[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
It is most interesting to hear this sort of work being done through the contemporary lens; in contrast to the era which influences it, ‘Action Catalyst’ is a taut, tense exercise in focused composition. To add another layer of intrigue all of these compositions have been conceived and executed by a Mr. Julius Vanderbilt aka PK Chown aka Mr. Liquorice who is one half of the technicolor production that is The Dandelion Set. Apparently, this is his first solo venture and as such gets into to some truly strange territory both in tone and time signature.
You are given two short films to go along with all this, one of which has a split second frame of Richard Kiel in his role from 1977’s ’The Spy Who Loved Me’ and another which no doubt will appeal to any film noire / horror aficionado. The purpose is rather clear, they illustrate how seamlessly Vanderbilt’s work can be integrated into the decade to which it owes so much. Unlike a lot of what is being dredged up from that seabed of popular culture, this collection doesn’t drift into the self-indulgent prog/fusion territory which typified the 70s.
He’s managed to somehow wrest his own peculiar brand of cinematic material within the framework of cues, only one of these even hits three minutes! One can imagine these being used to delineate suspenseful sequences as well as introspective segues between more action packed moments; Julius is not one for bombast and prefers to keep his sound on the understated border of consciousness and the void which is located somewhere in that glorious haze known as surrealism. Before you put this on, be sure your own surroundings are as isolated as possible.
Distractions are not an option.
‘Action Catalyst’ operates on instinct, it jumps from scene to scene and vaunts over empty voids all the while having but a singular objective: to pull you from your complacent existence for a short while and deposit you into it’s narrative, a narrative which is fluid and capable of truly remarkable range.