to write in his resume or a chapter in his autobiography.

Jokes aside, “Notations Of The Form” has been released by his countrymates from the Shimmering Moods label and as far as I know the physical version is already sold out, but there’s still an unlimited number of digital copies in the zero-one Bandcamp library, so you can grab this one there.

Despite the static character of the frames of most tracks, most of them spread the seed of unrest in my mind. Small sounds, micromelodies which are not dark or scary, but somehow anxious, so that you start to wonder whether this side of reality is the right one, or whether you’re trapped on the wrong side of the mirror. If these electronic raindrops of “Love Or Art” that fall on your head during an evening walk in the quiet suburbs aren’t somehow acid. The title track is amazing; this subtle noisy drone, the restless pulsations and the constantly growing tension that may lead to an explosion and an absolution or redemption. Or it may never occur, and you’re just left in the middle of nowhere with an empty mind, trying to find your way home. “Hangar” has an interesting opening, the electronic (I suppose) cicadas and then some strange crackling that brings theses sounds closer to musique concrète. After that also the synth part appears, heavily treated with effects. I don’t know what’s going on in that Hangar, but it could be anything from growing some experimental variety of weed to an alien autopsy.

I always liked those electronic sci-fi soundtracks from the 70s. Boards Of Canada paid them a great tribute on their last album. I mention them because you can build a bridge between “Fathareed” and the “Andromeda Strain” movie. Or “Phase 5” for that matter. The same as those two Scots on “Tomorrow’s Harvest”. Obviously, the sound is not that clean and epic, because Ian Martin doesn’t have such studio possibilities as Sandison and Eoin, but there’s the same vibe in “Fathareed” and that makes this composition my second favourite on the whole album. Right after “Notation Of The Form”.

The last one is “Medusa”, which gives you the feeling that any moment an electronic beat will enter the structure and you’ll get a grand dub finale. None of these, Ian Martin plays against the listeners’ habits and expectations. Quite a creative guy he is, I have to admit. And with a huge musical imagination – even when you have the impression that you have heard this or that note or sound on other albums, ‘Notations Of The Form’ as a whole is pretty much one of a kind.

Ian MartinNotations Of The Form
Shimmering Moods Records, SHM CD019
CDr/Digital 2016

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