Stairway Maze – Hollow Spaces

[Reviewed by Peter Marks]

Timing be damned, Stairway Maze’s material had to digest. I’ve no doubt he spent quite a few evenings revising this album and it shows. There’s nothing out of place in these purported hollow spaces, in fact one finds a plethora of electronic detailing which comes at you song after song. Each one is an entire lexicon of synthetic design, from the opening notes right up until the last sequence has faded out; grimly determined to make themselves tangible manifestations, this is dark electro for the grown ups, once again.

His press photos communicate the impressive sense of restraint that is the hallmark of his compositions, but have no worries: these ten tracks do not lack imagination, no, they are instead bursting at the seams with beautiful melodies and weapons-grade programming. Refinement is what comes across most when I hear his work, no sloppily inserted progressions or obvious sound selections. As a matter of fact, the majority of what you’ll find in his sound are just the machines creating majestic peaks while being underpinned in some cases by almost acoustic instrumentation.

Not one for missing an opportunity when he sees it, he even manages to insert a sample from Aliens (har har) I’ve not heard used before by anyone else. This is then wrapped in abrasive rhythms and a razor wire net of electronics; perhaps now you begin to see why I’ve been chewing on ‘Hollow Spaces’ all this time. I haven’t seen any press for this guy, which astonishes me, on a surface level you could easily recommend him to fans of Forma Tadre and Acretongue.

It’s only once you start scratching away at that shiny initial layer the true magnitude reveals itself.

Preceded by the excellent EP, ‘Aries’, this artist operates on a scale which may appear daunting but breaking down what he’s made has been a rewarding and quite revelatory experience. Even now I continue picking up on details and subtle shifts in arrangement I didn’t notice the first ten or twelve times I played through his small -yet hopefully growing- catalog. “Late Night Train to Limbo” is a prime example of his uncanny abilities… acetate pops, a wandering high key line and percussion are woven into not just music but a fascinating tale for the mind.

Stairway MazeHollow Spaces
Aliens Production, APD016
Digital/CD 2017

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